According to Darwin, we all evolved from monkeys a few million years ago. If this is true then why is there still monkeys living amongst humans? Did some decide not to bother evolving and happily continue swinging amongst the trees in the jungle whilst other monkeys fancied a change, went bald and walked on two legs and called themselves John Smith? Even if this was true, what happens to the Adam and Eve concept, were they monkeys? I mean none of them make any sense now do they eh???
ok, i’ll bite.
According to Darwin, we share a common ancester with Monkeys, but did not evolve from them.
Next, evololving is not a choice that organisms make. Animals that evolve traits that benefit them in the environment in which they live are more likely to survive and pass them on to their offspring. This is where survival of the fittest comes from. Fit to the environment, not necessarily physically strong.
As far as Adam and Eve are concerned, they never really existed. They, like many other stories of the bible are merely ancient stories or myths that got passed down over the generations.
There we go.
And even Darwin pointed out that “evolution” goes backwards sometimes. If an organism suddenly finds itself in a different situation in which a simpler level of organization would be more beneficial, it will (through natural selection) regress to that simpler state.
What makes you think today’s monkeys haven’t evolved? I’m sure those who study these things will tell you that physically todays monkeys are somewhat different from those of 100,000 years ago. And we have no way of knowing how far back the tool use we now observe in monkeys would actually go. It may be that monkeys are now in a tremendous surge of intelligence (over the last 5000 years) and we would never know that since our recorded history and serious scientific study is so recent.
As KenGr points out humans have only been around a short while. Recorded history is only 5,000 or so years old (and that’s stretching it). Human civilzation is 7,000 or so years old. Humans, as we understand the creature today, is maybe 50,000 years old.
All of that time is an eyeblink evolutionary speaking unless you subscribe to the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Even then the space between fits and starts of evolution can be who knows how long (hundreds fo thousands of years wouldn’t be unreasonable).
Maybe monkeys are evolving…who’d know? No one was measuring their intelligence 5,000 years ago. More like humans have been paying attention to ape intelligence for at best 50 years. Far, far too short a time to spot evolution at work. Maybe by the year 10,000 someone will notice something.
We didn’t evolve from moneys. The common ancestral species we share with monkeys evolved into several new lines which include both humans and modern monkeys.
The process of evolution is not deterministic. Mutations in the gene pool are random and there are many different selective pressures that determine which genes will be more prevalent in future generations including natural selection, sexual selection, and random genetic drift.
Perhaps if female monkeys chose the smartest males as mates, they might have developed written language by now.
Monkeys are evolving all the time, becoming better adapted to living in trees and finding things to eat. Monkeys are constantly pushing each other out of niches.
One group of the Old-World found that they could make a living being larger than other monkeys, which allowed them to exploit different food sources than the little monkeys. This took them out of direct competition with those little monkey who are still running on the branches throwing shit at each other. These larger monkeys show their close relationship with each other by the complete lack of an external tail and shoulder construction which allows them to swing under branches instead of running on top of the branches. We feel these type monkeys are different enough to warrant a unique designation, so we call them “apes”.
A few million years ago, the forests of Africa started dying back and grasslands spread. A few species of primates who were forced out of the forests managed to survive long enough to adapt better to the grassland environment. One of the more successful were the Old-World monkeys who were ancestral to the several species of modern baboons. Another group of primates, these being from the type we would consider “apes,” also moved to the grasslands. The major change they developed to survive the move was bipedialism.
Most species of these upright walking apes have died out, leaving only one common type. The survivor is distinguished from the earlier types of plains apes by having a larger brain and a strong story-telling streak.
Humans are pretty proud of their brains, but I am sure the red uakari are just as proud of their bald heads and ability to live in flooded swamplands. All primates alive today are equally “evolved,” just some have developed in different directions than others.
From the tenor of this post I gather that you have been reading stuff written by Duane Gish.
Yeah, it is a fallacy to assume that all creatures are evolving towards “perfection,” or even to assume that there is some kind of “perfection” to strive for!
Nope sorry, never heard of him/her! Purely spontaneus, the more i wrote the stupider it got!
Well, Gishism must be an insidious, airborne plague attacking evolution naifs then.
while brains are obviously useful, they evolved very slowly and early brains may not have been much of a survival factor - e.g. contrast a day dreaming neanderthal wandering into a sabretoothed tiger versus a dumb but alert mouse. Indeed, brains consume alot of energy, so if if brains don’t give you a lot of edge you are better off without much of one (dinosaurs lasted millions of years quite nicely with walnut sized brains). Bigger brains were probably only of use to omniverous animals using their hands alot to make tools, if there are lots of bananas around who needs brains?
There is also a theory that human brains are a result of runaway sexual selection rather than something that was actually useful at first. The theory is too involved to go into here but G. Miller’s the “Mating mind” is worth a read
Welcome to SDMB, leighton1978!
It may help to think of it in terms of relationships. You and your cousin have a common ancestor (your grandparent). You and Kevin Bacon probably also have a common ancestor, but you would have to go back much farther to find who it is. But this, of course, doesn’t mean that you are descended from Kevin Bacon.
Humans and apes have a common ancestor, about 6 or 7 million years ago. If you look at fossils apes from this time, well, actually there are no fossil apes from this time, so you can’t. But fossil apes from around 8 million years ago don’t look very much like either humans or (modern) apes. So the apes certainly have evolved since that time.
Fossil hominids (species with some human-like characteristics) from around 5 million years ago, like Lucy, look somewhat chimplike, but (probably) walked upright at least part of the time. Since that time the hominid line has shown a dramatic, but not completely continuous, increase in brain size. (Neanderthal brains were, on average, slightly larger than modern humans’.) The great apes developed other specialties, such as knuckle-walking.
I read somewhere that there are no fossil (non-hominid) apes between 8 million years ago and modern apes. Anyone trying to argue for “special creation” could make a much better case for special creation of chimps or gorillas than for humans!
Two common evolutionary myths:
**Evolution’s aim is a progress towards a ‘higher’ state. ** Incorrect. Evolution has no aim and no way of determining what is a ‘higher’ state. Evolution is the result of random mutations that either improve or hinder a species survival. There is no master plan.
Humans are more evolved than monkeys. Incorrect. Monkeys are just as evolved, but in a different direction. We have larger brains, they are better at climbing trees. Neither of these achievements are better than the other in evolutionary terms. They have been equally successful to date, monkeys and human’s are still around. That is the only measure of evolution. There is no master plan.
We could suggest that we (humans) got the better deal and will ultimately prove to be the more successful. But that’s just our opinion, yet to be proven, and as it was just chance that made it so, is nothing much to take pride in. You can’t say any species simply “decided not to bother”.
Failure to understand these things is usually at the root of most criticism of the theory of evolution. Some people just can’t grasp the idea that evolution doesn’t consider humans as anything special.
:mad: Blast you, intrusive apostrophes!
NO, NO, NO!
There is no “forwards”. There is no “backwards”. There is only change and death.
Why haven’t weasels evolved into cats?
Why haven’t cows evolved into whales?
Why haven’t turtles evolved into crocodiles?
Why haven’t ostriches evolved into hummingbirds?
All of these questions make about as much sense as the OP, for reasons others have already explained.
Hey - speak for yourself. I’ve evolved quite a bit just this week. Wow! Who knew thumbs could work like this?
Actually, the fact that there are dozens of species of monkeys tells you right there that they have evolved quite nicely, thank-you-very-much. All of the great ape species are endangered, but monkeys are thriving. What does that tell you? With 6 Billiion of us in the world, we’re an extremely successful species, but with only one extant species, we’re a very unsuccessful genus or family. Not so the monkey. Many, many genuses (geni?) and many, many more species.
But you are making the incorrect, though very common, mistake of assuming that animals are evolving up some “evolutionary ladder” with humans at the top. That any animal that hasn’t evolved into a human is somehow unsuccessful. Tell that to the cockroaches, rats, and other wildly successful animal species out there.
A better image of the tree of life, is to think of all the outermost branches aof a sprawling oak tree as representing one of the species of animals alive today. The inner branches represent earlier, extinct forms. The dead branches are those species that died out and left no descendants. Put humans anywhere you want on one of the outermost branches, but we’re no further from the trunk than any other branch is.