From whom monkeys originated: basic theories, interesting facts

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From whom monkeys originated: basic theories, interesting facts
From whom monkeys originated: basic theories, interesting facts

We used to look at chimpanzees and funny monkeys as our distant ancestors. Adherents of the theory of evolution claim that once they climbed down from the trees, picked up sticks and began to turn into intelligent beings. But where did the monkeys come from? Who stood at the origins of this branch of evolution? And was she? Let's try to figure it out.

Darwin's Theory

The origin of life on planet Earth has always raised a lot of questions. In ancient times, people attributed this merit to the gods. Today there are many different opinions, including the intervention of aliens. But the accepted theory was Charles Darwin's version. According to her, all creatures on Earth had a common ancestor with great genetic variability. Most likely, it was the simplest microorganism that arose about 4 billion years ago. Adapting to various living conditions, it mutated, acquired new cells, organs, and adaptations.

human evolution

Thus, from simple life formscomplex ones began to form. Individuals with beneficial mutations won the eternal struggle for existence and left offspring with the same traits. This went on for millions of years, the number of biological beings on the planet increased exponentially. Amphibians originate from lobe-finned fish, mammals originate from animal-toothed lizards, and humans originate from monkeys. The evidence is the morphological similarity of various creatures, the presence of rudiments in them, paleontological findings, biochemical and genetic studies, similarities in the development of embryos in all vertebrates.

Monkeys - the ancestors of modern humans?

Darwin claimed that man descended from an ancient species of monkeys that lived in trees. But the change in natural conditions has led to the fact that the number of forests has decreased. Our "ancestors" were forced to descend to earth, learn to walk on their lower limbs and survive in new conditions. This led to the active development of the brain and the birth of the mind.

Scientists provide the following evidence for this claim:

  1. During the excavations, many intermediate forms were found, combining signs of apes and humans at the same time.
  2. The internal structure of the organs in humans and primates is very similar, besides they only have hair on their heads and growing fingernails.
  3. The genes of modern humans and chimpanzees differ only by 1.5%, and the coincidence of this coincidence is zero.

Thus, only one question remains open: "From which monkeys didpeople?"

Common ancestor

Darwin was sure that man, according to his genetic characteristics, belongs to the genus of narrow-nosed monkeys. However, he was in no hurry to look for our ancestors among chimpanzees or gorillas. Solving the question of which monkey a person descended from, the scientist pointed to ancient extinct species. This point of view is shared by modern science, speaking about the common ancestor of humans and monkeys.

purgatorius drawing

And we came, according to the theory of scientists, from insectivorous mammals who moved to live in trees. The first proto-monkey appeared 65 million years ago, it was called purgatorius. Outwardly, the animal looked more like a squirrel, had a height of 15 cm and a weight of about 40 g. It has teeth in common with primates. The remains of the creature are found in North America. At the moment, more than a hundred species of squirrel-like primates are known, from which monkeys and lemurs later descended.

Who was the ancestor of monkeys?

Purgatorius bears little resemblance to modern monkeys. Another thing is the archicebus, which lived 55 million years ago in China. He had a long tail, sharp teeth, jumped well on branches and ate both insects and plant foods. In the preserved skeleton of the animal, scientists find all the signs of both modern and extinct monkeys.

In Europe and North America, 50 million years ago, our other ancestor, notarctus, lived. His height was 40 cm, not counting the tail. The eyes looked forward and were surrounded by protruding bony arches. The thumb, isolated from the rest, and elongated phalanges indicate that the animal could producegrasping movements. His spine was flexible, like that of lemurs. The creature lived in the trees.

36 million years ago, small and then large monkeys originated from such animals. All of them perfectly climbed trees, escaping from terrestrial predators. But what apes did great apes evolve from?

The Emergence of Hominoids

Traditionally, there are three groups of great apes: gibbons, pongids (these include gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans) and hominids (human ancestors). All of them originate from parapithecus that lived on the planet 35 million years ago. The weight of ancient monkeys was no more than 3 kg, and in appearance and way of life they were close to gibbons. It is believed that parapithecus were smart and lived in herds, within which a hierarchy was strictly observed. Their descendants were propliopithecus.

Ramapithecus herd

The great apes originated from this species. First, gibbons and orangutans separated from the rest. The common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees and huge gorillas was Driopithecus, who lived from 30 to 9 million years ago. Its appearance is very reminiscent of modern monkeys, growth can be from 60 cm to 1 meter. The animal lived in trees, but could also descend to the ground.

The closest type of driopithecus to man was named Ramapithecus. It was discovered in India, and a little later in Europe and Africa. These monkeys lived 14 or 12 million years ago and, judging by their reduced teeth, they knew how to use the simplest tools for obtaining food and protection (sticks, stones). Ramapithecus ate not only plants andfruit, but also insects. They had developed hands. Part of the time the animals spent on the ground. Perhaps it was they who first climbed down from the tree and learned to live in the steppe area.

Missing link

Thus, scientists give an exact answer to the question of who the monkeys came from, and trace their gradual evolution. But some findings lead researchers into a dead end. A lot of questions arise when it comes to an intermediate link between a monkey and a reasonable person.

human ancestors

Now many remains of ancient creatures claiming this title have been found. These include Neanderthals and Australopithecus, Pithecanthropus and Ardopithecus, Heidelrberg Man and Kenyanthropus. The list goes on. Sometimes it is difficult to determine which of the listed can be attributed to monkeys, and which - to people. Some species turn out to be dead-end branches. Like, for example, the Neanderthals, who existed simultaneously with the Cro-Magnons (the direct ancestors of modern man) and other hybrids. It is impossible to trace the consistent evolution, and the harmonious system is collapsing before our eyes.

Who came first?

We all learned in school that man evolved from apes. Why exactly? After all, judging by the archaeological finds, they existed at the same time in the same territory. So, in Afar 3.5 million years ago, there lived Australopithecus with a human foot and ordinary large monkeys, who were in no hurry to become intelligent. Why, under the same conditions, some primates evolved, while others continuedlead a normal life?

Even more questions are caused by strange finds of archaeologists. In 1968, in the US state of Utah, a clay slate was discovered, on which a trace of a worn shoe and two crushed trilobites are clearly visible. The fossil is at least 505 million years old and dates back to the Cambrian period, when vertebrates did not yet exist. In Texas, an iron hammer was unexpectedly found in a block of limestone, the handle of which turned to stone, and even became coal inside. The tool is 140 million years old. According to the theory of evolution, at that time there were not only humans, but also monkeys.

human evolution

Involution theory

Russian paleoanthropologist A. Belov put forward a paradoxical point of view. He is not one of those people who believes that man is descended from apes. Most likely, it was the opposite. The scientist opposed the Darwinian theory with the doctrine of involution, or the gradual degradation of living beings.

In his opinion, it was man who became the first ancestor of all existing species. Thus, development did not proceed from complex organisms to the simplest, but vice versa. Human civilizations arose more than once on our planet, collapsed, and the surviving individuals grew wild, turning into monkeys. A similar point of view was held by the American scientist Osborne, who was sure that the hominid arose immediately, without going through evolutionary stages. And the gorillas and chimpanzees are his descendants, who decided to get on all fours and go into the forests.

Evidence for the theory

Did man descend from monkeys or was everythingvice versa? To draw the right conclusions, let's get acquainted with the arguments of V. Belov.

man and monkey

He points to the following circumstances:

  1. Fossil ancestors of monkeys lived in the forest on trees, but at the same time they have signs of upright walking (for example, Ardipithecus, Orrorin, Sahelanthropus). Their descendants, chimpanzees and gorillas, spend 95% of their time on all fours and do not extend their knees when moving.
  2. Orangutans, which predate these species, often spread their legs while walking and hold hands on branches like humans.
  3. In great apes, the speech hemisphere is enlarged in the same way as ours. Although they don't use it.
  4. The human genome has 46 chromosomes, while the monkey has 48. It can be said that the chimpanzee is a more advanced species in terms of genetics.

How a man went wild and became… a fish

Where did monkeys come from? Was their ancestor a squirrel-like purgatorius or Homo erectus? Belov is sure that millions of years ago people found themselves in difficult conditions. Forced to flee the dangers in the trees, they tore the metatarsal ligament, which caused the big toe to move to the side. So our ancestors were forced to get on all fours, learned to deftly jump on trees, but lost the ability to talk and think.

Moreover, the scientist is sure: four-legged animals were once bipedal, as evidenced by their anatomy. The lobe-finned fish has all the bones of the human skeleton, with the exception of the hands and feet. The structure of the paws of crocodiles, frogs and batssimilar to the structure of the palm. Thus, people are the first link of further involution.

giant footprint

Main riddle

There are many weaknesses in A. Belov's theory, and the main one is the question of the appearance of man. It is not answered. The scientist is sure that intelligent civilizations arise on Earth suddenly, go through a development cycle, and then transform into their original state, returning to an unknown source. So it was many times. Those who failed to transform degraded and became different kinds of animals.

Let's return to the question of who the monkeys came from. Unfortunately, after years of prescription, there is no exact evidence. Nature carefully keeps its secrets, allowing us only to speculate and marvel at its wonders.

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