Saturday, April 02, 2022

Why are there still Apes?

CNN reports:
Herschel Walker apparently isn't much of an evolution buff.

"At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not?" Walker, the frontrunner for the Georgia Republican Senate nomination, said in an appearance over the weekend at a church in Sugar Hill, Georgia. "If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it."

The article goes on to answer the question.
So, here's the deal: Humans and apes evolved from the same genetic ape ancestors, a species now long extinct. (It's known as "common descent.") We did not, however, evolve directly from the current occupants of your local zoo. They are one branch of descent from their ape ancestors. Humans are another.

According to a Discover Magazine article published last month: "While we share our ancestry with these animals, along the way, over millions of years, we all changed. ... It's believed that this human divergence from the chimpanzee lineage of apes happened between 9.3 and 6.5 million years ago."

"[We] each adapted to our own environments or specific circumstances or niches," Zachary Cofran, a biological anthropologist at Vassar College, told Discover.

This is no explanation at all. Those common ancestors would be called apes. Humans have many advantages, and took over the planet. The chimps and gorillas got left behind. Why?


MikeAdamson said...

Interesting question. The most persuasive answer I have found is that chimpanzees, for example, are successful in their environment and are not compelled to evolve.

Roger said...

Yes, separate evolutionary paths, as the article says. But what was the difference that enabled humans to develop big brains, language, bipedalism, cooperation, etc.? I do not think that anyone has a good answer to that question.

Vatsmith said...

Wouldn't life be awfully boring if we knew everything?

forthurst said...

Presumably, plains were created in Africa by large animals eating the trees or smaller animals eating the bark, thereby destroying habitats for forest dwelling apes and creating a potentially knew habitat for them which presented strong evolutionary pressure towards bipedalism and the ability to co-operate effectively in larger groups and to develop tools to kill prey and avoid becoming food in confronting animals fleeter and more powerful than themselves.

Roger said...

Yes, that is a possible theory. But what tree were wiped out? In what time frame? What killed the trees? I think that there are some other possible theories also.