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The Evolution of Homo Sapiens

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Throughout the last century, scientists have made major improvements and breakthrough in the understanding of the lives and changes that took place among our ancient ancestors. One of the things that can be observed is that only about 1.6% of our DNA is actually different than an animal that may physically look very different, such as chimpanzees. This difference though can be very substantial in its implications that it may cause. Lucy, for example, is an Australopithecus, which in compared to humans today are much closer to an animal such as a small ape. Australopithecines were only about three feet tall, covered in hair, and weighed anywhere from 55 to 121 lbs. Another major difference though is the brain size of australopithecines, which was around 500 cubic centimeters, much smaller than the modern human’s average 1,400 cubic centimeter brain size. Though the difference between humans and australopithecines is large, the advantage that this brain in the australopithecines gave was substantial compared to other apes and hominids. The brain size allowed them to use tools for tasks, walk upright on two feet, go long distances for food or nourishment, or kill other animals for food.

By about 1,000,000 years ago, the australopithecines had been pushed out of existence by a new generation of the human family tree, the Homo Erectus, whose brains were now at 1,000 cubic centimeters large, and allowed them to effectively use fire, create simple language to convey meaning, and create more advanced tools. With these newly acquired skills for survival over other species, the Homo Erectus began migrating around the world to try and find better food, home, and shelter for them, which would spread their species over many areas, such as Asia, Europe, and Africa.

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Though the homo erectus were more successful than the australopithecines, they would also end up getting pushed out of existence, but this time by the homo sapiens. The Homo Sapiens are very close to modern humans, possessing a very large brain capacity which allows them to make up or their comparatively small size and weak defenses with tools and weapons that can be created. Another major feature of Homo Sapiens was complex language, which allowed for plans, ideas, and thoughts to be shared, which would end up being a remarkably powerful tool. Homo sapiens would soon migrate throughout the world, reaching practically every part of the planet independently of other species. Homo sapiens were able to alter their environments where they lived, allowing for the creation of self-sustaining areas and groups, which would later evolve into small civilizations.

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