When it comes to humans, we are widely viewed as the best of the best. Not simply because we’re at the top of the food chain, but because it is believed that we have evolved the most and advanced to the greatest extent. Well, that is being challenged now as scientists have determined just how much humans have evolved against chimpanzees. The findings were miraculous, too.
While everyone might think that humans evolved more than any other animal – that wasn’t the case at all. The team found that human’s hands have evolved less, and most of the notable change that took place with the chimpanzees, which put them so far ahead of humans – was what took place with their thumbs. The study found that we’re talking about change, which occurred over an outlandish 3-7 million years.
The study pointed out in part that humans “started producing flaked stone tools in a systematic fashion, probably as early as 3.3 million years ago, their hands were—in terms of overall proportions—pretty much like ours today.” However, many agree with this particular belief.
Tracy Kivell, of the University of Kent, pointed out that, “Their results fit very nicely with the view … that the human hand is best described as primitive.” Scientists though worry that this is a great example of what’s wrong with the studies that are oftentimes conducted. There is a lack of understanding and a lot of misconceptions thrown into the mix that just don’t measure up. At the end of the day, there is information being built into these studies that doesn’t measure up and isn’t accurate. They’re assumptions, and this study took a lot of assumptions out of the equation in an effort to get good, hard, facts.
Adrienne Zihlman, who is a primatologist at the University of California, pointed out just that. She said, “This paper serves as a poster child for what is wrong with a lot of work in paleoanthropology.” Moreover, though, there is a story to be told, and information to be learned. Some of the facts that have been leaned on and assumed aren’t the best for the long-term health of science.
The study though took a look at the common ancestor between humans and chimps, which gave the science community as a whole a new direction to watch – as more research can now be conducted in this particular space to challenge other ideas.