Free Essay

Human Origins

In: Science

Submitted By ehicks94p
Words 800
Pages 4
Biodiversity is the variability of the earth’s species, the genes they contain, the ecosystems in which they live, and the ecosystem processes, such as energy flow and nutrient cycling that sustain all life. (Miller & Spoolman, 2009. pg. 50) It involves many of the levels of organization of life, including genetic diversity species diversity, ecological diversity, and functional diversity. Biodiversity makes up the structure of the ecosystems and habitats that support essential living resources, including wildlife, fisheries and forests. It assists in providing for basic human needs such as food, shelter, and medicine. It composes ecosystems that maintain oxygen in the air, enrich the soil, purify the water, protect against flood and storm damage and regulate climate. Biodiversity also has recreational, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic values. (
I grew up thinking that, for the most part, skin color was indicative to ethnicity. However, I have always wondered why people from different parts of the world had different colored skin and facial features. Most of us can look at a person from China, examining their skin color, hair texture and facial features, and know they are Asian. But, how does this happen. How did people from Asia come to look like they do?
We know that humans have mostly naked skin that comes in all different colors. It has also been discussed that the distribution of skin colors among indigenous populations is not completely random; darker people tend to be found nearer the equator, lighter ones closer to the poles. Modern humans evolved in Africa between 120,000 and 100,000 years ago and had darkly pigmented skin adapted to the conditions of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and heat that existed near the equator. As they began to venture out of the tropics, they encountered environments where they received significantly less UV radiation during the year. (Jablonski & Chaplin, 2002)
Melanin, the skin’s brown pigment, is a natural sunscreen that protects tropical people from the harmful effects of UV rays, which can strip away folic acid; but when a certain amount of UV rays penetrates the skin, it can help the human body use vitamin D to absorb the calcium needed for strong bones. The balance between the two helps explain why people that migrated to colder geographic zones with less sunlight developed lighter skin color. Similarly, as people moved to areas farther from the equator with lower UV levels, natural selection favored lighter skin which allowed UV rays to penetrate and produce essential vitamin D. Additionally, those living in coastal areas, eating diets rich in seafood also receive an alternate source of vitamin D. What this means is that some Arctic people, such as those living in Alaska and some parts of Canada, remained dark-skinned even in low UV areas. (
How much of the diversity of how people look on the outside is genetically encoded, and how deep are the differences between human groups? Compared to many mammals, humans are genetically less diverse. This finding is contrary to the obvious, given the large population. Early studies of human diversity have shown that most genetic diversity was found between individuals rather than between populations or locations. A study published in 2004 found that 87.6% of the total modern human genetic diversity is accounted for by the differences between individuals, and only 9.2% between continents. (Hinds et al. 2005) The results from the study further state that there is ‘no reason to assume that “races” represent any units of relevance for understanding human genetic history. An exception may be genes where different selection regimes have acted in different geographical regions. However, even in those cases, the genetic discontinuities seen are generally not “racial” or continental in nature but depend on historical and cultural factors that are more local in nature’ (Serre and Paabo 2004: 1683-1684). REFERENCES

Hinds D. A., Stuve L.L., Nilsen G.B., Halperin E., Eskin E,. Ballinger D. G. Frazer K.A., Cox D.R., 2005. Whole-genome patterns of common DNA variation in three human populations. Science 307, 1072-1079.
Human Skin Color Variation, retrieved from
Jablonski, Nina G. & Chaplin, George, Skin Deep. Scientific American, Oct 2002, Vol. 287, Issue 4, P 74. Retrieved from
Lewontin, R., 1972. The apportionment of human diversity. Evolutionary Biology 6: 381-398. Retrieved from
Miller, G & Spoolman, S. (2009). Sustaining the Earth. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
Serre, D., Paabo, S., 2004. Evidence for gradients of human genetic diversity within and mong continents. Genome Research 14, 1679-1685. Retrieved from
What is Biodiversity and Why is it Important? Retrieved from

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Modern Human Origins

...nomenclature scientific name for the human species. One of the most hotly debated issues in paleoanthropology focuses on the origins of modern humans, Homo sapiens. Specifically where did we come from or evolve from. There are several ideas of where we originated or came from depending on how you view it such as a religious view or scientific view. For this purpose we will be discussing the scientific view methods which include the regional continuity method and the replacement method. 1.5 to 2 million years ago there was the Homo-habilis species. The earliest form of man. They were the first 'great apes.' 500,000 years ago lived the Homo-erectus species. They lived during the Pleistocene period and are considered the first homo species to walk upright on two legs. Then came the Neanderthal (about 100,000-30,000 years ago). They were very primitive and animalistic, but they lived in groups, wore clothing, used fire and made basic hunting tools. They got their name from Neander Valley, the location in Germany where they were first discovered. Next up in the evolution process was the cro-magnum or early modern humans (40,000-10,000 years ago). There cranial features were elongated to allow for a larger brain, more evolved tools and grinding rocks and the developers of religion. There are 2 theories for the origin of modern humans. One of them is the replacement theory or “Out of Africa” model by Stringer. According to Stringer a single African origin of Homo sapiens......

Words: 837 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Universal and Human Origins

...ENGL 212. September 21, 2012 Universal and Human Origins According to several essays in the Longman Anthology of World Literature, there are differing views as to how humans originated. One essay stated that the heavens and the earth were first created. Then the creatures that fly, next were the creatures that live on the earth and those in the waters were then created. Then God said, “let us make a human in our image and likeness to hold sway over the fish and the fowl of the heavens and the cattle and the wild beast and all crawling things upon the earth.” He created a male and female and then he blessed them. He then said to them, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. So the first couple was told to have children and fill the earth with offspring (Genesis, chap. 1). Other writing such as Jacob Carothers Intellectual Warfare perspective on the origin of human was more of a mythological stand, which dealt with more than one God Zeus and the Titians. For many years Scientist, archeologist searched for the origin of mankind, many years of research has gone into finding out the big mistery of where do and how was this earth created? Genesis, chapter two elaborates that the man was created first and since God did not want him to be alone, he created the woman and he used one of the man’s ribs to do so. Genesis, chapter four introduces the first child, Cain who unfortunately kills the second child, Abel. In Genesis chapter five we learn that the third......

Words: 634 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hall of Human Origins

...Humans belong to the species Homo sapiens, which is a member of the subgroup Homininin (Rasmussen, 1993). Along with chimpanzees and gorillas, humans belong to the subfamily Homininae. Fossil evidence and genetic studies show that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor dating back millions of years ago (Rasmussen, 1993). Four trends led to major evolutionary changes and the development of Homo sapiens. The Hall of Human Origins is an exhibit at the National Museum of History that summarizes the changes that sets us apart as humans. The path to becoming human began 1.8 million years ago when our ancestors started to walk upright. The first major change to occur was the development of a bipedal structure. Initially our early ancestors walked on four legs while on the ground and climbed trees. Changes in anatomy such as reshaping the hips, skull, and lower limbs resulted in an upright body, longer stride, efficient gait, and the ability to run (Blaxland and Dorey, 2012). The second major change occurred when human ancestors developed shorter jaws and smaller teeth. The canines became shorter and rounded and the less protruding jaw allowed the face to become more vertical and proportionate (Blaxland and Dorey, 2012). One of the more significant changes that occurred was the development of a larger brain size. Early on about 3 million years ago the brain size of our early ancestors was very similar to the modern chimpanzee. The dramatic change in size led to...

Words: 605 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Darwin's Origin

...Q1: Darwin's Origin consisted of two parts. The first described observations in support of common descent, the second a mechanism to explain how it was the case. Provide examples of the observations Darwin used (1 page). ‘On the origin of species by means of natural selection : or, The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life’ by Charles Darwin (1860) was the first book to put forward the scientific theory that populations evolve over a period of generations by the process of natural selection. The first part of the book described observations in support of common descent. One such observation is that of the homologous structures possessed by a wide variety of animals. Darwin used the fact that lizards, bats, whales, birds, frogs cats and even humans all contain a pent dactyl limb to support his theory that all life is descended from one common ancestor. As he says himself , “What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern, and should include the same bones, in the same relative positions?”(Darwin 1860) Another observation of common descent from the first part of Darwin’s book is that of convergence of form. This is the presence of similar biological traits in members of different species. Darwin illustrated this using the example of the finches. He observed a variety of forms......

Words: 1114 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Revolutionized Our Understanding. Have you ever wondered where human life started? If you have, you certainly are not alone. Charles Darwin spent much of his life trying to answer that question. In 1859, when Darwin published his book The Theory of Origin he gave us one of the most widely accepted theories on how life developed on earth. His findings changed science forever and still has lasting effects today. Verlyn Klinkenborg New York Times essay Darwin at 200: The Ongoing Force of His Unconventional Idea illustrates many of the reasons why Darwin was such an important and revolutionary person. Charles Darwin’s essay Natural Selection was ahead of its time when it was published in the 19th century. Darwin discussed animals and the traits that are passed on from generation to generation. Through his observations Charles Darwin came to the conclusion that animals compete for resources and that the animal with the most desirable trait will be more likely to survive and pass on their genes. He also stated that because of this, it helps explain all of the variation within each different species of living things. Darwin also discussed that his theory of Natural Selection doesn’t only apply to animals but also to plants. He observed that only plants that had the best ways to distribute their pollen would be able to reproduce. Charles Darwin’s ideas still live on over 150 years after his publication of The Origins of Species. In Verlyn Klinkenborg New York Times essay Darwin......

Words: 661 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Is Evolution True

...Is Evolution True? Kelius Hardy SCI 115SC October 21, 2013 Kenneth Skena Is Evolution True? Evolution is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary online as a progression of constant change from a plain to a compound state (2013). It is a perspective that different kinds of animals and plants originated from earlier species and have distinctive features because of their adaptation to new environments (Merriam-Webster, 2013). There are different perspectives concerning the origin of evolution and depending on an individual’s particular belief he may agree or disagree with the various viewpoints in existence today. This paper will cover the various viewpoints concerning evolution to include philosophical, theological, and sociological reflections. It will also cover the scientific process of evolution showing my agreement or disagreement with the process. What is Evolution? Organisms or species go through many hereditary changes over an extended period of time (Coyne, 2009). This means that one generation will be different from the other as they continue to evolve through changes in their genetic composition as they adapt to their environment (Coyne, 2009). Another belief concerning evolution is the concept of gradualism, which believes that a change in a species takes place after many generations have evolved, such as the development of birds from reptiles (Coyne, 2009). Speciation, yet another evolutionary concept, has the belief that although species share common......

Words: 3111 - Pages: 13

Free Essay

Social Darwinism

...Social Darwinism The social theory or ideology of Social Darwinism, which was prominent during the late 1800s, was a source of both controversy and conflict in Victorian Society and other nations, where imperialists, capitalists and colonialists manipulated Social Darwinism to justify horrific acts of genocide and cultural destruction. Upon the publication of Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution, The Origin of Species, uproar was caused in Victorian Society at the notion that humans were related to apes, to animals, which was unthinkable at the time largely because it contravened prevailing religious beliefs. This upheaval was the very beginning of a new age of political thinking and sociological ideas. Society was very quickly divided into those who applied Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection to society and philosophy, and those who opposed the idea, maintaining that Darwin’s theories should not be applied to Homo sapiens…us and that these theories contradicted the most fundamental of moral beliefs and principles. Hence, Social Darwinism was born in all its controversy. However, despite the controversial nature of Darwin’s theories, science and its trends were held in high esteem in Victorian England. Through this, fraudulent governments and individuals motivated by greed for wealth and power were able to justify their actions by manipulating Social Darwinism to fit their purpose, claiming that if science said so, then it must be so. However, Social Darwinism was...

Words: 2671 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Darwin's Influence on Discrimination

...centuries against women’s suffrage, pro-slavery, and influenced Hitler’s ideology. Apart from his genetic research and theories of evolution, Darwin was not afraid to compare the human race to that of other animals. This analogy caused a lot of the discrimination that he blatantly labeled as scientific fact. In the Descent of Man, “Darwin noted that the inheritance of special tastes and habits, general intelligence, courage, good and bad temper, and so on is evident in dogs and other domestic animals, and that the same pattern is seen in almost every human family” (Paul, 226). Darwin was not afraid to make non-scientific comparisons between the human race and other animals. Although many of Darwin’s findings are scientifically rational, and others simply deny his theories because of their religious faiths, it is difficult to ignore the consequences of his “Origins of Species” or “The Descent of Man” writings. Although Darwin wrote that all men shared a common descent, he used societal observations to pinpoint the differences in mental faculties between races, while contrasting the culture of “the lowest savages” with European civilization. Young Darwin simply wanted a non-religious explanation of how our world came to be. “Evolutionary thinking enabled [Darwin] to rescue the idea of human unity, taking it over from a religion that no longer provided adequate support, and put the...

Words: 2044 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Analyse Wilde’s Presentation of Friendship and Love Affairs in the Picture of Dorian Gray, Showing Which Relationships and Love Affairs Had the Greatest Impact on Your Understanding of the Novel.

...How are the thoughts and feelings presented in the extract from Origin of the Species? Compare to War of the Worlds. The extract from Darwin’s Origin of Species – ‘Recapitulation and Conclusion’ – presents Darwin’s final ideas of Natural Selection and to convince and challenge the scientific community, as well as the general population due to the religious controversy. Similarly to Darwin’s extract, the novel ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H. G. Wells also challenges traditional thinking and presents ideas of Natural Selection. However, indicates a sense of fear and shock at the rate of changing opinions which are presented through language, structure and form. Both the extract and the novel present ideas of change in the fields of science and religion. Darwin presents the idea that science is much more powerful than originally thought. Although, does not dismiss religion, therefore creating a balanced argument, which makes his theologies more accepted by the readers. ‘…not as special creations, but lineal the descendants…’ This quote is representative of Darwin’s controversial ideas as he is disagreeing with past assumptions by suggesting a limit to God’s power – ‘not as special creations...’, highlighting that man or God has...

Words: 769 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Other Topics

...Darwin's Theory Of Evolution - A Theory in Crisis You are here: Science >> Darwin's Theory Of Evolution Darwin's Theory of Evolution - The Premise Darwin's Theory of Evolution is the widely held notion that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor: the birds and the bananas, the fishes and the flowers -- all related. Darwin's general theory presumes the development of life from non-life and stresses a purely naturalistic (undirected) "descent with modification". That is, complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism's genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival -- a process known as "natural selection." These beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time, beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different creature). Darwin's Theory of Evolution - Natural Selection While Darwin's Theory of Evolution is a relatively young archetype, the evolutionary worldview itself is as old as antiquity. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Anaximander postulated the development of life from non-life and the evolutionary descent of man from animal. Charles Darwin simply brought something new to the old philosophy -- a plausible mechanism called "natural selection." Natural selection acts to preserve...

Words: 876 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay


...proven, by then it becomes a scientific law, but the theory of evolution never went pass that bar. It never made it to that level, because there might never be a scientific way of proving that everything is evolved (unless of course, someone ages for millions of years and lived to tell the story, but that's not the case, and definitely not the point). The point is, the theory of evolution is generally accepted scientifically and religiously, it's the Darwinian theory that is still in the grey area, despite existing for almost two centuries. Modern readers often misunderstand the meaning of the title of Darwin's book. They take the origin of species to mean the origin of life. Then it is pointed out that Darwin 'failed' to throw light on the origin of life. Others seem to think that his book is called The origin of THE species , aimed at human beings. But this was not Darwin's aim. Darwin argued that species—that is the different kinds of organisms in the world —come not from multiple unique creation events on each island or particular place—but instead that species are the modified descendants of earlier forms. Darwin demonstrated that the origination of...

Words: 439 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

History of Evolution

...order. Although this broad version of the term would include astronomical evolution and the evolution of computer design, this article focuses on the evolution of biological organisms. That use of the term dates back to the ancient Greeks, but today the word is more often used to refer to Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. This theory is sometimes crudely referred to as the theory of "survival of the fittest." It was proposed by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species in 1859 and, independently, by Alfred Wallace in 1858—although Wallace, unlike Darwin, said the human soul is not the product of evolution. Greek and medieval references to "evolution" use it as a descriptive term for a state of nature, in which everything in nature has a certain order or purpose. This is a teleological view of nature. For example, Aristotle classified all living organisms hierarchically in his great scala naturae or Great Chain of Being, with plants at the bottom, moving through lesser animals, and on to humans at the pinnacle of creation, each becoming progressively more perfect in form. It was the medieval philosophers, such as Augustine, who began to incorporate teleological views of nature with religion: God is the designer of all creatures, and everything has a purpose and a place as ordained by Him. In current times, to some, the terms "evolution" and "God" may look like unlikely bed fellows (see the discussion on teleology). This is due primarily to today's rejection......

Words: 4509 - Pages: 19

Premium Essay

History of Psych310

...A History of Modern Psychology Why is the understanding the history of psychology important? A psychologist and historian (E.G. Boring, 1963) once said, “The seats on the train of progress all face backwards: You can see the past but only guess about the future. Yet a knowledge of history, although it can never be complete and fails miserably to foretell the future, has a huge capacity for adding significance to the understanding of the present” (see chapter 1). Every course that you have taken on history has shown that we never learn anything from our past mistakes, and that looking back cannot guarantee our future in setting stone. But psychology is important to learn because it teaches us a few things: one, it would help psychologist become more critical thinker and be able to help people better, and can help measure those “evolutionary breakthroughs” because of the initial excitement that usually comes with the beginning of anything. Two, it could bring every psychologist closer together because of so many diverse field, we share a common ground. Psychology history does not date back far; in fact many would claim to say that it is in childhood stage for it is no older than 125 years (see Chapter 1). Robert I. Watson was a clinical psychologist with a passion for history, created an organization by calling psychologist from an article he wrote,” History of Psychology: A Neglected Area” (Watson, 1960). Watson found people with similar goal from the American......

Words: 815 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Hum 102

...movement of the species toward greater self-awareness and strength. Shaw described this process in his play Man and Superman. Freud also utilized the concept in his libido theory. Horney interpreted the process as a psychic response to the intense societal pressures to succeed. A linkage of interdependence and progression of these ideas emerges as the world continues to evolve. What allowed dance forms such as ballet to develop at this time? Ballet is a formalized form of dance with its origins in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries. It quickly spread to the French court of Catherine de' Medici where it was developed even further. In the late 17th century Louis XIV founded the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opera) within which emerged the first professional theatrical ballet company, the Paris Opera Ballet. Discuss the significance of Darwin and Darwinian theory on modern scientific thought. In short, it is horribly antiquated. If you read "Origin" you will see that Darwin fully expected someone to find the transitional fossil record linking man with beast. That has not and will not happened. Moreover, if you research Darwin's life, he disputed his own theory before he passed away. Finally, scientists today, while remarkably smart and advanced (thankfully), still overlook/dismiss the gap in the fossil record and extrapolate their answers from a false beginning. The scientific community for the most part, therefore, lacks a faith......

Words: 297 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Charles Darwin on Darwinism

...Charles Darwin. Darwin is best known for his contributions in science; his famous theory of evolution. He also contributed to the market and command economy with his belief, "survival of the fittest." Charles Darwin's contribution to science has been a very controversial one. He stated that each generation will improve adaptively over the preceding generations, and this gradual and continuous process is the source of the evolution of species. Natural selection is only part of Darwin's theory. He also introduced the concept that all related organisms are descended from common ancestors. His theory was first announced in 1858 in a paper. Darwin's complete theory was published in 1859, in On the Origin of Species. This book is often referred to as "the book that shook the world. The Origin sold out on the first day of publication and subsequently went through six editions. Charles Darwin also contributed to the Market economy with his belief "survival of the fittest." In a free enterprise system, it is believed that the best will survive while the less efficient will collapse if the market is allowed to work without government interference. In a market economy, since the government has very little control of the businesses, the companies must work their hardest and come out with good products that will outsell the ones of their competition. Social Darwinism basically means that the strong will control the weak. Social Darwinism comes from the laws of natural selection......

Words: 326 - Pages: 2