This autumn, the Sakhalin Regional Museum visitors were delighted to attend an unusual exhibition «17 Skulls and 1 Tooth, or Human Evolution Over Time», where they can clearly see how the physical appearance of a humans has changed over the past seven million years.
1. Would the first humanoids use tools that we have?
In addition to the traditional visual part, the exhibition was complemented by many interactives: visitors could measure their strength, solve logical puzzles, and compare themselves with representatives of apes. And those who wanted to learn more about human evolution left their questionû on a special board.
Stanislav Vladimirovich Dobryshevsky, Anthropologist commented on the 25 most interesting questions.
No, because the first humanoids did not know how to use tools and had the same level of intelligence as modern baboons.
2. I think we are still animals. Alina, 4 «G».
It’s true. Humans are members of a large group known as mammal (Class Mammalia), another name for mammals is «animals».
3. Do not leave us!!!
There are many other cities where people are also looking forward to meet this exhibition. You can visit the website Antropogenez.ru and the Antropogonez group on VKontakte, where you can learn a lot of interesting things about the origin of a person, including news. Moreover, you can organize an exhibition in your city. If we could, why wouldn’t others be able to do it?
4. Why wasn’t I born a monkey?
But you were. We along with the monkeys and apes belong to Suborder of the Anthropoidea (Monkeys, Apes, and Man).
5. When did people start doing equipment and machine?
The first tools appeared 2.6 million years ago in Africa, but they were still primitive stone tools. About 300 thousand years ago people began to make tools by attaching a tip on a stick using resin glue and tying with a rope. This can already be called an equipment. Approximately 26 thousand years ago, weaving looms had already been used according to the fragments of clay found with impressions from woven fibres with such dating. If we are talking about more complex mechanisms, then this is about carts with wheels that appeared about 5 thousand years ago.
6. What came first: chicken or egg?
This occurred in the Late Carboniferous period when the first reptiles 315 million years ago (Hylonomus lyelli) began to lay eggs on land. And the oldest chicken eggs appeared 90 million years ago in Argentina (no name) and 85 million years ago in Texas (Austinornis lentus)
7. Can a man turn into a pig?
Literally no, figuratively very often.
8. Is it true that man evolved from the green «snot» of the ocean?
No. Another word for «snot» is phlegm, it is a product of our immune system. Marine photosynthetic organisms have green pigment. Our ancestors, apparently, never knew how to photosynthesize, and therefore they were not green by appearance. But the ancestors, and the truth, lived in the ocean for a long time.
9. Why did they have such a big jaw?
To eat better. They had both large teeth and large chewing muscles. Our ancestors were herbivorous, that is why they had to chew a lot poorly nourished plants are hard to chew, because they contain cellulose, and even phytoliths. When the ancestors began to hunt, eat meat, the jaws began to shrink, then the brains began to grow
10. Who appeared first: chimp or proconsul?
Proconsul lived much earlier 1815 million years ago. And chimpanzees appeared about 107 million years ago. It is true, that no one has found such ancient chimpanzees yet. The time of their appearance is established by degree of relationship with us and by dating of our direct ancestors
11. Why did the apes appear?
Because at the end of the Paleocene and the beginning of the Eocene (about 45 million years ago), owls, creodonts and primitive predators who learned to climb trees began to hunt for pre-monkeys. Most of the pre-monkeys died out at this time, and those that jumped higher along the branches and understood better became monkeys. They also switched to daytime life (to sleep at night and not be noticeable to night predators) and became fruit-eating (they became larger, so that small predators would not be dangerous to them, and it would be more profitable for large preys to eat leaves and fruits than small insects).
12. What are the main directions of evolution of modern Homo Sapiens? What are the prospects?
Wait and see! You can read about this in detail in the last chapter of the second volume of the book «The Reaching Link».
13. What was the population of the Earth 200 thousand years ago?
These were Homo heidelbergensis — people with a brain size almost approaching ours, but with a rather primitive face — with large brow bridge, heavy jaws, and no chins. But below the head, they no longer differed from us. They were able to speak, make fire, made composite tools, they had the first rudiments of art and rituals (although they were still far from music and art).
14. When will Stanislav Vladimirovich Drobyshevsky arrive on Sakhalin with a lecture on anthropology? (3 identical questions)
As soon as I receive a letter of invitation and travel arrangements are specified.
15. I could not put together all pieces of jigsaw puzzle !!!
And you couldn’t do it:)) It is specially made in a way impossible to put pieces together in order to test the reaction of people. This is written in the instructions to the jigsaw puzzle.
16. How did people get to East Asia?
They walked from Africa along the coast of the Indian Ocean. It was warm and they had great time together. There was no competition and they had enough food. I wish I could go there too.
17. Is it possible for humans to evolve back? What do you think?
Easily, just not quite in the same state. There can be no strictly reverse evolution, but the level of development of humans can roll back easily. From a certain starting point, several paths are possible based on conditions and selection, but only one is taking for evolution. But Man is a unique because he can choose his own future. Whether he will take advantage of this opportunity is not yet obvious.
18. How could you organize transportation of skulls that they did not suffer any damage?
It was not easy! Special boxes, a lot of bubble wrapping and attentive care of the exhibition organizers.
19. Why do we eat other animals if we are not animals?
But we are. Humans are representatives of the mammal (class Mammalia), another name for mammals is animals.
20. Where did the wolves and dogs come from?
Dogs were domesticated from wolves. Dogs were domesticated many times, starting 36 thousand years ago. And wolves arose from primitive predator, they are relatives of bears.
21. What kind of muscle strength did primitive people have?
Good. As for first primitive people, they generally walked along branches using their hands. Those that descended to the ground also endlessly made tools, carried their prey, and therefore were very strong. Modern man can develop the same muscle strength, but usually there is no need in it.
22. Who are the Chukchi? They are not like us!
Chukchi are one of the peoples of our country. They belong to the Arctic race, intermediate between the Mongoloid (which includes the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Mongols, Yakuts, Evenks and many others) and Americanoud race (Indians). The Chukchi appeared in Chukotka about 2 thousand years ago, before that their ancestors lived somewhere to the south. There are many different races in the world, they differ from one another quite individually, but they all belong to the same kind of «rational man» Homo sapiens. There are no sharp boundaries between races, there are much more similarities between races than differences.
23. What it would be like if we were apes?
The man is a representative of the Suborder of the Anthropoidea (Monkeys, Apes, and Man).
24. If humans evolved from monkey, how come that today monkeys are still monkeys, not people?
Precisely because they are not human. Each species has its own evolutionary history. Modern people did not evolve from living monkeys, but from the ancient. In many ways, many modern monkeys differ from those ancient ones more than humans do from those ancient. For example, chimpanzees have large canines, while common ancestors of chimpanzees and humans have rather modest ones. Chimpanzees have long-fingered hands with special adjustment to walk on the knuckles of their hands, while the common ancestor and man did not have any of them in ancient time and do not have them now. Langurs have a four-chamber stomach, but our and langurs common ancestor didn’t have such type of stomach. And there are many similar examples. Each species deals with its own problems and adapts to them. We had resolved our own problems and became humans, the Daubentonia madagascariensis had solved its own and became a Daubentonia madagascariensis.
25. How smart were ancient people? How lower was their IQ in comparison modern humans?
It depends on how ancient they were. The level of intelligence of Australopithecus from 7 to 2.6 million years ago was nearly the same as of modern-day chimpanzees. 2.6 million years ago the first Homo began to make guns and surpassed the chimpanzees, but in terms of intellect they were still far from us. 400 thousand years ago a lot of interesting things appeared, including speech, fire, houses, traces of art, even toys, but they also did not reach us. But in the interval from 80 to 50 thousand years ago, people began to be about, like us, and some, maybe, even overtook the level of intelligence of average modern person. Intellect is determined not only by heredity, but also by the environment. The richer the culture was, the more opportunities there were to improve the intellect. The more intelligent were people, the smarter became their children and the more intelligent became their grandchildren. However, this process is not guaranteed, so every person needs to develop his intellect anew, very diligently and with difficulty.
Learn more about human evolution on the website anthropogenesis.ru.
The Sakhalin Regional Museum thanked the curious visitors who visited the exhibition «17 Skulls and 1 Tooth, or Human Evolution Over Time,» and Stanislav Vladimirovich Dobryshevsky.