The Evolution of Man. Simple outline and examples of evolution.

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Evolution of man

Man obviously shares a common ancestry with the modern apes, such as the gorilla and chimpanzee. We know this from the many characteristics that are shared between apes and man. Apart from obvious anatomical and behavioral similarities, the two groups also have many blood proteins and other biochemical characteristics in common.

A comparison of the skulls of a gorilla and a modern man illustrate the main trends that have taken place in human evolution from an ape-like ancestry. But apart from the skull, there have been major changes in the hipbones of man during evolution, associated with the change from walking on four legs to walking on two. The modern apes and modern man must have had a common ancestry. The earliest apes probably arose in the Oligocene period, and by 25 million years ago had given rise to a large number of forms. Proconsul primitive ape from this period shows some resemblance to Old World monkeys as well as to modern apes.

There is considerable controversy over the progress of human evolution, and particularly over when the split took place between the line leading to modern apes and to modern man.


Australopithecus afarensis 4 to 2.7 million years ago

Australopithecus africanus 3 to 2 million years ago

Australopithecus robustus 2.2 to 1.6 million years ago

Homo habilis 2.2 to 1.6 million years ago

Homo erectus 2.0 to 0.4 million years ago

Neanderthal 200 to 35 thousand years ago

Cro-magnon 35 thousand years ago

Homo sapien 200 thousand years ago to present


The modern man is spread all over the world. Our closest relatives, the apes, the monkeys, and the lemurs, only live in tropical or subtropical areas.

Today there are 153 different species of primates in the world. They are divided into...