The story

Human evolution

Human evolution

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In opposition to creationism, evolutionary theory assumes that man is the result of a slow process of change. This is the central idea of evolution: Living things (plants and animals, including humans) originated from simpler beings, which have changed over time.

This theory, formulated in the second half of the nineteenth century by the English scientist Charles Darwin, has been refined by researchers and is now accepted by most scientists.

After abandoning his studies in medicine, Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) decided to devote himself to research on nature. In 1831 he was invited to participate, as a naturalist, in a five-year expedition around the world organized by the British Navy.

In 1836, back in England, he was carrying thousands of animal and plant specimens from all continents, along with a large number of notes. After twenty years of research based on this material, his masterpiece came out: The Origin of Species through Natural Selection, book published in 1859.

Darwin's major contribution to the theory of evolution was the idea of natural selection. He noted that living things undergo modifications that can be passed on to subsequent generations.

In the case of giraffes, he imagined that in the past there would be animals with short necks and long necks. With the most abundant food supply high up in the trees, long-necked giraffes were more likely to survive, to reproduce, and thus convey this favorable trait to their offspring. Natural selection is therefore nothing more than the result of the hereditary transmission of the characters that best adapt a species to the environment. …

The idea of ​​natural selection did not meet much resistance, as it explained the extinction of animals such as dinosaurs, from which many traces had already been found. What caused great indignation in both religious and scientific circles was the claim that the human being and the monkey had a common relative who had lived millions of years ago. Soon, however, proof of this theory would emerge as researchers discovered skeletons with intermediate characteristics between humans and apes.