If humans evolved from apes, why do apes still exist?

User avatar
Posts: 7400
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:09 pm

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 3:07 pm » by Mozi!!a


The fundamental issue with this question is that there is an assumption that humans evolved from apes - but this is not the case. The simple answer is that humans did not evolve from apes: both apes, humans, and other primates evolved from a common ancestor. The common ancestor was probably more similar to apes than humans in terms of appearance. It is estimated that this lineage branched apart 8 million years ago - one branch leading to homonids (human-like), and the other branch leading to apes. This estimate varies - some arguing the split was as close as 5 million years ago, others that it was as distant as 20 million years ago.

It's important to realize that evolution is not a linear process where one species evolves from the previous, effectively "replacing" the previous. Instead, it is a much more complicated process where species will branch off an existing line of ancestors. Seperate branches evolve along different trajectories and can include major changes, minor changes, no change, or extinction. The survival of an evolutionary line is dependent upon the ability of its members to live and reproduce in their environment.

The figure below illustrates the primate "family tree":

Sometimes, separate species will evolve such that they will be in direct competition with each other, and the one with the evolutionary advantage will tend to survive. Other times, seperate species will evolve so that each is well suited to their own particular niche. In this case, the species' will coexist, and will evolve independently. Such is the case with humans, apes, and other existing primates.

One of the reasons early human-like ancestors were able to survive was because they were better adapted to the emerging grassland environments than the ancestors of modern apes, which were predominantly tree dwellers. Therefore, the grassland-adapted species would not conflict with the tree-dwellers and they could coexist.

Basically, the question "if humans evolved from apes, why do apes still exist?" is analogous to "if North Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?". Seems obvious, right?

For further reading, please check out Steven Novella's article on the Skeptic Blog.

http://therelativelyinterestingblog.blo ... -apes.html

User avatar
Posts: 864
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:41 pm

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 4:17 pm » by Bandanko

Because our ancestors evolved into us and a chimps ancestors evolved into them.

Or aliens did it...

oh, I've read the article now :flop:

User avatar
Posts: 787
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:03 pm

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 4:31 pm » by Mumin

it could even be simpler:

what if we evolved from an ancestor that looked almost exactly like the ancestor of the chimp at some point in time?

Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:21 am

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 4:33 pm » by Eisleo

bandanko wrote:
Or aliens did it...

Could be! :alien:
"Kinder, die Zeit ist reif..."

Posts: 6640
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:36 pm

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 4:34 pm » by Tuor10

A very interesting question that I have personally spent a lot of time thinking about. For me, there was no linear evolution process from ape to man. The fact that we share very little traits with the ape - strength and brain composition being a big part of this - eludes to the fact that Humanity was not a direct consequence of the ape.

In evolution, the process itself is one of re-modification; or an upgrade that improves the species. Apart form intelligence - which is debatable - humans have not improved physically. Apes are far stronger and more resilient than man. It is also of note to mention that humans have far more genetic defects compared to other species that inhabit this earth, thus suggesting that the human genome was manufactured as opposed to being the consequence of evolution.

Darwin's own theory in a way dispels the evolution theory; for he suggests that evolution improves a species, and makes it more durable in relation to its environment. Without intelligence, humans are ill equipped to deal with elements.

Anyway, just my two cent.


User avatar
Posts: 1758
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:25 am

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 4:59 pm » by Dagnamski

To keep zoos fun as not many animals can chuck shit like a monkey. :pray:
“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it”


Posts: 380
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:03 am

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 5:36 pm » by Talleywacker

i think your a mix or reptilian, & pig.

User avatar
Posts: 8349
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:19 pm

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 12:47 am » by Harbin


Posts: 916
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:26 am
Location: Kissimmee, Florida

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 4:07 am » by Tgwusauk

Because we never came from apes, the Genome project proves that categorically, the only people contuining this myth are of religious persuasion.

  • Related topics
    Last post