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The Time I Think Most Clearly…

By Marcus Santer

With apologies to New Model Army:

“The time I think most clearly,
The time I drift away,
Is on these dog walks, that meander,
Through these Devon valleys of green and grey.”

I do a lot of thinking on Louis walks.

And recently I’ve been thinking about human evolution.

Think about it.

We got here as Homo Sapiens via this route:

2.5 million years ago humans first evolved in East Africa from an earlier genus of apes called Australopithecus [Southern Ape]

2 million years ago groups of humans left Africa. Humans that travelled to Europe and western Asia evolved into Homo Neanderthalensis [Man from the Neander Valley]

And humans that travelled to more eastern regions of Asia evolved into Homo Erectus [Upright man]

On the island of Java lived Homo Soloensis [Man from the Solo Valley]

On the small Indonesian island of Flores another species of human underwent a process of dwarfing and became known as Homo Floresiensis

Whilst all this was going on, those humans that had stayed back in Africa were evolving into new species:

And we have other relatives on the journey to ‘today’ that we still don’t know about.

For example, in 2010 a fossilised finger bone was found in a cave in Siberia.

Genetic analysis proved it belonged to an unknown species of human and was named Homo Denisova [after the cave it was found in]

Who knows how many other relatives you have?

Eventually we reach our own species: Homo Sapien [Wise man].

But what I find fascinating, and what I was contemplating this morning is how these different species of human got on with one another?

Contrary to popular belief…

There was no straight line of evolution with only one species of human on earth at any one time.

Oh no.

Evolution of human species overlapped.

It’s only in the last 10,000 years that we Homo Sapiens have been the only human species on the planet.

So what happened when different Homo species crossed paths – as they certainly did?

Well nobody really knows.

But there are two schools of thought:

  1. The interbreeding theory – Different species breed until the two populations merged
  2. The Replacement theory – Different species remained apart and when one species died (or were killed off) their genes died with them.

It’s a thorny debate.

With serious implications.

Anyway, as interesting as all of this is, it’s not going to help you live a longer, healthier and happier life.

But this might.

Bye for now

Marcus

P.S. I’m grateful to Yuval Noah Harari and his book Sapiens – A brief history of humankind.

Because it’s where I got my facts from for today’s post.

It’s a great read, especially if you’re looking for answers to the biggest questions of history and the modern world.

But if you’re looking for a simple way to:

Why don’t you check this out.