The Evolution of Man and Common Ancestor

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Ever wondered what the origin of man was? Where humanity itself first reared its head? The evolution and origin of man can be broken down into three main points, L.U.C.A, the fossil record, and the future.

Looking for L.U.C.A

“If we trace the tree of life far enough back in time, we come to find we’re all related to L.U.C.A.”- says Keith Cooper in his NASA article Looking for LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor.

This is what L.U.C.A is, everyone’s ancestor. Everything from us to the grass on your lawn, everything is related to L.U.C.A. “Around four billion years ago there lived a microbe we now call L.U.C.A.” (Cooper,1) L.U.C.A is the farthest we can go back at this time on the genetic tree, however “It must be noted that L.U.C.A is not the origin of life.

” (Cooper,1). Even though L.U.C.A is not the origin of life it gives us a very interesting and informative look into the life of the extremely ancient past. L.U.C.A wasn’t actually not like most bacteria or multicell organisms. It lived completely independently of the sun, it lived deep in the ocean near hydrothermal vents. This would mean that L.U.C.A’s environment was almost completely devoid of light and plant life. Very different than the average living thing today, where so many organisms are completely reliant on the sun and plantlife.

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According to the smithsonian’s website “Early human fossils and archeological remains offer the most important clues about the ancient past.” These clues point to africa as our place of origin, one of these clues is highlighted by Carl Zimmer’s article Are Neanderthals Human? “Europeans and Asians carry with them a small portion of DNA inherited from Neanderthals while Africans do not.” Neanderthals were a species of human seperate from us Homo Sapiens. “There were periods in the past when three or four early human species lived at the same time, even in the same place. We -Homo Sapiens – are now the sole surviving species in this once diverse family tree.” (Smithsonian,1) Neanderthals resided in northern europe while Homo Sapiens were in africa. This shows that the Homo Sapiens that left africa interbreed with the neanderthals resulting in the genetic difference between races. The other strong piece of evidence that Homo Sapiens originated in africa also comes from our DNA. Geneticists Cann, Stoneking, and Wilson, published a survey of mitochondrial DNA and found the matrilineal most recent common ancestor or M.R.C.A for short. This Mitochondrial EVe as many have named her is our most recent common ancestor that all of us share. Many Speculate that this Mitochondrial Eve was based in sub saharan Africa. This also suggests that origin of man was in fact africa.

Future Humans

There are many theories as to what the future is for mankind. One of the theories is that evolution of humanity has essentially stopped due to modern medicine and the lack of natural selection. According to James Owens’ article FUTURE HUMANS: Four Ways We May, or May Not Evolve “The fittest will no longer spearhead evolutionary change, because, thanks to medical advances, the weakest also live on and pass down their genes.”. Plus the fact that “But if populations aren’t isolated, crossbreeding makes it much less likely for potentially significant mutations to become established in the gene pool—and that’s exactly where we are now.” (Owen,1) This effect has only been compounded by the fact we are in a global society where we can communicate and move about freely on the planet, unlike the ancient humans of the past that had trouble moving more than a few miles a day. But the other prominent theory is that evolution is still in action but it will be more focused on intelligence, physical attractiveness, and a stronger immune system. ‘We’re going to get a lot more epidemics, That will increase the importance of the genetic immune system in human survival’—and result in a human species with stronger immune systems.” (Owen,1) The general idea behind the second theory is that antibacterial medicine will have an eventual crash where they no longer function due to the bacteria becoming completely immune to the antibiotics. This will cause an immediate spike in bacterial infectious diseases. This spike in diseases will create a need for stronger immune systems to combat the new severity of bacteria. The third theory is that we will eventually become able to live entirely in space or on a lower gravity planet. The effects of low gravity on the human body in the long term isn’t very well researched but what is known is that bone density diminishes and the eyes have a tendency to elongate along the eye cavity causing nearsightedness at best and total blindness at worst. Plus the nonstop onslaught of radiation on the body. Evolution can fix these things with tougher eyes,thinner more dense bones to accommodate the low or even zero gravity, and thicker more melanin rich skin to protect from radiation and ultraviolet light.

Both the past and the future of humanity is uncertain but every day we get closer and closer to the origin of man and maybe even the origin of life itself.

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The Evolution of Man and Common Ancestor. (2022, Mar 08). Retrieved from

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