10 myths about human evolution

Once Russia's leading anthropologists sat down and dispelled the myths about human evolution.

Myth №1

Finds, on the basis of which the anthropologists base their conclusions are very few.

The "seed" of the myth in 1997 threw the book American cleric ROC Hieromonk Seraphim Rose "Orthodox view of evolution." As a result, the author of the quote "All the fossil evidence of" human evolution "can fit in a box the size of a small coffin" spread around the world and is still used by opponents to plead primates. Russian anthropologists are not lazy and counted how many times Google cites the idea. Counted 179 documents.

I must say, however, that this idea was expressed celibate priest in 1974, and only then she went into the book. However, this idea was fundamentally flawed as 40 years ago and today.

In fact, even in 1974, the finds were much more than knew about it (or want to know) Hieromonk. In particular, and well kept. How much?

Neanderthals: for their remains even then it would take a whole cemetery.

Pithecanthropus: their bones have been found in Java, in Europe, in China, in the East, North and South America.

Heidelberg people: in Europe, Africa, Asia.

Australopithecus: South and East Africa.

"Homo habilis» (Homo habilis): Eastern and Southern Africa, and so on. D.

According to anthropologists, to present evidence, namely the remains of hominids have been found since 1974 until today, it would take a separate museum postroit1 pretty impressive size.

Myth №2

The lion's share of fossil evidence of human evolution - a fake.

Forgery and in fact was. Only once. This is the famous skull piltdaunskom who "found" amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson in 1912. Many experts from the beginning doubted the authenticity of the findings, and the full revelation occurred in 1953. No anthropologist for 50 years does not use in their constructions of the skull Piltdauna.

Myth №3

Reconstruction of the appearance of our ape-like ancestors - evidence of a sick imagination of scientists.

The essence of this statement, of course, says: "I do not understand how to make reconstruction - but just do not understand, then it's nonsense».

So how do scientists reconstruct the appearance on the remains? Techniques that have been developed since the XIX century. In Russia was engaged in a famous scientist and sculptor Mikhail Gerasimov. His conclusions he built on a huge statistics, studying modern humans and primates, he revealed regularities of the soft tissues of the head, depending on the characteristics of the bone. That he performed classical reconstruction of our ancestors - from Australopithecus to the ancient Homo sapiens. Technique was repeatedly tested experimentally. Why do scientists propose to restore the image of the skull of a man who was unknown to him, but is known to experimentalists (the latter were photos).

As a result of the reconstruction carried out Gerasimov, who looked very much like the original. Interestingly, the first to adopt a methodology forensic scientist. That is why the method Gerasimov successfully used in forensic science since 1939. And with great success. Here he writes about this site famous Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kuntskamera) in St. Petersburg: "On the territory of the Leningrad region, away from populated areas, found a human skeleton with teeth marks on the bones of predators. The study showed that it belonged to a boy of 12-13 years.

Gerasimov restored the skull sculpture portrait that was photographed from different angles. For more convincing reconstruction was dressed in a coat and cap. The father immediately, unconditionally recognized in the reconstruction of his son, pointing out, however, that "such a coat he had never been».

Myth №4

Dating of ancient bones obtained questionable methods through a series of "unverifiable assumptions».

Often "bad" is the method of radiocarbon analysis. It is necessary to make a reservation that in order to determine the age of the bones in millions of years, this method has never been used, it is suitable only for determining the date much younger findings.

There are other methods developed over the last 50 years. Here is a partial list:

- Potassium-argon method (and its modification - argon-argon method)

- Uranium-thorium method

- Method of uranium series

- Method of fission tracks

- Thermoluminescent

- The method of optically stimulated luminescence ("optical»)

- The method of electro-spin resonance, and so on. D.

Reliability of dating fossils is always checked by different methods, independent specialists in different laboratories.

For example, the famous Australopithecus skeleton named Lucy has been tested on two different dating experts. First determined its age potassium-argon method, the second - by fission tracks. As a result, the first received number - 2, 63 million years, and the second - 2, 58 million years (Donald Johanson, Maitland Go. Lucy: the origins of the human race. M., 1984). That is the result of almost coincided. Therefore, Lucy, though a woman, but to deceive the issue of her age she did not able to, it is not under the age of 2, 5 million years.

Myth №5

This or that fossil human ancestor is described by a single dubious discovery.

The first are always remembered better than third, tenth and twenty-fifth. This is what anthropologists explain the nature of this myth. Simple layman rarely interested in the sciences, including anthropology. Therefore, in his mind all the baggage of scientific knowledge about the australopithecines reduced to the aforementioned "little monkey Lucy," which he "had somewhere heard something».

And all because Lucy - is one of the first discoveries of the remains of Australopithecus afarensis, made in 1974. But in addition to the total number of finds Lucy Australopithecus hundreds.

Myth №6

Charles Darwin at the end of life renounced his theory.

Such a legend very much looks at the history of repentance heretic. Of course, not escaped this fate in the minds of ordinary people, and one of the greatest heretics of all time - Charles Darwin.

The Myth of "Darwin renounced" first appeared many years after the scientist's death, in 1915. This salutary story of "spiritual transformation of the great skeptic" published in the American Baptist preacher edition of Elizabeth Hope. In particular, the woman reported that she told error lifetime allegedly Darwin himself - just before his death.

However, moralizing history absolutely nothing is confirmed. On it we will not hear, nor in his autobiography, Darwin, written shortly before his death, there is no hint of "renunciation" of the scientist and in the memories of his loved ones. Among other things, the children of the great naturalist (son Francis Darwin and daughter Henrietta Litchfield) stated that no Elizabeth Hope never met their father.

Myth №7

Theory of the origin of man from apes is based on the external similarity of human and ape.

On such dubious methods - resemblance classification of living things - its findings were building specialists, who lived many centuries ago. In those days, a mammal, like a whale, for example, was attributed to the fish. Today is abundant evidence of human kinship with apes are divided into:

- Anatomical

- Embryological

- Biochemical

- Genetic

- Behavioral

- Paleontological

Myth №8

Genetically much closer to man a pig, not a monkey. Therefore, a person is transplanted pig organs.

This myth is completely refuted these genetic studies. Both in terms of genetics, and in terms of anatomy, the man was and remains a primate, but not artiodactyl. If to draw conclusions on the basis of which organs are transplanted to man, we can also say that genetically much closer to the man mouse than a pig. Incidentally, the stem cells of mice and pigs not used today to create the artificial human skin.

Why, then, the most frequent donor to us is the pig?

Firstly, further porcine heart valve transplantation medicine has not stepped. Although transplantation of whole organs - the question is probably near future.

Secondly, it is not only the genetic proximity. For a foreign organ needed to donor animals have the following characteristics:

- It would have been well studied (preferably long and widely bred in captivity, with no unexpected diseases);

- It is easy to breed in captivity (deficiency in the bodies should not be);

- The right size;

- "Raw" should be cheap;

- Experiments on these animals should not cause violent protests of the international community.

It is understood that the monkey loses pig on most of these points.

Annually in the world slaughter hundreds of millions of pigs. At the same time, the total number of gorillas on the planet does not exceed 15 thousand. Individuals, chimpanzees - several tens of thousands.

Myth №9

Found fossils of human ancestors issued - it's just old monkey or just "old people».

Formally it right here. When our ancestors really were "not yet the people," but the ancient apes. But the line "people - monkey" erases all the stronger as the anthropologists found the remains of the new.

Myth №10

Most scientists around the world have long rejected the theory that man evolved from apes.

The fact that talk about the evolution of man loved by many. But if you look, the scientists really versed in the topic and working in this direction, our country can literally count on one hand.

And these scientists (anthropologists, geneticists, archaeologists, primatologists) may disagree on many specific issues, but the main provisions: the reality of evolution, the origin of man from ancient apes, is that Africa is the cradle of humanity - no one doubts.


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