Apes are not evolving into humans anymore. Does this mean that the school of thought born with Charles Darwin’s book “Descent of Man” published in 1871 was just a fallacy? Should scientists officially issue an acceptance to the Bible’s account of genesis? Or can it be that humans did not evolve from apes?
Assume Your Assumptions Are Wrong
I was eleven years old when my biology teacher one day drew two diagrams on the blackboard. Underneath the first one, she wrote “plant cell”, and the other one “animal cell”. I expected a third diagram for “human cell” but that never came. Our cells were animal cells, and that in everyday life we spared humans from the animal kingdom, scientifically, humans were a member of the kingdom too.
When I was first taught about human evolution I assumed some apes had evolved to become humans. However, why had all apes not evolved to become human? That there were not even signs not that some apes were becoming humans made it all confusing for me. My biased view was that becoming a human was more desirable than staying as an ape. Humans were modern, the other apes on the other hand “unevolved”.
Why Apes Are Not Evolving into Humans “Anymore”
The infamous old question Why aren’t apes evolving ito humans anymore? make two assumptions about human evolution, both of which are wrong.
The first assumption is that the species homo sapiens (modern human) has evolved from other ape species to become humans and that homo sapiens is no longer an ape species. The fact is that homo sapiens is one of the eight ape species alive. That we separate humans from our cousins in our social lives does not have scientific bases.
The other assumption is that the dream of every other species on Earth is becoming a human, despite the fact that humans are terrific species only as humans, chimps are terrific chimps only as chimps, and bonobos are terrific species only as bonobos, etc
There are many things that other apes can do well but humans cannot. For example, other apes are many times stronger than humans, they live in trees, and their short-time memories are incomparably better than any of ours. Therefore, having and missing the exact human traits would make a non-human ape an unfit member of its species, and it would die in no time.
The Distinction of Being Homo Sapiens
Including homo sapiens, all extant ape species are the decedents of a species that lived millions of years ago. This species does not exist anymore, not because it went extinct but because it has evolved to become humans, chimps, bonobos, orangutans, etc. of modern times.
The common ancestor of all apes alive, including homo sapiens, would look more like a non-human ape to us than a human, which should not come as a surprise. All left unchanged, merely a thick fur would make someone resemble a non-human ape than a human, likewise, merely lack of fur would make our cousins unmistakenly resemble us.