Questions tagged [human-evolution]

The study of evolution with a particular focus on questions about the evolution of modern humans.

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85
votes
6answers
29k views

Are humans the only species who drink milk as adults?

I was drinking a glass of milk the other day and that got me thinking that no other animal to my knowledge drinks milk past their infant stages. One could argue that cats might but it isn't good for ...
81
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5answers
26k views

How could humans have interbred with Neanderthals if we're a different species?

To be clear, I'm not doubting that homo sapiens and homo neanderthalensis did interbreed: of that much I'm convinced. Within the past few years I've seen an upcropping of pop-sci articles discussing ...
36
votes
7answers
12k views

Is evolution a fact? [closed]

Richard Dawkins in one of his videos says that Evolution is a fact and not just a theory. He goes on to say that man and chimpanzees both evolve from apes. Is this correct (Is evolution a fact and ...
35
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1answer
7k views

Does it make sense to classify all humans in a single species?

For what biological reasons do we consider that all human beings belong to the same species? A Thai and a Nigerian share a common ancestor that is 140,000 years old (see Gravel et al. 2010 and this ...
33
votes
2answers
5k views

How do we know the human species arose in Africa?

I have heard (from multiple sources) that the current scientific opinion is that the human species arose in Africa. What are the reasons for this opinion? If possible, simple and non-technical ...
23
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3answers
6k views

Why do humans suffer anxiety when they view “Trypophobia trigger images”?

When you type Trypophobia Trigger Images in google, you see a variety of images with irregular lumps and bumps among some more gory images. Many people report that these images induce phobia like ...
23
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1answer
7k views

Why do we have five fingers?

Humans (and other humanoid mammals) have five fingers in each hand. Curious to know, why five? Wouldn't more fingers be more useful? Is there any evidence that it used to be different and natural ...
13
votes
2answers
825 views

Do all living humans literally descend from one ape?

In the opening chapter of Sapiens, Harari writes: Just 6 million years ago, a single female ape had two daughters. One became the ancestor of all chimpanzees, the other is our own grandmother. Is ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Why did humans evolved the scratch reflex?

I've been wondering about this for some time, and I can't come to an answer... Everybody keeps telling me that scratching one's own skin is bad. It damages the epidermis, creates the hazard of ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Online phylogenetic tree of human lineages

I am looking for a source of information about the diversity of human lineages and their relationships. With a quick google search it is easy to find this type of tree A perfect online resource ...
9
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3answers
652 views

Human genetic diversity in Africa in comparison with the rest of the world

Background The claim ... Most of the genetic diversity in humans is in Africa ... is quite common. On Biology.SE, it is easy to find posts that make this claim. Consider for example: Do humans ...
9
votes
2answers
9k views

Why do people feel pleasure when using roller coasters / centrifuges?

The feeling when using an amusement park unit is usually a pleasure. Why is it not a pain instead? Are there advantages, from an evolutionary point of view, in loving this potentially dangerous ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Why some parts of the human body have immune privilege?

Why have the eye and CNS have immune privilege? Why does the body not develop tolerance against their tissue and instead risk their damage in case an accidental immune cell infiltration? Wiki: ......
9
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2answers
323 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

Humans and apes have somewhat obvious similarities, these must have been apparent to natural philosophers before the possibility of a common ancestry was first proposed in the mid-1800's. These ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Why do we blink instead of winking each eye independently?

Question Why do we blink both eyes at the same time rather than winking each eye as needed? Why would winking independently be better? The benefit would be a minor improvement whereby a person ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do humans grow taller than their ancestors?

I'm taking the Introduction to Genetics And Evolution course and in the first lecture it was said that: Evolution in a biological sense is simply a change through time. And very importantly, that ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Why cannot there be multiple sources for same species origins?

We often associate Africa as the geographical location of the origin of humans. Why cannot there exist multiple geographic locations of origin (given same environmental conditions)? The same ...
7
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1answer
660 views

When did our ancestors switch to a menstrual cycle instead of the estrous cycle?

The Wikipedia page on the Estrous cycle says: Humans have menstrual cycles instead of estrous cycles. They shed their endometrium instead of reabsorbing it. Unlike animals with estrous cycles, ...
7
votes
1answer
314 views

Is bad tasting food more likely to cause harm?

Taste is often referred to as subjective. For example certain foods taste bad to me, such as oranges, grapefruit, grapes, raisins, and sweet potatoes. However the wiki article on taste explains that ...
7
votes
1answer
123 views

How does chromosome fusion get fixed in the population?

It's well known that one of human chromosomes is the result of fusion between two chromosomes in a primate ancestor. If we put anthropocentrism aside, it becomes clear that fusion events happened a ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Do human populations differ in core body temperature?

Human body temperature is a very complex and tightly regulated system. Hypothermia or fever of only 1-2K (i.e. changes of about 5%) already cause major symptoms and changes of 3-4K (i.e. about 10%) ...
6
votes
1answer
111 views

Why is there no symmetry in pigmentation when comparing people north and south of the equator?

If you are at the equator and start moving north, the further you travel, the lighter the skin of the indigenous peoples. Considering that we live on a ball, why do we not find the same traveling ...
6
votes
1answer
565 views

What do blue cone cells add to visual function?

First of all, I saw this other question in the SE sites with a good answer, but I didn't find an explanation about the blue cones specifically. So most human beings have 3 types of cones (cells ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do humans not have a powerful sense of smell?

It seems like a useful ability to be able to detect many different things about, say, another organism. A lot of mammals have this ability. Why not humans? Did we evolve it out or never develop it?
5
votes
3answers
663 views

Why did the face of human species changed so much during the course of its evolution?

I recently watched this video which showed the evolution of facial features of the modern man https://youtu.be/-69K7E0UlBI I'm wondering what evolutionary advantage did we get by having our face ...
5
votes
3answers
420 views

Is there evolution in humans since the first homo sapiens sapiens

Has the human species changed since first defined as homo sapiens sapiens? I'm asking this question partly because I'm wondering how we might evolve next.
5
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3answers
524 views

Why are there so many different humans yet chimpanzees are just chimpanzees?

There are two species belonging to the Pan genus (Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus). That's just two. I mean, humans have changed radically since we split from chimpanzees, we have Australopithecus ...
5
votes
1answer
536 views

What was the evolutionary reason for cross lateralization of the brain?

In the human brain the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. What led to this development? Why doesn't the left side of the ...
4
votes
1answer
406 views

Is Homo sapiens the only extant species of genus “Homo”?

Is Homo sapiens the only species of genus "Homo" that survived?
4
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1answer
69 views

What are the evolutionary reasons behind men being taller than women?

Human men and women are sexually dimorphic: there are some phenotypic differences between men and women. Men being taller than women is an accurate stereotype. Overall, men are on average 13 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are humans so variable in appearance

Most animals look almost identical to their peers. To distinguish lions we record the spots on their face; with whales we look at the blemishes on their tail or flukes. In other words, we have to try ...
4
votes
1answer
811 views

Do the claims in this paper have any degree of validity?

The paper The waiting time problem in a model hominin population talks about a problem of waiting time, etc. Is the methodology of this numerical simulation, and the conclusion right or is it wrong? ...
4
votes
1answer
336 views

A colony of humans are sent to an alien world, at what point would the descendants evolve to be genetically incompatible with Earth humans? [closed]

I recently heard about the evolution of the London Underground mosquitoes, and how they have changed genetically enough that they almost can no longer reproduce with above ground mosquitos. Since this ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Skin Colour in “Northern” Regions of The earth

Question: Netflix has recently produced a two-part miniseries, The Evolution of US, that examines the evolution of "man". The topic of of human skin colour was covered and it was stated that 'lighter ...
4
votes
2answers
124 views

What is meant by “50% related to sibling” versus “95% related to chimpanzee”?

Obviously I am more related to my sister than to a chimpanzee, so what do these different percentages actually refer to? Here is my preliminary research: https://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-...
4
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2answers
65 views

Evolution - The ability to control ear muscles

Among animals the ability to control ear muscles is pretty common, but only a few humans have the ability. Is it because we in general lost this ability ?
4
votes
1answer
381 views

Current Trend in Evolution of Human Intelligence

Up front, I am specifically not interested in philosophical or ethical considerations re Eugenics and related concepts. In an effort to receive a concise answer I'll post a narrowly defined question ...
4
votes
1answer
525 views

Miscarriage in early humans

Today, about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancy end in miscarriage. Pregnancy is a biological process that has been very well studied by medicine. As a result, modern medicine helps a lot to prevent ...
4
votes
0answers
171 views

Why do female humans invest more in parental care than male humans, from an evolutionary standpoint? [closed]

As the question title suggests, why do female humans invest more in parental care than male humans, from an evolutionary standpoint? My guess is that the crux of this that males and females have ...
4
votes
0answers
188 views

Were Neandertals as Hairy as We Are?

What I mean to say regards facial and androgenic hairs. There are many theories as to why some people have both kinds of hairs, while others have one or the same and others still have neither. The ...
4
votes
0answers
54 views

The evolution of poor eyesight: is there weaker selection in modern humans? [duplicate]

Short question: Poor eyesight might have been a major impediment to survival and reproduction in early man (say, 100,000 years ago), but, with the advent of agriculture, major cultural changes, and ...
3
votes
1answer
704 views

Why did evolution make people's skin dark?

Why do people living in the equator have dark skin? I know that Melanin acts as a protective biological shield against ultraviolet radiation. But doesn't black absorb all light in a way making the ...
3
votes
3answers
283 views

Have humans finished evolving?

I thought that massive changes among organisms are over long periods of time. This is caused by, to my knowledge: Evolutionary pressure Natural/artificial selection Mutations Genetic drift Will ...
3
votes
1answer
907 views

Why did humans get rid of their tail in the evolution?

Most mammals seem to have tails. Even human embryos start out with a tail. But here we are with nothing but a tail bone that hurts when we trip over backwards. What is it good for? Why don't humans ...
3
votes
3answers
147 views

What is the human species divergence time

How far back along the evolutionary tree do we have to go to find divergence to a completely different species to Hom. sapiens? I don't count Neanderthals because it seems that part of our genome ...
3
votes
2answers
693 views

Why don't we keep evolving until we are super-human? [duplicate]

Humans (homo sapiens) have been on the earth for thousands of generations, and we have kept evolving throughout that time. Why don't we just keep evolving so that, let's say, we live for an average of ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

In reconstructions, how are various shapes of facial features determined from skull only?

I have seen reconstructions (with skin, eyes, muscles etc) of some first humans based on skulls and skeletons. But how can the shape of nose (protruding part), shape of eyelids, shape of eyebrow, ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Largest direct ancestor of humans

Going back the genealogical lineage from present humans to the beginning of life, what was the biggest - in terms of body size or mass - animal in this sequence? More generally, what would a time vs. ...
3
votes
1answer
269 views

Is there any kind of “unintended consequence” in evolutionary systems?

In the social sciences, unintended consequences is a term used to describe an unexpected positive or negative effect of a particular action. This is obviously the wrong word to use in the context of ...
3
votes
1answer
245 views

Why do people feel shame when exposed nakedly?

Why do people feel shame? Meaning the kind of shame specifically related to exposing 'private parts'. Where does it come from (i.e. social factors due to upbringing, inherent in our genes etc.)? ...