Sapiens: Emergence of Sapiens

(Just as an aside, I’ll try to make these posts over the course of 10 minutes at a time, so they’ll likely be quite short.)

The history of humankind began with many variants of humans, i.e. many different species under the general genus of Homo. Clearly, the planet today demonstrates that we only have one remaining: Homo sapiens. This begs the question, what happened to the other species and what was that, in particular, led ours to emerge as the dominant species and the one dominating the world today? This is the point from which our study of humanity begins.

Back in these days of a variety of human species, the day-to-day lives revolved around hunting and gathering, as expected. There was little to distinguish the Homo sapiens from the remaining species at this time. In fact, if anything, we were far less capable than our brethren in the non-Africa continents, who were far more muscular and able-bodied.

From this point, it is interesting to see what led humans to survive in the first place in the African continent. After all, the biped form of our body and enormous allocation of energy to the brain seems a little non-apt for living in the wilderness. The former can be explained by our ability to stand tall and survey the savannahs. The latter, however, is more interesting. Since humans are not particularly capable hunters in their natural form, i.e. they possess no physical traits that make them nearly as threatening as a lion or hyena, they were left to scrape by on the remains of previous hunts. This included things like bone marrow: in other words, the remains even after scavengers had emptied out a carcass. Given our lack of physical traits to scavenge such foods, we relied on intellect to create tools to do so, thus favoring those individuals with greater intellect. In a similar fashion, the ability to harness fire allowed people to fend off threats that would typically kill off individuals, such as predators.

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