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Optional Geography 6 Human Geography

Optional Geography 6 Human Geography

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Published by ABID H

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Published by: ABID H on Jun 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The evolution of man from simple life forms through apes to the present dayhuman being
s can be studied from various sources ranging fromcomparative bio-physiological studies of man and other mammals to thestudy of fossils of ancestors of present day human beings.Man belongs to the Order Primate having a relatively large brain, agrasping hand with nails and stereoscopic eyesight which has beendeveloped at the expense of his sense of smell. Other primates includetree shrews, lemurs, monkey and apes (chimpanzees, orangutans andgorillas). Man shows the closest affinity, among all primates, to the apesby virtue of his unique ability to develop culture. The study of fossilswrong with remains of tools and other artifacts tells us a lot about thephysiology, environment and the way of life of our ancestors.Biologically, man is related to the apes and diverged form acommon ancestral species which, not nearly specialized lived both uponthe ground and on trees during the Tertiary era (around 65 million yearsago). The tertiary era witnessed the Alpine orogeny and the emergenceof mammals. Apes, on the whole, have become arboreal and vegetarian.By being able to move from one tree to another on higher branches, theyhave attained security from terrestrial predators like tiger lion, leopardand they can also pluck fruits and edible forest products from trees atany height. They are essentially quadrupeds, generally having prehensiletails. Man having become a biped with an erect posture, has no use for atail. His feet are fully adapted for a brisk walk. His hand with an
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Dream Dare WinCourtesy : Saidai Manithaneyamwww.jeywin.com
opposable thumb is a highly controlled organ with a precise grip. Thisenabled man to develop and use a variety of tools.The adoption of an erect posture has been accompanied by anenlargement of the brain especially of the frontal lobe which is the seatof function of a higher intellectual level. Lowe jaw has becomeelongated because of the diet consisting mainly of cooked food. Freerand more delicately controlled movements of the jaw, face and tonguehave enabled man to develop the faculty of speech.The change of habitat from trees to the ground added animal fleshto a diet which was originally vegetarian. The final stage f evolution as aseparate species (Homo sapiens) took place mainly during the laterPleistocene period. This was also the period of drastic climatic changes.As savannas, grasslands and steppes became more extensive towards theclose of the Pleistocene period, ape-man ranged in the outer regions of the tropics and in sub-tropical latitudes of Asia, Africa and Europe. Thisis vindicated by fragments of skulls and bones which have been found inChina, central and Western Europe as well as in Africa. But man’ssurvival instincts enabled him to survive near the equator also, as someof the most significant remains have been recovered in Java. The abilityof man to use fire and make tools, which could be used for skinning of animals, enabled him to survive in colder climates.During the inter-glacial periods when climate became milder, theearly hominids spread even into higher latitudes, because their remainshave been found in regions like Europe and northern China. Similarly,during the glacial period’s, the hominids moved to tropical and sub-
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tropical areas. By the time the last of the glacial periods came, man wasable to survive in more rigorous climates by retreating into caves andusing animal skins and fire. Among the best known of these earlyspecies was the Neanderthal man with larger bones and more powerfulmuscles than the modern man, but having a more primitive skull, amassive and protruding jaw, a receding forehead and a prominent bonyridge above the eyes. The Neanderthal appears to have evolved as aseparate species north of the Tertiary mountain belt of Europe and Asia.The remains have been found in northern China as well as in Europe.Mankind, thus, appears to have evolved south of the mountainzone in Eurasia and to have lived in India, Java, western and southernAsia and northern Africa. It seems that Neanderthaloids and moremodern species lived together in Europe and south-western Asia duringthe latter part of the last glaciations. Although the more specializedNeanderthals have not survived as a species, some of their physicalcharacteristics have been identified in present day Europeans. Someauthorities believe that the Neanderthals of eastern Asia havecontributed to the Mongoloid peoples.
Race has been defined as “a biological grouping within the human species,distinguished or classified according to genetically transmitted differences”. Therace as an expression has been used in different context, viz. culture, tradition,language and nationality. These are not scientific criteria, since they are neitherbiological nor inherited.There has been some difference of opinion regarding the origin of differentraces. One school of thought argues that racial differences existed from the very
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