Human Origins at the Smithsonian Musuem
April 1, 2010 6 Comments
“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” -Mark Twain
The Smithsonian Museum has a new exhibit at the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins in Washington, DC. The exhibit will take you through about 6 million years of pre-human and human history. Their website can be found HERE
“The strong similarities between humans and the African great apes led Darwin in 1871 to predict that Africa was the likely place where the human lineage branched off from other animals – that is, the place where the common ancestor of chimpanzees, humans, and gorillas once lived. The DNA evidence shows an amazing confirmation of this daring prediction. The African great apes, including humans, have a closer kinship bond with one another than the African apes have with orangutans or other primates. Hardly ever has a scientific prediction so bold, so ‘out there’ for its time, been upheld as the one made in 1871 – that human evolution began in Africa.
The DNA evidence informs this conclusion, and the fossils do, too. Even though Europe and Asia were scoured for early human fossils long before Africa was even thought of, ongoing fossil discoveries confirm that the first 4 million years or so of human evolutionary history took place exclusively on the African continent. It is there that the search continues for fossils at or near the branching point of the chimpanzee and human lineages from our last common ancestor. From Smithsonian: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics