why is it important to study human evolution

Sexuality is an integral part of being human. It is only when that happens that this generation will see how precarious our place in this world is and be inspired to do all that they can to stop climate change from wreaking havoc on the only place we and all the rest of life on Earth call home. Learning about human evolution is a lens through which students, and people in general, can see how we are connected to the world. Such examples show students that our species is not the be-all and end-all of human evolution. Lauren Saville is the owner and creator of Primate Tales, Toronto’s only educational outreach company that brings the world of primates and evolution into K–12 classrooms. There are excellent examples of this in the field of medicine. Understanding evolution is important Understanding evolution helps us solve biological problems that impact our lives. There are many reasons why human evolution may not be part of the formal curriculum, but “controversy” surrounding our origins and fear of push back from parents due to religious concerns are certainly among them. With DNA technology, the disputes about the evolution theory may be resolved. Technology can help us, but we can’t assume it will save us. Natural selection is the process Darwin proposed to account for evolution. Unfortunately, in far too many schools evolution is not taught all, or not taught to its full extent. According to a 2008 survey by Berkman and Plutzer, 17% of high school biology teachers omit human evolution entirely, while the majority (60%) spend just one to five hours of class time on it. | Certified Educator Studying the origins of humans helps us to understand who we are, what we do, and where we fit in as humans. To stay one step ahead of pathogenic diseases, researchers must understand the evolutionary patterns of … (Lavenda & Schultz:38) Shared Essentialism, unchanging world species have essences, unchanged since creation (34) “Cowness” “Great Chain of Being” (Lavenda & Schultz:34) 1579, Aristotle + Christianity From an early age we wonder where we come from; evolution explains that for us. Stand up for uncompromised science education. 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 We can see now how vulnerable we are to disease epidemics like Ebola, HIV, and even the common flu. We need to give students more opportunities for moments like this that can shift their perspective and open up a whole new way of thinking. Common misconceptions about evolution include: It can be cool to watch chemistry experiments but they may not relate directly to our own lives. As the preeminent scientist Theodosius Dobzhansky stated, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Evolution is the only scientific explanation for the diversity of life. Why is it important to teach evolution? The National Science Foundation is supporting the center with $25 million over five years, with the potential for a one-time renewal after the first cycle. Review our annual audited financial statements and IRS 990 forms at GuideStar. After not getting into drama school but instead into Bucknell University, my love of animals led me to study animal behavior. The first is that all human beings came from Africa. All of these examples reflect why evolution is the central theme of biological science today. Teaching human evolution is too important to avoid for fear of the controversy surrounding it. Evolution is the observation that species change over time. The study of human origins has often been criticised for its uselessness in today’s time. It is important to continue to study evolution because it is a belief that people want to study the past and predict the future using what scientists have created as the model of evolution. To skip or minimize discussion of human evolution, however, is to miss an opportunity to engage students. These are not necessarily illnesses. But human evolution is instantly relatable, and shows students who are interested in science but don’t realize that spending your days out in the field digging up fossils or observing our primate relatives in the wild are examples of “doing science.” I was one of those students who never thought I could go into science. Who does not want to know why we do the things we do and look the way we do? National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, EIN 11-2656357. Why Human Sexuality is Important Human sexuality plans a major role in everyone’s life whether you are a man, women, young or old, African American, Caucasian, or Chinese. Such examples can be multiplied many times. Evolution also lays the foundation for much of what we know about genetics, immunology, antibiotic resistance, human origins, and the adaptation of species to a changing environment. Continuing to study and learn has had many scientists turn up new and interesting facts in … The study and understanding of human relations can help us in our workplace, and as a result, assist us in achieving career success. You can check out her blog where she writes about evolution, education, and primates on her web page. We are primates, just like the living animals we call apes and monkeys, though our own evolutionary path rewarded walking on two legs and having a really big brain. Understanding evolution is critical for understanding biology. But the importance of evolution extends beyond its practical side; evolution explains the diversity of life on this planet, shows us our connection to other living things, and reveals profound insights into the processes of nature. Students should understand our biological place in the world. We can see when our brain size increased (when Homo erectus came about) and the subsequent huge change in our technology. In the United States, there are very few states (seven plus the District of Columbia in 2007) with science standards that specifically include human evolution; and human evolution is missing from the NGSS standards that were finalized in 2013. A caricature of Charles Darwin from the London Sketchbook (1874). As they say, the rest is history. Love, affection, and sexual intimacy contribute to healthy relationships and an individual’s well-being. Chimpanzees are well adapted to their environments where they live and thrive; they are in no way “less evolved” than we are. ANS:-Human evolution, or anthropogenesis, is the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens as a distinct species from other hominids, great apes and placental mammals. It was the best decision I ever made and while in Tanzania for my semester abroad, surrounded by vervet monkeys during my research project, I knew I wanted to be a primatologist. We study evolution for the same reasons that we study any subject — the thirst for knowledge, to understand the past and predict the future, and to organize our world. Evolution is the foundation of biology, and of the origin of man. Within individual species, Darwin’s theory of evolution has been categorically shown to b… When it comes to human evolution in particular, the statistics are even more depressing. NCSE is supported by individuals, foundations, and scientific societies. By gaining a deeper understanding of the body, scientists can determine how likely members of the population are likely to inherit a disease and help people manage their risks accordingly. I was focused on becoming an actress. Why Study Evolution? We have observed these smaller processes in nature, but have never been able to say BANG this is a totally new species which has appeared on the earth last thursday. "Evolution solves some of these difficult problems, and this is a way of allowing computer programs themselves to engage in their own form of evolution and natural selection." The purpose of the site is to answer those questions you're asking. I have seen the moment in which a student begins to comprehend the bigger picture of where we come from, and it is amazing to behold. This theory states, “that all living organisms have evolved from a common ancestor through natural selection acting on hereditary variation” (Reece, 2011). An understanding of evolution has been essential in finding and using natural resources, such as fossil fuels, and it will be indispensable as human societies strive to establish sustainable relationships with the natural environment. We are dealing with climate change on an unprecedented scale because of our actions, putting Earth at risk for us and all the other plants and animals that live here. We cannot know ourselves without knowing our ancestors and origins. E¡ôkq®:&O“\SŸk–š\]à1W_øy­ÙÇiºŠR[��Gá&vMàL6õu¨ÕIÈ«­ó&7q¨;”])|/FøÇö¶( oé}İ•îQ‹G?u6 hl›|œõØÓõЉİôv_İ)ñH•ÖÂt¶Î�-�æôQâ‹K®;d_ŠÓ‰+êùIúúÅcı×€ĞuE=İï�¥Šş`,î³ º�ƒ¼9sJ9Çç�:ÇdQôŠ=Tvˆ\³æí_Ùƒ&÷heÛצ ú�嶤üÂkÙÒM(qT¬áϦjÓKD™n0ïÃx3¹Ä.Ğ(òǯEİ¿ âIIúÚœeº[ğ ¶ÆêÇ›´. I struggled with math but always did well in biology. Privacy Policy and Disclaimer | Disclosures Required by State Law. We have a duty to teach the next generation where they come from, evolutionarily speaking, and to push against the idea that we are somehow invincible and almighty. And most evolutionary biologists today study this third question. Here's why it's so significant There's a reason every culture on the planet does it Storytelling is important to society and benefits the storytellers, a new study found. And those properties can be behavior, can be physiology, can be the phenotype, can be genetics. Antibiotics. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news, events, and resources from NCSE. The important elements are fairly simple to grasp in concept, and staggeringly intricate in detail - incremental change over time, genetic drift and random mutation, and the guiding force of natural selection. Animals who are the best adapted to their environment survive long enough to reproduce and pass those genes onto their offspring. To learn why it is important to study evolution and what the most basic and important elements are, I suggest you read my source (from Berkeley). Theodosius Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is my favorite science quote, as it sums up perfectly how important evolution is to our understanding of biology. Likewise, the more gradual structural changes to the human brain during the course of its evolution mirror an evolution of the human mind. We are primates, just like the living animals we call apes and monkeys, though our own evolutionary path rewarded walking on two legs and having a really big brain. It was my love of primates that led me to the field of evolutionary anthropology and made me so interested and passionate about it. Early Humans: There are several different early species of humans, which include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Neanderthals. Through their work we are able to see what forces, environmental and biological, have shaped us, what was important to us, and how we evolved into the highly unique animal we’ve become today. From the amazing array of fossils that have been found in Africa, Asia, and Europe we can piece together our evolutionary lineage from Australopithecus to early Homo sapiens and explore the different species that branched off in between. How can the evolution of one species affect the evolution of another? A 2016 study gives evidence that suggests long term use of antibiotics can cause collateral damage to our microbiome. It is not in the least bit controversial to picture humans* within the context of the placental mammal group that … The study of genetics is important because it helps scientists identify and understand diseases. She has studied baboon maternal behavior in Kenya, vervet monkey grooming and aggressive behavior in Tanzania, and squirrel monkey cognition at Bucknell University. Yes, but there's a catch. Saville has her MA in Evolutionary Anthropology and her BSc in Animal Behavior. Oakland, CA 94612. This, however, is challenged by the researchers who prove that studying the past does benefit us today in terms of medical knowledge about the development of cancers and genetic disorders through the study of the environment and mitochondrial DNA. Although antibiotics can be lifesavers, their use is currently at an all-time high. Fossils are the remains of the past living organisms either animals or plants. Learning about our own evolution helps students feel connected to science. Why is needed to study human evolution? Bipedalism: Bipedalism is unique to human evolution. Natural disasters—on the rise due to climate change—can render us defenseless and vulnerable. © Copyright 2020 National Center for Science Education. Paleoanthropology is a subfield of anthropology, the study of human culture, society, and biology. Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates—in particular genus Homo—and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, which includes the great apes. True, we humans have dominated and altered the world around us, but if we understand our evolutionary place in the world, it becomes harder to justify the idea that we are better than the organisms we share the planet with. We need to start using these big brains for good to stop the changes that could spell the end of our run on this planet. Bipedalism is a trait that set humans apart from other apes. As a study of life and living organisms, it seeks to establish the relationship and interactivity between two major aspects of life — plants and animals. The better our human relations, the more likely we are to grow both professionally and personally. Rather they are the elements that give people their unique characteristics. Our unique human-defining traits do not make us better than our other primate relatives—just different. Why It's Important : 1. In conclusion, the work that anthropologists do to study primates is crucial to understanding our past, how we’ve evolved, and who we’ve become. But it's the same with all other organs and body functions, you may say. 2. One of the most important principles of biology is the main idea of evolution. Critics of evolution, often propnents of "intelligent design", claim there is no evidence that principles of evolution, such as genetic drift or mutation, can lead to new species. There were early hominid species, like Australopithecus afarensis, that lived for about 900,000 years, almost four times as long as we have been around, but they eventually went extinct. Skip or minimize discussion of human culture, society, and in this day and age, all. 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