Scientific Creation Story Part 5 Rise of Man

About the scientific story of creation, explanation of science for the origins of the universe and the world.


The earth is now in the Cenozoic, or "recent life," era. This began only 70 million years ago and has become the Age of Mammals. The 1st primates and the 1st rodents appeared in the Paleocene period. The early primate exhibited an opposite thumb, larger brains, a bony eye socket, and keener vision, but had a poorer sense of smell than its ancestors.

In the Eocene period, other mammal types appeared, with the even-and odd-toed hoofed mammals, advanced carnivores, and lemurs and tarsiers. The lemurs and tarsiers both had grasping hands, flat nails, and an enlarged cerebrum. The eye was by far the dominant sense organ.

From the tarsioids came the New World and the Old World monkeys, with their forward-pointing nostrils, opposable thumbs, and considerably enlarged brains.

From the Old World monkeys came the 1st apes, which had lost their tails, increased their brain size, and developed a better balance of the head on the spinal column.

Time passed. Periods came and went, and through them all--the Oligocene period, the Miocene period, the Pliocene period--the primates continued to develop. The climate changed. Mountains were pushed higher. Open grasslands replaced the forests in the temperate zones, and the forests were restricted to the tropics.

Then, about one million years ago, the Pleistocene period began. It was to become the Age of Man.

At this time, the earth went through some extreme climatic changes. The temperature dropped--only a few degrees, but it was sufficient to wipe out a great number of species and to plunge the world into long and cold winters. The shortened, cooler summers were not enough to melt all the snows of previous winters, and year by year ice accumulated. Four times in the last million years sheets of ice up to one mi. thick have pushed southward, covering large land areas beneath frozen glaciers. The smaller monkeys took to the restricted tropical jungles; only the larger, heavier apes were able to bear the cold.

Early in the Pleistocene period, a primitive ape-man appeared, called Australopithecus. He had differentiated hands and feet, smaller teeth and no fangs, and a fully upright posture. These characteristics distinguished him from the other apes, but with his larger brain he was distinguishing himself in other ways. This apeman learned to use primitive tools and to organize in groups of cooperative hunters. This new intelligence worked; the ape-man survived.

The skull of the ape-man's descendants continued to grow. From a capacity of 600 cubic cm., it reached one of 1,000 cubic cm. With this improvement, the new creature learned to use fire and stone tools, and, in time, language was invented. Man had arrived in the world in a new improved form: Homo erectus, or Pithecanthropus.

Competition within the species had not ended, though. There was still a struggle to survive, and intelligence, now a well established advantage in the world of natural selection, became a deciding factor. Those animals that were able to make the best use of tools, or to hunt most efficiently, lived and multiplied. Their offspring tended to have larger and larger skulls, until skull capacity reached 1,400 cubic cm. This happened about 10,000 years ago. The newly evolved animal became agricultural and produced works of art. He developed civilizations and learned to control his environment. This animal is considered the latest earthly creation of the expanding universe: modern man.

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