Old 04-22-2006, 03:41 PM   #1
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I am a doubter of evolution but I am one of you guys so this is not a debate but a discussion of science.

My question is how long did it take for an ape to evolve into a man? (Also, why didn't all apes evolve into men?) Another question I have is are we still evolving and if so into what?
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:48 PM   #2
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Millions of years.

Different environemnts. Are you thinking of goals with regard to evolution?
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Old 04-22-2006, 04:05 PM   #3
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1. Humans are apes. Technically, you could say it took four billion years for humans to evove; however, the answer that you're looking for (I think) is about 2 million years, give or take. The exact sequence is spotty and much debated, mostly because our ancestors didn't fossilize all that well. Neandertals were still around some 30,000 years ago, in isolated pockets.
2. Our ancestors didn't evolve into us per se... evolution doesn't work like that. It's not exactly like our immediate ancestor species changed into us; rather, it helps to think of it as a gradual change that took place in some small, isolated pockets of the species, leading eventually to humans. The others, who weren't part of this particular process died off. The reasons for the evolutionary path that we have followed are also debated.
(Another reason for the debates among those studying our fossil history is that this particular field is big publicity compared to other branches of the science.)

3. Every living thing is undergoing evolution. I'm not really prepared to speculate as to what we are evolving "into".

Please, everyone, chime in - I wrote this in some haste and welcome clarification / correction (as always!).
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Old 04-22-2006, 04:12 PM   #4
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It works in incredibly small steps. Once a certain animal is a certain degree different from another it is a seperate species (commonly defined as not being able to mate with another species).

Pretend that some animals have offpring that are 10 percent different from their parent, and that a difference of 50% is required for it to be a different species. So as the generations go on, it goes 10, 20, 30, 40, and finally 50 percent different. These animals are a different species from 5 generations back. Technically, the 5th generation could mate with the 4th and the 4th with the 3rd and so on. In this way drawing a species barrier is somewhat arbitrary because it is just a classification. These numbers are nowhere near as small as they are in reality though.

As far as apes and humans still existing it works like this:

Say your parents have two sons. You have blonde hair and your brother has red hair. Say that for some reason the red-heads in successive generations only gave rise to red heads and the blondes only gave rise to blondes (because only people with blonde hair have children with people with blonde hair and the same for red-haired people). After alot of generations the two might be so different that those with red hair could physically only have children with people with red hair (and the same for blondes). At that point they would be two different species.

My explanation isn't all that great, but I am sure you could find some good websites to explain it better.

"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." -Richard Dawkins
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Old 04-22-2006, 05:01 PM   #5
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psyadam wrote
My question is how long did it take for an ape to evolve into a man?
It bears observation that man did not evolve from apes; apes and man evolved from a common ape-like/man-like ancestor.

psyadam wrote
Another question I have is are we still evolving and if so into what?
We are still evolving, simply because we are adapting to our changing environment. As to "into what," we are evolving into an animal more suited to exist in our environment.

It is important to keep in mind that Evolution is not a conscious or motivated thing; it is merely a description of a natural process of arbitrary adaptation that animals go through in response to environmental change. Evolutionary change is not vertical -- animals do not become "higher" or "better" when they evolve -- but lateral. Animals simply adapt to their environment, and change because of it.

atheist (n): one who remains unconvinced.
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Old 04-22-2006, 08:43 PM   #6
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The river wears away the mountain. It makes rocks, then pebbles, then sand. The river does not prefer sand over mountains, it's simply what the river does.

"When science was in its infancy, religion tried to strangle it in its cradle." - Robert G. Ingersoll
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