Why Nerds are Unpopular - Paul Graham
Breaking Barriers Essay Contest - Scholastic
The closer the timeline of life on Earth gets to the appearance of humanity, the less our ancestry is doubted among scientists, and there is virtual certainty that is humanity’s direct ancestor. Their brains were nearly the size of modern humans and they inherited from their ancestors and used them for hundreds of thousands of years. There is plenty of evidence that migrated to Western Eurasia about 800 kya. But there is evidence that somewhere around 500 kya that began to change; there is evidence of in today’s South Africa. in today’s Germany, along with butchered horses, dated to about 400 kya. Scientists today are confident that was also the direct ancestor of , and the split began around 500 kya. The range of was Africa, West Asia, and Europe, but the advancing and retreating ice sheets of Eurasia, Europe in particular, kept driving southward, and during one of the retreats, it seems that the ancestors of Neanderthals stayed. Neanderthals became a cold-adapted species that specialized in hunting big game. As the evidence demonstrates today, life was a brutal proposition in humanity’s early days, and was particularly harsh for Neanderthals. They probably could not throw very well and relied on ambush predation. Scientists have studied Neanderthal bones and , but a , partly in light of recent evidence that Neanderthals may have also developed wooden throwing spears. But whether Neanderthals had to stab their prey in close quarters or eventually learned to throw weapons at them, the studies of early human bones describe a grim existence. Breaking bones were regular events, particularly skull fractures, and that was for trauma survivors.
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I am taking some liberties in calling Turkana Boy a ; he is technically a member of , which is often considered ancestral to , which is the Asian variant’s name. There is great debate regarding how the human family tree branches between and . Some call the various -type species all subspecies of , while others argue for several distinct species. I will not stray far from the orthodox narrative here, for good reason. The reconstructed early human tale is based on very limited evidence, but that evidence will only grow over time, and the tools and techniques for using them will become more sophisticated. Although there may be some upcoming radical changes in the view of the early human journey, efforts of countless scientist and fossil hunter lifetimes support the narrative that this essay sketches, and I respect their findings and opinions, even though I acknowledge many limitations. The human ego, it seems, becomes more involved as the story of life on Earth moves closer to its human chapters.