Human Evolution: Facts and Problems

Human Evolution: Facts and Problems

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1706-2.ch001

Abstract

The main events and circumstances of human evolution are considered: classification of hominids, first descriptions, localization, chronology; artifacts characterizing their material and cultural activities; modern reconstruction of lifestyle and resettlement; and modern theories explaining the structural features of hominids and the processes of their occurrence. The manifestations of intelligent activity are discussed, in particular, their dependence from the structure of the body, the size, and complexity of the brain, for which comparisons with various animals are made. Particular attention is paid to unresolved or controversial issues. This material is necessary to assess the possibilities of the self-organization of complex systems theory (second chapter): if it adequately models the characteristics of a human's origin, then it can be used to understand the evolution of human mind and in the subsequent period, up to the current state.
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Background

In recent decades, a lot of paleontological and archaeological data have been accumulated (Leakey, 1979; Clarke & Tobias, 1995; Brunet et al., 2002; Brown et al., 2004; Linden, 2007; Johanson & Wong, 2009; Reid et al., 2011; Walter, 2013; Ryabinin, 2015; Drobyshevsky, 2017; Shannon & McPherron, 2017; Arnold, 2018).

A new dating method (potassium-argon, carbon), in addition to traditional ones (Kuzmin, 2017), made it possible to clarify the age of bones and artifacts. Particularly actively used methods based on genetic analysis (Cavalli-Sforza & Feldman, 2003; Borinskaya & Yankovsky, 2006; Krause et al. 2010; Reich et al., 2010; Wong, 2014; Fernando et al., 2016;), which may shed light on the course of human evolution.

Classification of findings underlying modern theories of human origin, according to (Khrisanfova & Perevozchikov, 2005; Markov, 2011; 2012; Drobyshevsky, 2017; Antropogenez, n/d) and is presented in Table 1. Modern reconstruction of the appearance and lifestyle of hominids made based on these findings delivers the following picture (Antropogenez, n/d). Table 1 will make it possible to take a general look at the process of human origin and its chronological framework. Therefore, it is from her that the presentation of the main material will begin.

It should be remembered that if the findings themselves are undeniable, and the determination of their age is relatively reliable, reconstruction of the appearance, behavior, culture of human ancestors and predecessors, as well as the course of evolution, is usually presumptive. This is due to the lack and fragmentation of the findings, as well as the contradictions of different theories (Levins, 1968; Ungar, 2006; Palmer, 2007; Klyosov &, Tyunyaev, 2009; Falk, 2011; Walter, 2013; Boyd, 2017; Arnold, 2018; Primarashni, 2019).

The same applies to the key aspects of the evolution of human anatomy (Niemitz, 2002; Kwang, 2015), brain (Park et al., 2007; Leonard, Snodgrass & Robertson, 2007), mind, and culture (Vishnyatsky, 2010; Burlak, 2011; Wynn & Coolidge, 20012; Kevin, 2017).

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