Chapter

Phylogeny from apes to humans

Michael C. Corballis

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632593.003.0003
Phylogeny from apes to humans

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The complexities of hominid evolution raise many questions about precisely when any mental attributes that might be uniquely human might have emerged. This chapter reviews the stages of evolution from monkeys to apes, apes to hominids, and hominids to humans. Every branch point in this evolutionary progression is a potential point of mental discontinuity. In describing the different species, the chapter focuses primarily on physical characteristics. In many respects, the evolution of distinctively human characteristics might be said to have begun with the emergence of the genus Homo. By about half a million years ago, the hominids had become large-bodied, large-brained creatures, with perhaps a more sophisticated manufacturing technology than is suggested by stone artefacts and fairly sophisticated language. In addition, the chapter discusses the emergence of modern human known as Homo sapiens.

Keywords: evolution; monkeys; apes; hominids; humans; mental discontinuity; physical characteristics; Homo; language; Homo sapiens

Chapter.  16330 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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