10 Amazing Facts About Human Evolution
Everything about life on this planet, and as a minuscule part of this large universe, is intriguing. A comparatively mammoth part of science has dedicated years and billions of dollars to understand every aspect of life. When it comes to just us, human beings, researchers and scientists keep discovering new stuff every day. There is an endless bounty of information that went into creating the modern human being. Here are 10 such shocking facts about the evolution of Homo sapiens.
There was a Twist!
Scientists studied human evolution at the molecular level to see how human evolution could have turned out differently. A human protein that existed hundreds of millions of years ago would eventually become the cellular receptor for the stress hormone cortisol. This evolution of the ancient protein into a receptor for cortisol was extremely important for our evolution and it came out of a surprisingly random and extremely unlikely mutation!
Throwing Made Us Human
The human shoulder acts like a slingshot by storing and releasing energy during the throw. The human torso, shoulder, and arm evolved specifically to help us store this energy. These throwing skills allowed our ancestors to hunt and feed themselves.
DUF1220 is our Secret Ingredient
The brain is believed to have grown so rapidly in size and complexity because of a protein domain called DUF1220. Humans have more than 270 copies of DUF1220 in their genome whereas chimpanzees have 125, gorillas have 99 and mice have just one. The number of copies of DUF1220 shows how close an animal may be to humans.
Our Teeth Decrease in Size
Humans are the only primates whose tooth size decreases as brain size increases
Grandmas Helped Us Live Longer
Researchers say that humans have longer lifespans compared to apes because human grandmothers help feed their grandchildren while other primates fend for themselves after being weaned by their moms.
Our Fists Evolve to Punch
Our fists have constantly evolved to give a punch. Our fingers and palms have become shorter while our thumbs have become stronger and more flexible.
Our Face Evolves to Take a Punch
The researchers believe that human males developed bigger face structures to minimize injury from punches during fights over women, food, and territory. The bones that became the strongest are the same bones that are most likely to be fractured in a hand-to-hand fight.
We had Herpes before We Were Human
In addition to physical attributes, certain diseases, such as herpes, also passed on from chimpanzees to modern humans.
Have you ever wondered why do we get goose bumps? Researchers believe that they are remnants of the thick hair that covered our ancestors.
Slow Metabolism = Longer Life
Our slow metabolism allows us to grow slower than other species. Humans and other primates burn 50 percent fewer calories than other mammals. That means a human would have to run a marathon to even come close to burning the same number of calories that a non-primate mammal of the same size would on an average day.