The Changing Centuries: Cycle of Evolution


A world that witnessed Ice Age, World Wars and now Global Warming

Around 2,00,000 years ago when we appeared as modern human beings, the homo-sapiens, things were quite different and life was a bit boring on Earth.

It is believed the very first homo sapien was possibly in the African continent and first migrated throughout Eurasia between 1,25,000-60,000 years ago, and then, the rest of the world. Australia 40,000 years ago, Americas around 15,000 years ago, and New Zealand between the years 300 and 1280.

Evolution: The Act of Survival

From inventing the first wheel, using fire and hunting to cultivation, inventing smartphones and space exploration, from living in caves to living in capsules, humans have built the whole civilization and evolved too far at a steady pace.

On April 12, 1961, mankind first explored the space when Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut successfully orbited the Earth in a Vostok spacecraft. After the USSR, the USA became the second nation to explore the space within a month later Yuri was sent to space on May 5, 1961, and then the rest is history. 

After millions of years later of modern humans’ arrival, we have mastered/refined the technology. The very first car was launched in 1886. The first-ever use of an atomic bomb ever done was on August 6, 1945, First android phone was officially launched for the public on September 23, 2008. Now, we are working on Artificial Intelligence which can drive you a car, mop your room, make coffee or even serve you in the restaurants.

But what did really make us erect that vast civilization, society, and community? What brought us to modernity? How humans have come to the excellence of technological advances? The answer is hard to get, or maybe impossible. One simple theory that can describe the change is the theory of the evolution of human intelligence.

Evolution Of Human Intelligence 

Alike our body, our brains have evolved too. The change that evolved humans and their intelligence are the circumstances in what humans survived. The weather, need to feed the appetite, tribes, and colonies, the act of survival is what helped humans to evolve that far. As they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’

Modern human brain is about 3.2 pounds (1.5 kg) in weight and 1,330 cm in size.  This spongy mass of protein and fat is the most complex thing to understand. The size of the human brain is thrice the size of a chimpanzee or gorilla brain, and the most powerful in the universe.

The question is, why other apes couldn’t have a bigger and evolved brain as we humans have? A vague answer could be eating habits. Research says the cooked food has more calories than uncooked or raw food. Our brain needs nutrition to evolve and develop. Most of the other apes like Gorillas rely on leaves that don’t provide enough calories. In an article published by National Geographic, they say, our ancestors, probably starting with Homo erectus, evolved their brains learning to cook and eating more calories.

Read more: The Forgotten Continent: Antarctica

The Beginning of Evolution of Human Intelligence

The human brain has evolved with the time and the conditions of living. The first ancestor of the ape species lived 14 million years back. Looking back to other apes tells a lot of different things about human brains. Homo habilis, the first of our genus Homo had a brain size of 600 cm3. Homo erectus had a brain size of 800–1,100 cm3. Neanderthals measured brain size about 1,200–1,900 cm3 bigger than the present human brain size which is about 1,300 cm3.

Humans developed their brain structure and size. For example, the temporal lobe which functions auditory, visuals, memory and language comprehension. The prefrontal cortex distinguishes humans from animals. The prefrontal cortex helps in complex decision making, imagination, and storing short term memory. Studies show that the prefrontal cortex has significantly increased in humans versus other animals in the process of evolution.

The first-ever ape probably lived 14 million years ago, however, we actually reached to the behavioral modernity about 50,000 years ago.

From the First Civilization to the Notion of Alternate Planet

The footprints of cultivation can be traced back in 9,500 BC, but the wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 20,000 BC. The domestication of rice was started about 6,200 BC in China. Until entering into the Bronze Age, humans cultivated almost every fruit, veggies and grains. Bronze age saw a burst in civilization. The first city-state and civilization erupted then.

Sumer, located in Mesopotamia is the very first ever known Complex civilization, and the origin of the first written language, Sumerian. The first use of written language dates back to at least 3500 BC. The Harappan civilization reached its mature state in 2600 BCE followed by Egyptians, and Chinese. 

In the past 5,000 years, we have designed the world in a more advanced, civilized, technologized, and futurized way. Well, we have now created a threat to the world by inventing nuclear-powered weapons. Industrialization is another threat to the environment, but the biggest threats we could have in the near future are Artificial Intelligence, Auto piloted cars, and the bursting population.

21st century: A step forward in the future

With the end of World Wars, economic depression, and the start of industrialization 4.0 we entered into the 3rd millennium. 21st century saw an immense change in technology, it is the birth of social media, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Smartphones, self-driving cars, and space tourism. The 21st century is the millennium when ISRO found water on the moon. 

The 21st century saw another major change when millions of people around the globe gathered outside on the streets for the environmental crisis. All that began back in the 20th century. The 20th century witnessed some world-changing events including world wars, great depression, nuclear power, globalization, space exploration, the establishment of the world bank, UN and WHO, the digital revolution, internet, computers, supercars, wireless network, mass extinction, sea-level rise, and an explosion in population growth. By the end of the 20th century, we were more than 6 billion against 2 billion in 1927.

From the beginning of the world and the homo sapiens’ arrival, the world and all living entities went through a lot of changes. Who was the first man and woman, and who invented the fire, the wheel and language are yet to be found, but this inevitable change helping the world evolving for centuries?

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