UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Where did we (human beings) come from? Are we monkeys? Are we fish or will we never know? I think we are monkeys but not a similar one as in the zoo, I think we are a type of monkey that we don't know about.
Answer 1:

Humans are animals. We aren’t any more evolved than any other species, but we evolved down a different path from other species, just like foxes evolved down a different path than raccoons.We are not monkeys, but we share a common ancestor. We are primates, meaning that we have thumbs that can touch all of our other fingers (opposable thumbs). Our eyes are in the front of our faces, so we can see in 3D. We did not evolve from any of the other primates that are still around, but we came from species that lived millions of years ago and had several branches on their family tree. If you go back far enough, you would even find an ancestor that we shared with modern fish, but we didn’t evolve from any fish that are still around.

All living things can evolve. Evolution just means a change in how common certain genes are. The changes can be small. If populations get separated long enough, they can change in ways that eventually make them new species. Humans haven’t necessarily stopped changing, but it’s in very small ways. The longer the lifespan is in a species, the longer it would take to see a change. Humans are all one species. In order for humans to split into new species, a group of humans would have to be isolated somewhere for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, maybe some lost space colony someday will do that.

Having a big brain is a big part of being human, but that doesn’t mean that other species will get bigger brains (Some big animals already have brains bigger than ours, but for our body size, are brains are big and complex.) Having a big brain costs a lot of energy. Other species are successful by being stronger than we are, or smaller, or faster. Having a bigger brain might actually lower their survival. Birth is already difficult in humans because of our big heads.

You might be interested in studying human evolution more. Here’s a good site for that: click here

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

We're apes. Apes and monkeys are very similar animals, but there are some differences. Monkeys for example have long tails that they can use to grab things, while apes don't. I'm not sure anybody really knows what the last ancestor that we share in common with monkeys was like. It probably was more monkey-like than ape-like, but was probably neither quite a monkey nor quite an ape.

Much much earlier, our ancestors were more fish-like, but again, they weren't any living kind of fish.


Answer 3:

In the family tree of all living things, there was a branch of the tree that split millions of years ago. One branch evolved into monkeys and the other branch evolved into us. Another way to understand is this: There was an animal millions of years ago that was our ancestor and also the ancestor of monkeys. More millions of years ago, we had a fish-like ancestor. About 3 billion years ago, all living things only had 1 cell. Those living things are the ancestors of us and monkeys and fish and all the other plants and animals in the world.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use