Did you know that there are mysteries of evolution we have yet to solve? A lot is already known about the origins of humans and how life in general has evolved here on Earth. But in spite of our current knowledge, there are things that are still baffling scientists. From missing links in animal evolution to mysterious ancestors of modern humans, check out these 25 unsolved mysteries of evolution.
While most species have evolved significantly over the ages, there are some that have remained practically unchanged for millions of years. Known as living fossils, these creatures are priceless for scientists as they provide rare glimpses at how life on Earth might have looked like in the prehistoric era. One such creature is the Coelacanths. This fish was thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago until a recently dead specimen was found in South Africa in 1938. If animals have evolved throughout the years, why do living fossils fail to evolve or evolve slower? Scientists have a few theories that include genes with a lower rate of “substitution” and living environments that fail to promote a need for evolution.
The first hominim species, a line of primates that eventually led to the origin of humans, was long believed to come from Africa. However, recent studies of two fossils of the species Graecopithecus Freybergi, which were discovered in Greece and Bulgaria, suggest it actually might have been here where the first ancestors of modern humans emerged some 7.2 million years ago.
Origin of Bipedalism
There have been many theories on why and how our hominid ancestors became bipedal. Some theories argue it was because the primates needed to have their hands free to use tools and carry food while others claim it was because they had to look over tall grass etc. The best clues to our upright origins may come from living apes but no one knows for sure how much chimpanzees have evolved from the last common ancestor they shared with us.
Evolutionary Reversal: Whales
The evolution of whales has always been a mystery. For a long time, scientists had no idea how these giant, big-brained, air-breathing and warm-blooded mammals got into the sea. Now we know that it happened during a very unusual back-to-the water evolution as modern whales evolved from prehistoric terrestrial mammals. However, scientists have yet to discover why this bizarre evolutionary reversal occurred.
Origin of Language
There is an ongoing debate over how and when human language started. Some scientists think that our human ancestors started talking as soon as their brains became large and sophisticated enough while others suggest that language evolved slowly, from gestures and sounds used by our earlier ape-like ancestors.
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