There are excellent examples of this in the field of medicine. We have a duty to teach the next generation where they come from, evolutionarily speaking, and to push against the idea that we are somehow invincible and almighty. I was focused on becoming an actress. In this way, studying human evolution is humbling, and in this day and age, we all need a little humility. We cannot know ourselves without knowing our ancestors and origins. Why Human Sexuality is Important Human sexuality plans a major role in everyone’s life whether you are a man, women, young or old, African American, Caucasian, or Chinese. From an early age we wonder where we come from; evolution explains that for us. Evolution is the observation that species change over time. An understanding of evolution has been essential in finding and using natural resources, such as fossil fuels, and it will be indispensable as human societies strive to establish sustainable relationships with the natural environment. We need to start using these big brains for good to stop the changes that could spell the end of our run on this planet. Privacy Policy and Disclaimer | Disclosures Required by State Law. Why Study Evolution? We are not immune to the forces that can cause extinction. Many students would never picture themselves as a “typical” scientist who wears a white lab coat and works in a lab all day. To skip or minimize discussion of human evolution, however, is to miss an opportunity to engage students. We can see now how vulnerable we are to disease epidemics like Ebola, HIV, and even the common flu. Early Humans: There are several different early species of humans, which include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Neanderthals. National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, EIN 11-2656357. But it's the same with all other organs and body functions, you may say. Why is needed to study human evolution? Antibiotics. The study and understanding of human relations can help us in our workplace, and as a result, assist us in achieving career success. And then, finally, and it's actually in some ways the most important aspect of studying evolution is how have the properties and why have those properties evolved over time? Why is it important to teach evolution? According to a 2008 survey by Berkman and Plutzer, 17% of high school biology teachers omit human evolution entirely, while the majority (60%) spend just one to five hours of class time on it. The evolution of any species are described by the study of fossils. One of the most important principles of biology is the main idea of evolution. Unfortunately, in far too many schools evolution is not taught all, or not taught to its full extent. Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates—in particular genus Homo—and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, which includes the great apes. We can see when our brain size increased (when Homo erectus came about) and the subsequent huge change in our technology. Why is biology important Biology is a branch of natural science and is indispensable to our daily lives. It can be cool to watch chemistry experiments but they may not relate directly to our own lives. Evolution also lays the foundation for much of what we know about genetics, immunology, antibiotic resistance, human origins, and the adaptation of species to a changing environment. Although antibiotics can be lifesavers, their use is currently at an all-time high. Saville has her MA in Evolutionary Anthropology and her BSc in Animal Behavior. It is important to continue to study evolution because it is a belief that people want to study the past and predict the future using what scientists have created as the model of evolution. In conclusion, the work that anthropologists do to study primates is crucial to understanding our past, how we’ve evolved, and who we’ve become. And those properties can be behavior, can be physiology, can be the phenotype, can be genetics. Students should understand our biological place in the world. Here's why it's so significant There's a reason every culture on the planet does it Storytelling is important to society and benefits the storytellers, a new study found. We are primates, just like the living animals we call apes and monkeys, though our own evolutionary path rewarded walking on two legs and having a really big brain. We study evolution for the same reasons that we study any subject — the thirst for knowledge, to understand the past and predict the future, and to organize our world. As they say, the rest is history. 2. How can the evolution of one species affect the evolution of another? These are not necessarily illnesses. Chimpanzees are well adapted to their environments where they live and thrive; they are in no way “less evolved” than we are. I struggled with math but always did well in biology. Yes, but there's a catch. A caricature of Charles Darwin from the London Sketchbook (1874). Stand up for uncompromised science education. Because everyone has those, and because most people will need this knowledge at some point. During bipedalism, organisms walk on two feet instead of all fours. Fossils are the remains of the past living organisms either animals or plants. As a study of life and living organisms, it seeks to establish the relationship and interactivity between two major aspects of life — plants and animals. To stay one step ahead of pathogenic diseases, researchers must understand the evolutionary patterns of … Evolution is not directional; it is not striving for better. This theory states, “that all living organisms have evolved from a common ancestor through natural selection acting on hereditary variation” (Reece, 2011). Learning about human evolution is a lens through which students, and people in general, can see how we are connected to the world. Learning about human evolution is a lens through which students, and people in general, can see how we are connected to the world. As the preeminent scientist Theodosius Dobzhansky stated, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Evolution is the only scientific explanation for the diversity of life. Why It's Important : 1. Ideas from Bible & Greek philosophy (33) Greeks: enduring world Bible: Earth was young, October 23, 4004 B.C. The better our human relations, the more likely we are to grow both professionally and personally. Teaching human evolution is too important to avoid for fear of the controversy surrounding it. Understanding evolution is important Understanding evolution helps us solve biological problems that impact our lives. "The 1918 flu is still with us": The deadliest pandemic ever is still causing problems today, The Importance of Teaching Human Evolution, Meet the Graduate Student Outreach Fellows, not taught all, or not taught to its full extent, seven plus the District of Columbia in 2007. Such examples can be multiplied many times. But the importance of evolution extends beyond its practical side; evolution explains the diversity of life on this planet, shows us our connection to other living things, and reveals profound insights into the processes of nature. In the United States, there are very few states (seven plus the District of Columbia in 2007) with science standards that specifically include human evolution; and human evolution is missing from the NGSS standards that were finalized in 2013. Lauren Saville is the owner and creator of Primate Tales, Toronto’s only educational outreach company that brings the world of primates and evolution into K–12 classrooms. By studying the fossil record we can understand when we began walking upright, by noting all the huge morphological changes that distinguish us from other great apes, such as our wide bowl-shaped pelvis, big toes in line with the rest of our feet and shorter arms. Sexuality is an integral part of being human. We need to give students more opportunities for moments like this that can shift their perspective and open up a whole new way of thinking. I have seen the moment in which a student begins to comprehend the bigger picture of where we come from, and it is amazing to behold. With DNA technology, the disputes about the evolution theory may be resolved. There were early hominid species, like Australopithecus afarensis, that lived for about 900,000 years, almost four times as long as we have been around, but they eventually went extinct. You can check out her blog where she writes about evolution, education, and primates on her web page. Within individual species, Darwin’s theory of evolution has been categorically shown to b… Consciousness, … The National Science Foundation is supporting the center with $25 million over five years, with the potential for a one-time renewal after the first cycle. Continuing to study and learn has had many scientists turn up new and interesting facts in … | Certified Educator Studying the origins of humans helps us to understand who we are, what we do, and where we fit in as humans. © Copyright 2020 National Center for Science Education. To learn why it is important to study evolution and what the most basic and important elements are, I suggest you read my source (from Berkeley). Technology can help us, but we can’t assume it will save us. The study of human origins has often been criticised for its uselessness in today’s time. Common misconceptions about evolution include: The purpose of the site is to answer those questions you're asking. Bipedalism: Bipedalism is unique to human evolution. Natural selection is the process Darwin proposed to account for evolution. There are many reasons why human evolution may not be part of the formal curriculum, but “controversy” surrounding our origins and fear of push back from parents due to religious concerns are certainly among them. She has studied baboon maternal behavior in Kenya, vervet monkey grooming and aggressive behavior in Tanzania, and squirrel monkey cognition at Bucknell University. Oakland, CA 94612. Animals who are the best adapted to their environment survive long enough to reproduce and pass those genes onto their offspring. Through their work we are able to see what forces, environmental and biological, have shaped us, what was important to us, and how we evolved into the highly unique animal we’ve become today. All of these examples reflect why evolution is the central theme of biological science today. We have observed these smaller processes in nature, but have never been able to say BANG this is a totally new species which has appeared on the earth last thursday. It was the best decision I ever made and while in Tanzania for my semester abroad, surrounded by vervet monkeys during my research project, I knew I wanted to be a primatologist. When it comes to human evolution in particular, the statistics are even more depressing. This, however, is challenged by the researchers who prove that studying the past does benefit us today in terms of medical knowledge about the development of cancers and genetic disorders through the study of the environment and mitochondrial DNA. It was my love of primates that led me to the field of evolutionary anthropology and made me so interested and passionate about it. Paleoanthropology is a subfield of anthropology, the study of human culture, society, and biology. Rather they are the elements that give people their unique characteristics. True, we humans have dominated and altered the world around us, but if we understand our evolutionary place in the world, it becomes harder to justify the idea that we are better than the organisms we share the planet with. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news, events, and resources from NCSE. Review our annual audited financial statements and IRS 990 forms at GuideStar. From the amazing array of fossils that have been found in Africa, Asia, and Europe we can piece together our evolutionary lineage from Australopithecus to early Homo sapiens and explore the different species that branched off in between. The field involves an understanding of the similarities and differences between humans and other species in their genes, body form, physiology, and behavior. Evolution is often used as a short-hand for “evolution by natural selection”, for example you might hear that “Darwin discovered evolution.” It is very important to make the distinction between these two terms. And most evolutionary biologists today study this third question. Bipedalism is a trait that set humans apart from other apes. It is only when that happens that this generation will see how precarious our place in this world is and be inspired to do all that they can to stop climate change from wreaking havoc on the only place we and all the rest of life on Earth call home. Evolution also lays the foundation for much of what we know about genetics, immunology, antibiotic resistance, human origins, and the adaptation of species to a changing environment. Why Humans Are Important to Studies of Primate Diversity. The important elements are fairly simple to grasp in concept, and staggeringly intricate in detail - incremental change over time, genetic drift and random mutation, and the guiding force of natural selection. But human evolution is instantly relatable, and shows students who are interested in science but don’t realize that spending your days out in the field digging up fossils or observing our primate relatives in the wild are examples of “doing science.” I was one of those students who never thought I could go into science. It is not in the least bit controversial to picture humans* within the context of the placental mammal group that … Our unique human-defining traits do not make us better than our other primate relatives—just different. We are primates, just like the living animals we call apes and monkeys, though our own evolutionary path rewarded walking on two legs and having a really big brain.