We explain what the human being is, to which species it belongs and some of its characteristics. In addition, the various theories about their origin.
What is the human being?
When we speak of the human being or directly of the human being, we refer to our species: Homo sapiens (from the Latin “wise man”), belonging to the order of primates and the family of hominids , creators of the civilization that today dominates and transform planet Earth.
The oldest evidence of human activity on the planet dates back to 315,000 years, and is found in Morocco. At that time, ours was just one species among several of the genus Homo , highly diversified and whose other species have already become extinct.
After the disappearance of Homo neardentalis (the “man of the neardental”) 28,000 years ago and of Homo floresiensis (the “man of flowers” or Hobbit) approximately 13,000 years ago, we are the only species of the genus that endures .
The human being is distinguished on the basis of his bodily features (biped, with useful upper joints, capable of standing upright and of scarce fur), but also to his capacity for inventiveness and intelligence , which distinguishes him from the rest of the superior animals.
In particular, his capacity for articulated language , for complex and abstract thinking , and for the transformation of the surrounding environment.
However, human beings have defined ourselves philosophically in very different ways throughout our history. , as we have created and demolished religions, social orders and interpretations of the world, in search of answers to our essential questions about the origin and sense of existence, or the final destination of it.
In some contexts the term “ man ” was used as a synonym for human being, but such use is dismissed due to its ambiguity, since it also designates adult individuals of the male sex.
Origin of the human being
The origin of our species has been the subject of debate throughout the history of humanity, initially having mythical or magical-religious explanations according to the various cultural trends that exist, in what has been termed as creationism : theory that human beings are the work of a God or a supernatural or sacred will that gave us the gift of intelligence and with which we are, therefore, in debt. It is the position still held by numerous religious groups, who prefer to interpret the content of their sacred texts, such as The Bible .
However, following the emergence of science and rationalist discourse, more and more possible explanations of a scientific nature were agreed upon, until arriving at Lamarck’s Theory of Evolution in the 19th century , the first attempt to explain the origin of the life through the transmission of acquired characteristics, ie a life to their descendants inherited the things learned or acquired during the course of its existence.
Then the book The origin of the e species would come Charles Darwin’s , whose theories were perfected by later scientists, where it is proposed that life evolves based on slow changes and the pressure of natural selection.
In fact, Darwin’s second book already addressed the issue of human origin ( The Origin of Man , 1871), in which it was first proposed that man descended evolutionarily from some simpler form of existence, with which he would still have Many features in common: primates.
This does not mean that “the human comes from the ape”, as many explain it, but that the human being is a direct relative of the most modern species of primates , which are pressed by the environment and by historical needs were increasingly acquiring greater capacities (walking erect, opposable thumbs, use of tools, fire management) and thus giving rise to more and more new species, the last of which is, precisely, the human.