Here are three misconceptions about human evolution:
- We evolved from contemporary monkeys and apes.
We did not evolve from the same monkeys and apes that we see running around jungles and zoos today. Instead we evolved from an ancestor that shared many characteristics in common with contemporary monkeys and apes but that was not actually them. We and they took divergent paths, with them remaining more akin (literally) to the ancestor while we humans went our own way.
- Humans are a monolithic species
We humans are one of several species that evolved contemporaneously. There are dozens of others, including the famous Neanderthals, but we were the only group of the bunch to persist.
- Humans are ‘more evolved’
Evolution does not have an end goal. The purpose of evolution is not to produce human-like creatures. We are lucky in that our intelligence and problem-solving capacity gives us a strong advantage over other species when we have adequate resources to leverage our brainpower, but if you were to drop the average person in the jungle they’d have very little chance of survival compared to even them most foolish of chimpanzees.Now, with that cleared up, let’s take a look at some reasons why humans might have evolved.
10) Stoned Ape Theory
Let’s start with the wildest theory: Terrence Mckenna, hippie and psychedelic drug advocate, believes that huanity emerged from non-human animals thanks to the use of psychedelic mushrooms. The theory goes that, 12,000 years ago, nomadic tribes of human-like creatures took a few bites of psychedelic mushrooms and achieved enlightenment or something close t it. This enlightenment enabled them to form harmonious social structures and work together to develop civilization, futher advancing their mental capacities and causing our divergence from other evolutionary lineages.
Nobody in the scientific community believes that this is true.