Top 10 Greatest Events that Shaped Human Evolution – Journey from Apes to Aliens
In this article I would like to mention the 10 greatest events that changed the way humans stood out among all the animals which lived on earth. The initial few crucial events takes us back into history a bit, but we can not crawl ahead without making a mention of these life-changing events.
About 3 million years ago, the species ‘Homo-erectus’, which were our forefathers – evolved from apes, lived a distinct life somewhere in Africa. It was distinct from all other animals as the first animal to stand on two legs in erect position and that’s why the name Homo-erectus (though, apes too stood on two feet, but they moved on all fours for most part of their life).
For almost 2 million years they lived the same life with out any evolution. Then came the first important event in their life – the Fire, well it’s not an invention exactly but the species learned ‘how to use fire’.
- 1 1. FIRE : 800,000 years back
- 2 2. LANGUAGE : 50,000 to 100,000 years back
- 3 3. WHEEL : 5,000 to 6,000 years back
- 4 4. PAPER : 2,000 to 3,000 years back
- 5 5. GUNPOWDER : 1,000 years back
- 6 6. STEAM ENGINE : 235 years back
- 7 7. ELECTRICITY : 130 years back
- 8 8. INTERNET : 15 years back
- 9 9. SPACE TRAVEL : xxx years in future
- 10 10. FACING OTHER SPECIES FROM OTHER SOLAR SYSTEMS : xxx,xxx years in future
1. FIRE : 800,000 years back
The species Homo-erectus realized the potential of fire. A controlled fire gave three benefits:
- Light during night, which drove away the fear of unknown from nearby bushes.
- Heat, a luxury at that time during cold winters in caves.
- A source to cook food. Until then they were just foraging grass, roots, flowers, fruits and from time to time small animals in raw form.
The cooked food changed the species altogether. The cooked food was soft, more readily digestible, meaning no need to have strong teeth (K9s). Their teeth reduced in size compared to apes, changed the shape of jaw line, thereby changing the shape of the skull. More room for brain means more intelligence, changed jaw line means the ability to make many types of noises which later evolved into crude form of language.
2. LANGUAGE : 50,000 to 100,000 years back
Before Language could be developed, the Homo-erectus had no chance of gaining knowledge from their forefathers. The knowledge was limited to what they observe their parents do and imitate. With language, the knowledge has a means to travel from generation to generation. In comparison, other animals could not gain knowledge from their forefathers. The people who lived in that period were called Homo-sapiens.
3. WHEEL : 5,000 to 6,000 years back
By the time Wheel was invented the present day forefathers of Humans arrived. They were carrying all the material on either their back or the back of animals. When they observed the rolling logs, they saw the potential and invented the Wheel. Wheel represented a transformation from how you carry your load. It changed the mode from dragging to passing. Different types of uses were invented. Some logs were arranged in series and the heavy blocks were just rolled over them. Later with the invention of a spoke, the modern day wheel arrived. The invention of wheel made pyramids, huge forts on mountains possible.
4. PAPER : 2,000 to 3,000 years back
Paper changed the way Humans record things better from cave paintings. When I say paper- its not literally paper. It represents recording anything for the future generations to study. Egyptians used to record on stones, Mesopotamians used to record on tablets made of mud, Indians used to record on palm leaves. There is still a debate on to where the literal paper was invented. Some say it was in Rome. Romans used the plant called Papyrus to make paper and so the name paper. Some say it was in China that paper was invented. Chinese used Bamboo to make paper.
5. GUNPOWDER : 1,000 years back
Well, all inventions which changed the human life may not have to be positive. The invention of Gunpowder used to explode material changed the way civilizations existed. It made impregnable forts to collapse. For 3 million years wars meant hand to hand fights. Gunpowder suddenly changed the concept. Here we are not discussing who fought who. The fight was no more about who is the strongest physically in war. A old man also can shoot down the mighty warrior, if he has skill to use gunpowder. The essence is Gunpowder made aggressive races with knowledge of Gunpowder (in the form of guns, artillery) dominate over subtle races.
Now, we come to the modern times which also saw some inventions which changed the way of life.
6. STEAM ENGINE : 235 years back
Steam engine as the name suggests does not make the cut as the greatest invention in itself, unless we understand what it stands for. Steam Engine heralded the Industrial revolution. Before that all energy used to make a civil society was purely from human labor or animal energy (that’s why it’s called horse power). Steam engine made it possible that while we relax, energy sources (coal, wood and oil in those days) can give us energy to do anything we do. Everything changed after that. You can now mention automobiles, industry, steam ships were made possible.
7. ELECTRICITY : 130 years back
A modern human truly arrived with the invention of Electricity. It changed the Human life forever. It made humans do things during night which was unimaginable before that. Cities were electrified, industry was driven on electricity. All the later inventions, be it radio, TV, computer and satellites and all the machines you can imagine run on electricity.
8. INTERNET : 15 years back
We are fortunate that we are witnessing one of the greatest inventions of mankind in its 1 million years of history during our life time. With the advent of Internet the world suddenly shrunk. An ordinary human can get access to any data sitting at his home on internet. This may seem normal to people who grew up used to the facilities, but just a few centuries back it was impossible to have such knowledge at finger tips even to greatest kings and emperors.
Now, we move forward to the two future inventions which may make our Human race a completely evolved species that existed in universe.
You may debate about some more inventions but the fact remains that they will be modifications to the greatest inventions.
9. SPACE TRAVEL : xxx years in future
We may be proud of Neil Armstrong as the first man who set foot on earth, same way the first Homo-erectus was proud of the first one who walked on two feet. Our setting foot on Moon is nothing compared to the vast amount of unfinished business. We may think of travelling to Mars as the next great things.
Unless we travel beyond stars, we can not call them great inventions. This requires speed of travel. At present the fastest known speed is that of light. If we attain the speed of light we may take few hours to reach the farthest plant in our solar system, Pluto.
Even if we want to travel to the nearest star (other than our Sun), Proxima Centauri, it takes 76 years at the speed of light. Unless somebody comes up with a radical and rather crazy idea to break out of the speed of light, we can not cross our planetary system in one life time. Our planetary system is a mere spec in the whole universe. Unless we cross our spec, we don’t reach to other solar systems.
On a lighter note, the only proven thing that moves faster than light is rumor but unfortunately with the existing technology, we can not fuel our space ships with rumor :)
10. FACING OTHER SPECIES FROM OTHER SOLAR SYSTEMS : xxx,xxx years in future
Without invention No.9, we can not seriously think of achieving the ultimate i.e., coming face-to-face with other alien species. After invention of mode of travel at speeds exceeding speed of light, we may move out of our cocoon and may explore other bodies of matter in space (like explorers in 15th century did in great oceans) and check trillions of planets before we come across species of intelligence.
Some say intelligence on other planets; in other solar systems of other galaxies in other milky ways, already exist. It is also not a must that those aliens gathered intelligence along with us, it may have already evolved billions of years back. The proofs they show are the flying saucers and say the intelligence from outer space has travelled many places before reaching planet earth. They also argue that may be flying saucers arriving on earth from billions of years.
Anyway coming to the point, when we achieve the ultimate (of meeting with other intelligence) we have completed all the greatest inventions / achievements possible for a humble species that is called Human.
If you have gone through the pain of reading this lengthy article, please spare a thought and provide your valuable comment.