Views of human evolution, Chris Stringer

Interviewee: Chris Stringer. Human origins expert Chris Stringer talks about the beginning of the hominid family tree using an exhibit currently installed at the Dolan DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (DNAi Location: Applications > Human origins > Our family tree > Video > Our family tree)

I think this exhibition highlights very nicely the way that our views of human evolution have changed. Because there was this view that it was just a straightforward progression through the last few million years, from something fundamentally apelike through to modern humans, a ladder of progress, if you like, inevitably ending in us. But what we've learned, of course, as the fossil record has grown is that actually it was a complex process, that nature in a sense was experimenting with different ways to conduct evolution, and the evolution of even the early humans was a complex process, and we have contemporaneous species, even genera, as can be seen here, and we don't know if any of these forms are actually the ancestors of the forms that come afterwards.

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