BBC Science Focus Magazine

THE EXPLAINER

HOW DOES EVOLUTION WORK?

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT HUMANS EVOLVED FROM APES?

The evolutionary changes we see occurring over a few decades are modest: a cricket that evolves to be silent is still a cricket. When evolution unfolds over longer timescales – thousands or millions of years – it can lead to much larger changes in physical appearance. This is why a microbe that lived billions of years ago ultimately evolved into every species alive today.

By carefully assessing. It had adaptations for walking upright on two legs like we do, but its arms were more suited to hanging from branches, like chimpanzees. This mix of features supports the idea that humans and chimps have a common ancestor, and adds to the abundant fossil evidence that humans really did evolve from (and technically still are) apes.

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