Why are humans not descended from apes?
Man is not descended from the ape!
Even before Darwin was able to elaborate on his suggestion in his second great work "The Descent of Man and Sexual Selection" in 1871, others had come before him and continued to dig into the painful wound of our ancestry.
Darwin under attack
British anatomist Thomas Henry Huxley was an ardent advocate of Darwin's evolutionary ideas. He is described in all sources as "Darwin's bulldog" because it was he who defended the ideas of the restrained Darwin in public in an intelligent and quick-witted manner.
In 1863, in his book "Evidence for the Position of Man in Nature", he took the view that of all living beings, gorillas and chimpanzees are most closely related to humans. He also made it clear that humans did not descend from apes, i.e. the living (recent) species of apes, but that both had a common ancestor.
In 1868 the zoologist Ernst Haeckel, another prominent follower of Darwin, postulated a link between an extinct great ape and humans in his work "Natural Creation Myths". He already had a name for the transitional form: Pithecanthropus, the ape-man. The search for the “missing link” had begun.
The conceptual madness
In an interview for the book “The Most Beautiful History of the World”, the paleoanthropologist Yves Coppens, co-discoverer of the Austhralopithecine woman “Lucy” in 1974, explained the misconception associated with the term “missing link” then and still today: “The The term “missing link” is misleading because it assumes an intermediate link between man and today's apes. We are looking for the common ancestor of humans and the great African apes, the fork between the branches, one of which leads to the chimpanzees and gorillas and the other to the various species of Australopithecus and then to humans. "4th September 2020
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