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Ape clarification

Ape clarification - that they have no tails. Created by Sal Khan.

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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Ray Alibux
    Why did apes and humans evolve from a common ancestor, but in different paths?
    (52 votes)
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    • old spice man green style avatar for user Nathan Davis
      Evolved doesn't mean becoming smarter, or taller, or faster, or anything like that, it just means changed. However any one of those traits can be a way a certain species evolves but individually none of them would be a requirement.

      When humans look at a fleas we look at them and find them to very primitive. It can't use tools like we can, it can't build houses for shelter like we do, it can't build a fire to keep itself warm, it can't even talk with other fleas. So we see all of those traits that we can do that are essential for our survival that the flea can't do and we see ourselves as superior to a flea.

      However if that flea had the same mental capacity as we do and can make the same judgment, it would look at us to say "look at those apes, I can jump 100 times my own height they can barely jump 1/3 of their height. If they fall from a height of 3 times their own height they run the risk of breaking a bone and even dying. Me, my hard exoskeleton protects me from any fall even if its 1000s of times my own height. I can jump from the ground on to a deer without it even noticing, then hide in its fur, feed off of it and even start a family all awhile being protected within the deer's fur, let's see a human do that"

      So which one is better. What would happen if humans evolved the ability to jump 100s of times their own height so its on par with a fleas ability? Well, obviously, humans would be able to jump 500-600 feet in the air, and since our skeletal structure is the way it is, we would immediately die on impact. So the fleas have it much better than humans in that regards.

      Conversely, What would happen if a flea evolved to have the reasoning and mental capacity equal to a human? Well, what is a flea even going to use that for? Humans originally used it to develop primitive weaponry for hunting as well as to domesticate fire for warmth and cooking our kills. Would any of that, in any way, be of any help to a fleas survival? No; of course not. Those skills would be completely useless to a flea. They need to jump onto passing mammals, drink their blood and hide in their fur. Not kill cook and eat like humans.

      So to answer your original question, a human is no more evolved than any other primate or even a common flea. Every species evolved in a way that gives it the best possible chance to survive long enough to pass on its genes to the next generation.
      (156 votes)
  • leaf green style avatar for user sarapeep1
    When the instructor refers to "Lesser Apes" at , what characteristics classify these "Lesser Apes"?
    (25 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user George Cristóbal Pérez
      lesser ape characteristics are smaller brains smaller size. for example the smallest great ape is the bonobo chimp which is mostly around four feet in size. while the largest lesser ape the siaming tends to be three feet in size. lesser apes also have longer and thinner arms when compaired too leg length. while great apes like gorillias and humans tend too have a similar leg and arm size. lesser apes are also found in southeast asia and islands like sumatra. while great apes are found in africa. the lesser apes are also tree dwellers while the great apes tend too be terristrial animals. lesser apes are vegetarian while great apes are omnivorious with humans and chimpanzees hunting for food
      (32 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Avro
    So we are not Derived from apes, we are actually an ape species am I right?
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Cody Balkey
    Okay, so we evolve from apes, so if one mated with a human could you see the "half-way" of human evolution?
    (3 votes)
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    • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user Matt
      First, humans are apes. Second, it would be more accurate to say that all apes and humans share a common ancestor instead of saying that humans evolved from apes. This common ancestor doesn't exist any more because over time the traits found in a population changed and became what we see today in the diversity of ape populations . So if you could mate a human with an ape you would end up with a hybrid, but that hybrid wouldn't necessarily be anything like the common ancestor. Also, because humans and other apes are different species it might not be possible to mate the two and even if it was most people would find it unethical.

      Although it isn't quite the same because it doesn't deal with heredity a similar idea would be that raisins and grape juice share a common ancestor, at some time in the past they were both grapes. If you mix together raisins and grape juice you don't really get grapes.
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user kopfl
    So, if we evolved from apes why did not all of the apes evolve with us.
    (3 votes)
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    • male robot hal style avatar for user Charles LaCour
      We did not evolve from any modern species. The term ape is a category of organisms based on specific characteristics. There was a species that fit the label of ape that is a common ancestor that modern apes and humans evolved from. By the way humans are still technically apes.
      (5 votes)
  • leafers seedling style avatar for user Donna D
    Is it true that humans do have a "tail" of sorts albeit it is not visible. A small vestal 6 inch or less curve at the base of the spine. Virtually unused but nevertheless painful of broke or cracked?
    And do any other primates have this hidden attachment?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user plummeranais14
    How did the Apes eventually change? What is in their system to make then become a human?
    (5 votes)
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    • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user CarlBiologist
      Apes is a term for a group of modern species, including humans, so apes did not "become" humans.

      Since all life on earth is related, any two living (extant) species will have shared a common ancestral species before this ancestral lineage diverged into two separate lineages. This is a process called speciation. It is a very interesting topic to read about.

      People make a big deal about their doubts about a human genetic relationship to other species of apes, but we are also related to trees, fungus, and bacteria. We share a more or less different common ancestor with every other known species on the planet.
      (4 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Nishant Shivam
    if humans evolved from ancient apes our ancestor (most probably), and referring to the previous video on natural selection, why did the apes did not get extinct? like the moths in the first example?
    (4 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Just Keith
      All of the ape species which are ancestral to humans ARE extinct. The currently existing ape species are all cousin species, not ancestral.

      However, there is no reason that a species cannot have a portion branch off and become a new species with the original species going extinct. All that is needed is something like a portion of the species migrating to some area with different environmental pressures. That off-shoot population could easily become a new species without the original species going extinct.
      (5 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Smith
    This video explains that we are apes, but we have a very small webbing between our fingers on our hands. Does this mean we have common ancestry from amphibians or even fish? Or do other types of apes also have webbing between their fingers like us?
    (2 votes)
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  • hopper cool style avatar for user Artemis
    Do viruses have genders? Or do they all just multiply by splitting or something? Also, are all species constantly slowly evolving?
    (2 votes)
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Video transcript

In the first video on evolution, I drew something that I called an ape. And then I drew a tail on it. And what I want to do in this video is clarify that that was absolutely wrong. Apes have no tails. And it's actually one of the main distinguishing characteristics of apes. There's obviously other primates that also have no tails. But apes definitely have no tails. And just to clarify, there's kind of two families within apes. And their common names are the lesser apes and the great apes. And the lesser apes are things like gibbons. And the great apes are things like chimpanzees, and gorillas, and me, human beings. So these right here, these are the great apes. And clearly, this great ape right here, did not have a great sense of style in 1994. And really didn't feel the need to have a haircut.