Could humans evolve again from apes if we went extinct?

BBC Science Focus wonders whether humans could evolve for a second time after dying out.

23rd September 2010
Could humans evolve again from apes if we went extinct? (iStock)

Asked by: Clare Ellis, Lancaster

Contrary to widespread belief, we didn’t evolve from apes, but a common ancestor that existed perhaps 10 million years ago (technically we still are apes).

But even if that common ancestor still existed, the fact that evolution is the result of both random mutation and a process of natural selection imposed by environmental conditions, means it’s highly unlikely that it would ever retrace its steps in quite the same way.

 


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