Even though Homo sapiens have an ancestral lineage of the primate family, they have demonstrated a great disparity from the primate norm over the generations. Through a combination of distinctive features, Homo sapiens have been able or enhance both their reproduction and survival rates. To begin with, the varied and high-quality diet of the Homo sapiens has played a key role in the survival rates. The drying of the African landscapes meant that the variety of edible plant foods available for the hominids was limited. Also, the spread of grasslands heightened the copiousness of grazing animals, such as gazelles and antelopes. The Homo sapiens took advantage of this opportunity and exploited the animals as a complement to their diet. As a result of the dispersed nature of edible fruits plus the hunting of animals, Homo sapiens were compelled to run to meet the end of their diet needs (Leonard 6). What is more is that whereas anteceding hominids never used to cook meat, the discovery of fire by the homo sapiens made cooking possible, which has the advantage of killing pathogens, reduced energy when chewing, enables easy digestion and facilitates menstruation in women (Joyce, “Food For Thought”). As such, Homo sapiens are able to reproduce and survive as opposed to earlier hominids.
Consequentially, these features of Homo sapiens have worked synergistically to make them a more adaptable species. The varied and high-quality diet has increased the size of the Homo sapiens’ brain as compared to earlier hominids. The energy increase as a result of the improved diet increased the energy supply to the brain, leading to its enhanced size. The increased brain led to the discovery of fire, a breakthrough that has changed the life of Homo sapiens. For instance, the fire is utilized for cooking and the making of weapons for protection purpose (Potts and Sloan 46). On the other hand, the highly dispersed nature of edible fruit plants and other food resources required decreased energy consumption while searching for food and thence the Homo sapiens adapted to bipedalism, as opposed to being quadrupeds, which consumed a lot of energies. The signs of adaptability are manifested in the large butt muscles, the arched sole of the Homo sapiens foot due to the tendons and the less robust shoulder muscles, which are very useful when running (Summers, “Born to Run”). Most importantly, Homo sapiens have demonstrated their adaptability through the manner in which they alter their surrounding and hence making life more predictable than before. For instance, food can be grown and stored; animals are reared for consumption purposes; fire can be controlled and furnished through an easy process; and the building of shelters is possible (Potts and Sloan 53). These adaptive mechanisms have enhanced the survival Homo sapiens in their surroundings.
However, humans have been too successful in adapting to the prevailing ecosystem and thus the lack of balance thereof. The evolution encountered through the human history has been influenced by the mundane physical activities of humans. More physical activities, such as hunting animals and gathering edible fruits and plants consumed a degree of energy. As such, it was justified to improve the diet of humans for the body to produce sufficient calories to enable humans undertake these crucial physical activities (Potts and Sloan 49). However, humans have increasingly adapted to the ecosystem to a point where food resources can be controlled and furnished with little physical effort. Apparently, the concept of balancing between the calorie intake and the calories burnt is not given sufficient attention, and hence, the undesired consequences of evolution: diseases, such as obesity (Leonard 8). In this regard, it is recommended that humans should meticulously strike a balance between the calorie intake and expenditure; otherwise, humans will forever be victims of their own evolutionary success.
Joyce, Christopher. “Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter”. The Human Edge,
2010, Aug. 2. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Leonard, William. “Food for Thought: Dietary Change Was a Driving Force in Human
Evolution. Scientific American, November 13, 2002. Print.
Potts, Richard and Sloan, Chris. Being Human becoming Human: Survival of the Adaptable.
Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institute: The national Museum of natural History, 2010. Print
Summers, Adams. “Born to Run.” Natural History, 2015. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.