(Prepared by Biju P R, Assistant professor in Political Science, Govt. Brennen College, Thalassery, Kerala, India.)
Note- This post is incomplete, lot of grammatical and spelling errors! not enough time, but my First B A Political Science students need it.
In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. Earth was without form and void. Darkness was up on the face of the deep. Thus continues the story of genesis in biblical account of creation.
Almost all religious scriptures go on to explain somehow a similar account of genesis. So, is Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc?
However, physical sciences tell us something a contrasting illustration of creation. Often the story is difficult for us to grasp.
To the Astrophysicists, the earth, where we live on is just a particle and too much insignificant, in the Milky Way, that is our Galaxy. Besides, the Milky Way, our Galaxy is too much insignificant in the profusion of Galaxies in the Universe. (For more reading please refer books, ‘Universe in a Nutshell’ and ‘A Brief History of Time’, by Stephen Halking).
NASA picked the age of our universe approximately 13.7 billion years, Alas! Yet, we have only superficial account of space. In addition, our understanding on this area is bit limited too. Doubt our ability to understand.
Social science, on the other is more interested in the social world and the life world. Therefore, to understand the life on earth, we must first know physical framework on which we live on. Moreover, there are many models of physical framework on which we live on illustrates confusing narrations of life.
Life on the Planet
Fossilized imprints of microbial community were found between rock layers around 3.5 billion years ago.
Few researchers believed that life appear not once only but many times before, it finally occurred on planet.
Eventually, protoplasm, which is neither plant nor animal, somehow achieved ability to reproduce. Like bacteria these protoplasm originated in water. Some organism gradually, developed ability to make chlorophyll. They survived and eventually became plants. Other organisms, which were not able to develop chlorophyll, began feeding on plants and developed in to animals.
Some pioneers ventured in to dry land around one billion years ago. Some researchers even found microbes that lived on the vents of volcanoes near 3.2 billion years ago. Yet, the firs to venture on dry land were arthropod, a predecessor of crabs, lobsters, and insects.
The scorpion like creature later developed in to half-terrestrial and half aquatic. Terrestrial animals included huge reptiles, flying birds and small mammals.
Theory of evolution
The question now comes by what process the one-celled organism become complex animals and plants. Scientists have been able to reconstruct the milestones: the appearance of primates among mammals, leading eventually through apes, hominids, to modern humans, emergence of culture, agricultures, within the past 5000 years ago, emrgence of urban areas and lastly the State.
In 1830 a Scottish geologists Charles lyell published a book Principles of geology in which he mainatained that natural forces had transformed the topography of the world we live in. The earth is continually altered by forces of wind, rain, temperature. Lyell’s book gone through the hands of amateur naturalist Charles Darwin. His voyage on a ship called H MS Beagle led hime develop theory of evolution and publication of On the Origin of Species. He offered proof of evolutionar development by a process of natural selection.
Some individuals out of a total population of a particular territory are born with a random feature. Individuals with such features survive longer and have a chance to reproduce, passing these features on to some of their descendants. Darwin says among plants and animals, more offspring in each generation are born than can possibly survive.
Some individuals are more competent in fighting for living space, resources, mates etc. he referred to a fact called survival of fittest but it is often disputed. A fit organism is one which surviuve and reproduce in a particular environment in a particular time.
However, some phases of natural selection puzzled Darwin. One was how beneficial traits are transmitted when it mated with individuals who did not posses such traits. I nDarwin’s time it is believed that offspring inherited a blend of their parents raits but there was no suffieint evidence to prove it.
The answer to the puzzle came form an Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel who had been crossbreeding plants. Form his experinments traits were not blended nor do they disapper completely.
Some traits appear dominats and some become invisible. Each new born inherits has 6 chromosome, 23 from mother and 23 fom father. So each person resembles each parents but not a copy of either.
Mednels work remained obscured until twentieth century when the combination of Darwinian evolutionary theory and Mendelian gennectics now called modern synthesis was validated by many researchers. Thus genetics was developed.
Adaptation is process sthat intervens to ensure that organisms acieve an adjustment to other environment that is beneficial and it does so though the process of natural selection
The human evolution
Humans begin with appearance of mammals. Small insignificant animals made appearance on earth during Paleocene epoch, or 65 to 55 million years ago.
One order of mammals were the primates about 55 million years ago. They took to the tress in forests. Primates are order of mammals to which monkeys, apes, humans belong.
These successful tree dwellers began, about 33 million years ago, I nto first monkeys, and little later in to apes.
Eventually some apes came down of tress, and attempted to survive on ground. These apes wre referred hominoids. Among them Ramapithecines were more terrestrial and adapted to open territory. Due to their large human sized appearences some researchers assumed their fossils named ramapithecus, they were hominids. Hominids differed from primates, since the have bipeds, they walk on two legs, large brains, no protruding faces, smaller teeth.
The evolution of hominids in to Homospaiens, the scientific name of humans is subject of anthropology, paleonotology, and archeology. Great research is going here.
Moder nhuamsn have developed independently in different parts of world. The issue of homospaiens whether rhave a single African origin or not, has not been solved.
The latest research showed that three million years ago the human lines was confined to Africa.
Modern humans- Homo sapiens
Behaviourally modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa. Humans have made important cultural advancements. Languages, boatsn rafts, sophisticated stone implements etc.
This point tey began to move away for mAfrica. Reaching Europe and Asia between 60000 to 25000 years ago. Remains in Uk and germany found that precursors of humans appeared some 300000 250000 yeas ago. The definite appearance of Homo Sapiens Sapiens ( the species name of modern humans) date back to 75000 years ago. But, research findings in 2005 uncovered that bones found in Ethiopia’s Lake Turkana are roughly 195000 years old. The best know of these fossils are that of Neanderthals, some of whom have inhabited Western Europe as early as 36000 years ago.
It is from Neanderthals we came to stereo type that cave man, for the yhave thick skull, heavy brow ridges, broad nose, low foreheads, not much chin, etc
Scientists do not agree on as Neanderthals as precursors or ancestors of modern human. The next fossil found in France dating 35000 to 30000 years ago, of Cro-Magnon humans. They are classified belonging to Homo Sapiens Sapiens. According to population geneticists, people in Basque, France and Spain are direct descendants of Cro-Magnon.
Agriculture- Cultivation and Domesticisation
In new Stone Age between 12000 to 10000 years ago a transiton occurred. Humans altred form foraging for food to domestication of plants and animals.
This transion eventually led hunting, gathering and fishing people in to food producers, farming was preceded by domesticsation of plants and animals.
Domesticisation nwas also facilitated by ending of Ice Age.
Retreating glaciers left planet warmer wetter and favouring vegetation.
Domesticisation led to agriculture. And deliberate growing of food.
The world’s first farmers were probably inhabitants of Near east in the region of Fertile of Crescent including parts of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Northern Turkey, Iraq, heading to Persian Gulf.
What is the biological foundation of society?
The physiology of humans became precursors of some of social structure as early as hominids stage. For instance , walking o ntwo legs may have developed because it was easier for hominids to see both predaotrs and prey as they walked on African savanna.
Walking up right, freed two limbs for carrying things, foods, and their young for m place to place.
Having hands free, led in to use of tools for digging roots or transporting objects.
Thinking about how to use tools led enlightenment of brain
A bigger nrained infant that pass through the birth canal of an up right walking mother had to depend more on her for survival. A mother saddled with a helpless infant was herself not very effective provider. Hence a division of labour occurred according to sex.
Females were able to forage in for plants, roots even with an infantin arms but both dependent on male occasionally for meat and product of hunting
This distinct habit of human sharing led to family and institutions
Humans females lost their estrus and began to be sexully receptive all the time
This helped them forge strong bond with specific males, lessend completion among males for females and each pai enfited infant. Rudimentary moral system developed “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Taboos developed. Designs to force individuals to opt mates outside family so as to reduce hostility within family. And among troops
Feeling such as gratitude,sympathy, friendship may have emerged as well a sshame, disgrace moral indignation.
When groups grown up failry large sized, some organisation became necessary, progress in social organisation led to development social lsystems, discovery of fire helped a lot.
Domestication of fire allowed humans to wander in to colder climate.
Robert S mcelvan in book Eve’s Seed: Biology, the sexes, and the Course of Hitory 2000 observed that reasons for masculine and feminine qualities in societies.
In early hunter gathering societies, men and women shared power equally. When agriculture grow up the product of hunt was no longer necessary.
The group could survive on harvest of fields. Because men could not bear or nourish a child, they found their role diminished. They were basically out of job. This occurred around 8000 BC.
Looking for new roles, men began to take over agriculture in the process developed valuso f aggressiveness, sompetitions etc. this ‘maladaptive strategy ‘ eventually led to tradition of patriarchy. War was a consequence.
What had worked successfll in the afarican savanna , aggressive male hunting behavous got redirected towards other males and subjection of their women.
Emily Eakn in Tilling history with biological tool (New York Times) says males trying to compensate for loss of roles for which biological evolution had prepared them led to different gender roles.