Uniqueness of Human Evolution is a pretty debatable topic; however, several facts and scholarly discussions have tilted the balance in favor of the motion. According to the Human Genome Project, one human being has almost 25,000 genes and these genes are responsible for the overall characteristics of the person.
The Human Genome is nothing but the blueprint for building up the genetic structure of Homo sapiens. The discussion of uniqueness of human evolution can be broadly divided into 2 patterns, continuity and discontinuity. Although the research works and endless analyses on this issue can bring out a lot more patterns but these are the primary patterns suitable for the basic discussion of this topic.
If the patterns of continuity of a genome are scrutinized, one would come to the conclusion that there is no evidence which can possibly suggest the uniqueness of a human genome. Brad Gulko, a Ph.D student from Siepel’s laboratory, said “Remarkably we use nearly the same building blocks as chimpanzees, but we end up with very different results.” Most parts of the genetic structure in Homo sapiens are identical not only to Chimpanzees, but also to many organisms.
The whole build-up process of the DNA strands, genes, RNAs and other essential elements happen over a long period of time. It was believed that protein plays the most important role in this build-up process, however, recent studies have proved otherwise. Research work in Cornell University in Ithaca, led by Associate Professor Adam Siepel, found out a new computational method to analyze the natural selection.
The research found out that only nine percent of the DNA responsible for evolutionary activities is in the protein synthesizing regions of the genetic structure. More than 50 percent of the activities related to evolution occurred in the intergenic region, i.e. the region of DNA between the genes. Also, some DNAs called Introns which are not involved in the protein synthesis are responsible for 35 percent of the evolutionary activities.
Hence, it would not be unfair to conclude that the scientific research work of continuity is evolving every day and can come out with unprecedented experimental results. On the other hand, the pattern of discontinuity can be quite perceptive to some people who mainly concentrate on the aspects which are absolutely unique.
The coordination, understanding, perception of love, hope and intricate analyses are very much unique to human beings. Till date, there has been no scientific discovery which suggests the existence of a more complex organism than the Homo sapiens. Humans can destroy, create, imagine, believe and cooperate in a very distinctive manner than the rest of the species.
So, when the line of ancestry of human beings got broken from the line of African apes, almost eight million years ago, the very essence of evolutionary process also got separated. Characteristics, features and behavioral patterns started taking a new course from thereon and since then, it has evolved immensely.
Therefore, based on the above discussion of evolutionary facts, it would not be an overstatement to say that the evolution of Homo sapiens went on to become unique and much more complex than any other species. Until the day science proves otherwise, it is quite clear that the evolution of human beings is unique in comparison to most of the creatures because they have amazing aptitudes on willful creation, destruction, love and hope.
Opinion By Sunando Basu
Image by Bryan Wright – Flick License