The connection between non-human primates and humans is obvious. There are various similarities between the two groups that provide anthropologists with evidence about human ancestry. There is a history of non-human primates that were strictly bipedal; in other words, hominins. Bipedalism is a trait that modern humans share with primitive hominins; for example, the genres sahelanthropus, orrorin, and ardipithecus. Though these groups are very still have a lot of ape-like features (long arms, smaller brain, large canines), they still share bipedalism with humans, so they share a common ancestor.
Another trait humans share with early hominins is dental anatomy. This is first noticed among the ardipithecus ramidus. These hominins still have larger canines, but the structure is closely related to incisors. Even more dental similarities to homo sapiens can be found among ardipithecus garhis. This species is a later hominin species. They share the same dental structure with human molars and closely resemble the front teeth anatomy.
Linking humans back through common ancestors can teach us how we came to be and why we are able to function the way we do. Evolution takes thousands of years to happen but human adaptation makes way for larger, permanent changes in the future.
Fossilized skeletal remains of early human ancestors can also help us learn about the history of humans, and all other species. Being able to study skeletal remains can provide important information about how species had to adapt to certain conditions to survive, what adaptations were beneficial and those that weren’t, whether or not human ancestors were bipedal or quadrupedal (based on attachment of spinal cord), the traits modern humans share with primitive hominins, the changes in biological structure to evolve into what humans are today, etc. Skeletal remains are like a history book. They are full of information that needs to be accessed.
“Where do we come from?” is a question that is asked often. Linking humans back through the remains of our ancestors can teach us how we came to be and why we are able to function the way we do. Evolution takes thousands of years but constant adaptation sets the groundwork for it.