This week’s readings, notes, and lectures has, as always, proved to be super awesome. I honestly didn’t think, at the beginning of the summer semester, that I would find this class quite as interesting as I have so far. Most of the material I would never really think to read, if I didn’t have to do it every week but I’m glad that I do. Each week I actually get a little bit excited about whatever material we’re going to be learning about because it always seems to challenge what I’ve randomly learned throughout my education. The way we, as humans, has evolved over time, is fascinating. I never realize that there were a handful of separate species that have all attributed to the human make-up that we possess today.
This week was especially interesting to me because I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about Neanderthals. I mean, I’ve heard the term Neanderthal used in a derogatory way. Used in a way to describe someone that’s rough, lacking manners, etc. However, after this week, gaining a better understanding of the species, I realized that maybe this reference is unwarranted. Neanderthals actually had the ability to communicate. They also seemed to possess some sort of emotional connection to one another. They would have burials for their dead. They would take care of their sick and their injured. They seemed to encompass the ability to love and demonstrate empathy. They also used tools to make their daily lives presumably easier. It’s interesting to me that, researchers have used fossilized remains to categorize species and use their findings to learn more about who we are as humans today. These findings tend to tell us about how these primitive species gave us the ability to adapt to our environment and also through various advances, gave us the knowledge to create and utilize tools that make our day to days easier. These findings have also showed us that many of these species traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to relocate and create lives for themselves, which is challenging to understand. How did this species travel THAT far by foot? How did they manage to survive and adapt in environments that we’re so unknown to them? It’s all so wild to me. I think the most interesting and coolest aspect of all of it, is really just how far humans have come. I mean, seriously, our species has overcome so much over time and learned how to survive over the years. Our ability to adapt to our surroundings has given us an advantage and a competitive edge over other species. Our species is incredibly and undeniably complex. Each week in this class, we seem to learn more and more just how true this is. The materials give us the ability to understand evolution in a way that I haven’t learned about, which makes it all the more interesting. Fossilized remains show us the connections that we have as humans to various species throughout history as well as today. The interconnectivity of it all blows my mind, to put it simply.