I’m not fully convinced on evolution as a definitive explanation for the way some things are. The diagram attempts to illustrate the relationships between early hominins is incomplete. While modern dating tools, like radiocarbon dating, can better place things on the chart. But since the proposed dates are so far back, we still have a lot of guesswork to do in finding relationships between homo sapiens and hominins and their journey to modern day.
The Becoming Human video attempted to make the connections but the claims did not seem completely verifiable. Not every species is connected and we most likely will never find all of the links. Scientists aim to explain where we came from and how we got to where we are today, but the fact is that they can’t explain everything. There are pieces to this puzzle that are missing and may never be found.
This is not to say that scientists haven’t done good research and make interesting theories. The relationships between hominins rely on what tools were used and body shapes. The scientific community points to skeletal similarities that link species to one another as well as the increased use of more complicated tools as time went on. Similarities aren’t a foolproof way of connecting two species and carbon dating aims to be the real proof of these relationships.
So you ask, what is the relationship between homo sapiens and hominins? I say, honestly, I don’t know. Theories have emerged about humans being ancestors of apes, which has now simmered to a common ancestor link. This is one example of a changing theory, which is what science is all about. You guess, you test, and you change as needed. I’m curious to see what changes are coming down the line in this scientific area.
Piltdown man was an embarrassment to anthropologists and archaeologists everywhere. The hoax of the missing link between humans and primates was a major PR setback for the search to find our ancestors. It’s amazing that the story was able to hold on for over 40 years and then easily discredited. This shows a need for scientific objectivity that is both open to the public and tested again and again by scientific peers. Without transparency, we could be invited to believe anything, whether with merit or not.