Why are humans so much more likely to choke on food, compared to other mammals?
Humans are the only mammals that face a significant risk of choking on food. Why? The lowering of our voice box, which is exactly what makes it possible for us to speak. Similar primates (like a Capuchin Monkey, for example) struggle to create the sounds needed for speech because their voice boxes never descended. In the words of the linguist Stephen Pinker, "At some point, evolution chose human speech over human breathing."
Which of these was the name of another subspecies of humans, other than Homo Sapiens?
Neanderthals were a subspecies of human who lived with us until about 25,000 years ago. They were shorter, much stronger, and had a smaller prefrontal cortex. Scientists are still unsure of what happened to them.
"Survival of the fittest" is a quote by which influential person?
That was a mean trick question… Turns out, Darwin's best-known sentence isn't actually a Darwin quote at all. Philosopher Herbert Spencer came up with the phrase... and hasn't gotten any of the credit.
Which of these is a sign of more testosterone in men?
According to biologists, women are attracted to men with a big jaw, which indicates to a partner that they have more testosterone.
What is the evolutionary function of goosebumps?
Goosebumps once served a legitimate purpose: they made us look bigger! Our hair follicles would become raised, serving to plump up our hair and create the visual of a more impressive beast.
About how long have Homo Sapiens been around?
Homo Sapiens—which is all us modern humans—have been around for 200,000 years! That’s a long time.
Which of these activities can we do more effectively than any other species?
A team lead by Neil Roach concluded that throwing makes us distinctly human. No other species can throw as fast as us, and this evolutionary trait allowed us to hunt in larger capacities, significantly contributing to other aspects of our evolution, including brain size. So does that mean Javelin is the most evolved sport?
True or False: Humans are biologically driven to be more romantically and sexually attracted to someone who has a more symmetrical face.
Humans are biologically driven to be more romantically and sexually attracted to someone who has a more symmetrical face. Symmetry is an evolutionary indicator of good health and strong genes.
The small bit of pink tissue at the corner of your eyelid is evidence of what?
The small pink tissue in the corner of the eye is leftover from a third eyelid, similar to those found in a bird or reptile. It helps to protect our eyes by keeping them moist
How did human beings reach Australia?
50,000 years ago, humans built crude boats and used these to sail the Indian Ocean. That's actually how we eventually reached the continent of Australia.
True or False: Human behavior has impacted the evolution of some other creatures.
The evolution of clothing has influenced the evolution of animals such as the louse, which clings to clothes rather than the body. The peppered moth is another example, as it evolved to look black during the Industrial Revolution. That’s probably not a good thing. Just guessing.
True or False: Humans have a much faster metabolism than most other mammals.
Ever wondered why it is that humans live so long, compared to other animals? How come we're cursed to almost always outlive our pets?? Well, besides healthcare and our big ol' brains, it helps that we have a much slower metabolism than most other mammals. Slow rates of aging match our slow rate of energy expenditure (we burn calories 50% slower) and help us survive for decades.
All modern humans are descended from humans who evolved on which continent?
60,000 years ago, as humans moved away from Africa and the Equator, we developed variations in skin tone (lighter skin absorbs more vitamin D), hair texture, and facial features.
True or False: Researchers have discovered that some people alive today have traces of Neanderthal DNA
Researchers have found that some humans have Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that humans probably reproduced at some crossover period.
How much bigger are our brains today, when compared to our earliest human ancestors?
Brain size has tripled over the course of human evolution. It's possibly the single-greatest reason we've been able to survive as a species— let alone dominate the planet to such an insane degree. After all, we've got no claws, teeth, or thick, blubbery skin to help us along.
True or False: Many human embryos develop a “tail”, but they are rarely present by the time of birth.
Back in our more monkey-like past, we all had tails. It's just one example of our primate past. Today, we still have tails for a while... just when we're in the womb. All we have remaining at birth is the tailbone, or coccyx.
Which of these options was NOT a result of humans beginning to control fire?
The discovery of fire changed the way we're built. We began cooking food on controlled fires around 790,000 years ago— which meant the average human was soon consuming far less dangerous bacteria. Turns out, less raw meat = less grossness. That soon led to shorter human digestive tracts, as there was less of a need to process foods. The increase in healthy meat consumption also led to more energy available, which evolution translated into taller bodies and larger brains.
How long ago did proto-humans begin to develop stone tools?
Toolmaking is something we've been up to for a long, long time. The oldest stone tools date back to about 2.6 million years ago. They include stone flakes, hammerstones, simple cutting tools.
Human beings share DNA with which of these things?
Humans share about 50%-60% of their DNA (genes) with a banana. So stop eating your cousin, you awful, awful bannanibal! Just kidding, we also share our DNA with most other living things. That includes chicken (60%) and cows (80%), for the record.
Are the bones of a modern human thicker or thinner than our pre-modern ancestors?
Early humans had thick bones to deal with harsh climates. Starting 50,000 years ago, our bones became smaller and weaker as we began to live less physically demanding lifestyles.
Hiccups may be caused by a piece of leftover evolution. The muscles in our diaphragm that cause this behavior are similar to those found in...
Hiccups may also be a leftover, from back when we were an aquatic species. Basically, the same muscle used to process water in a fish’s gills is what's responsible for the contraction we feel when the diaphragm goes into spasm. I.e. a hiccup.
What is the evolutionary function of wisdom teeth?
Scientists agree that your wisdom teeth are produced by genetic “leftovers” from when humans ate a primarily plant diet.
Which of these eye colors evolved first?
Most of the world had brown eyes until about 10,000-7,000 years ago. Scientists are still debating the possible reasons, but around that time a genetic mutation produced blue eyes... and it took off from there. Currently, 8% of the population has blue eyes.
True or False: Human beings are the only animals that can blush.
Humans are the only animals capable of blushing, and evolutionarily it elicited sympathy, which showed other animals that we meant no harm!
You’ve clearly been studying your human history. Sure, a few of those questions got past you… but that’s because we made this as hard as humanly possible. And you still did pretty dang well. Good on you.
Have you found some way to make a living off this knowledge you have? I mean your biology and history expertise is shocking. Who else has such deep knowledge and understanding of the most obscure details of human evolution? Very impressive… well done.
Happy With Your Test Score? This video can help you do better on any quiz... even if you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the topic.
I don't want to burst your bubble, but we're all just fancy monkeys. Primates, to be exact. That's right: Homo Sapiens (that's us) may have been dominating the planet for the last few thousand years, but before that we were just another species in-development, battling the rest for survival and a place at the watering hole. Actually, we're still in development. Evolution never stops, after all… But before we all continue to evolve into something different altogether (lizard-people, anyone?) let's pause for a moment to take stock of how we got here. How much do you know about our story? Time to find out...
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