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The Evolutionary Progression of Mankind and Children

Understanding and always being reminded of the heterogeneity of children and their biological foundations is an important part of education and in dealing with children from a variety of backgrounds. It is difficult to foresee how a child's life will unfold in the future, and when it comes to predicting the life of the next generation, this is almost impossible. Thus, in order to better serve these new generations, especially in terms of thinking about education, it behooves us to contemplate these issues in the context of the evolutionary progression of mankind.

In contemplation, life began about four hundred fifty million years ago. The earth emerged in this vast universe, creating atomic reactions and molecular evolution, forming the basis for compound molecules, which then created life. Four hundred million years ago, these molecules took shape as unicellular microorganisms and finally seven hundred million years ago, these microorganisms finally developed into multi-cellular organisms.

Sexual reproduction began five hundred million years ago and increased the speed of evolution and the possibilities for diversification of the species. The vertebrate first emerged about four million years ago, and the mammal was first seen around three hundred million years ago.

The random assignment of chromosomes including male versus female in reproductive mammals, and the chiasma process of chromosomes were first observed about sixty million years after the distinction of dinosaurs. These evolutionary developments resulted in the energy and diversity of mammals. Without these evolutionary progressions, the development and existence of mankind would not have been possible.

Following this trend, four million years ago, one type of mammal evolved into ape-like beings which became the prototype for mankind (Homo habilus). These beings first emerged in Africa. Later, evolved the Hominid, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon and the people of today, Homo Sapiens.

In this long history of evolution, we must consider the possibility that mutation has occurred. Thus, both the quantity and quality of ultraviolet rays, x-rays, chemical materials all have an effect on hereditary transmission. If there is an excess of these materials, the continued existence of mankind cannot be guaranteed, and even if these environmental dangers are in small amount, they are sure to cause an impediment to mankind.

On the contrary, there are instances where these environmental matters may be advantageous to man's existence and to being passed down genetically. Our African ancestors began walking from the center of Africa in search of one thing or another. One million years ago, they entered what we now know as the Middle East and spread out their existence from there to various parts of Europe and Asia. These ancestors produced many children in diverse situations and were able to continue life through the many generations.

The first criteria for being able to continue this reproductive process was to be able to adapt to the natural environment. They adapted to these many situations using various measures and tools. Our African ancestors were able to adapt to the strong sunlight of the dessert, while those with weaker skin pigments were more adaptable to European climates with weaker sunlight. Consequently, natural selection developed the various communities which remain today with more lighter skinned people settling in European regions and more darker skinned people settling in Africa. Those with yellowed skin tones settled in Asia.

It seems that man not only had to adapt to their natural surroundings, but in due course, they were forced to adapt to the culture and industrialization that they themselves built. Today's culture and industrialization seems to have begun two million years ago in the Stone Age with the burial rituals of the Neanderthals and the cave paintings of the Cro-Magnon. These beginnings led to the development of advanced tools, the making of communities and families and finally to the various lifestyles and cultures of present day society. Most importantly, there is the development of the human brain since the Stone Age which has been critical to the evolution of the human being. In particular, the development of the cerebrum and the frontal lobe.

Within the evolutionary trend, it is especially interesting to know of the various types of life forms which are in existence. Among those, is the human life, of which is very diverse and furthermore, within this category, are children. It may even be presumed that the many life forms are a result of the long process of molecular and chemical evolution. Each complex molecule must have transformed into whatever life form to which it was most adaptable.

Hence the human is one of those life forms which have emerged into a complex being, and have developed many techniques and tools (e.g. machines), as well as to have mastered the seas and to have civilized in all parts of the world. In no time at all, not only will there be life in the polar regions, the deep ocean, but also in space. Thus, the children of the twenty-first century are faced with the challenge of finding new ways of living in the future.
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