Primate evolution is based on the arrays of morphological transition and phyletic relationships recognized in fossil records (Cartmill & Kay 206). The history of primates is presented by the fossil obliging relative analysis consisting of the taxa and morphological characteristics not found in fossil records. Evolution on the other hand, is a hard topic covering life history and its major processes. The understanding of evolution is based on interpreting the arrays of diversity, behavior, ecology, invisible molecular structures and visible morphology that are continuously changing.
Though human evolution starts with the last common ancestor of all life, it refers to the history of evolution of primates and more so that of the genus Homo, consisting of different species of hominids who developed into Homo sapiens (Dene et al. 98). Study of human evolution consists of primatology, archaeology, physical anthropology; embryology, and linguistics. These are scientific disciplines.
The evolution of primates began in the early centuries. According to genetic studies, it began 85 million years ago, and later, 55 million years ago, Paleocene can be traced in fossil records. The great apes, or the Hominidae family, came from the Hylobatidae family from 15 to 20 million years ago. Later, after about 14 million years ago, Ponginae or orongatunas emerged from the family of Hominidae. The chimpanzee and gorilla emerged from the ancestry leading to the genus Homo. Around 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago in Africa, the modern human developed from the last common ancestor of Homo and the ape species, Australopithecus.
Charles Lyell first considered evolution as an organic transmutation being a product of 18th and 19th century biostratigraphy and paleontology in 1832. The proof of evolution is contained in the arrangement of morphology and organic diversity reserved in the geological record. This is a well-known truth that there is a lot to be learnt about phylogeny, how evolution works, and that life has a long history.
Fossils are of significance to the development of modern evolution perception, but their role is inadequate to some extent. The origin of species was first published in 1859, and it grounds on a paleontological proof, even though it was not a dissertation on fossils nor on fossil records (Sarich & Cronin 150). With the consciousness of artificial selections and limited resources explaining current organic diversity as a product of natural selection, Darwin joined observations on differences and heritage in living populations.
The fossil record has improved radically since Cuvier first described the fossil. Therefore, the distribution of species in time, space and form should be taken into consideration with the view of whole primate history. Even if the reductionists claim that morphology is the only biological feature of the organism, the existence in time and space are also features of life. Primates on the other hand, are considered in terms of their geographical distribution, their form and their age.
In present, there are well-known varieties of primates. There are six groups of living primates that are well recognized. These are Cercopithecoidea, Lorisoide, Lemuroidea, Tarsioidea, Honinoidea (human apes) and Ceboidea (Sarich & Cronin 168). Classification differs from phylogeny. Fossil and evolutionary relationships are not significant in the classification of organisms or primates. Classification includes evolutionary relationships, but does not imitate available evolutionary patterns. Communication is the major significance of classification that needs simplicity and organization for its efficiency.
Concerning the six superfamilial groups of modern primates, we can learn what happened in the early ages. The evidence of common ancestry is the coming together of morphology as the development of groups is traced back. This evidence can be used to show how primate superfamilies are related. On the other hand, fossils in the geological record can be treated similarly through a combination of species into groups in the stratigraphic intervals due to the similarity in geographical distribution and morphology (Dene et al. 107). Evidence is shown by the stratigraphic superposition of what happened before and after by giving the proof of chronological ordering vital for interpretation of strata and contained fossils. Stratophenetics is where the fossil record is compressed at the gauge of a given study. A minimum spanning tree of living and fossil records can be provided by merging the similar taxa in one time interval to those in head-to-head or nearby intervals, considering their age, morphology and geographical distribution.
The significance of organizing information concerning fossil primates stratophenetically is to allow the assessment of what we do not know and what we already know about the primate history. This technique recognizes significant gaps in the fossil record (Sarich & Cronin 143). Cercopithecoidea and Hominoidea have a dense fossil record and can followed back through the Miocene to an Aegyptopithecus – a species, similar to a structural ancestor in the late Oligocene or earliest Miocene. Aegyptopithecus and Apidium are the primitive anthropods that are more related to Adapidae amid the Eocene primates. Adapidis is almost similar structurally to a primitive tarsioid Omomydae at the beginning of the Eocene.
Theories based on stratophenetic linking are healthy in that they are trying to combine all evidence in the fossil record that is the morphological, temporal, and geographical views the history of the evolutionary group. The stratophenic theories need to be tested and therefore new evidence concerning fossils is required, and good enough, new fossils are available in most parts of the world.
In conclusion, it should be noted that paleontology plays a significant role in the documentation of main topographies of primate evolution. Fossils present some inadequate information about the development of species, but are of significance relating to the molecular structure and visible morphology to geological time. The fossil record gives a plan of primate phylogeny and this means can be advanced using techniques and logical cladistics principles as this would increase our understanding of evolution nature and a methodical relationship outside of what can be learnt from fossils alone. Fossil record gives deviation time necessities for the measurements of the extent of evolution, interpreted in terms of a chronological rate, and can be used to measure the deviation that are not controlled by fossils. Clearly, human fossil record, primate evolution and biological variation in modern human populations have a lot for the anthropologists to learn.