The evolution of human kind can be regarded as the climax of phylogenic history of organisms. In the previous units of this block as well as the previous block we have detailed for you the mechanisms and the processes of evolutionary change. In such discussions, specific examples from both the animal and the plant situations were chosen and explained. However, it should be conceded that in this course on
Evolution, it was not possible for us to discuss the evolution of various groups beyond the species level. Nevertheless the evolution of the lineage that eventually produced man is indeed important. Since we are the current end products of the process and are capable, we can look back into the history and at the remains of the organisms that have been a part and parcel of this lineage. The fossil record of the human history, although rudimentary, has been quite helpful in determining largely what we are seeking, namely a coherent history and evolution of human species. It is rather difficult to say that natural selection also sought and directed the evolution of man. It could be that the selection process operated mechanically to produce populations of organism's adapted to produce more organisms. This observation is obvious if one looks at the fossil history from early primates to the present man. In this unit we will be analysing the trends in human evolution starting from early primates. Such trends are a reality only for us. The last unit of this block will be concerned with certain aspects of cultural and social evolution of man with a special emphasis on his future course of evolution. Some of the questions we would like to raise in the next unit are what direction the human evolution is taking and whether man is capable of steering his own evolution. The answers for such questions may not readily be forthcoming but an attempt will still be made.