Bloema Gallery Mankind & Evolution
Mankind & Evolution
The Mankind & Evolution exhibition showcases the fascinating process of change that takes place in living organisms across many generations. Evolution has been a feature of all organisms ever since life first appeared on Earth almost 4 billion years ago
Slight differences between parents and their offspring seem insignificant but can add up to major modifications in the course of many generations. If a change is advantageous to an organism, it may mean that individuals can find better food or have more offspring. So changes can be passed down to future generations.
Over time, a population may gain so many new characteristics that a new species is created. Different populations of the same species that are separated by geographical barriers like seas or mountain ranges may become increasingly dissimilar and actually evolve into different species.
We (Homo sapiens) are also the result of billions of years of evolution. Our earliest ancestors were single-celled bacteria. They developed into ever more complex life forms, each preserving the successful characteristics of its predecessors. 25 million years ago the first primates appeared and between around 2.4 and 1.4 million years ago the earliest humans (Homo habilis) were living in East Africa. Modern man (Homo sapiens) appeared only 200,000 years ago and is the only species of the genus Homo now extant.
Our species is still evolving. For instance, lactose tolerance (the ability to continue digesting lactose into adulthood) has developed only in the last 10,000 years. But modern man is going further: we are now able to repair our bodies and replace or even improve parts of them.
The Museon’s educational programmes and exhibitions are invariably based on its extraordinary and extensive collection. This presentation includes true-to-life reconstructions of primates (including man), as well as a mounted specimen of a chimpanzee, an impressive orangutan (both species of great apes) and a lar gibbon (a species of lesser ape). These amazing animals are used, together with a variety of fossils, to explain the evolution of life on Earth.
Homo sapiens is the product of the astonishing process of evolution. From Africa, modern man has colonised the entire planet. We have made our mark even on the eternal icecaps and in the depths of the oceans – generally in the form of refuse and pollution. And we are the only species capable of the large-scale destruction of life on Earth. Does that make us the world’s most successful species?
"Here we are, arguably the most intelligent being that's ever walked planet Earth, with this extraordinary brain, yet we're destroying the only home we have." - Jane Goodall
The exhibition has been created thanks to financial support from the EVON Foundation, established by Mr and Mrs Bloema, and the Friends of the Museon and Omniversum.