So a lady on here recently asked how I dilineate humans from apes and I wrote a rather long response which I’m decently proud of and don’t want to waste. As such I’m going to share it as a myTake to see what y’all think, and for easier access in the future if I need it.
*Before I go further I should state that I’m not a biologist of any stripe. I’m just a curious guy who reads on my own, so if there are any biologists out there who note I got something wrong I apologize and please correct me*
We’re in this family because we’re all large tailless primates with enlarged craniums, prognathous (projected) jaws (although reduced in humans we still have them), we all have the same dental formula, none of us have ischial callocites (think of a baboons butt), and we’ve got opposable digits (although humans lost that in our toe-thumbs). Another shared characteristic of the other three is that all have baculum (penis bones) which humans normally do not although we sometimes get them in atavism.
The common ancestor of all hominidae is believed to have existed ~14 million years ago (mya).After hominids we split from our orangutan friends to make hominine ~12mya.
Then we split with our Gorilla friends ~6mya and from our chimp friends in homininan ~4mya.
So enough of the cool science stuff and back to the question. “Were the first humans apes or something between apes and humans.” I already answered the first that yes they were apes just as were still apes. All creatures are taxonomically classified in the same group as their parent species because they retain traits indicative of that taxon whether or not they form a new species. So we’re still apes for the same reason that we’re still bilateral deuterostomes and vertebrate mammals. To your second question, yes, the first “humans” (genus homo) were something between our common ancestor and us. Other species of homo (humans) included rudolfensis, erectus, habilis, sapiens, and us Homo Sapien Sapiens. Not all were as complex as us and all others died off for one reason or another.Lastly you ask, “Where do you draw the line between ape and human?” As I said we are ape, but I think what you’re actually asking here is a moral rather than scientific question about how I dilineate the difference in value between humans and other apes. To that I would firstly say tribalism plays a part. I’m human and thus humans are obviously more important to me than other apes. Secondly humans are far more complex and as a result have a greater capacity for pain and pleasure. This means that doing something bad to an innocent human is worse than doing something bad to an innocent orangutan because the harm caused is greater.
Hope that helped a bit.”
Thanks for reading, any clarifications are appreciated.