It occurred to me that most people who argue about evolution simply don't understand it, and seem to go out of their way to avoid understanding it. They say things like we just can't know, which isn't true, scientists do know how we evolved, when, and even can take good guesses as to why. So if you're interested, let's take a three million year journey together. 3.2 million BCE, African jungle: The land is rich and a massive jungle stretches from coast to coast. Apes swing between the trees have they had for eons before. But as India crashes into Asia, the great mountain range it created started to change the weather patterns, sucking the moisture out of African air. Desert and grasslands started to replace the jungles. The animals were forced to adapt, or die. Hopping down from a tree is a three foot tall black creature. It's ancestors could move between trees without ever touching the ground, but not anymore. The ground was dangerous, full of cats that loved the taste of ape. This ape, however did something that no ape had done before: it stood up. An evolutionary response to the trees getting further apart, standing upright allowed Australopithecus to see further in the tall grass, move faster, and carry things with it. It has taken the first step in a long history of firsts that would eventually become us. 2 million BCE, African savana: Australopithecus is gone, but so great was the evolutionary step that created her, many species had diverged from her. At this time, there are over a dozen different ape-men, all standing upright. The next evolutionary step is about to take place, one that would start to shape our brain. While most ape-men ate the tall grass and fruits of the trees, Homo habilis appeared on the scene, and had also developed a taste for meat. They scavenged kills of the cats. While lions would pick a caracas clean, they weren't able to get to the bone marrow. Many of the ape-men had started to use tools, including sticks to gather termites, but homo habilis used rocks to smash open bones. This protein allowed the homo habilis brain to get bigger. The increased brain power allowed habilis to do something amazing: correlate seemingly unrelated things. This was the first species that would see a swarm of vultures circling and ask the simple question: Why? This allowed man to follow scavengers, tracks, and other subtle clues that no other animal could, giving it an abundance of food. The abundance of food at this time, gave habilus something it's ancestors didn't: down time. While bored, it would play with things, eventually making tools. 1 million BCE, African savana: Homo habilis is gone, replaced by homo erectus. As the environment changed, lots of more specialized ape-men died out, and the more adaptable erectus become the dominate. A flash of lightning strikes a tree near an erectus clan. The tree explodes and lights on fire, here, these ape-men are about to discover something that would be the catalyst for the next evolutionary step. For 4 billion years, every animal on earth had instinctively run away from fire. For the first time, curiosity and intellect allowed a creature to override it's animal instinct. It approached it. Erectus became to harvest fire and use it as a tool. It created warmth, light, and it kept predators away. While most animals went to sleep when the sun went down, homo erectus gathered around the fire. "For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened that unleashed the power of our imagination: we learned to talk." - Dr Stephen Hawking. Around the campfire, language started to evolve. No other animal in history had the ability to share information the way that erectus did. This ability make erectus able to coordinate, giving rise to the next evolutionary step: hunting. This would allow erectus to, for the first time, leave it's cradle. They followed the game animals into Asia and Europe. In Europe, these would evolve into Neanderthal man and in south east Asia, Java man. 250,000 BCE, African coast: The primitive stone tools hadn't evolved. Man was making stone tools the way that birds made nests: They didn't really understand what they were doing, they just new that they should. That was about to change, Africa was drying out even more because of the ice age in Europe. Erectus populations were on the verge of extinction. They lived in caves near the coastline where there was still food. This dwindling numbers and harsh environment meant that survival of the fittest was now pushed to extremes. The smarter groups, held a distinct advantage, here man first learned how to fish and fine tune hunting. Out of these small groups of huntsmen and fishermen came homo sapien, the smartest creature to ever live on earth. 100,000 BCE, European woodlands: A group of Neanderthals encircle a pig. They are about four feet tall and the most successful homo species to ever live. In the dense woods, they lose the pig, they use their superior noses to track it. Off in the distance, they hear the pig squeal. They rush to where they heard it and stop at the site of a tall hairless creature gutting the pig. They stare at each other, both intellectually analyzing the other, the first time this had ever happened. Homo sapien determines that the small hairy creature, holding stone tipped spears is a threat, and attacked and killed it. For 80,000 years humans would purge neaderthals; both actively, by killing them, and passively, by hunting their food. 50,000 BCE, European woodlands: Another amazing evolutionary step is about to take place, but this time it's not man's own evolution that would shape the future, it was something else. As a human clan eats around a campfire, it tosses the bones of its kill aside. A stealthy and brave animal approaches from behind them: a grey wolf. It grabs the discarded bones and rushes off with the rest of the pack. As the bravest and least fearful of humans, this dog is high ranked in their pack, thus the ones who could approach humans mated more. Their finely tuned noses let them track the human nomads, picking up scraps. This is the ice age, food is scarce and the humans, with their superior intellect can more easily find food, and with their weapons, can bring down massive prey, leaving leftovers for the dogs. They evolved into modern domestic dogs. The human's superior brainpower and the dog's superior senses make the team unstoppable in Europe. 7,000 BCE, Iraq marshlands: Human clans have been living where two great rivers meet for eons due to it's rich land, a few dogs follow them around as well. Here, man has a comfortable life, so they no longer have to be nomadic. They start to understand how plants work and how to keep them alive. Agriculture is born. The humans care for the crops, and the dogs keep pests away. They quickly learn to domesticate other animals, build shelter, and something else starts to happen. No longer needing to focus all energy on survival, man starts to wonder about his world. What is that giant object that floats in the sky? It provides us light, heat, but if you look at it, it hurts you. Religion is born. Religion also allows leaders to start controlling large groups of people by associating themselves with gods. Out of religion, came empires. 6,000 BCE, Egypt: The harsh arid desert makes travel grueling. Man could not travel far beyond his civilization anymore, he required too much water and there wasn't enough of it. The egyptians noticed that boiling the water made it safer, but boiling it with certain crops in the water, made it safe for longer. They had accidentally created beer, which because of the alcohol content, was less prone to bacteria and could be transported long distances allowing empires to trade goods and knowledge with each other. May 28, 585 BC, Miletus: A man named Thales had taken astronomical records from the east, which they had thought were messages from the gods, and removed the gods from them, analyzing them objectively. He had tried to figure out how everything moved using mathematics, not religion. He had calculated, that on this day in greece, the sun and the moon would be in the same spot in the sky, he was proven right by the occurrence of a total solar eclipse. He was the first man to realize that they sun, moon, and stars were not gods, but objects. Science had been invented. In the coming decades, the greeks would invent geometry, trigonometry, navigation via the stars, and calculate the circumference of the earth in a day that most people still thought it was flat. 508 BCE, Athens: Civilizations are booming all over the place, massive ones center around rivers, but in mountains, villages had sprung up. Controlled by aristocrats, not empires due to the physical separation of the mountains. During the rule of a tyrant, for the first time in recorded history, the people overthrew their rulers. They turned to a man named Cleisthenes to build a new government. A sudden vision of genius would change the course of human history. In an insignificant village of less than 5000 people democracy and socialism were born. The people would vote on everything from the price of olives, to the declaration of war: a white stone for yes, a black stone for no. July 20, 1969, Moon: The ultimate goal of evolution is to preserve the species and to spread. On this date, human kind took the next step in evolution: leaving it's birthplace. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped foot on another celestial body. A quarter of a million years of human evolution had produced a species with the technology and the curiosity to leave where it all started.