Sapiens is a very popular book written by Yuval Noah Harai, on the history of Sapiens, today’s human. I am not a fan of the history book. I usually may fall asleep, not because I think history is useless. Quite the opposite, I feel history is very important since it is more efficient to learn from other people’s mistakes and experience than to learn from your own. I picked up a graphical version of Sapiens. To my surprise, I find it quite interesting.
When we mention the world human, 人類, we are actually referring to a special kind of human, Homo Sapiens. Back in 50,000 years ago, there are at least 6 different kinds/ species of human. They are Homo Erectus (All over Asia), Homo Neanderthalensis (Europe and Western Asia), Homo Luzonensis (Luzon, Philippines), Homo Denisova (Siberia, East Asia), Homo Floresiensis (Island of Flores, Indonesia) and us Homo Sapiens.
I will not go into the detail of the Biology Classification system since honestly, I don’t know much too. For example, I and you belong to the Family: Hominids, Genus: Homo, Species: Sapiens. Just like a horse belongs to the Family: Equidae, Genus: Equus, Species: caballus. Well, salute to the people who classify animals into different groups LOL. For me, I will just remember that animals belong to the same species if they tend to mate naturally and produce fertile offspring, and sometimes animals belong to a different species under the same Genus will mate if you induce them but they may produce offspring that are sterile (unable to reproduce). That means the 6 species of human may mate with each other. And a fun fact is that Chimpanzee, Gorilla belong to the same family as us.
All species of human share one common characteristic. They all have a very large brain compared with other animals. A big brain needs a lot of energy to function. That will weaken our arms and muscles. But a bigger brain enables us to develop tools to compensate for week arms and muscles. The discovery of fire enables human to digest more foods, have a stronger constitution (fewer germs and parasites), and finally a larger brain. But even with large brains, the ability to build tools and learn, as well as their social ability, the human was still a marginal creature for 2 million years. Homo Sapiens didn’t reach the top until the last 100,000 years. It may explain why we’re so stressed and always panicking about our position since we jumped to the top so quickly and we are afraid of losing power.
Roughly 70,000 years ago Sapiens, us, suddenly spread all over the world from Africa. Nowadays, we can only find one species of Human, Homo Sapiens. There are two conflicting theories on how this happened. One is the interbreeding theory. We mate with a lot of other species. One is the replacement theory. We make all other species extinct.
There are some other questions, like how did we manage to settle in so many different habitats? How come the more muscular Neanderthals couldn’t survive? Or all in all, how did Sapiens succeed in conquering the World? I will try to find the answers in the latter chapters.