- Category: Research Dossiers
- Published: 24 January 2012
- Written by Herminie Delanne, Anaëlle Benoit, Edouard Stambul
The topic of this research dossier seems distant from the classical questions of political science and sociology. Nevertheless, a deeper approach to this famous and largely acknowledged theory should convince us that, beyond being an exciting and amazing topic, the theory of species evolution leads us to the core of the most crucial philosophical questions.
This present team work aims at presenting this vast domain of scientific exploration the search for the origins of the living on Earth constitutes. One main goal is to retrace this huge part of the universal history, to relate the story of how life emerges on Earth from microscopic unicellular organisms to an incredible variety of billions of species in an incredible variety of ecosystems. But far from asserting a well-founded and intangible truth, the evolution of species is first of all presented as what it undoubtedly is : a well-known, discussed, affined and contested theory.
For those this work could not interest as such, because of this heavy anthropocentrism which hit virtually every researchers in human and social sciences, a last part of this exploration deals with the immediate consequence of the theory of evolution for the place of man on Earth, among other creatures, and even for his own constituency and social organisation. So now let’s dive into this maelstrom of informations one can find on internet when he seeks to enlarge his knowledge on this theory. This web review is divided into three parts :
The first one deals with the theory, its birth and rise (well-known today through the image of the19 th century naturalist Charles Darwin), its main opponents (in particular the influent creationist movement) and what gives the strength of this idea.
The second part is dedicated to the story of evolution : it aims at presenting, still according to the theory, how, once life emerged, it evolved through the simplest possible organism to greatest complexity and an unbelievable biodiversity. Cosmic calendars and geological timescales will help to visualize the great story started 3.5 billions years ago! We will see that evolution is not at all an unilinear process, and that the adaptation of living organisms to there environment can evolve to very amazing animals.
The last presentation deals with a closer problematic for humankind : a huge work has been made and is still in progress in the search for human origins. This story is part of the very last developments of the evolution of species. Traced back to 5 or 7 millions years ago, the evolution from ape to man would be the basis of our symbolic thinking, our civilisations.