It’s that age-old question – how did we get here? Theories of evolution can help us understand our origins. And yes, there are controversial ones.

Whether you believe it or not, I would imagine that the majority of us have heard of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwin believed in natural selection. The premise of natural selection is that over time, organisms change according to their environment. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will result in a higher survival rate. These changes are likely to be reproduced and become more common over time. So are there any other theories of evolution?

7 controversial theories of evolution

  1. We Stood Up

Did we evolve because we stood up on two legs thus allowing our hands to be free to make tools? Experts suggest that humans were forced to stand up because of climate change.

About 3 million years ago, our climate became hotter and drier. As a result, the forests declined and our ape ancestors began to descend from the trees. At the time, Africa was dominated by tall, grassy savannas. Those early humans that stood up and were able to see approaching predators were more likely to survive.

It was also easier to travel through tall grasslands on two feet, rather than four. So standing up had a definite advantage in regards to moving to where food and water were and escaping from danger.

  1. The Ant Theory

Can ants provide clues to human evolution? A Brazilian study suggests an alternative theory of evolution. German researcher Christian Rabeling was studying ant colonies in Brazil and discovered a strange anomaly.

Certain ants in these colonies appeared to be different. They were smaller, had wings and a shinier body. He realised that these different ants were parasites feeding off the original colony ants and then producing their own offspring.

So why is this controversial? Because most theories of evolution state that typically, new species develop in geographic isolation away from the original species.

This theory is allopatric speciation. Speciation is the formulation of a new species through evolution. There are five kinds of speciation; allopatric, peripatric, parapatric, and sympatric and artificial. But Rabeling’s ants suggested that it is possible for another species to develop within the same geographical area. This is sympatric speciation, where two species develop within the same group.

  1. Killer Ape Theory

One of the more controversial theories of evolution comes from anthropologist Raymond Dart. Dart disagreed with the notion that early humans stood up and therefore evolved.

“But if the earliest Gibbons were already able to walk upright, how is it that they did not begin to use their hands thus freed from the work of progression on the earth, for skilled work, apart from tree climbing, of biological usefulness for these competent hands to do?” Elliott Smith

Bones found at a cave in South Africa showed fractures and cracks in them, which suggested the animals had been killed with tools and force. Not only were these bones present but there was also evidence of these tools in the form of clubs and spears. These had clearly been fashioned out of animal bones and the destruction they caused was evident on the skulls found in the cave alongside them.

Dart surmised that our early ancestors were aggressive, violent creatures that survived and evolved because they were so predatory.

  1. We Are a Mistake

Some scientists believe that human evolution is nothing more than a mistake. The Human Genome Project found that every single human being has one thing in common, and that is a duplicated gene responsible for brain development. No other animal on earth has this gene, so how did we get it?

It could have been some kind of mutation or glitch that transformed us from ape-like creatures into the intelligent beings we are today. It is a sobering thought to think that if a different animal had received this glitch or mistake they would have the huge brain capacity, and not us.

  1. The Extinction Theory

This theory has been used to explain why the dinosaurs died out and humans survived. French naturalist Georges Cuvier studied fossils, in particular, old bones. He was an expert on the anatomy of animals.

Working in the National Museum in Paris in 1795, Cuvier was studying elephant bones and soon realised that the bones found in France were distinctly different from those discovered in Africa and India.

Cuvier believed he had solved why some animals were extinct and others survived. He stated that there must have been catastrophic events on the earth that wiped out several species.

This would radically change the natural environment and allow new species to replace them. However, his theory was challenged and eventually dismissed, as leading scientists would add that the earth’s environment changes slowly which would allow most species to adapt to it.

  1. We Cooked and Ate Meat

There is evidence to suggest that cooking and eating meat helped our brains grow around 20 times its original size. And with more grey cells comes a higher intelligence.

Experts state that our early ancestor’s brains would never have grown to this extent on a diet of nuts and vegetables. Large brains require more protein and cooking meat not only gave us this protein but it also freed up precious time. Chewing nuts and hard cereals takes effort and time early humans did not have.

By cooking meat, we could eat it quickly, get all the protein we needed and be out hunting again within minutes. Of course, now some of us are vegan, but it doesn’t change the effects of eating meat on our early ancestors’ brain development.

  1. Stoned Ape Theory

Were our early ancestors high on drugs? This is probably the most controversial of all our theories of evolution, the Stoned Ape Theory. This theory proposes that early humans came out onto the savanna and saw mushrooms for the first time.

But these were no ordinary mushrooms. They were psilocybin mushrooms which happened to contain a powerful psychedelic stimulant. At low doses, this stimulant enhances eyesight, which would have been beneficial for hunting. But at higher doses, it stimulates the imagination, the sexual drive, and conscious thought.

Around this time early humans were beginning to start using language, form groups and make their own tools and art. Was the drug in the mushrooms, therefore, a catalyst for this spark of human consciousness?

So after reading all these theories of evolution, which one do you believe? Is Darwin’s natural selection your preferred explanation of how we got here? As for myself, I have a completely different theory.

Around 100,000 years ago, humans started using the language for the first time. Some people even believe that a highly advanced alien race visited the earth at this time, mated with early humans, or gave us some knowledge! As you can see, theories are countless and all very different.

But other theories of evolution do not fully explain how we started communicating, and for me, this is the biggest reason why we have evolved so successfully.


Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

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This Post Has 6 Comments

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    Gary Hynous

    Interesting discussion. One theory that you missed, perhaps purposely, is the Christian theory involving Adam & Eve. This opens up the proverbial can of worms. I choose to side with two possibilities: one is Darwin’s theory of evolution and the the other is a visit by an advanced alien species that mixed their genes with those of primitive man. How do we explain crop circles and cave drawing depicting men in space suits? I wonder if we’ll ever get the answers we are looking for?

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    You people are hilarious, aliens mating with caveman. Janey know why your not sure because caveman never mated with aliens. First of all we didn’t come from apes. The evidence is right in front of you. We still have modern day apes and monkeys. Did evolution forget them I don’t think so. That right there proves we didn’t come from apes or monkeys. Secondly caveman never existed. Have you ever seen, a put together skeleton structure of a caveman, in any science museum anywhere in the world like we have skeleton structure of Dinosaures, no you haven’t that right there proves caveman never existed. Crop circles are a hoax, that’s already been proving. Cave drawings would not last as long as they say how old they are because the rock wall they’re painted on would deteriorate based on geology and the ink would have faded and have disappeared along time ago based on how old they say the drawings are. There still there because the people who perpetrated this hoax, go back probably once a year to touch them up. Caveman is a hoax conjured up by a bunch of guys trying to come up with a scam to make easy money and they succeed. They laughed all the way to the bank. This is it everyone we came from Adam and Eve and life here on earth is based on the teachings of the Bible.
    Just for the record I’m Catholic been Catholic all my life. That’s That’s.

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    John says

    “My belief is that a highly advanced alien race visited the earth at this time. Perhaps they mated with early humans or gave us some knowledge.” Aliens mating with early proto-humans? Really?!!! Species on earth cannot procreate by mating with non-related species, because the DNA simply does not allow that. So, how in the world could a species from a different planet be compatible with the DNA of humans, even if that alien species had advanced genetics? Moreover, if some weirdo alien species mated with ape-like creatures, the offending being would probably be the laughing stock of the aliens and subsequently kicked off the spaceship. After all, how would we react if some person tried to mate with a chimpanzee orangutan? People love to attribute human evolution with aliens from another planet. They even go so far as to believe some highly advanced alien species flew countless light years to earth, only to manage to crash their awe-inspiring spaceship in the New Mexico desert and other locations. Totally Ridiculous! Theories number 1 and 6 make the most sense. But the biblical account of how humans came to be is, by far, the most ridiculous of all. And I grew up with very strong Christian beliefs.

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    Yeah I’m not sure we’d have the physiology and anatomy we have now if we evolved from sub alien, ape species. God created the universe and everything in it.

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    Hey guys, relax! She was just expressing her beliefs. Are we not allowed to do that anymore?

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    This article only proves the author doesn’t understand how evolution works. Neither do previous commenters.

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