Human Evolution as a Tinkereer

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Manasi Gaje BI 309: Evolution Paper 1 Human Evolution as a Tinkerer When the word tinkerer is presented words such as innovation, creativity, and experimentation almost always come to mind. What is truly amazing is to compare a vast concept such as evolution to that of a tinkerer. Such is the case with François Jacob’s 1977 paper “Evolution and Tinkering”. In his paper Jacob argues that evolution is not like an engineer who has an exact plan, complete with blue prints and all the correct parts required for a perfect being, but rather evolution is a tinkerer who plays with different parts and works with what he is given. The tinkerer unlike the engineer has no final goal to reach, but rather tweaks certain characteristics or parts to fit into the bigger picture. While the engineer has one fool-proof solution to any given problem the tinkerer comes up with many different ways to solve one problem this can be seen in the variety of the models of eyes in the many species on earth and how each evolved. Lastly the tinkerer does not create from nothing; he always builds on top of what already exists. This is true of evolution which gives new functions to already existing characteristics (Jacob). Examples of this “tinkering” can be seen in the Homo sapiens or humans. It is said that the evolution of the modern human being has taken place over 6 million years. Because there is fossil evidence that shows physical similarities that links a common ancestor to many primates, humans are considered primates. When looking for tinkering in human evolution, characteristics that stand out are, bipedalism, encephalization, and the various vestigiality in the human body. Figure 1: Phylogenetic tree of the modern Homo sapiens originating from around 6 million years ago from the Sahelanthnopus tohadensis. One trait that really sets the humans apart from other primates is
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