The main purpose of this essay is to critically discuss the importance of an understanding of human evolution and the history of psychology for the modern psychologist. The essay aims to critically discuss the study of human evolution which includes some of the species that evolved over the years before we now have our species, the history of psychology and the different prominent figures that are responsible for psychology being the field it is today. Finally, how an understanding of this can aid a modern psychologist. To conclude, this essay will collate previous research done on human evolution, history of psychology and the importance of this for the modern psychologist.
Human evolution started with Charles Darwin who thought that humans evolved from apes, he aimed to explain this through his theory of natural selection, genetic variation and ‘survival of the fittest’ (Ruse 2009).Through this insight gave rise to all archaeologists to search in the eastern and western African region to find fossil evidence of these apes or species we have evolved from. Through individual’s hard work and dedication we can now fill in the gaps between the different species and how we have arrived at our modern day selves.
Every story has to have a beginning, middle and an end except, this story is continuing as the field of psychology is becoming more recognised as a distinct science and a force to be reckoned with in the field. The beginning of psychology starts with the evolution of the hominids over 6 million years ago which was the Australopithecines. One of the most iconic of the Australopithecus was named Lucy. She may have evolved from a species known as A. anamnesis. Lucy was able to walk upright on two legs and climbing trees but showed no evidence of tool making based on the fossils found (National History Museum n.d).
The next major species found after the Australopithecus was the Homo habilis. Around the same time period they came into existence, two other species were present, homo rudolfensis (Alexeev 1986) and homo ergaster (Archaeology Information n.d). The brain size of Homo habilis was about 590-687 cc, unlike the Australopithecus they should evidence of tool usage (Tobias 1987).
The homo ergaster species has a brain size of approximately 860cc (Australian museum n.d). They also showed evidence of tool making and there was a possibility of vocalization (). It is evident through this how the species are becoming more and more progressive, from the first species discussed not showing evidence of tool making and their brain size getting larger as each species is evolving.
The next set of species is the homo Neanderthalensis; they evolved from a species named homo Heidelbergensis, who were thought to be the first species that acquired protolanguage (de Beaune et al. 2009). Homo Neanderthals had a brain size was about 1100-1400 cc (Holloway, Sherwood and Hof et al 2009). They showed evidence of tool usage; they...