Larson 6

Darwin's theory was less easily accepted by the public than by scientists
The Descent of Man created much more controversy than Origin of Species
had in 1859

the public cared most about human origins, and the idea that humans descended from apes was not widely accepted
Song: The Darwinian Theory

Darwin published The Descent of Man in 1871
Concluding paragraph:
Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there [by God], may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
Huxley had published a book on Man's Place in Nature in 1863

reproduction of Wolfgang Rheinhold, Philosophizing
      Monkey What are the key differences between humans and non-human animals, that some people believed are too great for evolution to explain?
Many people accepted evolution for animals but saw the human soul as God's special creation
Who accepted the evolution of humans from apes?
So did the more conservative and very influential sociologist Herbert Spencer, who embraced the idea of the progressive development of the natural and social world based on science rather than on specific religious beliefs (he was a deist and believed in a creator but not in other Christian doctrine).  He tried to apply Darwin's theory of evolution by survival of the fittest to human society (called Social Darwinism)

Those who believed in evolution kept looking for the example that would convince the doubters
evolution of the horse
genetic relationship of humans with apes
  • the discovery of Java man (Pithecantropus) in 1891 by Eugène Dubois provided the first intermediate example (now named homo erectus), but there was a lot of controversy over the find
  • The discovery in 1925 of Australopithecus Africanus was an even better intermediate species, also showing that the first humans had evolved in Africa
  • starting in 1929 more fossils similar to Pithecantropus  were found in China
  • Who's Who in Human Evolution
  • scientists thought if only we can find the missing link then people will accept evolution
  • found more and more evidence of various sorts
human family tree