• Question: How many dinosaurs existed? How did monkeys turn into humans?

    Asked by purplebee2002 to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Maria, Shane on 13 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      Ooh now you’ve really asked 2 questions in one there! 🙂

      Well lets look at Q1 first – how many dinosaurs existed? Its hard to tell really, because obviously none of us were alive back then! So we have to work off fossils and evolutionary history to try find out. At the moment, scientists have identified and named over 700 different species! But there were probably many more, which unfortunately we may never identify. But did you know that birds are descended from ancestors which lived during the Dinosaur era? So in a way they are almost living dinosaurs!

      Now, back to question 2! Monkeys didnt exactly turn into humans – humans and apes (gorillas, orangutan etc) shared a common ancestor, about 5-8 million years ago. This ancestor evolved into 2 different lineages, or groups – and humans evolved from one of these groups, while apes and monkeys evolved from the other!

      This a cute video explaining the similarities, and differences too!

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      Hi purplebee (great name!), there are loads of dinosaurs (700-900). And guess what, 108 of those have been discovered here in the UK and Ireland! As for monkeys, we didn’t evolve from monkeys but we do share a common ancestor with them. We might not be that closely related to them, but we do share some similar behaviors… like monkeys can peel bananas, and don’t eat banana skin! Hope that helps! great questions 🙂

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Yep, the guys have answered the dinosaur question well.

      As the guys say, monkey didn’t turn into humans, but our common relative evolved slowly over many thousands of years into us. Basically evolution doesn’t happen to one individual or generation. Your genes make up who you are, but they don’t change from when you’re born. They only change when you pass them to your children, and they pass them to their children and so on. And so, people become slowly different. That’s how evolution works.
      Way back, millions of years ago, when monkeys or humans didn’t exist, something in between an ape (a big monkey) and a human existed. Then, for some reason we split and one group evolved separately and started living on their own. This meant that this group slowly became much different to the other. So, humans went one way in evolution and apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans) went the other way.
      Even though we look so different did you know we still share over 99% of our genes with chimpanzees!? They’re our closest relatives in the animals kingdom!
      Did you also know that we share 50% of our genes with bananas! Seriously, you’re half banana!