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. As animals progressed up the evolutionary scale, they would naturally become more capable of surviving.

This is true only as long as the environment remains the same. A drastic change in the surroundings can make a "more advanced" being less capable of surviving.

This leads me to ask why is the "inferior" ape family still in existence but not a single one of the presumed intermediate forms, especially since they are supposed to be more advanced in evolution?


The intermediate forms you are looking for are not between ape and man; they are between the ancestors, which were neither ape nor human, and current men and apes.
In case this is not clear, men are not descended from the apes that you see in the zoo or jungle. Instead, both men and apes are descended from a common ancestor. Because of the environment, in some areas the evoluionary forces lead towards apes and monkeys, in others, it lead to humans. If you imagine a human trying to not only survive but propogate while living in the forest canopy, I think you can see that the current species that can be found are pretty well adapted for their environment, and from a survival POV, are not inferior.

David
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