The following is a list of 5 things anyone interested in human evolution should know:
1. Evolution is not about perfection. There is no end goal. Just because one species has taken on more mutations than another or seems more complex doesn't mean it's evolutionarily superior. Oftentimes a specific trait is advantageous at one point in time, then hurtful at another (humans' excellent ability to store calories for example). Sometimes species seem to lose some of their complexity as they evolve (consider "blind" cavefish). All in all, evolution is not interchangeable with a time line from worst to best.
2. There is no such thing as The Missing Link. Contrary to the drawing on your witty t-shirt, the evolution of humans does not go 1) monkey 2) monkey/man thing 3) caveman 4) us. There aren't clear steps, evolution is gradual. For that reason we will never find that glorious half-ape, half-human creature that proves evolution to everyone. If you really want to hold on to your missing link, consider every individual hominin a missing link because that's as close as your going to get.
3. "Survival of the fittest" is a ridiculous saying. It's redundant. "Fitness" in evolution means the ability of an organism to survive and pass on its genes. Thus, this saying means "survival of an organism that is the best at surviving." (Also, my mom would never let me hear the end of it if I didn't take this opportunity to mention that, if you say "ATM machine," you are saying "Automatic Teller Machine machine.")
4. It is pronounced NeanderTAL, not NeanderTHAL. I see that there is a "th" but it's a German word so it's pronounced like "t" is pronounced in English. Yes, I'm being an anthro-snob but if you want to speak Anthropologist, there you have it.
5. Chimps are not monkeys, neither are gorillas. I know this is annoying to most people but it's an important distinction. Are you a monkey? I didn't think so (but if you are, give me a call because I would love to interview a monkey that reads). It's like believing a killer whale is actually a whale -- not the worst thing in the world but a little irritating. Need help telling the difference? Apes (us, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, siamangs) don't have tails, whereas most monkeys do.