Out of Africa: A Plausible Explanation.

Essay by J_M_A_NUniversity, Bachelor's May 2003

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The origination of the human species is still shrouded in a considerable degree of confusion through lack of empirical evidence. While some anthropologists, including author Christopher Stringer, argue that this origination stems from the African continent, it remains to be seen as to whether or not this conclusion can be supported through the evidence of fossil records. To the contrary, a good deal of modern anthropology suggests that the origination of the human species stems from multiple continents. This argument is supported by anthropologist Millord Wolpoff, as well as many others who oppose Stringer's 'Out of Africa' theory, and has sparked numerous debates over a question that we cannot find a liable explanation for.

In contrast to the multi-regional explanation of hominid development (proposed by Wolpoff in Race and Human Evolution), Stringer uses a single-origin theory in order to explain the recent emergence and essential unity of our species.

Stringer argues that the transition from erectus to sapiens occurred only once, after a migration from Africa into the European continent 100,000 years ago, and then dispersing throughout the world. To support this argument, he examines fossils, artifacts, and especially genes. For example, they examine the famous Kibish skull from Ethiopia, the Katanda culture of Zaire, and ongoing nuclear DNA findings. Special attention is given to the ape-human split, which is said to have occurred five to eight million years ago, the so-called Neanderthal problem (did we or did we not evolve from them), and Cro-Magnon socio-cultural advancements.

The main argument Stringer's book is this: "In any case, the story of our African Exodus makes it unlikely that there are significant structural or functional differences between the brains of the world's various peoples" (p. 190). The logic here is especially odd given that other parts of the book present...