The Out Of Africa Model Of Human Origins

657 words - 3 pages

One of the most hotly debated issues in Anthropology focuses on the origins of modern humans. There are two theories about the origin of modern human, one being that modern humans originated in Africa and the second being that pre-modern humans migrated from Africa to become modern humans in other parts of the world. While both theories originate in Africa, most evidence points to the first theory, the Out of Africa Model. The amount of fossils of modern-like humans that are found in Africa, DNA studies suggesting a founding population in Africa, and stone tools and other artifacts are just some of the evidence that supports the Out of Africa Model.
First, one must understand what this theory really is. The Out of Africa model, also known as the replacement theory, states that modern humans originated in Africa exclusively and then slowly migrated to the rest of the world. This has been suggested to have happened, probably in two separate waves, somewhere between 56,000 and 200,000 years ago. This theory holds that while there were other hominids on other continents, they never evolved into humans. These pre-modern hominids may have died off simply because with limited resources and skills they could not compete with the more evolved Homo sapiens.
The biggest piece of evidence can be found in Genetics. Investigation in the patterns of Homo sapiens DNA supports the view that the origin of Homo sapiens is consistent with the Out of Africa Model. Supporting the idea that Africans were the first modern humans, it has been proven that the African population displays a higher genetic variation than any other population in the world. Studies done by researchers, Cann and Wilson, found that the highest levels of genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA (DNA following a maternal pattern) occur in the African populations. This implies that Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa, giving them a longer period of time to gain genetic diversity. A study done in 2002 examined African, European, and Asian...

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