Saturday, May 14, 2016

Out of Africa Theory: Becoming a myth!

It would not be imprudent here to discuss the Out of Africa theory, as it claims single location theory as PIE supporters do. First presented in 1987, Out of Africa Model, assumes that the first homo-sapiens, immediate predecessor of the present human species appeared in Africa about 1.30 lakh years ago and about some sixty thousand years ago started migrating to different continents to populate the globe.

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Until recently “Out of Africa” theory was considered to be a base of human origin and his migrations all over the world to inhibit the continents. The assumption was based on the finding of fragmented remains of earliest Homo-sapiens in Africa, dated as earliest as 1,30,000 years. It was believed that the first human being appeared in Africa from where our ancestors began dispersing in other continents taking different routes about 60,000 years ago. Until recently, all anthropologists held this theory as the gospel truth and it had gained phenomenal popularity. The hypothesis was turned to a theory, based on which the human distribution maps were drawn.


However, a team of archeologists and anthropologists excavated teeth fossil of the pre-human ancestor “Afrasia Djijidae” in 2012 in Myanmar. This is said to be missing link between Africa and Asia. This new finding showed that the Asia was the first place where our pre-human ancestor appeared. The findings of four teeth fossils are dated 37 million years old. They are similar to the fossils of approximately same age found in Libya. This find has led to change earlier hypothesis that the early Human species lived in Asia from where they moved to Africa, fairly late in the process of evolution. “Not only does Afrasia help seal the case that anthropoids first evolved in Asia, it also tells us when our anthropoid ancestors first made their way to Africa, where they continued to evolve into apes and humans,” says Chris Beard, Carnegie Museum of Natural History Paleontologist The story does not end here. We have another claimant from China as well! In The Sunday Morning Herald (25.8.14), Peter Spinks, Fairfax Science columnist reported the findings of fragmented human (Homo sapiens) teeth in China (Lunadong, China's autonomous region of Guangxi Zhuang) and part of Southeast Asia. These too are 1,30,000 years old, as old as the finds of Africa. Mr. Spinks quotes anthropologist Christopher Bae of the University of Hawaii saying, "The Lunadong modern Homo sapiens’s teeth contribute to growing evidence that modern and/or transitional humans were likely in eastern Asia”


The original theory that the human species dispersed from Africa about 60,000 years ago is now being questioned because of the several finds on the various continents predating the assumed date of the early dispersals. Though the scientists still believe that the homo-sapiens appeared first in Africa and they might have taken different paths in very early age than was thought before.


However, even this theory raises serious question because it was also believed that the hominids or human like animals had appeared first in Africa about 25 million years ago. The finds of Myanmar and Libya are as old as 37 million years. This shatters the foundation of “Out of Africa” Theory.


In his thesis ‘A Critique of the Out of Africa Model' (13.11.2007)’, Michael Maystadt (Illinois State University) concludes, “Does the evidence prove that all humans originated in Africa from a small population of hunter-gatherers that lived over 150,000 years ago? Not exactly: while the Out of Africa model does incorporate certain fossil, genetic, and archaeological evidence, the same categories of evidence also prove the complete opposite. Humans seem to have certain morphological features that were around hundreds of thousands of years ago, indicating that the complete replacement endorsed by the Out of Africa model could not have been complete. Genetic evidence also demonstrates that certain blood traits and even the mtDNA evidence do not consistently fit the Out of Africa model. Archaeological evidence also indicates that complete replacement probably did not take place. Why then, does the “Out of Africa” model continue to be so popular and widely accepted today?..... This thesis has demonstrated that the Out of Africa model is most likely not the correct model of modern human origins.”

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