Africa as the Cradle of Man: Evaluating the Evidences Essay
There are many claims in scientific discussions that Africa is indeed the cradle of man. In essence, this pertains to the fact that the humans have indeed originated from Africa and have simply moved out of the continent through various means and at different points in time.
Of course, given that there is no direct way from which this can be definitely proven or disproved; experts rely upon evidences in order to further strengthen their claim and to lessen the number of skeptics through the process.
Therefore, in order to gain a better understanding of the claim, it is important to assess the most significant evidences that are in support of the claim which are genetic diversity, evolution, and ancient humans.
The first evidence, which is mainly the similarities of the genetic code of humans in relation to their location, is one of the major pieces that experts use to attest to the validity of the claim regarding Africa.
According to experts, as humans are tested in terms of genetic composition according to region, the variation has indeed signified a continuous decrease as the regions tested were farther from Africa (Lamb). At first this evidence does not seem to be conclusive at all and seems farfetched.
However, the experts have pointed out that the reason behind such trends in genetic variation is that throughout migration, the farther from the origin a location is, the lesser the resulting population (Lamb).
Given such an explanation, if the claim regarding migration dynamics is true then it may be considered as a truly well supported evidence for the claim that humans have originated from Africa. Upon searching for additional information, it has become evident that such migration patterns and dynamics are well accepted in the scientific community;
in fact one significant proof for such migration dynamics is the tendency of early humans to move out towards regions based on the once available paths which are mainly concentrated along the edges of the African continent (Grabianowski). In this sense, the concept that humans have indeed moved out from Africa is well supported and is definitely difficult to refute as the claim is supported by another claim that is widely accepted.
Another form of evidence is expected through fossil findings. In this evidence, the concept of evolution is of absolute significance. According to Charles Darwin, evolution is mainly described by similarities and differences in form, and the greater the similarities then the closer the organisms are in terms of evolutionary descent (Limson).
In this sense, the discovery of a chimpanzee like hominid, Australopithecus africanus, was considered as a vital proof to the claim that humans have in a way evolved from chimpanzees and gorillas.
This was a reflection of the assumption of Darwin that since chimpanzees and gorillas are mainly found in Africa and the features of humans and such creatures are highly similar then humans probably have evolved at the same location as apes and gorillas (Limson).
Numerous discussions have been present regarding the similarities of humans to chimps in gorillas. In fact, it is not unusual to hear about how such creatures are also intelligent or how certain chimpanzees are capable of using tools as aid in various tasks much like humans.
Taking into consideration that it is generally documented that up to now, the main natural habitat of chimpanzees and gorillas is indeed the forests in Africa, and then this concept of evolution of humans to have started in Africa is quite likely to be true as it is well supported.
In contrast, since the concept of evolution itself is contested but at the same time widely accepted then if the theory of evolution is debunked then this evidence will also be invalidated, this scenario however is unlikely. Aside from this, a conflicting notion may also arise if other locations are discovered to have ancient chimpanzee or gorilla populations as well.
The third evidence in support of the concept of Africa being the sole human origin is in the form of ancient humans. Although similar to the previous evidence in which evolution is considered, unlike the previous evidence this pertains to the evolution of the hominid line.
Thus, according to researchers, the most ancient of fossilized remains of ancestral hominid species have been unearthed mainly from Africa (McKinney). In this sense, those fossils found in other regions of the world are considerably more recent relatives of the modern humans species.
As a matter of fact, Australopithecus africanus and Homo habilis have been discovered in Africa which is considered as the precursors of Homo erectus which started the global migration (McKinney).
This evidence of ancestral hominids is very stable since in a way it also reflects the other main evidences for the claim that Africa is the cradle of man. However, given that fossils of ancient hominids are highly sought after, and are being continuously discovered throughout the world, if ever an older fossil is found elsewhere then this evidence are surely invalidated.
Still, it is difficult to perceive that the possibility of finding fossils of such age at other regions of the world since as mentioned the concept of migration also supports the fact that humans have originated from Africa alone.
In addition, even though it is evident that the search for fossils is quite active, and numerous fossils of ancient hominids have been found, the results are the same and always in support of the African origin concept in terms of genetic variance and age (McKinney).
Considering the methods in which a concept or theory is technically strengthened, which is mainly through the presentation of credible evidences in its support.
Therefore, it is not difficult to assess why the concept or theory regarding Africa being the cradle of man is widely accepted and is probably the most popular of theories pertaining to the subject of the geographical origin of modern humans, as the evidences used as its basis are all interconnected which adds to the credibility of each evidence and the theory as a whole.
Grabianowski, Ed. “How Human Migration Works.” Discovery Communications LLC. n.d. 2009, May 29 <http://science.howstuffworks.com/evolution/human- migration.htm/printable>
Lamb, Robert. “Is Africa the Cradle of Humanity?.” Discovery Communications LLC. n.d. 2009, May 29 <http://science.howstuffworks.com/evolution/africa-cradle- humanity.htm/printable>
Limson, Janice. “Mrs. Ples and Our Distant Relatives.” Science in Africa – Merck. 2001. 2009, May 29 <http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2001/may/ples.htm>
McKinney, Brennan. “Africa: The Cradle of Humanity and the Earliest Humans.” Associated Content Incorporated. 2009, May 27. 2009, May 29