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"Out of Africa" Human evolution discussion question

There are two theories about the origin of modern humans: 1) they arose in one place, Africa, and 2) pre modern humans migrated from Africa to become modern humans in other parts of the world. Do you believe modern humans originated in Africa?

Colby McElrath

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of "Out of Africa" Human evolution discussion question

"Out of Africa"
Human Evolution
Paige Klee

Did modern humans arise in one place?
Did pre modern humans migrate out of Africa and evolve as modern humans elsewhere?
Origins of Humans
My theory: the human species arose in one place-- Africa.

Fossil records indicate that Homo sapiens existed in Ethiopia, giving evidence to the evolution of our modern day species (National Geographic, 2014).

Each fossil found in Africa showed the skull changes associated with modern people (EMH, n.d.). The first fossil found in Ethiopia displays a rounded skull and potential signs of a protruding chin (EMH, n.d.). The second fossil displayed similar skill structure and but had large brow ridges which would be those of archaic humans (EMH, n.d.).

References for Klee

Evolution of Modern Humans [EMH]. (n.d.). Early Modern Homo sapiens. Retrieved from http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_4.htm

Hank. [SciShow]. 2012, Nov 4. Facts about human evolution [Video File]. Retrieved from

National Geographic. (n.d). The human journey: migration routes. Genographic Project. Retrieved from https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/human-journey/

University Of Cambridge. (2007, May 10). New Research Confirms 'Out Of Africa' Theory Of Human Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161829.htm
In addition to the fossil records, research suggest that humans started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago (National Geographic, 2014). This leaves little room for premodern species to evolve into modern humans if evolving from one ancestor.
replacement or "Out of Africa" model
theorizes that modern human evolved from archaic humans over 150,000 years ago solely in Africa (Evolution of Modern Humans [EMH], n.d.). After the establishment of modern humans, they migrated to other parts of the world where humans started to become ethnically diverse.
regional continuity or multi-regional model
theorizes that modern humans evolved from archaic humans across regions of the Old World simultaneously (EVM, n.d.).
In contradiction....
Additional support for the Out of Africa theory comes from researchers in Australia who found that their "aboriginal population" shared genetic features and DNA from the same modern humans from Africa (University of Cambridge, 2007).
Though it is a 12 minute video, SciShow (Hank, who also does CrashCourse) walks through the steps of human evolution (2012).
Just over two minutes into the video, Hank begins to discuss that the multiregional theory is less accepted by scientist, primarily because of research done on mitochondrial DNA (2012). Mitochondrial DNA is passed down only from the mother of offspring and is the ancient DNA found within out cells (Hank, 2012).
Scientists have been able to track this particular DNA to a single ancestor-- a population of modern humans in Africa
(Hank, 2012).
Despite continual research to support the Out of Africa theory, debate will still continue in regards to how the modern human evolved. I do not support the multiregional theory based on the evidence. In addition, the thought that segregated homo species all evolving into the same homo sapien species seems unlikely-- I feel like there would be more links or a closer related species that did survive.
---/end presentation by Paige Klee
Tattersall (2009) provides 2 pieces of evidence for the origins of homo sapiens out of Africa:
1. the unique characteristics of the structure of the skull and postcranial skeleton of homo sapiens. 2. Evidence of symbolic cognition abilities. The fossil and archeological records indicate that these physical and cognitive features originated in Africa. Once these characteristics were established, it enabled modern humans to migrate across the globe. The first stage of human evolution from Africa was anatomical and the second included development of cognitive abilities enabling symbolic behaviors.

Tattersall, I. (2009). Human origins: Out of Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 106 (38), 16018–16021, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903207106. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16018.full.

Cranial morphology changes related to cognitive abilities
Jaye Van Kirk
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