Out Of Africa Theory And The Out Of Africa Origin Theory

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The origin of modern humans is one of the most widely debated concerns in the area of paleoanthropology. Ever since the discovery of the Neanderthal in the mid 1800’s, scientists such as Charles Darwin and many others have been overly curious about the similarity of man to certain great apes and how over long periods of time have evolved from different archaic forms of humans up to today’s homo sapiens.
There are two major theories that encompass how modern humans may have evolved from the various groups of hominids that existed in the Old World. These two theories are the Multiregional origin theory and the “Out of Africa” origin theory. I will first introduce the background and logic behind the two theories, and then I will argue, with supporting genetic evidence, why the “Out of Africa” theory is currently the most widely accepted in the field.
The Multiregional hypothesis was originally proposed in 1984 by Milford H. Wolpoff, Alan Thorne and Xinzhi Wu. The theory indicates that the worldwide expansion of modern humans arose from a series of regionally distinct phases of human evolution that physically replaced Old World humans over thousands of years (Wolpoff et al. 1984). According to the theory, about half of the Homo erectus that originated in Africa split up and migrated out to Europe, Asia and Australia. These regional populations slowly, over time, evolved into different forms of archaic humans separately and then eventually evolved into regionally diverse modern humans. The Multiregional theory was once the favored hypothesis for the origin of modern humans. Supporters of the hypothesis have argued that human traits show continuity over time. They argue that early modern humans show some traits consistent with a ...

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...iation in modern human populations suggests that our origins may reflect a relatively small founding population for Homo sapiens. Analysis of mtDNA (Rogers and Harpending 1992) supports the view that a small population of Homo sapiens, numbering perhaps only 10,000 to 50,000 people, left Africa somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. There is another similarity between human populations standing in strong contrast to the condition seen in our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees. In fact, there is significantly more genetic variation between two individual chimpanzees drawn from the same population than there is between two humans drawn randomly from a single population. Furthermore, genetic variation between populations of chimpanzees is enormously greater than differences between European, Asian and African human populations (Cavalli-Sforza, 2000).
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