The Origin of Modern Humans Essay

The Origin of Modern Humans Essay

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Throughout history, humans have asked many questions in regards to our own beginnings. Religion and science have examined what makes us who we are, and have tried to answer the enduring question of our own modern origins. Scientifically, theories are still debated as to when, where, and how modern Homo sapiens came to be what they are today. There are two major theories that now dominate the discussions of experts in the field of biological anthropology: the “Out-of-Africa” model and the “Multiregional” model of evolution. Stringer and Andrews argue that genetic and paleontological evidence supports a more recent Out-of-Africa model as opposed to a more drawn out Multiregional method that also incorporates gene flow (1263). In contrast, Wolpoff, Hawks, and Caspari claim that the Multiregional model is misunderstood, and clearing up discrepancies could bolster support for this theory instead (129). Pearson notes that while people like Wolpoff et al defend the Multiregional model, archaeological evidence seems to show that likely no intermixture between modern Homo sapiens and other archaic hominins happened during the spread of early Homo sapiens out of Africa (145). It is easy to see that the debate lingers onwards with an end not clearly in sight. This paper will further examine the arguments asserted by these authors and identify their core arguments, the data they use to support their arguments and determine which paper is the most convincing of the three.
According to Stringer and Andrews, the Out-of-Africa Model suggests that there is a fairly recent common ancestor that shares many of the anatomical characteristics displayed by modern Homo Sapiens (1263). This version is more parsimonious with regard to the fact that it ...

... middle of paper ...

...uestion, we will be able to extend research about why humans came from where they did as well as know where to expect the fossil record to lie. Without debates like this one, the research community could lay stagnant, but instead these debates promote new motivations to answer the ever-human desire to know.

Pearson, O. M.
2004 Has the Comination of Genetic and Fossil Evidence Solved the Riddle of Modern Humans?, Evolutionary Anthropology 13: 145-159.

Pearson, O. M., Stone, A.C.
2003 On the Diffusion-Wave model for the Spread of Modern Humans. Current Anthropology 44: 559-561.

Stringer, C.B., Andrews, P.
1988 Genetic and Fossil Evidence for the Origin of Modern Humans. Science 239: 1263-1268.

Wolpoff, M.H., Hawks, J., Caspari
2000 Multiregional, Not Multiple Origins. American Journal of Physical Anthropology112:129-136.

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