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The Debate Over the Origin of Modern Homo Sapiens Essay example

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The Debate Over the Origin of Modern Homo Sapiens


There has been a great deal of heated debate for the last few decades about where modern Homo sapiens originated. From the battle grounds, two main theories emerged. One theory, labeled “Out-of-Africa” or “population replacement” explains that all modern Homo sapiens evolved from a common Homo erectus ancestor in Africa 100,000 years ago. The species began to spread and replace all other archaic human-like populations around 35,000 to 89,000 years ago. The rivaling opinion, entitled the “regional continuity” theory or “multiregional evolution” model refutes this theory and states modern humans evolved from various species of Homo erectus who interbred with others that lived in places such as Asia, Africa, and Europe. These scientists believe this theory would explain why there are differences among races around the world.

As sound as the regional continuity theory appears, it seems to be slightly lacking in genetic support. It appears that most of the support of this theory depends on fossil record which is important information but not stable evidence. The Out-of-Africa theory relies on more than just fossil evidence but a combination of fossils and genetic studies. It is important to use this information as well as the fossil records because “various interpretations of the transition are possible if researchers concentrate on only fossil evidence, while the mtDNA studies more strongly support replacement….the best approximation of the process still appears to be an African-based spread” (Nitecki and Nitecki, 1994). In a time where technology is becoming an integral part of society, it is easier to discover information that did not seem possible before.

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...and Matthew Nitecki, eds. (1994). Origins of Anatomically Modern
Humans. Plenum Press, New York.

Noble, Ivan. (2001). Boost for ‘Out of Africa Theory [online]. BBC Available from:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1323485.stm [Accessed 24 March 2001].

O’Hanlon, Larry. (2002). New Out-of-Africa Theory Unveiled [online]. News Brief
Available from: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20020225/eve.html
[Accessed 1 April 2004].

Reuters. (2001). Scientists Challenge Evolution Theory [online]. ABC News Available
from: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/evolution_
outofafrica010109.html [Accessed 24 March 2004].

Roach, John. (2002). Skull Fossil Challenges Out-of-Africa [online]. National
Geographic News Available from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/07/0703_020704_georgianskull.html [Accessed 24 March 2004].



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