Homo Sapiens Or Something Different? Intro To Archaeology Assignment

1355 words - 6 pages

Through many years of study and research, we know that our human origins are based in Africa. There is still debate though on the relation between modern humans and Neanderthals. In this essay I will explore the two extreme models I've been reading about, and I will weigh in with my own thoughts on the matter.
The first model I want to present is the Multiregional Model. This model states that Homo erectus moved across parts of Africa and spread over Europe, China, and Indonesia. Over the course of around one million years Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens with the differences in appearance that occur with locational settings. The main thing that also occurs is gene flow. This means that people from the different regions were interbreeding with others from different regions so that genes spread across the whole species. This kept them from becoming their own specialized species and they all remained Homo sapiens. So this kept Homo neanderthalensis from actually ever becoming their own species. This means that they could reproduce so they never became a dead end or went extinct like others believe. (Stringer 2011; Andrews 2011)
The other model on human origin is the Out of Africa Model. Chris Stringer and Gunter Brauer propose there was a species in between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. This species is named Homo heidelbergensis. This change occurred in Homo erectus populations, and from there Homo heidelbergensis split into Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis. This change occurs regionally with Homo sapiens being in Africa. Meanwhile, Homo erectus remains in Asia while we get Neanderthals in Europe. Then eventually the Homo sapiens move into Europe and they end up driving the Neanderthals into extinction. This is also the case with the Homo erectus left in Asia. Neither of the non-African species could survive once the Homo sapiens moved into their regions.
It is great having these theories on how our ancient ancestors lived, but unless we have evidence to help try and prove a model we can only regard them as theories. The evidence used try and support the Multiregional Model was skull structure from ancient skeletons. The supporters say that how ancient skulls’ structures changing shows how over the million years location helped change the people's features. They use examples like how the Asian Homo erectus skulls changed and grew flatter with more distinct cheekbones, and how even modern day Asian people have that same trait. They used the Europeans as an example like how the Neanderthals had a more prominent nose and midface. So they try to relate how modern day humans’ face structures relate to those that lived in the area before us. (Stringer 2011; Andrews 2011) Evidence for the Out of Africa theory is that sites have been found that have Neanderthal remains buried underneath Homo sapien remains. After further study some sites of the Neanderthals have been said to be covered up by modern humans pretty quickly. This suggests t...


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