Anthropology Assignment Paper on Origins of modern humans

Origins of modern humans

Scientists and anthropologists have come up with various theories to explain the origins of modern humans Homo sapiens sapiens. The study has been based on the DNA of the human remains which they compare with the skulls found around the world. Different authors have been analyzing some of the important points that scientists and anthropologists have made on the modern human origins. The aim of this paper is to compare the arguments of two authors based on what they have analyzed regarding the origin of modern humans.

In the article titled “Analysis of Two Competing Theories on the Origin of Homo sapiens sapiens: Multiregional Theory vs. the Out of Africa 2 Model,” Sophie Edwards main argument is that the modern humans have a single origin which in this case is Africa.  She reasons that the excavations which are found in various parts of Africa displays a modern cranial elements which is evidence that proves that modern humans had evolved in Africa from 250, 000 years ago (Edwards 1). Edwards have made this argument in the paper under the subtopic “The Anatomy of Homo sapiens sapiens.”It is here that she proves regardless of the existence of several competing theories of modern human origin, the Out of Africa 2 model is more convincing than the multi-regional hypothesis which does not have any supporting evidence.

The article was written in the year 2012 and the intended audiences are anthropologists, anthropology students and scientists. The primary argument that the author has made in the document that proves her claims is that when modern humans are clearly defined, it becomes easy to identify their origin based on the evidences that are available. For instance, the modern human cranial capacity is beyond 1350 cc which can vary (Edwards 1). When the skull is analyzed, the frontal bone is vertical in nature which is different from the other hominids. The cranial vault has paralleled walls which are high and its occipital region is round in shape meaning that it lacks the horizontal bulge which is prominent in Homo neadherthalensis. The argument regarding defining what Homo sapiens sapiens entails is one way of clearly identifying their origin. It is because there are several fossils and human remains that have been found across the world which might be confusing in regards to identifying the modern humans.

The evidence is very convincing in that the first of the modern human fossils was only found in Africa which showed a mark in the evolutionary process. The other argument is that the modern humans did not share or have any linkage with the earlier population who initially inhabited the area. The research on molecular geneticists is also a clear evidence of the Homo sapien sapien evolution process. The molecular genetics focuses on the mutations dates and based on the study that have been conducted, the result shows that the modern human originated from a female individual who was nicknamed “mitochondrial Eve” who resided in Africa 200,000 years ago. Another human known as “Y-chromosomal Adam” was also found to have resided in Africa which strengthens the hypothesis of Out of Africa 2 model (Edwards 1). At the same time, the anatomic behavioral patterns of the modern Homo sapiens sapiens are an evidence of intellectual and cognitive evolution of modern humans.

The design of the research is convincing because genetics does not seem to lie. On the other hand, anthropologists can easily detect species based on its physical characteristics making the definition and genetic theory convincing. The ethical considerations have not been properly assessed and explored in this document which weakens its capability as a good reference material. Nonetheless, the research is convincing because there are several subjects that confirms the genetic theory. Uniparental systems and genome-wide autosomal information have been used by scientists to reconstruct the past events. At the same time, the fact that there are no DNA samples that have been found of the Homo sapien sapien in other geographical regions apart from Africa answers the question regarding the modern human origin. 

Some other positions that Edwards have indicated that which are debated regarding the topic is regarding the Multi-regional hypothesis which claims that the modern human had a regional continuity. The argument is more of an opposing position to the author’s main argument in the paper. According to the argument, evolution process took place in various parts of the world which produced a diverse variation in the modern human species. The main argument accruing from this argument is that the reason behind humans from different parts of the world having a morphological resemblance is because of parallel evolution. However, several scholars have ended up discrediting this theory for lack of enough supporting evidence. The evidence that the author has used to support this claim is based on empirical research that she had conducted. She has looked at the conclusions which anthropologists and scholars came about with to support their claims on origin of modern human. For instance, Edwards has mentioned Milford Wolfpoff who is a Paleoanthropologist and advocate in America who argued that because there are equivalent genes which are flowing among populations, it proofs the multi-regional hypothesis.

Another important article that seems to support Edwards’s main arguments in the document is titled “Modern Humans Came Out of Africa, “Definitive” Study Says” by James Owen. The article was published in the year 2007 a little bit early than Edwards’s journal article. The intended audiences are anthropologists and scientists. Owen’s main argument in the article is that modern humans are solely African children without any connection with the Neanderthals or hobbits family tree. The author’s main argument is evident at the beginning of the article which he further approves using various claims which have been made by various scientists. The fact that Owen used the term “we” shows that he supports the idea that the modern humans originated from Africa. The argument is significant because it gives the readers a direction to which the author has taken to elaborate his points.

Owen like Edwards agree that the position regarding the origin of modern humans anatomically has risen much more debates that the Out of Africa model or even multiregional theory which they have both addressed in their articles. The author has mentioned that the study did not find convincing evidence to prove that the modern humans originated elsewhere apart from Africa. At the same time, a new data that have been singled out proved that the modern human spread out of their continent after colonizing it. Owen and his group of researchers decided to combine the genetic data with the Out of Africa theory by evaluating the human skull which all proved that Homo sapien sapien originated from one region. The other proof is that the skull which they studied was only 2000 years old making it more accurate in terms of measuring the accuracy regarding the human origin (Owen 1). The strategy is more similar to that of Edwards who decided to use the concept of definition by identifying what made the modern human different from other earlier species of humans. The nature of the study in Owen’s article is also similar to Edwards meaning they are all based on empirical research. However, the research design used adequately addresses the author’s main argument.

The ethical considerations are not assessed or explored in the article. Edwards’ document is a perfect example that confirms Owen’s argument from the scientific point of view. The counter argument that has been made to oppose the author’s views is that humans tend to be uniform as they move further away from their geographical position where they were born. The author refutes the idea by giving example of modern-day Chinese who do not look alike with the Australian Aborigines. The strengths of Owen and Edwards’ articles are based on their direct argument and strong support for their position on Out of Africa model as the origin of modern humans. The other strength is based on the fact that the articles are easy to read and understand because the authors used simple language. It is also easy to follow through the article from its thesis to evidence. It means that the articles were organized in a logical manner making it easy to follow through from one topic to another.

Work Cited

Edwards, Sophia. “Analysis of Two Competing Theories on the Origin of Homo sapiens sapiens: Multiregional Theory vs. the Out of Africa 2 Model.” Anthro Journal, vol. 1. (2012), p.1. Retrieved from http://anthrojournal.com/issue/october-2011/article/analysis-of-two-competing-theories-on-the-origin-of-homo-sapiens-sapiens-multiregional-theory-vs-the-out-of-africa-2-model

Owen, James. “Modern Humans Came Out of Africa, “Definitive Study” Says.” National Geographic News http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070718-african-origin.html. Accessed 28, July 2007.