I’ve been away for a while but now I’m back and there’s a lot of interesting news to review and comment on in terms of ancient human ancestors. One of the big stories has been the discovery a few months ago that there seems to have been a “returning” of ancient human ancestors from Asia back into Africa after the migration of our ancestors out of Africa. That’s all fine and well IF you accept the Out of Africa theory as fact. Personally, I DON’T! I tend to be more supportive of the Multi-regional theory.
I don’t think humans migrated out of Africa into Asia and then suddenly returned to Africa, frankly. No doubt SOME did but a mass migration of ancient human ancestors back into Africa? I think not! As a student of the Multi-regional theory I’d say that those ancient migrants that came from Asia and went into Africa were explorers or maybe even an invasion force. If this group evolved in Asia and suddenly discovered the continent of Africa then why would they not explore it?
Those who adhere to the Out of Africa theory view everything as coming out of Africa and I don’t subscribe to that theory. Rather, I believe ancient human ancestors evolved in multiple places all around the globe and as these various groups encountered each other it caused problems. Problems as in “tribal warfare.” To me it makes much more sense that ancient human ancestors developed and evolved in Asia, among other places, discovered Africa, and went exploring. So it wasn’t a return migration at all but, rather, an expansion of the Asian species of ancient humans into Africa. I think this will prove to be the case once more extensive investigation is conducted into this alleged “return to Africa”—NOT.
Keep in mind that the newest studies on this subject suggest that there was not only one mass migration into Africa but a wave of them.
Another bit of news of interest is the discovery that farming may well have begun not in Europe but in Anatolia (modern Turkey). Frankly, I believe this to be the case. The Levant has always been a sort of cradle or giant meeting place for ancient human ancestors and modern humans too. It’s only logical to surmise that farming had its founding in the region. However, I don’t think farming was limited to Turkey and further investigation will reveal that several regions in the Levant have ancient farming sites.
Farming is considered to be one of the key activities to ancient human ancestors settling down and eventually forming communities (ie: civilization). In the beginning the majority of ancient humans remained hunter-gatherers but as time went on more and more became farmers as humans figured out they could feed themselves by growing crops. Of course, I ‘m sure they continued to hunt and gather as well as farm. Domestication of animals also began and humans became less and less hunter-gatherers and more and more farmers and ranchers (so to speak). Before long there was no need to hunt or gather any longer as everything was provided from the farm.
Humans have always sought to control their environment to the best of their abilities and we continue to do so even today. Humans have also sought to do whatever they can to make their lives easier and farming along with the raising of livestock made life much easier and, frankly, safer. No longer did our ancestors have to go out and face fearless beasts in order to get meat. No longer were they required to endanger their lives in the killing of big game. After farming and livestock raising became common life suddenly became easier and safer, as I said.
It doesn’t surprise me at all that the beginnings of farming are in the Anatolia (Turkey) region as Europe remained to cold for a long time and growing crops during the time of the ice sheets was hard or next to impossible. As Europe warmed and the ice sheets retreated then farming became possible but it did not begin in Europe. Rather, it began in the Levant and thus far the earliest farming we have found is found in Anatolia. I think this discovery is magnificent!
Another matter of interest is new evidence from North Africa that even after the beginning of farming on a wider scale some North African Neolithic hunter-gathers continued to gather seeds and grasses and did not engage in farming. The evidence indicates that they had domesticated sheep and goats but resisted the growing of plants maybe because they feared crop failure. Perhaps they thought the “old ways” were much more reliable.
These people lived in caves in western Egypt and northern Libya about 8800 to 5000 years ago. The most likely had access to domesticated grains but for whatever reason they chose not to be farmers. Around 11,000 years ago ancient humans in the Near East began settling down and engaging in farming and domesticating animals but these people continued the “old ways.”
Other theories pertaining to farming suggest that farming evolved independently throughout the world at least 10kya. Many scholars believe farming began in one place and then spread out but they don’t know for sure just where that one place was. Farming could just as easily have begun in multiple locations and developed independently and why wouldn’t it. That would make the site in Anatolia just one of many sites where farming began and to me that seems logical and probable. I don’t think there was any ONE place where farming developed.
Migration Back into Africa:
Neolithic Hunters Reject Farming:
Farming began in several places not one: