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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
Humankind today are referred to as ‘homo sapiens’, Latin for wise man, a term created in 1758 by a Swedish scholar named Carl Linnaeus. Extinct homo (man) species such as the ones we have discussed in the previous articles in this series are now referred to as ‘archaic humans’ whilst homo sapiens (humankind today) is the only extant (currently living) human species on Earth. So where do we come from exactly? Homo erectus may have shared similar bone structures to us and walked upright but they had far more body hair, different feet, different skulls and so on.
Well it is thought that homo erectus evolved in to homo sapiens (us) some 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. As with dating the archaeological findings of the homini it is impossible with our current knowledge to very accurately pin down a date for the evolution, not to mention that of course it happened over thousands of years and at different rates across the globe hence the large time span of a hundred thousand years. Indeed it is thought that in some areas of the world we did not really develop into homo sapiens until some 30,000 years ago. That may seem like a very long time ago but in the grand scheme of things it’s not very long at all! This was also the time that we see the final extinction of any surviving archaic human species some 50,000 to 30,000 years ago, otherwise there would still be cavemen-esque tribes around today!
So we know where we come from and that we have been human kind in DNA and physicality for some 30,000 years, but what makes us who we are? When did the homo sapiens in Eastern Africa form the empires of ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece or Rome? How did people get to the harsh climates of Russia or Scandinavia? And are the ‘Native Americans’ really native to America? To answer any of these questions, we must look at the history of migration.
We know already that the first human migrations were from Africa to Eurasia and at a similar time they (we) also reached Australia moving down through Asia. It is incredible that they travelled all that way without transport, especially as it takes an entire day to fly from Europe to Australia today and flying is much much much quicker than walking! Remember though this process took place over hundreds of thousands of years. This explains why the oldest recorded empires and powerful civilisations of humankind are found around the Mediterranean, as they were the first locations homo erectus migrated to. Ancient powers of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Persia and Carthage are all around North Africa and the Middle East/Southern Europe. At this time such modern civilisations of today such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom were still hunter gatherer tribes and did not begin to flourish until they were conquered and influenced by the empires around the Mediterranean, in particular Rome. The Roman Empire is credited with bringing technology such as roads, a common language in Latin and scripture in numerals to much of Europe and Asia due to Rome’s expansion but it is worth knowing that many of these technologies were borrowed from the empires that had come before Rome such as Egypt, the Greek city states, Persia and Carthage.
To summarise, we are all one and the same in essence, originating from Africa and migrating across the world over time, with different societies bringing technologies with them learnt from their conquerors and different nations evolving in skin pigment and bone structures to best survive in their living conditions e.g weather, local wildlife etc. Today’s powerful Americas were actually the last continents to be settled when homo sapiens migrated across from Asia down through Alaska/Canada across a land bridge which is now the Pacific ocean, created during the last ice age. We’re all really one big family, so be nice to everybody like they were you brother or sister (and be nice to your brother and sister too!). If you enjoyed reading about the origins of humankind feel free to submit your own article with some more details!
IMAGE SOURCE: https://sites.google.com/site/isp20152016stage10/english/united-nations-day