Where did I come from?


Hypotheses of Human Origins

The two hypotheses of human origins make different predictions about the evolutionary relationships among geographically separated groups of humans. Wilson and his colleagues tested the hypotheses by comparing their observations with the predictions. Support for a hypothesis is found when the observations match the predictions of that hypothesis.

Multi-regional Hypothesis
The Multi-regional Hypothesis is largely based on the analysis of fossils. Under this hypothesis, archaic humans (Homo erectus) began to leave Africa and disperse through Europe and Asia about 1 million years ago. Regional differences developed in the morphology of the skull and teeth. These differences have been found in fossils from different regions. The interbreeding of adjacent groups of people was sufficient to stop these differences from creating separate species. Collectively the dispersed populations of humans evolved from the archaic forms to the modern form. While there may have been subsequent movements out of Africa, they contributed to the overall mixture of humans across the Old World.

MultiRegional1.png

Recent African Origin Hypothesis
The Recent African Origin Hypothesis accepts that archaic humans (Homo erectus) began to leave Africa and disperse through Europe and Asia about 1 million years ago. It also accepts that regional differences may have developed. Where it differs is in the significance of relatively recent events. Under this hypothesis, people began to move out of Africa again about 200,000 years ago. They spread throughout Europe, Asia and into Australasia. These humans are the ancestors of modern humans. Everywhere they went, the moden humans supplanted the archaic humans. How that might have happened is not known.

AfricanOrigin.png