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Sirwa Shwani

4/22/17
Research paper
Two theories of Modern Human Origins (Regional Continuity and
Replacement)
There are two theories that discuss human origins they are called the

Modern Human Origins of Regional Continuity and Replacement. These two

theories have different ideas on discussing the ideas of origin. They are two

different ideas that provide evidence to back their ideas.

Regional continuity or Multiregional model is one of the models that

explain about the human origin. The hypothesis is an alternative scientific model

that provides an explanation for the pattern of human evolution. The hypothesis

states that humans first arose near the beginning of the Pleistocene two million

years ago and subsequent human evolution has been within a single, continuous

human species. This kind of species has a form that is similar to that of Homo

erectus and Neanderthals as well as a modern form, and this species has also

evolved worldwide to the diverse population of modern Homo sapiens. The

theory resists the idea that humans evolve through a combination of adaptation

within various regions of the world and gene flow between those regions. There

are supporters of multiregional origin that support the fossil and genomic data

and continuity of archaeological cultures for this hypothesis (Jonanson, Donald,

2001)

This hypothesis was termed multiregional hypothesis in the early 1980s

by Milford H. Wolpoff and colleagues, they used the theory to explain the

similarities between archaic humans and modern humans in various different


regions. Wolpoff proposed that the mechanism of clonal variation allowed for the

necessary balance between both local selection and overall evolution as a global

species, with Homo erectus, Neanderthals, Homo sapiens and other human

forms as subspecies.

The other theory that also explains the origins of humans is the

replacement theory or its called out of Africa. The Replacement model suggests

a more modern origin of Homo sapiens. Homo erectus migrated out of Africa by

1.8 mya and Archaic Homo sapiens which, most likely gave rise to Homo

Neandertals, have been found throughout Europe and the Middle East.

This replacement model proposes that modern humans evolved from

archaic humans 200,000-150,000 years ago only in the African region. Then

some migrated in to the rest of the Old World that replaces all of the Neandertals

and other late archaic humans beginning around 60,000-40,000 years ago or

earlier. If this explanation of the fossil record is correct, all people today share

some kind of African ancestry. All other lines of humans that had descended

from Homo erectus apparently became extinct. According to this, the regional

anatomical differences that we now see among humans are recent

developments--evolving mostly in the last 40,000 years. This hypothesis is also

referred to as the "out of Africa", "Noah's ark", and "African replacement" model.

(Monroe M. H, 2011)

Some evidence that supports this model is the patterns of genetic

variation in modern human populations support this model. There are studies

conducted of contemporary DNA, like mitochondrial DNA which occurs only in


the cellular organelles that are mitochondria, show that humans are surprisingly

homogeneous, with moderately little genetic variation. The low amount of genetic

variation in modern human populations suggests that our origins may reflect a

relatively small founding population for Homo sapiens. There is also fossil

evidence that support this model/ theory. There have been studies conducted

that have found out that burials lacked grave goods and signs of ritual or

ceremony. It has been found that hunting was usually limited to less dangerous

species and evidence for fishing is absent and population densities have been

shown to be apparently low (Stringer, C, 2001).

I think that About Out of Africa or Replacement model is more of a

possibility than a hypothesis as opposed to the multiregional model. The multi-

regional model lacks significant evidence. The fossil records that are used to

support this theory are very weak and dont provide enough information about the

theory that Homo sapiens evolved outside of Arica (O'Neil, Dennis, 2013).

The kind of evidences that support of the Out of Africa model is very

convincing and fascinating. The research of molecular geneticists, in particular,

confirms the correctness of this hypothesis, making it the strongest in answering

where Homo sapiens sapiens originated. As Paul Pettitt suggests, we are, it

would appear, African in the main. I think the recent best explanation for the

beginning of modern humans is the Out of Africa Model that postulates a single,

African origin for Homo sapiens.


Bibliography

1. Jonanson, Donald. "Origins of Modern Humans: Multiregional or Out of

Africa?" ACTION BIOSCIENCE. N.p., May 2001. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.


2. Monroe M. H. "Australia: The Land Where Time Began." Origins - The

Regional Continuity Hypothesis. N.p., 3 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.


3. O'Neil, Dennis. "Early Modern Homo Sapiens." Evolution of Modern

Humans: Early Modern Homo Sapiens. N.p., 20 Nov. 2013. Web. 22 Apr.

2017.
4. Stringer, C. African Archaeological Review (2001) 18: 67.
5. E-portfolio: http://sirwa12345.weebly.com/anthro.html