The African Heritage and African History Goes Back in Time to Prehistoric Times and the Beginnings of Biological Evolution!

It is unfortunate that when a debate occurs between someone representing the science point of view as opposed to a Creationist view the exact details that science could provide seldom enter into the discussion.  Scientists cautiousa about insulting the intelligence of other experienced and knowledgeable scientists who have been engaged in research over many years, hesitate to bring up such elementary facts or details of science, also assuming that such facts might not be easily assimilated by the general public listening to or reading about the debate.  Often in the background lies a more significant reason and that is the fact that as representatives of various higher educational colleges and universities that are dependent in many essential ways upon continuing alumni financial support and endowments, do not wish to offend the majority religious view by presenting facts that might go against a “literal” interpretation of the Bible and particularly Genesis I.  Lately knowledgeable African and African-American scholars have realized that the omitted parts of world history and human biological and cultural history are vital to an understanding of the African contributions with regard to the world’s earliest civilizations and the foundations of modern technological sciences and the four major religions as well and have voiced concern that African and African-American scholars must begin to communicate in their research findings evidence supporting those achievements and accomplishments by people of African descent prior to the much later arrival of western civilization as represented by Greece and Rome and those Germanic and Celtic populations who invaded and assimilated those attributes of culture and civilization acquired by the Greek and Roman civilizations.  Having made those introductory remarks, here is a small portion of the African heritage in human biological and cultural history.

Although it would be very relevant to what I just indicated to present what Dr Charles Finch said in regard to what must become a part of the history of people of African descent.

Dr Finch indicated:

Charles Finch indicated that most of human evolutionary growth and development occurred in Africa—there was an African continuum of hominids from the Great Lakes Region in equatorial east Africa after the delta formation of early Lower Egypt thousands of years prior to settlement by tropical Africans in the northern Sahara region near the Mediterranean Sea and the “Fertile Crescent,” “the Levant,” or “the Middle East.

In “Race and Evolution in Prehistory” in “African Presence in Early Europe, Editor, Ivan Van Sertima (1986), he stated:

“It is in the multi-layered discipline of anthropology, prehistory, and population genetics that some crucial lines of evidence are being pursued, half-hidden from the view of the enlightened reading ublic, which seek to minimize, undermine, and negate the African contribution to humanity.  … Unfortunately there are not enough African scholars pursuing these studies in depth, aside from Prof Diop himself. … The strategies and armaments are very different now and so many scientific disciplines have been brought to bear on these questions: geology, physics, biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, statistics, the list goes on.  The time is nearly upon us when any serious African cultural historian will have to be scientifically literate.  This should not be a cause for alarm, since it will expand the horizons of the historian and enable him better to fulfill the yawning gaps of history.  Professor Diop has led the way in showing us that the Afro-centric cultural historian must keep pace with the new scientific sophistication that characterizes current research.  … Every year new finds and new data surface that force us, in some measure, to rewrite the scenario year to year.  … “

It should be noticed that many of our famous black leaders and black intellectuals during and after many years of fighting for the liberation of the minds of people of African descent after the plantation slavery and post Civil War era including the apartheid, strict segregation era, from 1896 through 1954, with their gathering a profound knowledge of the world and what true and accurate history had revealed to them about themselves and others in the world, had ended up in the category or others had placed them in the category of “famous black atheists” as presented in the following article:

http://www.religionnews.com/culture/social-issues/sketches-of-famous-black-atheists

So here goes the following:

The African Heritage:

Archaeological Evidence of Multicellular Microorganisms Found in Africa:

“The archaeological evidence is being yearly discovered with regard to an African heritage in human biological and cultural history of “all” human beings that began even before the plio-pleistocene epoch, 5 million years ago.  Professor G. Ledyard Stebbins in Darwin to Dna: Molecules to Humanity (W. H. Freeman and Company: San Francisco), 1982 indicated:

Re:  The African Heritage with the discovery of microorganisms:

In Darwin to DNA: Molecules to Humanity, Prof G. Ledyard Stebbins stated:

AIt was during the Archean Eon, the very earliest period of earth=s history,  that comprise 43% of our planet=s history and encompasses Earth=s first 2,000 million years that during the Proterozoic Era distinct types of microorganisms were found in a rock formation in Zambia, in AfricaThese pioneers of life on earth may have founded the lineage that many eons later led to both plants and animals, including humans.  The scenario is reasonably well defined.

6 Billion Years Ago:

AThe Earth originated about 4.6 billion years ago, and by about 4 billion years ago its surface had become cool enough to make life possible.  By 3.8 billion years ago, rivers were eroding mountains and carrying sediment to valleys and flood plains, forming the first sedimentary rocks.  These strata are completely devoid of life.

AThe oldest known fossil cells are from the Fig Tree Chert of South Africa and are about 3.5 billion years old.  (p. 175).  Paleontologist Elso Barghoorn has found deposits in the Fig Tree Chert of South Africa containing concentrated masses of thick-walled cells about 3.5 billion years old.   [G. Ledyard Stebbins, Darwin to DNA: Molecules to Humanity, [Stebbins 1982, p. 189]

[Note:   It was also indicated that:

AThe first convincing evidence of precambrian animal life came in 1930 with the finding by the German paleontologist G. Gurich of traces of fossilized multicellular organisms in late Proterozoic rocks from Namibia in Africa.  It was cited in athe oldest eukaryotic cells, by Gonzalo Vidal in Scientific American, February 1984, Volume 250, No. 2.

“Also in 1947 the Australian geologist R. C. Sprigg discovered numerous imprints of primitive aquatic animals – including jellyfish, various kinds of worms and possibly sponges – in the sandstone beds of the Ediacara Hills in South Australia; at the time the rocks were believed to date from the early Cambrian Period, but subsequent studies showed that they too belonged to the late Proterozoic.  Since then similar animal fossils have been found in sedimentary rocks of comparable age in Britain, Canada, Sweden and the U.S.S.R.  The discovery of these Ediacarian fossils pushed the oldest record of multicellular life back to about 670 million years ago.  except for the equivocal stromatolites, however, no trace of earlier precambrian life forms was found until the 1950s.

“The existence of Precambrian microbial life was first established in 1954 by Elso S. Barghoorn of Harvard University and Stanley A. Tyler of the University of Wisconsin, on the basis of their study of microscopic bodies in stromatolitic rocks from the Gunflint Iron Formation in Southern Ontario.  Radioactive dating of minerals in the rocks showed they were formed about two billion years ago.

“The most important step in the uncovering of early Precambrian life had been taken.  From this point on the investigation of fossil microorganisms was to lead to a veritable flood of published reports on findings in Precambrian deposits throughout the world.  Comparable studies of precambrian and early Paleozoic microfossils were undertaken at the same time by Boris V. Timofeev of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. and a similar deluge of publications followed his pioneering work.  … The American line followed the original hypothesis of Charles Doolittle Walcott, who first ascribed a biological origin to stromatolites at the beginning of the twentieth century.  [Gonzalo Vidal 1984: 48]

Professor G. Ledyard Stebbins indicated:

AUntil recently, the fossil record of early animal evolution was almost blank, but significant clues are now available.

The Oldest Recognizable Remains:

AThe oldest recognizable remains are fossilized worm burrows about 1 billion years old – 400 million years younger than the oldest single-celled eukaryotes.  A trace fossils of this kind are not common in rocks older than the Ediacara Formation of Australia, which is between 680 million and 580 million years old, where paleontologist M. F. Glaessner found remains of several kinds of worms and jellyfishes (medusae) but no indications of more complex life.  Slightly younger rocks contain minute fragments of the external skeletons of larger multicellular animals, the nature of which cannot be determined.

In AThe Oldest Eukaryotic Cells,@ by Gonzalo Vidal it was indicated:

AAll higher organisms are composed of eukaryotic, or nucleated, cells.  A review of the fossil record indicates that the eukaryotes originally evolved in the form of unicellular plankton some 1.4 billion years ago@   Cited in Scientific American, February 1984, Volume 250, No. 2.]

AAt the Beginning of the Cambrian Period – about 570 million years ago – external skeletons appear that definitely belong to many living phyla.  At the turn of the century, geologists and paleontologists accumulated data on all the world=s strata … These investigations were followed by a flood of new discoveries about radioactivity.  Physicists discovered that such elements as uranium and strontium, and mixtures of potassium and argon, decay at regular, measurable rates.  The Technique of radiometric dating that emerged from these discoveries is now standardized to such a degree that geologists and physicists agree almost unanimously about the results obtained.  Radiometric dating tells us that the Earth is about 4 billion years old, and that the first living cells may have appeared more than 3 billion years ago – that organisms having cellular nuclei, chromosomes,and possibly the ability to reproduce sexually evolved between 1 billion and 1.4 billion years ago – and  that primitive jellyfishes, worms, seaweeds, and other many-celled organisms first appeared between 600 and 700 million years ago.

AMost physicists, chemists, and biological evolutionists agree that the evolution of organic molecules began about 4 billion years ago.   The first living cell appeared about 3.5 billion years ago, and the first simple many-celled animal appeared roughly 600 million years ago.  

“The move of ocean life to land:six hundred million years ago when the Earth=s landmasses were joined together as a supercontinent:

John Reader, in The Rise of Life: the First 3.5 Billion Years (Alfred A. Knopf: New York), 1986. Indicated:

AThe move of ocean life to land that it occurred over 600 million years ago when there were the matching Alantic coastlines of Africa and South AmericaEveryone at some time or another has been struck by the matching Atlantic coastlines of Africa and South AmericaSix hundred million years ago the Earth=s landmasses were  joined together as a supercontinent straddled diagonally across the equator, centered on what is now the Atlantic Basin 

 

350 million years ago there were only two landmasses:  Three hundred and fifty million years ago there were two grand continents:

 

“There were only two landmasses: (1) Africa and South America and

(2) North America, Europe, and the U.S.S.R.:

(1)   The one comprising North America, Europe and the USSR joined in about their present configuration, extending northeast from the Equator, and (2) the other continent centered around Africa at the South Pole.

There was only one supercontinent: 600 million years ago:

The two continents joined yet  again as one supercontinent about 200 million years ago, then they parted and drifted towards their present position.

Mesozoic Era: 225 Million Years Ago:

The science that describes the fantastic global wanderings of the continents is called plate tectonicsAlfred Wegener, proposed a theory that at the beginning of the mesozoic era, 225 million years ago, the earth=s landmasses had been joined together in the form of a single supercontinent, which he called Pangaea, meaning Aall lands.@  Wegener backed his theory with a mass of geological evidence.  He pointed out that Cambrian Rocks in Scotland were identical to those found in Labrador, across the Atlantic.  Similarly there were geological formations on the Ivory Coast that matched others in Brazil, he said, and rocks in East Africa that were the same as others in Madagascar and India.

ATurning to the fossil evidence, he pointed out an extinct form of snail that had once crawled about in both Europe and North AmericaAnd then there was the matter of the coal formations known to exist in Antarctica: coal was laid down in tropical climes, therefore the Antarctic Landmass must once have been in the Tropics.  Wegener=s theory gained some support, but it failed to convince the majority.  What it lacked was an explanation of precisely how the continents were propelled over the face of the Earth.  What force was behind them?  The answer was not forthcoming until the 1960s, when a Princeton University geologist, Harry Hess, realized that the recently identified mid-ocean ridges that girdle the world like random seams on a tennis ball were in fact a system of fissures emitting molten basalt from deep within the Earth.  As it spread outwards from both sides of the ridge the basalt pushed the older material ahead of it, thereby widening the oceans and moving entire continents.

A … By the 1980s the idea of sea-floor spreading and continental drift had become virtual fact.  Strong supporting evidence had accumulated, particularly in the field of paleomagnetism, which studies the earth=s past magnetic activity.

A … So plate tectonics and continental drift explain how it is that the fossil remains of sea-dwelling creatures are found over 5,000 metres up in the Himalayas and the Andes – the mountains were once part of the seabed – and why the British Isles show evidence of once experiencing an equatorial climate while Africa froze at the Pole.

A … The environment confronting the first colonizers of the land as they evolved from the sea is commonly described as a desolate landscape of gushing volcanoes, dry barren plains, cruel desiccating winds and fierce sunshineUndoubtedly such places did exist on the early earth, and chemical-consuming prokaryote bacteria doubtless would have found their way there washed ashore, blown on the windTheir descendants are found there today, the bacteria that live on salts and on the rims of volcanoes.

ABut no higher plants and animals have ever established themselves in these extreme environments, either now or at the earliest stages of life=s terrestrial evolution.  … During the period that lasted from 345 to 270 million years ago, when the continents were two large landmasses and the climate over most of the land was subtropical, warm and moist all the year round, plant growth was phenomenal.@

===========

Joseph Campbell in Volume II: The Way of the Seeded Earth, Part I, “The Sacrifice,”  in The Historical Atlas Of World Mythology indicated:

The Würm glacier , 50,000-8,000 B.C.

Africa, we now know, was the cradle of the human raceIt was thus from Africa that the earliest hunting populations of Europe were derived, and from Africa, as well, that the regions eastward, along the Tropic of Cancer (Spain, France), were first entered and explored.

During the final glacial age (the Würm, c. 50,000-8,000 B.C. when there was so much of the Earth’s water locked in glacial ice that the oceans were 300 to 400 feet lower than today; so that Beringland in the north and, in the south, Sahulland and Sundaland, lay exposed) the migrating tribes entered what are now Australia and New Guinea (and much later entered America) were without exception hunters–as are the aboriginal Australians to this day.”

“ … “And the least of these shall be the greatest … “  … For centuries depicted as a “primitive” subrace, archaeological discoveries have now provided evidence that Australian Aborigines are of African descent and pioneered in exploring and early art and culture during prehistoric times prior to their colonization by the British.  … Check the following out!

Science Daily, September 23, 2011:  “Aboriginal Australians: The First Explorers”:

“The results published in the journal Science, re-interpret the prehistory of our species.  By sequencing the genome, the researchers demonstrate that Aboriginal Australians descend directly from an early human expansion into Asia (Note: Eurasia) that took place some 70,000 years ago, at least 24,000 years before the population movements that gave rise to present-day Europeans and Asians.  The results imply that modern day Aboriginal Australians are in fact the direct descendants of the first people who arrived in Australia.

“ … The history of Aboriginal Australians plays a key role in understanding the dispersal of the first humans to leave Africa.  Archaeological evidence establishes modern human presence in Australia by about 50,000 years ago, but this study re-writes the story of their journey there.

“The study derived from a lock of hair donated to a British anthropologist by an Aboriginal man from the Goldfield region of Western Australia in the early 20th century.  One hundred years later, researchers have isolated DNA from this same hair, using it to explore the genetics of the first Australians and to provide insights into how humans first dispersed across the globe.

“Co-author Dr. Joe Dortch, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, says the work is significant because it shows the timeline for people in Australia is more than 50,000 years.  ‘So far there are no archaeological sites that are over 50,000 years old soit puts a time limit on that and focuses our future efforts,’ he said.  Dr. Dortch believes the finding will foster a sense of pride in modern Australian Aborigines.  ‘No one else in the world can say I am descended from people who have been here 75,000 years.’

The following was reported in The New York Times, February 22, 2011:P

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/science/23aborigines.html

[Sorry – As they said in national TV’s soap operas “next episode continued next time”! …  Continued in “The African Odyssey:  The African Heritage in World History and Human Biological and Cultural History:  From Prehistoric Times and the Earliest Civilizations to the 21st Cenury (2012)” ! ]

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About Harold L Carter

Bachelor of Science, Columbia University Masters degree, Ohio State University Undergraduate National Officer, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eastern Asst Vice President, when a student at Columbia University Profile Photograph: Mom & Me, when I was a graduate student
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