EDITED AND REVISED: JUNE 22 2013 [WHAT IS HISTORY ? – WORLD HISTORY? – HUMAN HISTORY ?

[WHAT IS HISTORY? – WORLD HISTORY – PREHISTORY – HUMAN BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL HISTORY:

THE AFRICAN ODYSSEY:  THE AFRICAN HERITAGE IN WORLD HISTORY AND HUMAN BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL HISTORY – HAROLD L CARTER – JUNE 2013

History :

 In History and Life, T. Walter Wallbank, University of Southern California, Arnold Schrier, University of Cincinnati, Donna Maier, University ofNorthern Iowa, and Patricia Gutierrez-Smith, Roberto Clemente High School,Chicgo, Illiniois (4th edition, (Scott, Foresman and Company: Glenview, Illinois, Sunnyvale, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Glenview, Illinois, Oakland, New Jersey, Dallas, Texas), 1990, a few of the definitions included were:

“What Is History”:

“It (“history” )is somewhat unfortunate that the word history should be used in several different senses.  In its origin (Greek …) it meant learning by inquiry.  The historian was a searcher after knowledge, an investigator.  But by a subtle transformation the term came to be applied to the record or narrative of what had been learned by investigation; and in this sense it passed over into the Latin “historia” and into modern speech.  … Meantime another ambiguity … caused confusion in thought.  The word history is used to denote not only the record of what has been learned by inquiry, but also the course of events themselves.”

—  Allen Johnson, The Historian and Historical Evidence, 1926

“The subject of history is the life of peoples and of humanity.”  —  Count Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, 1865-1872

“To enable (people) to understand the society of the past and to increase their mastery over the society of the present is the dual function of history.”

— Edward H. Carr, What Is History, 1962

“To teach kings the history of their ancestors so that the lives of the ancients might serve them as an example, for the world is old, but the the future springs from the past.”

n   Djeli Mamoudou Konyate, an African griot (historian), 1950s

In Unit 1:  Civilization Begins” it was indicated:

“For the earliest people, life was difficult.  They had to learn how to find food and shelter, protect themselves, and develop rules and customs that would make group living possible.  The way in which various people have solved these basic problems is called their culture.  A great advance in human culture came when people began to farm, to establish governments and laws, to make metal tools, to build cities, and to write.  This kind of culture is called civilization.

In this 1990 a World History textbook History and Life, T. Walter Wallbank, University of Southern California, Arnold Schrier, University of Cincinnati, Donna Maier, University ofNorthern Iowa, and Patricia Gutierrez-Smith, Roberto Clemente High School,Chicgo, Illiniois (4th edition, (Scott, Foresman and Company: Glenview, Illinois, Sunnyvale, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Glenview, Illinois, Oakland, New Jersey, Dallas, Texas), 1990, it was indicated:

Chapter 1:  “Early Humans”:

“Physical anthropologists and archaeologists … work with other specialists such as chemists, botanists, physicists, and geologists – to reconstruct the past.

“Most geologists now believe that the earth is approximately 4.5 to 5 billion years old.  According to most scientific theories, the planet began as a glowing cloud of gas and dust that slowly formed into a ball of molten rock.  Heavier materials such as iron sank to the center of the planet while lighter gases such as nitrogen and water vapor moved to the surface, forming the earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

“After hundreds of millions of years had passed most of the planet was covered by deep oceans and shallow seas.  It was in these oceans and seas that living things first appeared:  and with them begins the story of life on earth.

Re:  The African Heritage with the discovery of microorganisms:

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

It 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 formationin Zambia, in Africa.  These pioneers of life on earth may have founded thelineage 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.

The 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:

The 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:

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

The Oldest Recognizable Remains:

The 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:

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

At 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.

Most physicists, chemists, and biological evolutionists agree that the evolution of organicmolecules began about 4 billion years ago.   The first living cell appeared about 3.5 billionyears 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:

The 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 America.  Everyone at some time or another has been struck by the matching Atlantic coastlines of Africa and South America.  Six 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 calledplate tectonics.  Alfred 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.

Turning to the fossil evidence, he pointed out an extinct form of snail that had once crawled about in both Europe and North America.  And 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.

… 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.

… 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.

… The environment confronting the first colonizers of the land as they evolved from thesea is commonly described as a desolate landscape of gushing volcanoes, dry barrenplains, cruel desiccating winds and fierce sunshine.  Undoubtedly such places did exist onthe early earth, and chemical-consuming prokaryote bacteria doubtless would have foundtheir way there  washed ashore, blown on the wind.  Their descendants are found theretoday, the bacteria that live on salts and on the rims of volcanoes.

ABut no higher plants and animals have ever established themselves in these extremeenvironments, 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,”  inThe 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 race.  It 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

As previously indicated:

“ … Homo sapiens, that is, human beings, came into existence about 100,000 years ago.  Ancient skeletons suggest that other beings similar to humans [“hominids” – “australopithecines” ]  lived nearly 4 million years before that time.  Both humans and these prehuman creatures are called hominids which means “two-legged primates.”

“Two African Bipedal Hominids,”

Source:  “The Book of Life, General Editor, Stephen Jay Gould, Contributing Scientists and Illustrators:  Peter Andrews, John Barber, Michael Benton, Marianne Collins, Christine Janis, Ely Kish, Akio Morishima, J. John Sepkoski, Jr., Christopher stringer, Jean-Paul Tibbles (W.W. Norton & Company: New York, London), 2001,

[“The Australopithecines” – “Hominids” – “Australopithecus afarensis” –

“Two early hominids, identified as Australopithecus afarensis walk bipedal-fashion across an open ash fieldproduced by an erupting volcano.  The region as a whole is wooded, but here trees are absent and the volcanic ash wetted by a light shower of rain, has formed a flat shallow layer in which the hominids’ footprints are deeply implanted.  The footprints filled up with yet more ash and were thus preserved to be uncovered over 3.5 million years later in the 1980s during the Laotoli (Tanzania) excavations directed by Mary Leakey.

“The footprints record that even at this early stage of human evolution, our ancestors walked upright with a striding gait very similar to our own.” 

[Source:  Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice (Thames and Hudson Ltd: London, New York), 1991,

Section:  “Footprints in Time,” pp. 381, 382

It was indicated:

The best know specimens of footprints of early hominids are the remarkable trails discovered at Laetoli, Tanzania, by Mary Leakey.

“These were left by small hominids around 3.6-3.75 million years ago, according to potassium argon dates of the volcanic tufts above and below this level.They walked across a stretch of moist volcanic ash, which was subsequently turned to mud by rain, and then set like concrete.  … A photograph showing a comparison of the Laeotoli footprints with modern human footprints showed that the contour pattern of one of the Laetoli footprints is strikingly similar tothat produced by a modern male foot impression in soft ground.”

https://picasaweb.google.com/117918226767454673930/HaroldLCarterUpdate?locked=true#5785606111861084658

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominidae —

 Cave art in Africa is older than the cave art in Europe – The arrival of cave art in Eurasia.

Other Sources:

The dates of the settlements of those African migrants in Eurasia are as follows:

Australia:  90,00 60,000 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_archaeology

Italy:  24,000 – 23,000 years ago [Cheikh Anta, Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Athropology (Lawrence Hill Books: Brooklyn, New York), 1991  and  Fred Smith and Frank Spencer, ed. The Origins of Modern Humans:  A World Survey of the Fossil Evidence (AlanR Liss: New York), 1984 [Grimaldi Cave”]:

 [In  the cave named Grottes des Enfants at Grimaldi on the Italian Riviera]  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cro-Magnon

France:

Spain:

Central and Northeastern Eurasia:

China:

By May 11, 2009 it had become known that later versions of Homo sapiens sapiens crossed

the Red Sea into Arabia and proceeded from there across  southern Eurasia, to Australia,

and India,

and reached central and northeastern Europe, Asia, North America and South America.

May 1 2011 – Genetic History of Europe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_history_of_Europe

A Genetic History of the Migrations from Africa to Eurasia:

May 1 2011 – Archeogenetics of the Near East – Middle East – the Levant – Egypt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeogenetics_of_the_Near_East

A May 11, 2009, Archaeology Daily Mail, article, “”Out of Africa: the Tribe that Populated

the World,” posted on 

http://www.archaeologydaily.com/news/200905111207/Out-of-Africa-the-tribe-thatlated-the-world

May 2009 – It was indicated:

  “The incredible human journey draws on archaeological and genetic studies from around

the world to trace the expansion of the human race. 

It tells how the DNA of today’s populations of Europe, Asia, Australia, North

America and South America can all be traced back to a single tribe of

Africans

“Modern humans are thought to have evolved about 195,000 years ago in East Africa and

within 50,000 years had spread to other parts of the continent. 

“It is thought that 70,000 years ago a dry period caused Red Sea levels to fall and the gap

across its mouth to shrink from 18 miles to eight miles.  A tribe of as few as 200 people

took advantage of this and crossed to Arabia.”

February 2005 – 195,000 year old fossil

A February 16, 2005 National Geographic News article, “Oldest Human Fossils Identified,”

had indicated:

Human fossils found 38 years ago in Africa are 65,000 years older than

previously thought, a new study says—pushing the dawn of ‘modern’ humans

back 35,000 yearsNew dating techniques indicate that the fossils are

195,000 years old

The two skulls and some b ones were first uncovered on opposite sides of Ethiopia’s Omo

River in 1967 by a team led by Richard Leakey.  The fossils dubbed Omo I and Omo II,

were dated at the time as being about 130,000 years old.  But even then the researchers

themselves questined the accuracy of the dating techniques.

Herto – 160,000 years ago: 

The new findings published in the February 17, 2005 issue of the journal Nature,

establish Omo I and II as the oldest known fossilsof modern humans.  The prior record

holders were fossils from Herto, Ethiopia, which dated the emergence of modern humans in

Africa to about 160,000 years ago. 

The new dating confirms  the place of the Omo fossils as landmark finds in unraveling our

origins,’ said Chris Stringer, director of the Human Origins Group at the Natural History

Museum in  London.

[Note:  It should be noted that Christopher String indicated as quoted below]

The 195,000 year-old date coincides with findings from genetic studies on

modern human populations.  Such studies can be extrrapolated to determine

when the earliest modern humans lived.  The findings also add credibility to the

widely accepted ‘Out of Africa’ heory of human origins which holds that modern humans

(later versions of Homo sapiens) first appeared in Africa and then spread out to colonize

the rest of the world.

“The new date also widens the gap between when anatomically modern humans emerged

and when ‘cultural’ traits—such as the creation of art and music, religious

practices, and sophisticated tool-making techniques—seem to have

appearedEvidence of culture is not extensively documented in the archaeological

record until around 50,000 years ago

[Note the challenge to this conclusion below!] 

“The wider gap could add fuel to a long-term debate swirling around when modern

human behavior as opposed to modern human anatomy, emerged.  ‘Those who believe

that there is widely scattered evidence of modern behavior going back 200,000 years in

Africa will be delighted that modern human anatomy also goes back that far,’ said John

Fleagle, a physical anthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York and one of the

co-authors of the study.  ‘[Scientists]—[Note:  think Milford Wolpoff!]—who believe that

modern human behavior only appeared abruptly about 50,000 years ago will see [the new

date as] further expanding the distinction and the temporal gap between modern

anatomy [as evolved in Africa] and modern behavior .”

[Note:  as supposedly evolved in Europe (Note:  central, northeastern, and

northwestern Europe or Eurasia!]

“‘So we know where Omo I and Omo II are now, and they’re now documented by GPS, so

they won’t get lost again.  But we didn’t have GPS 40 years ago.’ Said Frank Brown, a

geologist at the University of Utah and a co-author of the study.

[GPS – Wikipedia: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS 

When ‘cultural’ traits—such as the creation of art and music, religious

practices, and sophisticated tool-making techniques first occurred in

Africa.

[Continued]

 

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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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