What if we united as one human species
to create a more prosperous future?
All people share common roots. These roots are responsible for the our overwhelming similarities to one another, and compel us to unite and face our challenges with a common purpose.
Think of your ancient origins. Your roots, and that of the rest of humankind, extend back in the time millions of years ago, beginning in sub-Saharan Africa
We are an African species
Africa is where our first upright-walking ancestors appeared some 6 to 7 million years ago, and where each of the species on the lineage leading to ourselves originated. Everything that makes us human and distinguishes us from other animals arose in Africa, from tool making to the use of fire and our great intelligence and creativity.
With the appearance of our species, Homo sapiens, in Africa some 200 000 years ago, came our advanced cognitive abilities that led to ornamentation, art, music and language.
It is only in the past 60 000 years that some populations of Homo sapiens started to spread out across the globe from Africa. As populations grew, some expanded first to the Middle East and then to southern Asia, Europe, East Asia and Australasia. It was only about 15 000 years ago that Homo sapiens arrived in the Americas.
When you think about our ancient origins, you realise that it is only within the last 1% of the 6-7 million-year-long journey of humankind that physical differences between Africans, Europeans, Asians and peoples from other regions of the world began to emerge.
It is only in the past 60 000 years
that some populations of Homo
sapiens started to spread out
across the globe from Africa
Humans on the move
Of course, human populations did not remain in one place after their original expansion out of Africa and colonization of the rest of the world. Human populations have been
migrating ever since. With globalization, reintegration of human populations has greatly accelerated to the point where original, geographically-based population differences are becoming less marked. Geneticists call this process of population movement and integration gene flow, or admixture.
For a fascinating, interactive examination of human population movements over the last 4,000 years, visit the interactive map entitled A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History. Here, you will be able to click on a modern population group (there are many to choose from) to see the genetic contributions made by other populations from admixture events over the last 4000 years.
The concept of race has played a major role in human history. For an excellent anthropological perspective on race, visit the American Anthropological Association’s project entitled
Race: Are We So Different?