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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Did our hominid ancestors leave Africa and return?

The phrase “Out of Africa” might conjure up visions of a romantic movie of 1985 or the memoirs on which they were based. To anthropologists the turn of phrase refers to the theory, dominant since the days of Charles Darwin, that our human ancestors probably evolved in this continent.
In The Real Planet of the Apes, Professor David Begun of U of T’s department of anthropology proposes that a significant component of human evolution in fact took place in Europe between nine million and 12.5 million years ago. Hominids, he argues, then drifted back to Africa in a "homecoming" response to climate change. 
Begun’s theory – called “explosive” by Princeton University Press – is based substantially on field work in which undergraduates participated.
“I felt extremely lucky to have contributed to even the most minor extent in Dr. Begun's research,” says Klara Komza, a biological anthropology major. “It was my first taste at discovering something in the field.”
U of T News writer Arthur Kaptainis talked with Begun about his theories, his book and the importance of involving undergrad students in research.FULL STORY HERE


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