The discipline of anthropology - Anthropology Essay Example
The discipline of anthropology seems to have made it its business to trace and determine the origins of mankind - The discipline of anthropology introduction. Anthropologists continue to excavate and look for fossils that would help them reconstruct history. Through years of study and research and millions of funding, they are far from the truth and answering the most important question of all time, where did modern man came from? In the past, the scientific community and the world in general relied on what anthropologists could discover as a means of getting insight to the distant past of humanity. However, with the advent of technology and more rigorous scientific procedures, most of what has been believed earlier has now been proven to be false. At present, instead of completing the picture, anthropologists and scientists alike are taking everything down and inspecting it, to test whether it is still true or not. But, as they say, this is the essence of science, knowledge is not infallible and when it has been conceptualized by man, then the more it is fallible.
Anthropologists conceptualized man’s origins from the multiregional model. This model is based on fossil evidence that have been found all over the world hint at the plausibility of the multiregional evolution of modern man. Modern man or Homo sapiens sapiens simply put are you and me; it is a distinct species in the sense that it does not resemble the early human forms like the Homo erectus and the Neanderthals. The difference between the species does not only extend to the anatomical but also to the use of more elaborate tools and the presence of a highly evolved cognitive functioning. The multiregional model says that at some point, modern man evolved from the existing premodern man in the Old World. This meant that modern man developed from the archaic sapiens through evolutionary process in certain regions in the world namely Asia, Africa and Europe and from these regions modern man migrated to other locations evidently replacing the premodern men. But since fossils have been unearthed that disputes the multiregional model, it has now come under close scrutiny and an alternate model called the Noah’s Ark model is presented.
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The Noah’s Ark model says that modern man originated from speciation in a specific and wide geographical location and then these modern men migrated to other parts of the world and replacing all other species. Therefore, all other pre-existing human species would be completely driven to extinction and modern man would come to be the single entity. This model says that fossil records show the existence of premodern man but evidence of a developing species from archaic to more modern features would not be present. Which to date has been the state in which fossils have been found. This model has garnered a strong following among anthropologists and evolutionary biologists as well. For one, the theory of mitochondrial Eve had been built on this model.
Mitochondrial DNA contains a fairly stable maternal DNA that could be traced to a single origin; this has been the findings of a genetic study into the origins of modern man. Mitochondrial DNA was analyzed from various subjects in different parts of the world and it seemed that one recurring DNA strand was shared by all of the samples indicating that modern man might have come from a single woman, thus the notion of Eve. This findings support the Noah’s Ark model wherein modern man came from a single region in which the speciation occurred, and according to the study it came from Africa. Moreover the mitochondrial data suggests that there is no interbreeding which again is similar to the claim of the Noah’s ark model in which modern man migrated to other regions and drove the existing premodern man to extinction.
The mitochondrial data have been heatedly debated on both by anthropologists and geneticists, such that it may or may not be true and it might be a battle lost for the Noah’s ark model. On the other hand, the multiregional and Noah’s ark model continue to be the guiding force in the study of the origins of man.