How We Won the Hominid Wars and the Migration History of Humans

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According to Darwin’s common descent theory, all the animals that are living have descended from one or more ancestors through a process called “descent with modification” (Mosley 1). The concept was first speculative until supported by evidences of archaic specimen physical anthropology when anthropologists found several fossils of earlier hominids with small brains in different areas of Africa. The theory lies on the evidences of genetics and fossils interpreted to prove that human beings evolved from Homo sapiens in Africa between one hundred and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand years ago (Mosley 1).  According to Smith and Ahern (14), “Fossil, archaeological, and genetic evidence suggests an expansion of some modern human populations out of Africa within the past 100,000 years.”

             Recent Africa Model theory adds that a sub-group of Homo sapiens moved away from Africa between sixty thousand and a hundred and twenty five thousand years ago. With time the former human population like Neanderthals and Homo erectus were replaced by these humans. Human beings ought to have descended from apes characterized by small brains and walking upright (Mosley 3). This left their hands free for use, hence favoring them for intelligence and that these apes were from Africa. Charles argued that living mammals in different regions of the world have got close relationship with the extinct mammals of that particular region. Therefore, it is much likely that Africa was earlier inhabited by the apes closely related to chimpanzee and gorilla who are man’s nearest relatives.

Competition between Different Species.

Early hominids were faced with the challenge of low birth rate and competition since primates possess some traits that reduces their ability to respond to rapid environmental perturbations. A lot of lineage of primates became extinct at a time when their environment was highly unpredictable or seasonal. They majorly evolved during Eocene and Paleocene when the climate of the world was not seasonal, making them relatively brainy creatures who reproduced slowly. However, many of them became extinct when the climate changed. Many early hominids had the ability to live in marginal areas with more dynamic and seasonal landscapes. Throughout history, the human population grew and covered a wider ecological niche.  However, the less numbered species were unable to survive the consequences of climate change. For example, paranthropus boisei who fed on hard objects such tubers, bones, and seeds were outnumbered by bush pigs and hyenas who had better teeth for crushing and grinding (Smith and Ahem17).  The genus homo members were considered as super ecological opportunists who could eat vegetables, scavenge, and eat small animals as well as forage. Cultural adaptations enabled the opportunists to eat any available food. Neanderthals were more adaptive culturally. They had larger brains, several tools and extremely successful in hunting and butchering animals. However, the rapid environmental seasonality characterized with long cold seasons and shorter warm seasons lead to the disappearing of grassy plains and subsequent disappearing of Neanderthals prime food (animals that relied heavily on grass).

Rise of Homo sapiens

from Natural Selection.

Smith and Ahem (27) term Natural selection as "the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to difference in phenotype.” The authors further state that Darwin referred to natural selection as “the principle by which each slight variation (of trait), if useful, is preserved.” Natural selection act upon an unplanned generic variation. The concept simply meant that individuals who are best at adapting to their environment have high chances of surviving and reproducing. There is existence of variation within organism population due to occurrence of random mutation arising in the individual organism genome. Inheriting of such mutation by off springs leads to constant interaction of the individuals with the environment. Individuals having certain trait variants do survive and reproduce more compared to those with less hence evolution of the population.

             Re-analysis of the female Neanderthal’s genome have shown traces of Homo sapiens’

DNA evidencing interbreeding of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. A Neanderthal genome gleaned mostly from remains discovered in Croatia is a conclusive evidence of mating between Neanderthals and early human. The meeting of the two population is also traced to a round fifty to sixty thousand years when the Homo sapiens moving away from Africa encountered Neanderthals in Middle East. A DNA obtained from a forty thousand years old skeleton of a human being gotten from Romania revealed the individuals chances of having a Neanderthals great-great-grand parent. The claim by some researchers that East Asians ancestors another Neanderthal affair is an additional evidence that Homo sapiens recently interbred more in Eastern Europe (Callaway 8).

How Homo sapiens

Won Hominid War

The unique adaptive characteristics of Homo sapiens are what enabled them to survive during the time when other species were facing out. Environmental sustainability as well as disruptions are the control factors behind Homo sapiens success. Homo sapiens were capable of coping with constant changes in climate and this later favored them unlike other primate tribes (Neimark 15). “One of the crucial elements of Homo sapiens' adaptations is that it combines complex planning, developed in the front of the brain, with language and the ability to spread new ideas from one individual to another.. "(Mosley 9).

            Though the modern Homo sapiens also encountered the reduction in many animal games, they turned to fishing, capturing of birds and turtles as well as snaring rabbits and other small animals.  A part from being a specialized mammal predator, Homo sapiens would feed on anything that crosses their way including grasshoppers so as to survive.  They also had the potential of storing water and food during late Pleistocene. They, therefore, out-competed Neanderthals who found the environment marginal with Homo sapiens already collecting small animals and foraging.

Works Cited

Callaway, Ewen. “Evidence Mounts for Interbreeding Bonanza in Ancient Human Species;           Nature Tallies the Trysts among Neanderthals, Humans and Relatives.Nature.17    February 2016.

Mosley, Michael. “Science and Environment: Why is There Only One Human Species?” BBC News.23 June 2011.

 Neimark Jill. How We Won the Hominid Wars, and All the Others Died Out.Discovery.23        February, 2012 .

Smith, Fred, H., and Ahern, James, C. The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered. Amazon: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.Print.

October 05, 2023

Science Sociology



Subject area:

Evolution Human Evolution

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