Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilation
(200,000 BC - 476 BC)

Unit 1: Class 1: Out of Africa – The Origins of Humanity Part 1


Learning Objectives
  • Analyze the prevailing scientific theories on the origins of human beings.

  • Describe the reasons the first humans (homo sapiens) migrated out of Africa. 

  • Discuss the contributions to civilization made by the first humans in Africa.

  • Chart the path of human migration out of Africa and discuss its impact on human variation (i.e. skin/eye color, height, hair texture, etc.).

Study Questions

From “Where Did Modern Humans Come From”
1. Define the three models of human origins: A. The Out of Africa Model B. The Multiregional Model and C. The Assimilationist Model.
2. What model of human origins is the most widely accepted?
From documentary “Journey of Man”
3. According to geneticists there are no separate "races" of people, all human beings originated in Africa from one man and woman. True or False?
4. When did human beings first begin to migrate out of Africa"? B. What was the reason(s) for this first major migration?
5. According to geneticists, the San Bushmen of Africa have some of the oldest DNA on the planet. It was noted that looking at them was like "looking at a composite model of every face from around the world: the eye shape of east Asians, the high cheek bones of Mongolians, and the mid-brown skin color that can turn darker or lighter."  
A. Is this true in your opinion? B. How does the skin color and physical appearance of the San Bushmen contrast with what you have been conditioned to believe indigenous Africans look like?
6.  What is it that allows geneticists to trace human descent? 
7. What is the unique element found in Sans Bushman language? 
8. What was one of the newest technological advances made by Africans 50,000 years ago?  
9. Where was the first place Africans migrated to 50,000 years ago?
10. What was the path Africans took to reach Australia?
11. A. What percent (%) of the people who migrated out of Africa went the southern route to India and Southeast Asia? B. What percent (%) went the northern route out of Africa to become the people of Asia, Europe and North and South America?
12. A. Where did the first wave of Africans who took the Northern migration route end up first? B. Where was the second wave of their migration after the Middle East?  
13. While people were populating Asia (the Middle East, India and China), where were the Europeans?
From Video: UNTOLD BLACK HISTORY: The Black Chinese: DNA test... Case Closed 
14. What was the original hypothesis Chinese geneticist Jin Lee sought of to prove?
15. What did the Chinese geneticist Jin Less say led him to believe that the Chinese developed independently from all other humans?

Learning Tools
User's Guide
Class Evaluation


Suggested Vocabulary
Randomly ask students the definition of one of the following words. Then ask them to put the word in a sentence. This is a great exercise for the beginning or end of a class, or if you finish a class early.

corroborated - confirm or give support to (a statement, theory, or finding).

archaic - very old or old-fashioned.

prevailing - having the most appeal or influence; prevalent.

astronomy - the branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole. 

anthropology - the study of human biological and physiological characteristics and their evolution.

manipulate - control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously.