Monday, January 15, 2007

OUR COMMON HERITAGE; ALAS, POOR YORICK

It is fitting, on the U.S. holiday Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to contemplate the condition of our world in terms of human relations. There is so much hatred of "the other" that one has to wonder if humanity can survive.

A small science item in the local newspaper truly enlightens the discussion: "Fossil skull offers proof modern humans migrated out of Africa." A team of scientists has concluded that a skull of modern humans (the species Homo sapiens) found about 50 years ago in South Africa closely resembles those of humans in Europe, far-eastern Asia and Australia from the same time period, about 36,000 years ago. This finding corroborates archaeological and genetic evidence by providing a crucial fossil link for the period of 70,000 to 15,000 years ago.

This additional support for the conclusion that modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa and migrated to Europe and Asia is meaningful for all people on Earth today: we are all related, and our common ancestors were Africans.

Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio!

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