Homo habilis (Kenya -1.8m years old),
an early Homo erectus (Georgia -1.8mil years old)
and Homo floresiensis (Indonesia -20,000 years old)
are compared with actual fragments
of cranial material of Homo naledi.
Kuti, who was arrested over 200 times for political agitation and created his own communal compound within Lagos, the Kalakuta Republic, championed African pride wherever his music, Afrobeat, brought him.
While it remains true that Africa holds the remains of the first members of our species, just where that location resides is under dispute.
For decades archaeologists have pointed to East Africa, but recent research contests the 'single-origin' theory:
While it might not sound like that much territory, we must remember the popular world map we grew up with in school is fabricated; Africa is larger than the entirety of North America.
If judging by land mass, we should take Fela's advice that it is the center of the planet.
Here's one perspective on its size:
The 'single-origin' myth, as historian Yuval Noah Harari points out, has never been clear-cut.
It's not like there was a single generational gap between,
Along the way, there was Homo neanderthalensis, which we all know about, as well as the,
The Guardian article linked to above cites another two,
...co-existing with our forebears in Africa just over 200,000 years ago.
What happened to all of these genetically unique cousins? Well, as Harari notes, we likely killed them...
And so the cradle of civilization is more like a caravan.
The paper (Did Our Species Evolve in Subdivided Populations across Africa, and Why does it Matter?), published in the journal, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, suspects that humans as we know them evolved independently across the continent at different times, divided by ecological boundaries that would have made it rare that they ever chanced upon the others.
Rare, but not impossible. Contact with other civilizations was fluid, marked by long gaps.
These groups were likely to come upon one another when the climate allowed, though they then dispersed again, notes the paper's lead researcher, Dr. Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist at Oxford University:
The researchers used a multidisciplinary approach to this study because, as they write, evolution is complex.
Stumbling upon one human skull that happens to be older than another doesn't necessarily mean the oldest wins bragging rights for an origin myth.
This means that the rise of culture, one of our unique traits among the animals, could also have been dispersed and risen independently, which forces us to confront interesting questions about the onset of our particular brand of consciousness.
As Harari writes, we likely created the single-origin myth both out of convenience and to hide the violence inherent in our ancestral past.
What history or biology teacher wants to tell their students that we won the battle of the species not by domesticating cattle and dogs and implementing widespread agriculture, but by murdering, interbreeding, and likely eating those closest to us?
History is never that easy a discipline. This fascinating new research will help us to rewrite archeology, anthropology, and evolutionary biology books once again.
Still, the researchers haven't proven Fela wrong.
He knew who was first...