Forest people: The role of African rainforests in human evolution and dispersal

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Mercader, Julio
Year of Publication: 2002
Journal: Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume: 11
Issue: 3
Pagination: 117 - 124
Date Published: 2002/01/01
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1060-1538
Keywords: Acheulian, African rainforest archeology, Later Stone Age, Lupemban, Paleoecology, Sangoan, site formation

Abstract Conventionally, the African continent has been partitioned in two evolutionary domains. One of them, the rainforest, is home to apes and covers central and West Africa. The other one extends through the woodlands and savannas of East and Southern Africa and has been traditionally perceived as home to humanity. The morphology of early humans is well-adapted to open environments.1 In addition, food procurement in savannas is known to be easier and more reliable than is provisioning in the rainforest, with its dispersed and cryptic faunal resources and fickle carbohydrates and fat. In the late 1980s, human ecologists and socio-cultural anthropologists demonstrated that full-fledged foraging without some agricultural support has been virtually undocumented in tropical forests today or in the recent past.2 This research portrayed the present-day rainforest ecosystem as an unfriendly environment that is unable to support purely foraging groups, and questioned whether hominids ever lived in it.2


doi: 10.1002/evan.10022

Short Title: Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews