African Civilization

Chapter 1 Physical Context of African History: Geography and Environment 1. Although some may think of Africa as being of a single climate and terrain description, in reality a wide variety of land types can be found throughout Africa. How does this wide variety of climates and physical terrains affect human life and settlement patterns on the African continent? Different terrains and climates allowed for different lifestyles for Africans in different regions. Those close to the sea were susceptible to invasion, but had the advantage of maritime trade.
Those living more in land were isolated but protected by the diseases visitors would contract that did not affect the locals. Due to the fact that Africa is so massive, it has many different climates and terrain types. Some are more favorable to living conditions for humans and some not so much such as the Sahara Desert. Page Ref: 4-8 Topic: Physical Features of the Continent 2. Despite its large size, much of Africa has a very low population density. What are the reasons that most of Africa’s population is crowded in a few small regions?
This is due to the fact that there are a few areas in which the soil is not poor. Areas such as volcanic highlands; in which are cooler and have richer soils, allowing for important crops to grow. Page Ref: 8-9 Topic: Challenges of the African Environment 3. What factors limit the agricultural viability of land in Africa? Why is this seen more in some parts of the continent than in others? Assess how these factors would most likely affect human populations in Africa. There are parts of Africa in which the soil is very poor due to years of inactivity.

This makes it harder for farmers to tend and grow crops. Other parts get barely any rain or too much rain. Human population would be more prominent in areas where there is good soil, allowing for the flourishing of society. Page Ref: 9 4. How has the presence of disease in Africa served as both a positive and a negative factor throughout its history? Diseases in Africa served as a positive in that it protected Africans from invasions. Outsiders who tried to invade where not accustom to tropical parts of the Country which carried many diseases.
The locals were born in raised in these areas which made them fair better as their immune systems were adapted to these diseases. Page Ref: 9-12 5. There are several primary differences between malaria and yellow fever in terms of their effects on humans. Considering the differences between the two, which disease would have had a greater effect on preventing foreign intervention and advancement in Africa? When supporting your answer, consider the effect these diseases had on indigenous populations as well. Yellow Fever would have the greater effect on preventing foreign invasion.
This is true because unlike malaria Africans usually contract yellow fever as kids and become immune to it, unlike outsiders who are not. Malaria is both equally fatal to outsiders as it is to locals, especially cerebral malaria. Page Ref: 9-11 6. Assess the role of trypanosomiasis in the formation of the African economy. Provide specific examples to support your assessment. Trypanosomiasis affected the formation of the African economy by the way it affected animals. Due to the fact that this disease killed many animals, areas in which the disease was prevalent would hurt the local economy.
It prevented people in these areas to keep cattle which were important for their livelihoods. Additionally, the fact that this disease was cruel to Horses, the military would be affected as well, due to the sheer importance of horses for military uses. 7. Consider explanations given for the rising number of cases of trypanosomiasis in the recent past. What effects do you feel this increase and the cause behind it would have on life in Africa amongst native populations as well as foreign settlers? As long as there are areas that are depopulated, tsetse flies will begin to redeveloped in these areas.
This will cause cattle to die out and affect the local and foreign farmers. Page Ref: 12 8. Despite very similar climates, the histories of Africa and Australia and its surrounding islands have been very different. Consider the theory presented in the text to explain this reality, and assess how it can be applied to North America. This can be applied to North America, due to the fact that as climates and terrains change and diseases take a toll on population, one must adapt with the environment in which we live in. Page Ref: 12-13 Topic: The African Environment in Global Perspective . Consider how Africa’s geography has changed over time. What positive and negative effects would these changes have had on human populations on the continent? As their new homes changed they were able to adapt due to their innovative mindset. This can be attributed to the new found organization thanks to language. Allowing Africans to grow and expand throughout the entire continent. Other factors that can be attributed are the change in geography for some parts such as the Sahara drying out and swamps and lakes disappeared. Page Ref: 4-8 Topic: Physical Features of the Continent 0. Compare African geography to North American geography. Despite any similarities, significant differences exist in agricultural patterns and population density. What are the reasons for these differences, and how do they reflect the uniqueness of Africa? Africa is an extremely big continent and because of this there are many different climates and terrains. North America can fit three times in the continent of Africa. Although North America has a vast set of climates and terrains as well, it does not have to deal with the sheer size of Africa in order to flourish.
North America also tends to get an even amount of rain throughout the continent, unlike Africa. In Africa the people must take advantage of the rich terrains, reason why some areas are so populated as opposed to others. Page Ref: 4-8 Chapter 2 Africa and Human Origins 1. How did the theories espoused by biologists such as Carl Linnaeus and Charles Darwin alter previous perceptions of human origins and animal life on earth? What role do you believe these theories had in establishing Africa as the original home of human life on earth?
Both Carl and Charles believed that humans adapted from a primates. This way of thinking that humans adapted from a past species due to environmental changes, got the ball rolling on a way of thinking involving evolution. As a result of the remains of a skeleton that was found in Germany that could not be identified. This seemed to give proof to the idea of adaptation. Because the earliest human ancestor specimen remains were found in Africa, gave light to it being the origin of human life on earth. Page Ref: 15-16 Topic: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Origins and the Notion of Race . Why do paleontologists believe that fossils of creatures such as Australopithecus africanus and Homo erectus are ancestors of modern humans? Do you find this evidence to be credible? Why or why not? I do find the evidence to be credible due to the many similarities between their structure and ours. As we have found through history, that all living things adapt to their environment. We are just a more adapted form of these fossils. Page Ref: 16-19 Topic: Evolutionary Perspectives to the 1980s 3. What effect did the mobility of Homo erectus have on the course of human history?
Why is this important, and what does it signal about its role in evolutionary biology? The mobility of Homo erectus allowed for the developments of tools such as the Acheulean. They also were the first to expand into different environments, allowing for expansion and population growth. This affected human history in a great way, because their expansion allowed for the growth and survival of the human race. Page Ref: 18-19 4. What potential flaws do you see with the Multiregional model of human development? Assess the evidence in support of this model. The evidence that an extra evolution only passed through Europe is sketchy.
There is nothing to prove that Neanderthals only existed in Europe and nowhere else. All past Homo species eventually evolved into what we are today. That should show us that we are all equal and no race is superior to the other. Page Ref: 19 5. How have paleontological discoveries made within the past few decades contributed to our knowledge about the origins and evolution of modern humans? Were these all in Africa? What might explain this? Through the discovery of the past fossils it gave us proof of human evolution through time. Not all were found in Africa as there was one found in Germany for example.
However it appears that the oldest fossils we evolved from are indeed found in Africa. Page Ref: 19-22 Topic: New Perspectives and Debates since the 1980s 6. How does the “Out of Africa” model differ from the “Multiregional model”? What evidence exists to show that one is probably more accurate than the other? The main difference is that in the Out of Africa model; most of the evolution took place in Africa. While in the Multiregional model evolution occurred in isolation in different areas of the world. And additionally, there was an extra evolution step in Europe.
Most of the fossil evidence supports the Out of Africa model and most experts agree in that all humans derive from Africa originally. Page Ref: 19, 21-22 Topic: Evolutionary Perspectives to the 1980s, New Perspectives and Debates since the 1980s 7. The issue of race has long been controversial in evolutionary biology and related fields of study. What does the “Out of Africa” model contribute to the debate on race, and what does it mean for theories on race as a biological construct? This model states that all humans are the same race essentially (African) and it does not matter what color skin we are if the origins all trace back to Africa.
The theories of race are only about individuality and social and political classes. At the end of the day everybody is just one race: human. Page Ref: 22 Topic: Questioning Race 8. What is the significance of Neanderthal fossils? How do these differ from other fossils, and how have they contributed to ideas regarding race and racial superiority? Neanderthal fossils are the closest fossils to the human race. They have the closest skull measurements, essentially making them closest to being as smart as humans today. Neanderthals since the 1980’s are considered the end of an evolution for a species that is radically different from modern humans.
However, before this determination the Europeans viewed the Neanderthals as an example of racial superiority. Page Ref: 19 Topic: Evolutionary Perspectives to the 1980s 9. Where do early ideas about race and race specific characteristics originate? What does this signify about Europeans prior to the development of evolutionary biology and related theories regarding the development of racial differences? They originated from the scientist trying to find proof of races superiority over another one. Europeans were trying to justify racial segregation, denial of rights, and colonial rule. Page Ref: 15-16
Topic: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Origins and the Notion of Race 10. How has the Human Genome Project been used to establish Africa’s place in the story of human origins? What has it revealed, and what does it signify about evolutionary biology and the “Out of Africa” model? It proved that all human population shares an incredibly close genetic relationship. It also proved that humans lived in Africa longer than any other part of the world. This discovery gives scientific support in that all humans races originate in Africa. Page Ref: 21-22 Topic: New Perspectives and Debates since the 1980s

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