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Ever since Darwin first suggested that humans are descended from apes, the theory of evolution has engendered a firestorm of controversy. But the schism between creationism and evolution is by no means the only source of disagreement; even within the evolutionist camp there are fierce divisions. Are all humans part of a single species comprised of many different varieties? Or is each race a separate species? Even Darwin had no easy answer for that one. Some scientists, including Carleton Coon, believe that Homo erectus began in Africa, then migrated to different locations in the world, where it evolved into Homo sapiens at different rates--Europeans and Asians evolved quickly, while other races remained more "primitive." Others, such as author Christopher Stringer, agree that Homo erectus spread across Asia and Europe, but became extinct everywhere but in Africa, where they continued to evolve. Eventually, a new and improved Homo sapiens swept once more out of Africa--this time to stay.
There's plenty of paleontological and genetic evidence to support Stringer's point of view, and he argues it convincingly. Short of the invention of a time machine, African Exodus is the next best way to revisit the origins of modern man. [via]