Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Cradle of Humanity

Why Africa?

I find it difficult to answer what the attraction is to Africa; it's probably a combination of things.

Perhaps it's just different, most people I know visit Europe, Asia, South America or the Pacific Islands. Or perhaps it's that the proliferation of World Vision ads has eventually got to me. My parents sponsor a child in Zambia, and I guess that had an effect on my outlook. But I think probably it is due largely to my interest in human history and evolution.

One of Tanzania's many languages is Sandawe; the oldest known language in the world, there are 40,000 Tanzanians that still speak the language, which is characterised by various clicks. The Sandawe people also have the greatest known genetic variability, a sign of long lineage.



Homo Habilis fossils were found by Louis and Mary Leakey in the 1950s within the Olduvai Gorge, close to the Tanzania-Kenya border. The Homo Habilis (Handy-Man) fossils date back over 2,000,000 years, and were characterised by an increase in brain size and the first known use of stone tools.

For these reasons East Africa is known as the "cradle of humanity". Tanzania is also famous for its Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti Plains, the Island of Zanzibar, and its abundant wildlife.

For whatever reason I feel drawn there...