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African Cultural Center (.) Org
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Of all the continents Africa was probably the first to be home to humankind. In his book The Descent Of Man (1871), the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin, called Africa the cradle of humankind. Darwin made this comment to support his theory of evolution in Origin of the Species, which he published in 1859. Since then research in eastern and southern Africa shows our ancient ancestors lived as far back as 5 to 10 million years ago.

Around Africas Chad, Victoria and Turkana lakes, ape-like creatures developed into two different groups. One group continued to live in the tropical forests. The other group moved out into the grasslands. In the grasslands they needed to stand up on two legs so they could spot lions or leopards that might attack them, which left their hands free to pick up sticks. Learning to use their hands to carry things took many centuries.

The Stone Age existed 2 million to 10,000 years ago. Some of these creatures could not survive, but the ones that did got stronger and smarter. Their families evolved over millions of years. In the last half million years things began to happen. They began sharpening their rocks and shaping them into more useful tools such as axes.

About 10,000 years ago, these African humanoids began living around the present day Sahara and the southern and eastern coasts of the Indian Ocean. They began to travel with the seasons and the food. They learned to gather and hunt for their family units and larger groups called clans or tribes. They began to gather the different grains that grew. Soon, they were farming, hunting, and fishing. They also learned to control the collections of animals, such as sheep, goats and cattle.

One person could now grow the crops for many. One family could herd the goats for a tribe. A man could build tools. A woman could lead a ceremony. We call this emergence of roles social organization.

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