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By David W. Phillipson

David Phillipson offers an illustrated account of African prehistory, from the origins of humanity via eu colonization during this revised and extended variation of his unique paintings. Phillipson considers Egypt and North Africa of their African context, comprehensively reviewing the archaeology of West, East, critical and Southern Africa. His e-book demonstrates the relevance of archaeological examine to knowing modern Africa and stresses the continent's contribution to the cultural historical past of humankind.

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Rudolfensis (1470) from Koobi Fora shown above in Figure 6. It should be stressed that there is particular controversy concerning the relationship between Australopithecus and the earliest members of the genus Homo; some authorities (Wood and Collard 1999) deny that two genera are represented, regarding H. habilis as a gracile australopithecine. The dispute serves to emphasise the difficulty, noted above, of describing evolutionary processes in Linnaean terms. To conclude this survey of early hominid evolution, it may be instructive briefly to compare the physical features of Australopithecus africanus both with a modern person and with a modern great ape, in this instance a gorilla (Fig.

And R. E. Leakey 1978; Wood 1991; Isaac 1997). The focus of research then shifted to the exceptionally significant sites in the western part of the basin (J. M. Harris et al. 1988). At times between 4 and 2 million years ago the area drained to the Indian Ocean, but both before and afterwards it has comprised a closed basin with no outlet except an overflow channel to the Nile which functions only when the Lake Turkana waters reach a very high level (Butzer 1980; Harvey and Grove 1982). The height and size of the lake have thus fluctuated considerably; it and its feeder rivers have laid down complex series of sediments, up to 1000 metres thick in places, in which hominid and other fossils are exceptionally well preserved.

Cattle were probably locally domesticated in the eastern Sahara. Although the domestic animals herded south of the Sahara appear all to have been introduced from elsewhere, it is now clear that Africa was a major area for the initial cultivation of vegetable foods as diverse as yams, enset, rice and other cereals. With the possible exception of the Egyptian Nile Valley, no part of Africa saw the rise of a wholly indigenous literate civilisation, for strong external influences made significant contributions to such developments along the Mediterranean littoral, in the Sudanese Nile Valley, in the Ethiopian highlands and on the East African coast.

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