"That humans originated in Africa is widely accepted. But it’s not generally
recognised how unique features of Africa’s ecology were responsible for the
crucial evolutionary transitions from forest-inhabiting fruit-eater to
savanna-dwelling hunter. These were founded on earth movements and aided
physically by Africa’s seasonal aridity, bedrock-derived soils and absence of
barriers to movements between north and south.
These features promoted extensive savanna grasslands marked by erratic
rainfall, regular fires and abundant numbers of diverse grazing and browsing
My lifelong studies have focused on the ecology of Africa’s large herbivores
and their effects on savanna vegetation. In my recent book, by linking
pre-existing threads together for the first time, I explain how distinctive
features of these animals’ ecology, founded on Africa’s physical geography,
enabled the adaptive changes that led ultimately to modern humans.
What emerges is the realisation that this amazing evolutionary transformation
could only have occurred in Africa. This recognition emphasises the deep
cultural legacy formed by Africa’s large mammal heritage for all of humankind."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics