Early Homo Sapiens Sapiens in Africa

From the study of skulls we can learn what early humans in Africa looked like. By early humans, I mean modern man, not earlier types.

Very early skulls from Africa resemble either Khoisans or no living type. Some Khoisan type skulls (broadly defined) can be found going back as far as 90,000 years. Boskopoid skulls from 35-50,000 YBP seem to look like Khoisan (Mirazón Lahr,p. 282). Early Kenyan skulls look also look Khoisan.

Negroes appear in the fossil record in Congo, Mali, Niger and Chad from 6,000-12,000 YBP. They develop in the course of agriculture as Khoisan and Pygmy types gathered into agricultural villages in the regions above. In hunter-gatherer societies, women need men and marry early, hence there is little competition for females and every man gets a woman. In African agricultural societies, there was plenty of food, and women no longer needed a man to provide for them.

Since women no longer needed men, women got picky. Extreme competition for women developed among men, and one man or a small group of men tended to monopolize the women. This is the “chief” syndrome also seen in primitive agricultural societies in New Guinea.

Extreme competition led to the largest, strongest and most aggressive males dominating the group and preferentially passing on their genes. Hence, Negroes developed into big, strong, good athletes with high testosterone which drove high aggression. This is one theory for high Black crime rates.

In contrast, Pygmies are not aggressive at all, and tend to be rather meek and shy. Khoisan have low testosterone and have low levels of overt aggression.

Nilotics appear in Kenya 8-12,000 YBP. Originally, when these Nilotic skulls were first found, they were mistaken for Europeans. These are the classic “Horner” types of the Horn of Africa. It is amazing that Nilotics would be mistaken for Europeans, but they do have a more Caucasian look to them.

Recent Sub Saharan Africans have skulls that are more gracile than Europeans (ibid. p. 283), so it is a lie to say that Blacks have primitive or robust skulls.

The only really robust or primitive skulls nowadays in the study were found in Australians (65% are robust), Pantagonians, the Ainu and 1 Polynesian. This largely lines up with the Australoid racial group, which developed in a robust fashion for some reason.

The most gracile skulls were 13 E Asians, 13 SS Africans, 11 SE Asians, 7 Europeans, 1 Inuit, 1 S Asian and 1 Australian. So we can see that the most modern and gracile skulls are found in Blacks and Asians. Europeans are also modern and gracile, but not so much as the others. We also see that while Australians generally have the most robust skulls on Earth, some Aborigines have very gracile skulls. Australians are best seen as an extreme mixture.

Why did man leave Africa, and which route did he take? The reason for leaving was apparently a terrible drought in East Africa. For instance, between 135,000 and 75,000 years ago, East African droughts shrunk the water volume of  Lake Malawi by at least 95%, causing migration out of Africa.

Which route did they take? Researchers say their study of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands using complete mitochondrial DNA sequences and its comparison those of world populations has led to the theory of a “southern coastal route” of migration from East Africa through India. They took the Indian Ocean coastal route.


Mirazón Lahr, Marta. 1996. The Evolution of Modern Human Diversity: A Study of Cranial Variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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16 thoughts on “Early Homo Sapiens Sapiens in Africa”

  1. Robert, the 13 SS African sample consisted of which African racial sub-groups? The East Africans and Khosian definitely have gracile skulls; with West Africans, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I tend to see an even number of gracile and robust heads.

    Overall, I can’t say I’m too surprised at these findings. I never once believed that the average Caucasian have a more gracile skull than the average SS African. Caucasian, especially Europeans, may seem to have less robust skulls because they tend to not have exaggerated cheekbones and generally lack and sort of prognathism. .

    1. You can click the link and go read her book and look into her methods.

      I agree with you here. The racist notion of Blacks having highly primitive and robust skulls is a fiction. If gracile is seen as modern, then Blacks definitely have highly modern skulls.

  2. Also, I always thought the word “Nilote” was used to refer to the blacks in Sudan. They definitely look different from their East African and even West African counterparts.

    1. I wouldn’t say they look exactly like them. Their facial features and even hair texture are not too typical of Negroids. They look more Eastern African than Western African. They also look very inbred.

  3. I wouldn’t say they look exactly like them. Their facial features and even hair texture are not too typical of Negroids. They look more Eastern African than Western African. They sure look very inbred.

    Is that video real and not staged?

      1. I used to think they looked like jarawa but remember than the earliest modern non-ape skulls found are Khoisanid in morphology not jarawa+lightskin gene is relatively new in all populations+the fact nappy hair probabely originated in the sahel and I have a strong case of the earliest humans looking like black chinitos!

  4. robert,think about the skin colour and hairtype of the ”earliest modern humans”because I’m thinking the earliest humans probabely looked like the WAYUU indians of venezuela!theyre like black skinned chinese.think about it,lightskin gene must have evolved later on in khoisanids so they were considerabely darker though maybe not blue black,but maybe yes since humans evolved from the eastern african savannahs with scorchng uv rays not the tropics where lightskin(by lightskin I mean reddish brown to orangeish like the modern khoisan) is evolved from tropical shade.so the earliest humans would have neomongoloid features,black skin and …wavy hair?I say this because nappy hair is really a desert adaptation while tropics select for straight hair types.so did the earliest humans look like this?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEWoYV5dfBU

  5. the earliest non ape-man skulls found are Khoisanid(a morphologically neo mongoloid type in africa).pygmies and negroids are relatively new types.’negroids’ are only 12,000 yrs old evolved from pygmies thru sexual selection and polygamy.nappy hair is a desert adaptation not a tropical one(like dead straight silk hair).lightskin gene in all humans is a recent mutation from the OCA2 Gene,by lightskin I mean anything not blue black.so considering all this into account we get Black chinitos as being the first humans homo sapien sapiens!!!!!

    1. To johny man:
      Kinky/wooly hair is a hot weather adaptation generally: it doesn’t lie too flat against the scalp (and trap heat the way straighter hair tends to) and allows sweat to evaporate more easily, and it is common across unmixed indigenous subsaharan African groups (from the jungles to the deserts and sahel and savannah) And modern humans probably originated around the East African savannahs of Ethiopia and/or Kenya, which are dry and/or semi dry, as are most of the lands of the Khoisan peoples and large parts of SS West Africa.

      And the jungle dwelling Pygmies have that hair type too. So do many groups of hot-weather Eurasians—have kinky or wooly hair that is—whose ancestors always have lived at hot latitudes after leaving Africa: like the many genetically diverse groups of S.E Asian Negritos, Papuans. Melanesians, and Andamanese.)

      I agree with Robert that the first homo sapiens might have looked somewhat like Jarawas/Andamanese, but perhaps slightly taller—as Andamanese tend to be short. They could have looked a bit like some Nilo-Saharan/Nilotic East Africans tribes (who sometimes look a little like taller Andamanese in many ways with similar coloring and broadly similar features in many cases)—only probably not quite so tall as some groups of Nilotes are (since some of them tend to be quite tall).

      They could have been mostly dark brown/near black (like Nilotes or Andamanese are), or, possibly with somewhat a wider range of brown skin shades (dark to medium-brown shades) like some East African hunter gatherer tribes—like the Hadza, Sandawe, or Dorobo—have.

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