The Second African Exodus The Emergence of Modern Humans

The two human groups had lived side by side in the adjoining valleys for as long as anyone could remember. Relations between the groups had always been based on avoidance. While the light-skinned, robust, stocky people largely restricted themselves to the surrounding valley systems to the north, the dark-skinned, taller, more gracile people controlled a much larger region to the south and often moved through the landscape. Each of these groups, however, had a home base that was close by. The rough terrain between these two valley systems helped in the desire for each group to avoid the other.

The region to the south, however, was eventually not large enough to support the increasing members of the dark-skinned clan. The only avenue for territorial expansion and access to new resources was the land to the north. The climate, too, was warming up. The gazelles, hartebeest, and wild asses favored by the dark skins were increasing, and the wild goats, deer, and horses hunted by the light skins were becoming scarcer. Soon confrontations between the two groups became more regular and the region to the north was increasingly being occupied by members of the dark-skinned clan. Unlike the light-skinned people, the dark-skinned clan had long ago made friends with the wolves that shared their landscape and their rocky ledges. The wolves helped them hunt by bailing up their prey, and to the wolves they tossed food, gradually taming them. The wolves barked to sound the alarm, played with the kids when the adults were off hunting and gathering by day, and huddled close to keep them warm at night.

The robusts had no choice but to seek land farther to the north, though they soon came into conflict with another dark-skinned clan moving in from the northeast. The light-skinned band was in decline. The social structure of the group had always been based on a largely sedentary structure, with a longstanding home base. Their need to keep moving every few years was taxing on the group; soon they were to disappear from the landscape forever.

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