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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Population and language history of tropical Africa with special reference to West Africa
Author:Andah, Bassey W.
Periodical:West African Journal of Archaeology
Geographic term:West Africa
Subjects:human evolution
African languages
Abstract:For West Africa the entire range of the Pleistocene is almost devoid of any hominid fossils. This situation makes it nearly impossible to assess West Africa's role in the problem of human evolution. Yet, there are indications that West Africa may have been in the stream of the story of human evolution. A discussion of the problem of defining hominid species is followed by an examination of the origin of true articulated language. There exists considerable disagreement as to the beginning of articulated language. At the level of the anatomy of the vocal tract, features discerned do not permit drawing positive conclusions in support of the existence of articulated speech among the Lower and Middle Pleistocene hominids. The author's examination of patterns of differentiation in the Homo sapiens stock shows that, as opposed to the traditional view, which places Negro 'origins' in West Africa, scattered human remains from North, East and South Africa indicate that Negro populations may well already have been in these areas before the advent of the Iron Age and its industries. In conclusion, the author examines language classifications. In this context, he states that cultural similarities among West African peoples may well reflect some form of early language homogeneity. Bibliogr.