10 things you didn’t know about Africa
1.The human race is of African origin. The oldest known skeletal remains of anatomically modern humans (or homo sapiens sapiens) were excavated at sites in East Africa. Human remains were discovered at Omo in Ethiopia that were dated at 195, ed 000 years old, the oldest known in the world.
2. Skeletons of pre-humans have been found in Africa that date back between 4 and 5 million years. The oldest known ancestral type of humanity is thought to have been the
australopithecus ramidus, who lived at least 4.4 million years ago.
3. Africans were the first to organise fishing expeditions 90,000 years ago. At Katanda, a region in northeastern Zaïre (now Congo), was recovered a finely wrought series of harpoon
points, all elaborately polished and barbed. Also uncovered was a tool, equally well crafted,believed to be a dagger. The discoveries suggested the existence of an early aquatic or
fishing based culture.
4. Africans were the first to engage in mining 43,000 years ago. In 1964 a hematite mine was found in Swaziland at Bomvu Ridge in the Ngwenya mountain range. Ultimately 300,000
artefacts were recovered including thousands of stone-made mining tools. Adrian Boshier, one of the archaeologists on the site, dated the mine to a staggering 43,200 years old.
5. Africans pioneered basic arithmetic 25,000 years ago. The Ishango bone is a tool handle with notches carved into it found in the Ishango region
of Zaïre (now called Congo) near Lake Edward.The bone tool was originally thought to have been over 8,000 years old, but a more sensitive recent dating has given dates of 25,000 years old.
On the tool are 3 rows of notches. Row 1 shows three notches carved next to six, four carved next to eight, ten carved next to two fives and finally a
seven. The 3 and 6, 4 and 8, and 10 and 5,represent the process of doubling. Row 2 shows eleven notches carved next to twenty-one
notches, and nineteen notches carved next to nine notches. This represents 10 + 1, 20 + 1, 20 – 1 and 10 – 1. Finally, Row 3 shows eleven notches,
thirteen notches, seventeen notches and nineteen notches. 11, 13, 17 and 19 are the prime number between 10 and 20.
6. Africans cultivated crops 12,000 years ago, the first known advances in agriculture. Professor Fred Wendorf discovered that people in Egypt’s
Western Desert cultivated crops of barley, capers,chick-peas,dates,legumes, lentils and wheat.
Their ancient tools were also recovered. There were grindstones, milling stones, cutting blades,hide scrapers, engraving burins, and mortars and pestles.
7. Africans mummified their dead 9,000 years ago.A mummified infant was found under the Uan Muhuggiag rock shelter in south western Libya.
The infant was buried in the foetal position and was mummified using a very sophisticated technique that must have taken hundreds of years
to evolve. The technique predates the earliest mummies known in Ancient Egypt by at least 1,000 years. Carbon dating is controversial but the mummy may date from 7438 (±220) BC.
8. Africans carved the world’s first colossal sculpture 7,000 or more years ago. The Great Sphinx of Giza was fashioned with the head of a
man combined with the body of a lion. A key and important question raised by this monument was:How old is it? In October 1991 Professor Robert
Schoch, a geologist from Boston University,demonstrated that the Sphinx was sculpted between 5000 BC and 7000 BC, dates that he
9. On the 1 March 1979, the New York Times carried an article on its front page also page sixteen that was entitled Nubian Monarchy called
Oldest. In this article we were assured that:“Evidence of the oldest recognizable monarchy in human history, preceding the rise of the earliest Egyptian kings by several generations, has been discovered in artifacts from ancient Nubia” (i.e.
the territory of the northern Sudan and the southern portion of modern Egypt.)
10. The ancient Egyptians had the same type of tropically adapted skeletal proportions as modern Black Africans. A 2003 paper appeared in
American Journal of Physical Anthropology by Dr Sonia Zakrzewski entitled Variation in Ancient Egyptian Stature and Body Proportions where she states that: “The raw values in Table 6 suggest that Egyptians had the ‘super-Negroid’ body plan
described by Robins (1983). The values for the brachial and crural indices show that the distal
segments of each limb are longer relative to the proximal segments than in many ‘African’ populations.”