New archaeological discoveries continue to challenge the long-held beliefs that human life probably started in Europe and Africa, shifting attention to the roles East Asia must have played in human evolution among other things that pertained to the origin of modern man.
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A piece written in The Conversion argues that archaeological discoveries made in Africa and Europe are what gave these places the right to claim human origin and evolution started there, plus the works of reputable archaeologists such as Louis and Mary Leakey, Robert Broom, and Raymond Dart among others in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.
The piece claims that the discoveries made in Africa and Europe shifted attention from the roles played by East Africa, where the Pithecanthropus was discovered by Eugene Dubois in Java between 1891-2; while Otto Zdansky in 1921 found the Sinanthropus close to Beijing.
The works of Dubois, a Dutch anatomist who sought to explore the evolution of man, was greatly influenced by those of German biologist Ernst Haeckel who created an evolutionary tree of hundreds of species of creatures, before placing humans among the Great Apes of Africa and Asia.
The piece noted that Dubois in 1887 went in search of the Pithecanthropus and found it within four years – 40 years before Dart found Australopithecus in South Africa and nearly 45 years before Louis Leakey found related archaeological discoveries in the East African Rift.
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But the World War II and the prevailing communism in East Asia did not allow archaeologists in Asia to publicize their findings, giving those in Europe the window period to showcase what they had found and thereby winning the attention they sought as the first to establish the origins and evolution of modern man.