Prehistory had as many white people as black people and brown people. It only depended on where the populations lived in terms of climate.
The first people to arrive in Europe got here over a million years ago. After a few thousand years those who survived would be on the road to adaptation to a seasonal climate.
Homo heidelbergensis, who had spread all over Europe by 400 000 years ago, undoubtedly had white skin, brown, hazel or green eyes and brown or light brown hair.
European prototype features started to appear in the following species:
- Homo ignis antecessor – Fire maker Man [European Homo erectus; Homo antecesor / Spain] a million years ago
- Homo praecursor heidelbergensis – Precursor Man [Homo heidelbergensis] over 400 000 years ago
- Homo centralis – Central Man / Black Sea, Central Asia [Neanderthal man] over a 100 000 years ago
- Homo aequalis – Contemporary Man / Israel [Homo sapiens] 100 000 years ago
Homo sapiens is characterized as being ‘anatomically modern’. ‘Anatomically modern’ includes the following features:
- Taller stature than previous types of man
- A flatter rib cage
- Marked differences between male and female skeletons
- The skull has thinner bones
- The skull has lost its brow ridges
- The nose is larger and more prominent
- The teeth are smaller and the jaw reduced in size
- Reduction of the jaw gives a flatter face
- The chin appears as the jaw is reduced
- Above all, the cranial capacity is increased with the skull housing a larger brain.
Anthropologists often repeat that ‘anatomically modern’ humans evolved in Africa 100 000 to 200 000 years ago, and that only this type of prehistoric man was capable of human thought. But these anatomical features have clearly been evolving both in Europe and China for at least this amount of time.
Changes moving in the direction of ‘anatomically modern humans’ occurred in populations all over the world, not just in Africa. There is continuity between prehistoric species and modern-day populations both in Asia and Europe – this suggests that these people were our ancestors.
Do small differences in a skeleton cause someone to be human or not human?
We now live with diversity every day, all around us, in a shared life and our answer is no. Small differences are just part of human variety. What matters is the mind of the person and how they think.
Can anthropology defend the thesis that all prehistoric European peoples were wiped out due to being inferior – replaced by migrants from the south? I think we’re still all here and funnily enough we look very like our European white-skinned prehistoric ancestors who have lived in these parts for over a million years.