500,000 BCE: Vertik Almann

Vertik Almann, a Homo erectus male, led nine hunting males. He saw strange hunters on a hill. Vertik didn’t count, but he sensed strangers were encroaching in his troop’s hunting ground more often. When strange males brought females, the hunters would readily trade their familiar females to get the new, exotic ones. Strange males hunting were different.

Vertik confronted the leader of the strange males. In a short battle, Vertik managed to trip his opponent and knock him to the ground. Once on the ground the other leader quickly signaled defeat and led his troop away.

 

Vertik spent a fitful night. In the morning, he felt a strong desire to move his troop north. He could not explain it or analyze it. He kicked at the fire and pointed in the direction he wanted to move.

The second largest male, Upp Rytemann, refused to move from this familiar ground. Vertik slapped him across the chest, and grabbing his leg, threw him off balance. Upp should have given the accepted sign of defeat; instead he stood up and threw a rock at Vertik, hitting him in the head. Such an action had never been seen. Members of the troop would throw rocks at other animals, but to throw a rock at another Homo erectus was not done.

Vertick fell but did not yield—partly because he was dazed and partly because nothing in his background told him how to act when struck down by a rock.

Upp called the troop to join him. Several members of the troop picked up their things and moved beside Upp on the south side of the fire. Vertik stood up and led the rest of the troop north. Eventually other troops moved north and spread out of Africa into Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. At the average rate of about four or five miles a year it took hundreds of thousands of years for them to populate those areas. The distance between these far-flung areas prevented the homogeneous spreading of evolutionary adaptations. Marked differences between the Asian, European, and African populations began to appear.

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