Abstract

This essay synthesizes research findings in the fields of microbiology, archaeology, and archaeobotany to explore the significance of malaria on the peopling of early tropical Africa before the Common Era. It contends that the human genetic responses to malarial infections in early tropical Africa constitute the earliest known chapters in the human experience with infectious disease. It also advances a new interpretation of the colonization of much of tropical Africa during the demographic processes known as the "Bantu expansions" (fifth to first millennia B.C.E.). It argues against diffusionist theories and in favor of a more integrated theory of the peopling of the continent.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 270-291
Launched on MUSE
2006-01-13
Open Access
No
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