I cannot speak from a "verified" point, I can just offer some thoughts on how or, more importantly perhaps, where civilization took off (not
started, I think civilization is inherent in all humans).
First of all, let me define what I mean by "civilization". In the earliest stage, it is the technologies that make survival easier (like fishing
equipment, better hunting weapons and clothes to overcome hard weather). In an intermediate stage, the housing of animals and, furthermore, animal
husbandry, to improve and secure an important source of food (this does not mean one needs to be settled down in one place). In a middle-upper stage
it is the settlement, permanent settlement and development of agriculture and the first villages/towns (with all the related paraphernalia like labor
specialization, religion, weapon making). Finally, in the upper/advanced level we find the development of art and philosophy (NOT the kind of art we
meet in cave drawings, art for the sake of art or to honor a leader or a God or to commemorate an important event).
Now, while we can be sure all humans outside Africa started as black people their color started changing at some point, affected by factors like
sunlight exposure and/or availability, diet, lifestyle (if I may use this word) and an important one, time span between breaking out of Africa and the
point in time we discuss each time (people 10,000 years after the out of Africa "jump" were, most probably, still black, everywhere. 20,000 years
after it could be a different story in areas like northern Pakistan, for example, where the pigmentation would have faded considerably due to reduced
sunlight, compared to Africa). So, timeline is important.
About where civilization could have started, there's an easy answer, maybe too easy - everywhere! Where it grew more? In places where humans were
challenged the most (by the elements, by overpopulation, by competition with rival species like Neanderthal), more progress was made. In places like
Africa, where food sources were as plentiful and climate was "easy" enough for humans there was no need for huge advancements, they did occur but
not at the same rate or at the same "depth" as elsewhere (note that this is not saying Africans are dumb or anything of this sort, they just didn't
need to "boil" their brains as much as, say, residents of the Siberian plain had, 35-40,000 years ago, simply to survive).
While some aspects of civilization are universal and we all carry them inside us, their manifestations throughout history occurred at different times
in different places. Let's take weapons, for example. While the first humans reached Australia as far back as 60,000 years ago (estimated, not proven
beyond any doubt, but adequately backed by circumstantial evidence), aboriginal weapon technology was not advanced beyond a certain point when Captain
Cook found them (or "found them again", if we consider our mutual origin). On the other hand, we have early Europeans making better weapons around
35-40,000 years ago, a few millennia after they entered Europe. Why that is? A possible explanation is that while Australia was "open" for humans,
open as in uncontested, Europe was occupied! The need to depose Neanderthals so we could fill in the void as top hogs lead to the development of
So, when you ask, "where did it all begun?", define "it" and the answers may come easier than you originally thought.
[edit on 25-4-2010 by Maegnas]