I know this column is from 1987, and that old columns do not generally get updated before they are posted, and all that, but surely even back in the dark ages of the 1980s it was known that the first humans lived in Africa, not Mesopotamia (and that the first humans, wherever they were, did not live in villages).
Surely at least Cecil knew!
Oh noes! It’s another Attack of the Hyperliterals!
Duck, Magnum, duck!
How am I being hyperliteral? Is “some remote Mesopotamian village” in some way figurative? Would it have been harder (or less amusing) to have said something like “some remote central African encampment”?
Of course it would have been less amusing! Mesopotamia is way funnier than Africa. Besides, just saying “Mesopotamia” gives the impression of antiquity, whereas saying “Africa” gives the impression of…Africa.