Besides Morgan there are other social anthropologists also who took a similar position. In their writings they have conveyed in categorical terms that evolution has moved through lower to higher stages of .development in obtaining the present state. It is on the basis of such data that we discuss the evolutionary theory of mankind.
There first came a group of evolutionists who developed their theory on the basis of culture diffusion. In culture diffusion, as stated earlier, there is inter-societal or inter-cultural change.
This group of evolutionists is called pan-Egyptian or the Heliolithic School which consisted of G.E. Smith, W.J. Perry, and their followers. “It was last on the anthropological scene and first off it, and the controversies it engendered, as heated as any in the history of anthropology.”
The pan-Egyptian school was founded by Grafton Elliot Smith. Basically, he was an eminent anatomist whose work on the brain, and whose studies in paleoanthropology, brought him great and deserved distinction. He decided to study the brains of Egyptian mummies.
Actually he undertook a visit to Egypt, where he was much impressed by the Egyptian civilization. He studied the culture traits of Egypt and extended his study to the Mediterranean Basin, Africa, the Near East and India.
Perry followed Smith. He presented his findings in his book, The Children of the Sun. He established on the strength of his data that culture traits diffused from Egypt to the Mediterranean-Basin, Africa and India.
The people of Egypt are thus the children of the sun. What Smith, Perry and other evolutionary social anthropologists have established is that culture change has come through borrowings. In other words, the culture traits of Egypt have been diffused into other parts of Asia.
This school argues that there has not been multiple origins and diffusions of culture traits. Everything has been borrowed from Egypt. It is because of this hypothesis that this British school is also called pan-Egyptian school.
The findings of the pan-Egyptian school are not without controversy. True, a large number of culture traits from Egypt have travelled or diffused to other countries but this does not mean that mankind invents as little and copies as much as this extreme diffusionist position would hold. Commenting on the limited use of the findings of the diffusion school, Herskovits writes:
Conversely, because we accept the phenomenon of borrowing, this does not mean that it must be regarded as the sole mechanism whereby culture change is affected. It was a neglect to take into account the inventiveness of man, no less than the failure to recognize factors of time and space the worldwide diffusion of Egyptian culture…
The pan-Egyptian theory, in short, establishes that the culture the world over has been diffused from Egypt. There has always been culture borrowing from this great civilization. Such a theory could not stay to the test of time, and soon it fell into disrepute.