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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Human ancestors that left Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago to see the rest of the world were no landlubbers. Stone hand axes unearthed on the Mediterranean island of Crete indicate that an ancient Homo species — perhaps Homo erectus — had used rafts or other seagoing vessels to cross from northern Africa to Europe via at least some of the larger islands in between, says archaeologist Thomas Strasser of Providence College in Rhode Island.
Several hundred double-edged cutting implements discovered at nine sites in southwestern Crete date to at least 130,000 years ago and probably much earlier, Strasser reported January 7 at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Archaeology. Many of these finds closely resemble hand axes fashioned in Africa about 800,000 years ago by H. erectus, he says. It was around that time that H. erectus spread from Africa to parts of Asia and Europe.
"...northwest Africa reveals three periods during the past 192,000 years when the central Sahara/Sahel contained C3 plants (likely trees), indicating substantially wetter conditions than at present."
Originally posted by aletheia
Should further, and much more concrete, evidence emerge I would be very interested in finding out just how the seafaring technology emerged and evolved between 800,000 and 130,000 years ago.
Originally posted by Blackmarketeer
They recognize "coastal plains" off of Africa and Italy as extensive during low sea levels, but not to the point Crete was a connected land mass to the continent.
Well regardless of the evidence, I guess we're “going to have to accept that, as soon as hominids left Africa, they were long-distance seafarers and rapidly spread all over the place”.
But I'm not quite so sure how 670,000 years qualify as "rapidly"? I just cant wrap my head around the article. Was it quick or did it take hundreds of thousands of years?
Seaside living, Eritrea: It now seems that humans have been living by the sea and using boats for at least 125,000 years. The earliest known seaside settlement has been identified via the use of stone tools on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. Further work may help establish how humans fanned out from Africa to settle in other parts of the world? The finding was made by Dr. Robert Walker of the Centre of Scientific Investigation in Ensenada, Mexico. Humans were also living at the same time in Israel, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Sudan. The new finding supports the "out of Africa" theory of single human evolution. Humans reached Australia at least 60,000 years ago, and modern humans are thought to have reached Europe about 45,000 years ago, to live beside Neandertals. (Reported in world press 6 May 2000)
Human evolution is usually discussed within an environmental framework that includes forests and savannahs [1–3]. Unique human features, such as bipedalism and furlessness, are therefore often argued to have evolved in forests, on the savannah, or within a transitional zone [1–3]. We argue that a third environmental factor, namely water, also played an important role in the evolution of the great apes and humans. Our ‘comparative approach’, a method pioneered by Hardy  and Morgan , combines comparative data with fossil, geographical and biomolecular evidence. We argue that the ancestors of gorillas, chimpanzees and humans had an ‘aquarboreal’ lifestyle in which they climbed and waded in swampy or coastal forests. Gorilla and chimpanzee ancestors adapted to drier forests where they knuckle-walked and continued to climb and wade where necessary. Human ancestors, however, evolved fully upright and linear bipedalism, furlessness, a larger brain and voluntary breath control as adaptations for wading and diving in a coastal environment. Climbing abilities became less important as coastal forests dwindled and seafood became a more important dietary source.