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"Fish Swam the Sahara", Bolstering Out of Africa Theory

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posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 03:11 PM
"Fish Swam the Sahara", Bolstering Out of Africa Theory

Fish may have once swum across the Sahara, a finding that could shed light on how humanity made its way out of Africa, researchers said.

The cradle of humanity lies south of the Sahara, which begs the question as to how our species made its way past it. The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, and would seem a major barrier for any humans striving to migrate off the continent.

Now it turns out the Sahara might not have been quite as impassable as once thought — not only for humanity, but for fish as well.

"Fish appeared to have swam across the Sahara during its last wet phase sometime between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago," researcher Nick Drake, a geographer at King's College London, told LiveScience. "The Sahara is not a barrier to the migrations of animals and people. Thus it is possible — likely? —that early modern humans did so, and this could explain how we got out of Africa."

Article references another of their articles; Sahara Desert Was Once Lush and Populated

Image: "A map of what the Sahara was like 8,000 to 11,000 years ago, revealing rivers, lakes, swamps and fan-shaped deposits where rivers emptied out. The dots indicate where various kinds of pottery were found. Credit: Nick Drake."

If fish could have crossed the Sahara, it is hard to imagine that humans didn't. Analysis of African languages and artifacts suggest that ancient waterways recently affected how humans occupied the Sahara. For instance, speakers of Nilo-Saharan languages once lived across central and southern Sahara, and may have once hunted aquatic creatures with barbed bone points and fish hooks. In addition, ancient lake sediments suggest the Sahara was green roughly 125,000 years ago, back when anatomically modern humans might have begun migrating out of Africa.

There's been a consistent number of theories on the seafaring and fishing abilities of our earliest ancestors, with our aquatic diet, as a leading reason for the development of our larger brains. A lush, green Sahara with lakes and river systems would have been paramount to our species ability to not only survive but flourish. This article focuses on the necessity of having an overland route into and out of Africa for human migration, I think it also is important to note that our early ancestors would never have to stray far from a reliable food source or the protection proximity to the shoreline affords. The number of pottery shards certainly attests to the presence of ancient humans in this now inhospitable region.

Related ATS topics;
Evidence of Ancient Sea Travels
Another perspective on human evolution

Related articles;
The Missing Aquatic Aspect of Paleo Diets
Archeologists Discover “Brain Food” in Early Human Ancestors’ Diet
Seafood diet behind big brains

posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 03:52 PM
I pour over the African deserts via GoogleEarth from time to time, and you can clearly see the remnants of some of the river beds, lake beds, and fans in some areas. I recall thinking to myself, "Geez, if people from 10,000 years ago could see these places today, they'd never believe it was the same place." I'm well aware that I jumped the gun, but common sense dictates where there is river, lake, and marshland remnants in the desert, then it means it wasn't always desert. So in a way, the article made me chuckle stating (what I assume to be) the blatantly obvious.
S & F, good article!

posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 07:02 PM
Thank you. I'm honored.

This really flows in perfectly with the other perspective you linked in the OP.
I'm really excited by this new conformation of what I already imagined... After the last ice age it would not be a far fetched idea the area turned from a cild to a moderate climate and dried up over time.

posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 07:04 PM
I believe that humans were created for a purpose and that we originated from Africa. Africa today is very different from the past. Many people have destroyed the beautiful continent and killed many animals.

posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:00 PM
The area of the Sahara in Egypt was considered to still be very green and lush at the time the Great Pyramid was being built, circa 2,500 BC, as the Sahara dried it pushed people further to the East towards the Nile. They've found other evidence the Sahara was once green with life and a prodigious lake once occupied a sizable area in the region that is now desert. I don't know that the Sahara (as a desert region) alone would have blocked Man from reaching Asia or Europe, they've always had the route through Ethiopia across the Red Sea into Sinai, or along the Nile and across it's marshes into the Levant. I think we've been seeing more and more evidence early man was more acclimated to living in and around water.


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