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'Going for a seven-year walk'...following early humans

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posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 11:02 AM

US journalist Paul Salopek is going to spend the next seven years walking from Ethiopia to the tip of South America, retracing the journey of early humans out of Africa and around the world. "I shall be retracing the pathways of the first human diaspora out of Africa, which occurred about 50 to 70,000 years ago, as authentically as possible, on foot," he says.
I guess we can call this 'experimental anthropology'. Brilliant idea...I look forward to following his progress, though never mind the blisters, I think his personal security will be at constant risk.
edit on 13-1-2013 by JohnnyCanuck because: of spelling, eh?

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 11:23 AM
reply to post by JohnnyCanuck

Does he plan on WALKING across to South Atlantic Ocean as well?
I guess this will NOT be entirely on "foot".....
ETA: NM I see he will be traveling the opposite direction, where he will still need to use a boat however....
edit on 13-1-2013 by thesmokingman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 11:29 AM
reply to post by JohnnyCanuck

Sounds like an interesting walk.

However, from my vantage point he's going either in the wrong direction, or his starting point totally ignores South Africa.

South Africa has some wonderful sites and fossils, including Sterkfontein, and the Taung child, a hominid dated as 3.3 million years old.
One region is even known as the "cradle of humankind".

We also have signs of the earliest modern humans at the Klasies River site, dating to 125 000 years ago (when Neanderthals were the only other known "modern" humans on other continents).

The indigenous Khoisan people have the oldest genetic markers on the planet.

Starting in Ethiopia actually ignores most of Africa.

I hope that's not a political decision, or because of safety issues.

It also ignores a human detour towards Australia, possibly long before the human habitation of South America.

A clip from the scenic Maropeng visitor's center in the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site in South Africa:

Whatever the arguments, South Africa has been populated by hominids and modern humans from the very earliest times.

edit on 13-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

Got to give the guy props on the endeavor, but beyond being journy of personal exploration, it has little value anthropologicaly.
Like you said, starting at Ethiopia is missimg a good deal of the journey, if you hold to a strict" out of Africa " philosophy. I have become a proponent of a dual origin scenario, where anatomicaly modern humans evolved Africa, but behaviorly modern humans evolved in the new world.
Here's a couple of very good discussions.
This is how genetically show that sub saharan Africans and native Americans are the most genetically separated people.
And this one that discusses the Khoisan as a admixed population that resulted from a back migration into Africa.

So if,you hold to those ideas , his walk is far to short and to linear.

edit on 13-1-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 11:54 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

True however I think that leaves out the genetic bottleneck that was the result of us nearly being wiped out by the Toba Eruption

In 1998, Stanley Ambrose, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, proposed in the Journal of Human Evolution that the effects of the Toba eruption and the Ice Age that followed could explain the apparent bottleneck in human populations that geneticists believe occurred between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. The lack of genetic diversity among humans alive today suggests that during this time period humans came very close to becoming extinct.

In which case then Ethiopia would be a logical starting point for his journey...

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by SLAYER69

I suppose that could be one argument he could put forward to justify his starting position, and ignoring southern Africa.

It appears he hasn't used this however.
Toba erupted 73 000 years ago, and he puts his dates at 50 000 (long after Toba) to 70 000 years (before Toba).
Even Australia was probably already settled at 70 000 years ago.
Such theories don't seem to influence his calculations either way.

Even if Toba was a setback along the journey (although I wonder if it strongly affected South Africa), the journey, at least to me, should begin where we find the first evidence of modern humans, and that is in South Africa.

Where did that bottle-neck in Ethiopia come from?
I'd say their ancestors had moved from South Africa (although it's hard to prove, one must follow the oldest evidence).

If the known start of a journey is 125 000 years ago in South Africa, then that's where it should start.

edit on 13-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 12:24 PM
reply to post by SLAYER69

I feel the toba "bottleneck" is a statistical mirrage. I have read many good arguments against a bottleneck.
After all you have habitation layers above and below the toba ash horizon that are culturally the same, in India.
Homo Homo florensis survived, homo erectus survived in Indonesia, till 25+30k years ago.
Homo neanderthal survived. Denisovans survived, the red deer cave people survived.
Mungo man's people survived.
With all of those ancient populations that survived in Asia, the area most affected. How can we believe that our population was reduced to only 2000 people world wide, I find it a stretch.
But what is important is that those people who lived in the main ash fall areas populations were severely reduced, and they went on the move, and through interbreeding with the other populations they moved through they left that shadow of a bottleneck we see today.

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

This is exactly why...

I believe in the multiple wave theory out of Africa. Also, why I feel that the last wave out of Africa that supposedly came across the now submerged land bridge

The bridge last arose around 70,000 years ago. For years, scientists thought it disappeared beneath the waves about 14,500 years ago, toward the end of the last ice age. Unfortunately, that was about 2,500 years before the first accepted date for human settlement in the new world.

Found remnants of a much older prehistoric civilizations/cultures from those earlier waves out of Africa that went extinct for reasons unknown...

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 01:04 PM
reply to post by SLAYER69

Very interesting, and I think the Americas were indeed populated by many waves of peoples, long before the official current dates.

I'm reminded, for example, of the Luzia skull from Brazil, which remains mysteriously similar to Australian Aboriginal skulls.

This guy has a particular focus however, and he plans to go from Ethiopia, to Asia, and then the Americas.
All this purports to take official archeology into account, rather than alternative theories.

It already seemed somewhat boring with motorbikes (Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman).

I suppose we're pretty used to being written out of relevance in southern Africa already, no matter what we have to offer.

I find it a bit sad and willfully dismissive.

edit on 13-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by JohnnyCanuck

that's pretty cool, but I always wondered if the Australian aborigines descendants and ancestors, took different routes.

edit on 013131p://bSunday2013 by Stormdancer777 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 06:41 PM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

The route shows a raw determination to focus on the Americas.

However, I fear anything south of Ethiopia will be given as a footnote, almost as if modern humans in South Africa or Australia didn't matter.
It depends how the media plays this, and maybe some other theories will be considered.
Perhaps even the theories that some migrations to the Americas could have come from Europe, across a frozen Atlantic.

From South Africa I'm not impressed at all with the route.
It's like starting a race a quarter of the way through, and cheating.

It's more about contemporary geo-politics that favor the north as "above", and the south as "below".
Of course there is no up or down in space, and we in South Africa are "on top" in human archeology.

Perhaps others could start alternative walks?
For example, from Klasies River to Australia.

edit on 13-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 07:00 PM
Interesting, but just why does he want to do this? It's a given that he can if he wants to, one foot in front of the other and all. Is it for the experience (should be fun at times) or to publicize the fact that humans once did this (probably in generational increments). Again, it's possible to do it, so that's a finished question.

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 08:20 PM
I heard this story on NPR the other day.....

he's starting in the middle-eastern desert -- The Rift Valley, was it? -- (where he was when they interviewed him live), walking north/northeast across asia, then crossing the Bering Strait (not on foot - the only part he's not going to walk), and from the top of N American down to Patagonia.

His wife is a visual artist, and she's going to pick places in his general path from which to spend some time drawing and painting, and he's going to "walk" to her....

I think it's awesome!!!
He says he won't cross the most barren deserts, nor scale the highest mountains as a "trail-blazer", but will stick to the inhabited areas, and deal with the local economies.

(One of the really weird-to-me things in the interview was how the nomads in the place he was (a desert part of Ethiopia, I think it was, but may be mistaken) were bringing in their camels to the "oasis" or "sanctuary" or whatever -- and they were wearing traditional robes, etc. as well as daggers....and that hanging beside their daggers were CELL PHONES.)

What a FANTASTIC ADVENTURE! I wish I was young, strong, and wealthy (or sponsored) enough to do the same thing!!

edit on 13-1-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2013 @ 08:22 PM
reply to post by Aleister

He's doing it because he wants to 'honor' and 'live' the trek that his ancestors (over generations) covered.....
and also...because he can.

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 11:29 AM
Forrest Gump ran for three years, two months, fourteen days and sixteen hours.
edit on 1-14-13 by Mugen because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 04:05 PM

Originally posted by wildtimes

What a FANTASTIC ADVENTURE! I wish I was young, strong, and wealthy (or sponsored) enough to do the same thing!!

I was thinking the same thing (more the sponsored enough bit). I'd love to do something like this, but there is no scientific value in it. The original trek, if it happened at all, was in generational stages and the environments have changd so much that he wont be walking the same lands really. He is missing the deserts? There is ample evidence that the central Asian deserts were inhabited not that long ago, our ancestors would not have avoided the plains (as they would have been then) with plentiful animal protein to be had. And why walk it when you could just as easily drive it? The only advantage would be that it gives you plenty of time to think, but as I said, he wont be thinking about the right things.

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 04:13 PM
I still think modern man came from another planet...

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 07:14 PM
I think this is interesting. It will take him seven years to complete the journey. That may be why he is taking the path he chose. He may not be able to devote more than seven years to cover every step our ancestors may or may not have taken. I don't see it as a slight to Australia, Europe or anywhere in Africa. No offense, but reading some of the posts, it seems some members have their panties in a wad over his chosen path. I say if you have a problem with it, go walk your own trek and we can have a thread about your journey here on ATS.

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 09:31 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

the theories that some migrations to the Americas could have come from Europe, across a frozen Atlantic.

I believe that happened, along with the route from Africa directly to Australia, then some may have migrated from Australia to South America as well as Islanders reaching western Americas coast by boat.

Australian aborigines have inhabited Australia for 60,000 years.

There is a lot of their myth and legend that made me wonder.

edit on 093131p://bMonday2013 by Stormdancer777 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 09:34 PM
reply to post by JohnnyCanuck

So what does bringing attention to himself accomplish in the world of anthropology?

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