A 'green corridor' helped early modern humans leave Africa

By 04/10/2023 Portal

A team of researchers from the universities of Southampton, in the United Kingdom, and Shantou, in China, has just discovered that, 80,000 years ago, the first modern humans, that is, our direct ancestors, left Africa towards Eurasia through the peninsula of Sinai and Jordan. A previously unknown 'corridor', very rich in water and resources and which channeled those primitive populations towards western Asia and northern Arabia. The finding, which has just been published in 'Science Advances', supports a series of previous studies carried out in Arabia and according to which this land route, then green and now desert, favored the northward movement of Homo sapiens. Our species, in fact, evolved in Africa between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago, and from there it spread throughout the world in several stages. First, around 80,000 years ago, they headed to Asia and populated it. And much later, around 40,000 ago they did the same in Europe. Luminescence dating To carry out their research, the researchers studied several sites in the Jordan Valley, where they discovered a series of hand tools, known as 'flakes', at the edge of 'wadis', river channels that are today dry but, tens of thousands of years ago, they were full of water. The scientists used luminescence dating techniques to help establish the age of the sediment in which the tools were buried. The method is able to estimate how much time has passed since the sediment was last exposed to light. The results leave no room for doubt: the tools were used approximately 84,000 years ago and then abandoned on the banks of the wadis, where the passage of time took care of burying them. "It was long thought that when sea levels were low, humans used a southward crossing across the Red Sea from the Horn of Africa to reach the southwest," explains Paul Carling of the University of Southampton. from Arabia. "However, our study confirms that there was a busy passage to the north, through the only land route from Africa to Eurasia." This is one of the tools (seen from three different angles) that helped scientists date ancient human migration University of Southampton The publication of this article, the researcher continues, "is a key piece of the puzzle that shows that Humans migrated along a northward route, using small areas of wetlands as a base while hunting abundant wildlife in the drier grasslands. "Although previous studies have looked at large lakes as possible watering holes, in reality small wetlands were very important as stopping points during migration." MORE INFORMATION news Yes Anne L'Huillier, Nobel Prize in Physics 2023: "We have problems, like climate change, more important than reaching the Moon" news Yes Astronomers, on the warpath against satellite constellations: "The "Sky is also a world heritage site." Mahmoud Abbas, lead author of the study, states that the Sinai Peninsula "acted as a well-watered corridor for modern humans to disperse out of Africa during the last interglacial, and now we have "This has been proven to be the case in the Jordan Valley." Furthermore, "palaeohydrological evidence from the Jordanian Desert improves our understanding of the environmental setting at that time. “Instead of a dry desert, savanna grasslands provided much-needed resources for humans to survive during their journey out of Africa into southwest Asia and beyond.”