Skip to main content

Research Repository

See what's under the surface

A humid corridor across the Sahara for the migration of early modern humans out of Africa 120,000 years ago

Osborne, A. H.; Vance, D.; Rohling, E. J.; Barton, N.; Fello, N.; Osborne, Anne H.; Vance, Derek; Rohling, Eelco J.; Barton, Nick; Rogerson, Mike; Fello, Nuri

Authors

A. H. Osborne

D. Vance

E. J. Rohling

N. Barton

N. Fello

Anne H. Osborne

Derek Vance

Eelco J. Rohling

Nick Barton

Nuri Fello



Abstract

It is widely accepted that modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa ≈150-200 thousand years ago (ka), but their route of dispersal across the currently hyperarid Sahara remains controversial. Given that the first modern humans north of the Sahara are found in the Levant ≈120-90 ka, northward dispersal likely occurred during a humid episode in the Sahara within Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e (130-117 ka). The obvious dispersal route, the Nile, may be ruled out by notable differences between archaeological finds in the Nile Valley and the Levant at the critical time. Further west, space-born radar images reveal networks of - now buried - fossil river channels that extend across the desert to the Mediterranean coast, which represent alternative dispersal corridors. These corridors would explain scattered findings at desert oases of Middle Stone Age Aterian lithic industries with bifacial and tanged points that can be linked with industries further to the east and as far north as the Mediterranean coast. Here we present geochemical data that demonstrate that water in these fossil systems derived from the south during wet episodes in general, and penetrated all of the way to the Mediterranean during MIS 5e in particular. This proves the existence of an uninterrupted freshwater corridor across a currently hyperarid region of the Sahara at a key time for early modern human migrations to the north and out of Africa. © 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 28, 2008
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - PNAS
Print ISSN 0027-8424
Electronic ISSN 1091-6490
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 105
Issue 43
Pages 16444-16447
APA6 Citation Osborne, A. H., Vance, D., Rohling, E. J., Barton, N., Rogerson, M., & Fello, N. (2008). A humid corridor across the Sahara for the migration of early modern humans out of Africa 120,000 years ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(43), 16444-16447. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0804472105
DOI https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0804472105
Keywords Multidisciplinary
Publisher URL http://www.pnas.org/content/105/43/16444.abstract
Copyright Statement © 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Additional Information Copy of article: Anne H. Osborne, Derek Vance, Eelco J. Rohling, Nick Barton, Mike Rogerson, and Nuri Fello. A humid corridor across the Sahara for the migration of early modern humans out of Africa 120,000 years ago. PNAS 2008 105 (43) 16444-16447; doi:10.1073/pnas.0804472105

Files

Article.pdf (433 Kb)
PDF

Copyright Statement
© 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA



You might also like



Downloadable Citations