In one of the posts, I mention that we need to write memoirs before we get too old since old men often don't differentiate between the important and the trivial. And I'm not getting any younger. This blog is mostly for my kids, to understand a bit about the world I came from and lived through. Welcome to anyone else, but this is not profound and it is very personal.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Garden of Eden
I really like this article and wanted to share.
Humans survived ice age by sheltering in 'Garden of
Eden', claim scientists
The last humans on Earth may
have survived an ice age by retreating to a small patch of land nicknamed 'the
garden of Eden'.
The strip of land on
Africa's southern coast - around 240 miles east of Cape Town - became the only
place that remained habitable during the devastating ice age, scientists claim.
The sudden change in
temperature wiped out many species elsewhere around 195,000 years ago.
Researchers believe this
could account for the fact that humans have less genetic diversity than other
Some scientists even believe
that the human race's population may have fallen to just a few hundred
individuals who managed to survive in one location.
Professor Curtis Marean, of
the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University discovered ancient
human artifacts in the isolated caves around an area known as Pinnacle Point,
'Shortly after Homo sapiens
first evolved, the harsh climate conditions nearly extinguished our species,'
said Professor Marean.
'Recent finds suggest the
small population that gave rise to all humans alive today survived by
exploiting a unique combination of resources along the southern coast of
Humans would have been able
to survive because of rich vegetation that was available in the area.
The sea would have also been
a good source of food as currents carrying nutrients would have passed by the shore,
bringing with them a plentiful supply of fish, the team will say in a new
Professor Marean said the
caves contain archaeological remains going back at least 164,000 years.
Professor Chris Stringer, a
human origins expert at the Natural History Museum in London, said he agreed
with Professor Marean's views on the early evolution of intelligence.
But he said he was not
convinced by the argument that one band of humans were the origin of modern
'However, I no longer think
that there was ever a single small population of humans in one region of Africa
from whom we are all uniquely descended. We know, for example, that there were
early modern humans in Ethiopia 160,000 years ago and others in Morocco, and
populations like those may also have contributed to our ancestry.'
Many researchers believe
that modern humans are thought to have evolved about 195,000 years ago in East
Africa, and within 50,000 years had spread to other parts of the continent.
It is thought that 70,000
years ago a dry period caused Red Sea levels to fall and the gap across its
mouth to shrink from 18 miles to eight miles.
A tribe of as few as 200
period took advantage of this and crossed to Arabia.
Last year Professor Morean's
team announced that they believed stone age blacksmiths mastered the use of
fire to make tools at Pinnacle Point.
Knowing how to use fire may
have helped the early humans who left Africa 50,000 to 60,000 years ago to cope
with colder conditions in Europe.
It may also have given them
a big advantage over the resident Neanderthals they encountered.
By 35,000 years ago, the
Neanderthals, a sub-species of humans whose own origins were in Africa, were
Professor Curtis Marean, ,
said: 'The command of fire, documented by our study of heat treatment, provides
us with a potential explanation for the rapid migration of these Africans
across glacial Eurasia.
'They were masters of fire
and heat and stone, a crucial advantage as these tropical people penetrated the
cold lands of the Neanderthal.'