Long-lost lake along White Nile may have helped humans out of Africa
Archaeologists have claimed that a huge long-lost lake along the White Nile may have aided humans in their exodus from Africa.
Archaeologists said that the 45,000-square-kilometre lake was in the right place at the right time for at least one of two key exoduses. One took people to what is now Israel 100,000 years ago, and another to Eurasia about 70,000 years ago, New Scientist reported.
Martin Williams of the University of Adelaide in Australia joined Tim Barrows of the University of Exeter, UK, to collect samples from former lake-shore deposits, which Barrows dated to about 109,000 years ago.
Barrows and Williams traced the long-lost freshwater lake along some 650 kilometres of the White Nile, at points they found that the lake seemed to have stretched to almost 80 kilometres wide.
The lake's peak extent came in the last interglacial period - a warm interval before the beginning of the last ice age.
Bones from the Qafzeh and Es Skhul caves in Israel show that modern humans reached the eastern Mediterranean about 110,000 to 100,000 years ago.
Stephen Oppenheimer of the University of Oxford said that mtDNA proof shows that modern Eurasian populations left Africa much later, around 72,000 to 70,000 years ago.
He said that a big lake like this would have been able to support a large population, probably fishing and hunting game, and that humans probably may have stuck around the lake.
(Posted on 21-01-2014)