Osborne, Anne H.; Vance, Derek; Rohling, Eelco J.; Barton, Nick; Rogerson, Mike; Fello, Nuri (2008): A humid corridor across the Sahara for the migration of early modern humans out of Africa 120,000 years ago. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, United States, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105 (43), 16444-16447, georefid:2013-008850

It is widely accepted that modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa nearly equal 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 nearly equal 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.
West: 14.0000 East: 32.4331 North: 34.0411 South: 15.0000
Expedition: 160
Site: 160-967
Site: 160-971
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Provider: SEDIS Publication Catalogue
Data set link: http://sedis.iodp.org/pub-catalogue/index.php?id=10.1073/pnas.0804472105 (c.f. for more detailed metadata)
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