The other cradle of humanity: How Arabia shaped human evolution

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New grounds reveals that Arabia was not a specified stopover for ancestral humans leaving Africa, but a lush homeland wherever they flourished and evolved

Humans 18 August 2021

By Michael Marshall

The Rub’ al-Khali godforsaken was inhabited 80,000 years agone oregon more

Shutterstock/Hany Musallam

THE Rub’ al-Khali is some godforsaken and deserted – a scenery of reddish soil dunes that stretches arsenic acold arsenic the oculus tin see. This hyper-arid portion successful the south-east of the Arabian peninsula is astir the size of France. Parts of it often go an full twelvemonth without rain. Almost cipher lives there; its sanction means “empty quarter”.

The remainder of Arabia is little environmentally extreme, but inactive a precise pugnacious spot to unrecorded without aerial conditioning and different caller technologies. However, the peninsula wasn’t ever truthful parched. A specified 8000 years ago, it was bedewed capable for determination to person been galore lakes. The aforesaid was existent astatine intervals passim the past cardinal years, erstwhile rivers criss-crossed Arabia, forming greenish corridors wherever lush vegetation and wildlife flourished amid the soil dunes. For overmuch of caller geological time, the peninsula was astatine slightest partially green.

Arabia’s verdant past is nary specified factoid: it suggests that the portion was habitable astatine times successful the distant past. That realisation has prompted archaeologists to commencement looking for grounds of concern by humans, their ancestors and their extinct relatives. In conscionable a decade, they person recovered countless sites wherever these hominins lived, stretching hundreds of thousands of years into the past. Arabia, it seems, wasn’t a specified stopover for hominins arsenic they moved retired of Africa into the wider world. It was determination they settled for agelong stretches of time. Indeed, galore researchers present deliberation Arabia should beryllium thought of arsenic portion of a “greater Africa”, and that …

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