Seafood helped prehistoric people migrate out of Africa, study reveals


Impression: Dwelling specimen of the maritime mollusc Conomurex fasciatus. Thousands and thousands of these shells were located on the Farasan Islands in Saudi Arabia as the meals refuse of prehistoric fishers.
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Credit history: Image credit: Niklas Hausmann

Prehistoric pioneers could have relied on shellfish to maintain them as they followed migratory routes out of Africa through instances of drought, a new study implies.

The study examined fossil reefs near to the now-submerged Red Sea shorelines that marked prehistoric migratory routes from Africa to Arabia. The conclusions counsel this coast available the sources necessary to act as a gateway out of Africa through periods of small rainfall when other meals sources were scarce.

The research crew, led by the University of York, focused on the remains of fifteen,000 shells dating back again 5,000 a long time to an arid period in the area. With the shoreline of authentic migratory routes submerged by sea-amount increase soon after the past Ice Age, the shells arrived from the close by Farasan Islands in Saudi Arabia.

The scientists located that populations of maritime mollusks were plentiful more than enough to allow continual harvests devoid of any key ecological impacts and their plentiful availability would have enabled people today to live by instances of drought.

Lead writer, Dr Niklas Hausmann, Associate Researcher at the Office of Archaeology at the University of York, stated: “The availability of meals sources plays an critical role in comprehension the feasibility of earlier human migrations – hunter-gatherer migrations would have required area meals sources and periods of aridity could consequently have restricted these actions.

“Our study implies that Red Sea shorelines experienced the sources necessary to present a passage for prehistoric people today.”

The study also confirms that communities settled on the shorelines of the Red Sea could have relied on shellfish as a sustainable meals source all yr spherical.

Dr Hausmann added: “Our info exhibits that at a time when quite a few other sources on land were scarce, people today could rely on their domestically readily available shellfish. Past experiments have shown that people today of the southern Red Sea ate shellfish yr-spherical and around periods of thousands of a long time. We now also know that this source was not depleted by them, but shellfish continued to maintain a healthy population.”

The shellfish species located in the archaeological web sites on the Farasan Islands were also located in abundance in fossil reefs dating to around a hundred thousand a long time back, indicating that these shellfish have been an readily available source around lengthier periods than archaeological web sites previously instructed.

Co-writer of the study, Matthew Meredith-Williams, from La Trobe University, stated: “We know that modelling earlier climates to discover about meals sources is very valuable, but we will need to differentiate involving what is going on on land and what is going on in the drinking water. In our study we exhibit that maritime foodstuff were ample and resilient and being gathered by people today when they could not rely on terrestrial meals.”


Shellfish resilience to prehistoric human usage in the southern Red Sea: Variability in Conomurex fasciatus across time and place is printed in Quaternary International. The research was funded by the European Analysis Council.

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