Education Finding the next step in human migration

Finding the next step in human migration

Australian scientists have made a big impression by identifying footprints left by humans on the first migrations out of Africa.

They discovered the group of prints left in mud at an ancient water source on the Arabian Peninsula.

The Griffith University researchers were part of an international study that uncovered the footprints in the Nefud Desert in the northern part of the peninsula.

The early humans appear to have been following animals to a freshwater lake about 120,000 years ago.

Associate Professor Julien Louys from Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution helped identify the prints, which were dated to have been made in the last interglacial period and fill a significant knowledge gap in the understanding of the origin and dispersal of our species.

They were found alongside a large number of prints from a number of other species.

“It was only the presence of freshwater lakes in the region that made the area so habitable for such a diverse community of elephants, camels, oryx, horses, buffaloes and humans,” Associate Professor Louys said.

“These footprints provide an unprecedented snapshot of the environmental conditions that existed 120,000 years ago; an environment that was very different from that found in the region today.”

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