Ancient Sahara River systems

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A new study published in the scientific journal, PLOS One, has shed new light on the ancient river systems and migration across the Sahara 100,000 years ago.

Researchers led by Tom Coulthard of the University of Hull in the UK say that they’ve discovered evidence of three huge rivers forcing their way 1000km across the Sahara toward the Mediterranean.

The experts used an Earth Model System (EMS) to simulate the Eemian period climate in the area which dates from 130,000 to 114,000 years ago.

The system predicted the presence of river corridors and wetlands that could have been used by early humans to migrate northward out of Africa as they migrated across the globe – the evidence for which could still lie beneath the dunes today.

Experts say that the model is backed up by the great abundance of archaeological evidence found in the south to north river systems of the Suhabi, Kufrah and Irharhar areas dating to this time period.

Previous studies have shown that people travelled across the Saharan mountains to the more fertile Mediterranean regions, but when, where and how they did so is still under debate.

This study has shed more light on this debate but more research is needed before a consensus can be reached.