Skip to comments.Seafood Was The Spur For Man's First Migration
Posted on 05/12/2005 5:26:39 PM PDT by blam
Seafood was the spur for Man's first migration
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
The lure of a seafood diet may explain why the first people left Africa, according to a genetic analysis published today that overturns the conventional picture of the very first migration of modern humans.
The international project shows - contrary to previous thinking - that early modern humans spread across the Red Sea from the Horn of Africa, along the tropical coast of the Indian Ocean towards the Pacific in just a few thousand years.
And it suggests that the first migratory wave probably included fewer than 600 women, the mothers of all non-Africans alive today - including modern Europeans, whose ancestors splintered off from the group of pioneers around the Persian Gulf.
The new insight into the first human migration has emerged from DNA evidence described today in the journal Science by the Leeds biologist Martin Richards, the Glasgow statistician Vincent Macaulay and colleagues.
Early modern humans in East Africa initially survived on an inland diet based on big game but by 70,000 years ago, archaeological finds suggest their diet had changed to a coastal one consisting largely of shellfish.
However, climate change seems likely to have reduced the Red Sea's shellfish stocks, driving them to seek better fishing grounds.
Much of what we know about human migrations comes from studying mitochondrial DNA, that found in the "power packs" of cells, which is inherited maternally, from modern populations.
The amount of variation in mitochondrial DNA sequences among different groups reflects the amount of time since the groups diverged from each other.
The team studied DNA from aboriginal populations of South East Asia, notably the Orang Asli ("original people") of the Malay Peninsula, the direct descendants of the first modern people to settle in South East Asia.
Comparing their DNA with that of other people around the world allowed the team to piece together what happened in those formative years - helping to rewrite the human story.
Dr Macaulay said such studies of genetic diversity will help to reveal the genetic mutations behind many common diseases.
The work is backed by a second study, also in Science, by an Indian team that studied indigenous populations on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which lie between India and Myanmar.
The team from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad identified two relatively old populations of Andaman islanders that probably survived in genetic isolation there since the out-of-Africa migration.
A French genetics study comparing strains of leprosy-causing bacteria indicate that the disease may have begun in East Africa, not India as previously thought, and then spread to the other continents through European colonialism and the slave trade.
The ability to trace an infection back to a certain region may help health workers to monitor the movement of the disease over time and determine the geographic source of new infections.
"The international project shows - contrary to previous thinking - that early modern humans spread across the Red Sea from the Horn of Africa, along the tropical coast of the Indian Ocean towards the Pacific in just a few thousand years."
Wow - traffic must have been REALLY bad back then!
Caused by the introduction of the first SUV, no doubt.
Here is the map, click on Journey Of Mankind to begin the journey.
Interestingly Europeans had come to America and established "fishing colonies" almost 100 years before the Pilgrims. Most were off the coast of maine, and they fished the same waters we do today, the Grand Banks.
Was that because they could no longer order brontosaurus burgers?
Slavery was rampant throughout the entire middle east 3,000 years ago. How did European colonialism spread it to there from East Africa?
Even then people preferred to live on the coast.
We must end immigration because America is out of room.
America has only so much good coastal real estate, and there is not enough to go around as it is.
Fast, intercontinental transportation?
Blam, that was fascinating! Thanks for posting the link!
People left Africa because it was overpopulated.
They either had to fight others for place or flee.
Some chose to flee--or fought and lost, and then fled.
Hell, I've been known to travel great distances in search of seafood.
That was done by and from the studies of Professor Stephen Oppenheimer. I've read two of his excellent books, Eden In The East and Out Of Eden. I highly recommend both.
Did you notice that he put the first entry to the US at 25-26,000 years ago?
Eh, the population of Africa was hardly enormous when people started leaving; but the climate was really marginal and when it took a downturn it was tough going and motivated people to move on.
Yes, far before the conventional timetable of even 6 or 7 years ago.
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