Climate Swings Linked to Early Human Migration out of Africa

Sep 22, 2016

Credit International Pacific Research Center

Our ancient ancestors may have migrated from Africa a lot earlier than previously thought.

Scientist with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are using computer simulations to show how climate change influenced migration for Homo sapiens over the past 125,000 years. The model simulates ice-ages, abrupt climate change and captures the arrival times of Homo sapiens in the Eastern Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, Southern China, and Australia in close agreement with paleoclimate reconstructions and fossil and archaeological evidence.

The wobble of earth’s axis caused massive shifts in vegetation-- creating a series of green corridors around 100,000 years ago. Hunters followed food sources through those paths in multiple waves of migration every 20,000 years.

Axel Timmermann is the lead author and professor with UH’s International Pacific Research Center.  He says “One of the surprising results of our study is that the scenario that agrees best with all the Asian data is one that also simulates a very early arrival of Homo sapiens in Europe around 80,000-90,000 years ago, pre-dating the oldest fossil evidence by about 45,000 years,”

The research was recently published in the science journal- “Nature”.