Archaeologists Uncover a Lost World and Extinct Ecosystem

Glacial Period and Today

Looking out at the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain from the cave entrance at the Pinnacle Point, South Africa, research site–left, 200,000 years ago during glacial phases and lower sea levels, and right, today where the ocean is within yards of the cave entrances at high tides. Credit: Erich Fisher

Archaeological sites on the far southern shores of South Africa hold the world’s richest records for the behavioral and cultural origins of our species. At this location, scientists have discovered the earliest evidence for symbolic behavior, complex pyrotechnology, projectile weapons, and the first use of foods from the sea.

The Arizona State University Institute of Human Origins (IHO) field study site of Pinnacle Point sits at the center of this record, both geographically and scientifically, having contributed much of the evidence for these milestones on the evolutionary road to being a modern human.

The scientists working on these sites, led by IHO Associate Director Curtis Marean, have always faced a dilemma in understanding the context of these evolutionary milestones — much of the landscape used by these ancient people is now submerged undersea and thus poorly known to us. Marean is a Foundation Professor with the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change and Honorary Professor with Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.

The archaeological records come from caves and rockshelters that now look out on to the sea, and in fact, walking to many of the sites today involves dodging high tides and waves. However, through most of the last 200,000 years, lowered sea levels during glacial phases, when the ice sucks up the water, exposed a vast plain. The coast was sometimes as much as 90 km (56 mi) distant! Our archaeological data shows that this was the prime foraging habitat for these early modern humans, and until recently, we knew nothing about.

That has now changed with the publication of 22 articles in a special issue of Quaternary Science Reviews titled “The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain: A lost world and extinct ecosystem.”

About ten years ago, Marean began building a transdisciplinary international team to tackle the problem of building an ecology of this ancient landscape. ASU, Nelson Mandela University, the University of Cape Town, and the University of California, Riverside anchored the research team. Funded primarily by a $1 million National Science Foundation grant to Marean, with significant funding and resources from the Hyde Family Foundations, the John Templeton Foundation, ASU, IHO, and XSEDE, they developed an entirely new way to reconstruct “paleoecologies” or ancient ecosystems.

This began with using the high-resolution South African regional climate model — running on U.S. and South African supercomputers — to simulate glacial climate conditions. The researchers used this climate output to drive a new vegetation model developed by project scientists to recreate the vegetation on this paleoscape. They then used a wide variety of studies such as marine geophysics, deep-water diving for sample collection, isotopic studies of stalagmites and many other transdisciplinary avenues of research to validate and adjust this model output. They also created a human “agent-based model” through modern studies of human foraging of plants, animals, and seafoods, simulating how ancient people lived on this now extinct paleoscape.

“Pulling the threads of all this research into one special issue illustrates all of this science,” said Curtis Marean. “It represents a unique example of a truly transdisciplinary paleoscience effort, and a new model for going forward with our search to recreate the nature of past ecosystems. Importantly, our results help us understand why the archaeological records from these South African sites consistently reveal early and complex levels of human behavior and culture. The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain, when exposed, was a ‘Serengeti of the South”‘ positioned next to some of the richest coastlines in the world. This unique confluence of food from the land and sea cultivated the complex cultures revealed by the archaeology and provided safe harbor for humans during the glacial cycles that revealed that plain and made much of the rest of the world unwelcoming to human life.”

Reference: “The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain: A lost world and extinct ecosystem” by Naomi Cleghorn, Alastair J. Potts and Hayley C. Cawthra, 28 April 2020, Quaternary Science Reviews.
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106308

42 Comments on "Archaeologists Uncover a Lost World and Extinct Ecosystem"

  1. Thanks for sharing، Keep writing.💞💞💞

  2. Looks like Marwan and his team has finally discovered something that hadn’t already been done by Hillary Deacon at Klasies River Mouth Cave decades before.

  3. I’ve always been curious to understand why these scientists (anthropologists and so forth), continually lie in suggesting the impossible that humans originated in Africa and then spread out to all parts of the globe to magically change colors; like going from black Negro skin to Asian skin, to East Indian skin, to Caucasian skin, to North American Indian skin and so forth. What’s maybe more interesting is how everybody seems to fall for the ridiculous story.

    Look, polar bears are indigenous to certain frozen regions of the Earth; black bears are indigenous to certain other regions and so are grizzly bears. There are canines, felines, birds, insects and every last creature on this planet that are indigenous to different areas of the planet.

    The human specie is a broad specie of animal, a mammal in this case. As for every other broad specie out there, like dogs for instance, NOBODY is suggesting that dogs originating in Africa (or wherever else) got up on all four legs and spread out across the face of the Earth.

    We just know that dogs, bears, birds and other lifeforms are incapable of migrating the way humans are. And even different plant species are indigenous to specific regions of the planet. So we know that plants don’t pack their bags and roam the planet at will.

    The simple truth is that so-called evolutionists, anthropologists and everyone else is lying through their teeth to get you to believe that the “first humans” evolved in Africa and then migrated forth from there to cover the globe and miraculously change colors. Or maybe they’re lying to themselves, but it simply could not have happened like that.

    Negroes were originally indigenous to Africa. Chinese were originally indigenous to Asia. South Pacific islanders, such as with Hawaiians, Samoans and Tongans were originally indigenous to those various island regions. North American Indians and Hispanics were originally indigenous to North America. And white-skinned people were originally indigenous to Eastern & Western Europe.

    It didn’t happen any other way. I promise you…

    • Sorry Jim. You are way off base!

    • Ummmmm… Jim Bone, birds literally migrate sometimes thousands of miles every single year!

    • I know you are trying to sound enlightened and intelligent but come on “Birds can’t migrate”??? And our North American natives…are Native Americans not Indians, they are not from India. Seems to me someone trying to sound smart would would know that.

    • Dear Mr. Jim Bone:
      In the beginning the human had all the DNA to produce red heads, dark or light skin, almond shaped or round eyes, freckles, big or small feet etc., then as small groups expanded to find their own space and food supply, like usually mated with like. Not always but usually. Also if your skin is darker you are safer in the green jungle; if whiter then you do well in snowy climbs. So although dark people live there now, we truly don’t know what the first humans looked like, but it’s true we are all related.

  4. It looks as if we are becoming the dead society people, don’t know where we came from and where we are going.

    • Jim, are you a troll like Ken M.? If not and you really are as ignorant as your statement implies, it makes me sad for my species. However, its good to see so many other people correcting your delusional statements, so I guess there is still hope for Humanity.

  5. Dingos migrated from Asia to Australia. They bid not originate in Australia. The Aboriginals crossed to Australia 60,000 years ago. Thing happened all over the World.

  6. Stephen Wright | May 17, 2020 at 1:38 am | Reply

    Well Jim
    No doubt your into a 7 day program with a day off for the creation of the world.

    Just can’t ignore evolution natural selection and solid research in determine from where we and life on earth came from to where we are today.

  7. It’s obvious,to me humanity migrated with the sea turtltle,,,@it is No coincidences that all the sits of ancient civilizations,,,,I believe after they found all of these ports, they followed the mammoth or mastadon. A lot of he same highways we still tansverce. Some days 70% of mammoth fossil sites are found with human tools on or new the highways.

  8. You wrong my man” people changes color throughout the time within the constant” evolution, what they eat, how much sun* where they been exposed to, the climate zones, and others involved. Animals,lot of seeds, and more, were taken by first human civilization, and spreaded along the 🌎 globe. *Any other way” The existence and creation of God* as superiors entities”, from there “anything could have happened, but “Africa” its been one of the first alleged placed of human existence” according to investigations and fosil remains worlwide” The great problem here is that some ego’people believe they are better “White” and that whites are better than others”, and so on” they don’t want to accept the fact that their ancestors were from “Africa*, and that’s a Wrong life perception, all of us are the same” good to life and to serve others as to serve nature, like the capable “whites” do, so the “real cause of our existence after all is “God” and Angels”, so let’s not be “ignorant” I bet that. With all my respect its what its”. “Biggest Family Ever”

  9. Nice cave view..

  10. So Jim, if we are to take your bear analogy, polar bears originating in the arctic and black bears in North America, since their DNA sequences indicate that while from the same family and genus, they are a different species of bear – would it follow that an African man and a Chinese woman are both from the same Hominid family and genus, but are genetically different enough to warrant them being classified as different species?

  11. Cameron Frye | May 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Reply

    Well Jim Bone, you’re insanely incorrect. You honestly believe that every archaeologist, anthropologist, geneticist etc (on a global scale for centuries) are covering up where we originated from? You’re pretty delusional. Your theories are some of the same that racist groups use. Because they (you) refuse to believe that they originated in Africa with darker skin. so they (you) come up with ridiculous ideologies with zero scientific facts to prove that white people couldn’t possibly have had dark skin at some point in human history. Idiot.

  12. We are all the same species, or else Meghan Markle won’t exist.

  13. Weather a evolutionist or creationist, the fact remains that we all came from dark skinned ancestors. Evolutionists have stated their argument,creationists also, believing Adam being the first man. We think of Adam as the name of the first man but it is relay a description of his appearance. Adam is a very ancient word meaning, from the earth or earth color. Also we must consider that Adam was created in God’s image.

  14. Jim Bone said: “We just know that dogs, bears, birds and other lifeforms are incapable of migrating the way humans are.”

    Actually they are possible even more capable than humans at migrating.

    Example… Horses were indigenous to North America (not in Europe, Asia, etc).
    During the ice age they migrated via the land bridge between Alaska and Asia. The horse then became extinct in North America. When Europeans ‘discovered’ the Americas, there were no horses. All the horses in the Americas today were reintroduced by those early colonizing Europeans.

  15. Since the beginning of time. Africa or kush was the first continent to exist. Over the centuries the earth planes shifted water became in between.and another continent was formed. All 7 continents shifted and broken away from each other. The main continent was kush ( Africa.). The original Man was created from kush. Out of (Kush) migration started. Different races developed .This is the reason eve (Mother )of mankind is the Black woman is able to give birth to different races because of her genetic makeup. Is has been scientifically proven.

  16. Jim bone! Jimmy boy I hate to burst your bubble man but your comment makes you sound racist. But congrats, you have drawn attention….but at what cost?

  17. They’re called “ships” Jim….

  18. Jim Bone is truly the stupidest twat the planet has known, and as such, should be studied at great lengths to prevent a re-occurance.

  19. Wow! I can’t believe in this day and age, how ridiculously ignorant and stupid some people are. So Jim, I presume your’e a creationist? And the Earth is only 6,600 years old? If so, can you tell me how there’s recorded history going back past 10,000 years? As well as living memory going back to 20,000 years. Personally, I don’t believe in the single god theory, I quite like the multiple gods a bit better. They don’t appear to be as violent or money hungry or racist.

  20. Nice to see none of these comments have anything to do with the article. Also, bunch of children in this comment section. Maybe rather ask Jim why he thinks that…M Finlo’s comment sounds way more racist than Jim. Definitely people in here who believes everything they read and can’t think for themselves. I’m not taking Jim’s side on this or anyone else. But without knowing s#!t, to me it sounds easier to turn white into black than black into white (just talking colours, not people). But I don’t know. Maybe next time rather ask people why they think like they do instead of “bullying” the person.

  21. Oh, Internet, our yet greatest accomplishment, how you do weild a mighty sword. So many voices, such little wisdom.
    Is it not obvious that ancient aliens are the cause of this confusion? And it is surely for their benefit that we remain divided.
    I, for one, welcome our inevitable overlords.
    Please take me from this stupid place.

  22. Jim Bone: “black negro”
    Is linguistically and rhetorically redundant. That is the first instance at which I knew you were stupid. I tried to make sense of the rest of your “theory” past that point, but found your reasoning to be meandering and sophomoric at best, and moronic and racist at worst.
    My guess is you received average grades in English composition, but failed in comprehension; a dangerous mix.

    Please, cease and desist, if you do truly care for the continued advancement of our immensely diverse and eternally human race.

  23. All of you are pathetic imbeciles. Jim has a better grasp on reality then you all do. But that’s not my point. My point is how do you know that your ideas of where we came from are any more correct than Jim’s? None of you were alive back then so how do you know? You don’t. You’re only going by what you have been told your entire lives. You choose to believe what makes the most sense to you. What if none of it is true?

    • Human ancestral & archaeological DNA was mapped by two major companies as soon as the technology was discovered in the 90’s. In both sets of studies some living humans’ DNA were included.
      In addition to those studies and mapping, many others have been done since then. We are all related. We all originated out of central northern Africa. What color/colors we were is debatable.

  24. I think we need to be kind and educate Jim. His information isn’t uncommon. However belittling him because he doesn’t know what we know makes less intelligent.

  25. I bet anyting are true orgin is under water somewhere. They are finding pyramids underwater that happened 50,000 years ago! Being that the Earth is 72.3% water it’s almost a guarantee what we’re looking for is underneath it.

  26. No scientist no human knows all not in a life time of a million different minds all in one not one is smarter than the other humans get corrected every day what people need to do is stop trying to figure out s#!t what we need to do is get closer to God

  27. Joe Stoic has the correct approach. Leah is very smart and would make for a good conversation. Jim is not dumb but is missing all the logical proof we get in the first years of science, that no human sensory perception ever produces true value. Your eyes cannot be trusted in anything. Seeing is believing has never ever been true. Once this is understood then we can answer half those questions. Jim doesn’t know how to argue from the inside out, or why arguements from the outside in are destined to fail. The hominid races most definitely look like different species. The interventionist theory is valid. Don’t even look at another race as a potential breeding partner. Fight the socialist and multiculturalism and their short sighted ignorance of the cause of weakening that makes all disease possible. We don’t see these diverse sicknesses in any other animal not the rampant forced social delusions. Jim is pushing back against the ngger as the source of humans and that has to be left open. Smart Asian tree apes could be the source and then combinations of the 96 extinct hominids crossing the line, never ending Neanderthals rape, surviving retards who breed, all need to be factored in. There are other clues to why you need to question the African origin story, before we all call it a lie. For One Africa didn’t exist when smart apes stood up to find something to rape today. There is this underlining murmur that the civilized mind does not come from the gorrilla looking cannibal people of Africa, who could not make fire or wheels or stairs. There is no race on earth that does degrade dark skin. But why, and it’s not socialization myth. The Bible is mythology cover to cover to teach and tell stories of human importance. Saying those stories are literally to a child is a sin that sends you tongue bible hell. Religion was all forced by the sword. Creationist is garbage. Evolution is full of wholes but that does make the garbage minds of religion more true. The third and fourth and fifth theories are welcome and coming. My theory is the most correct in the world at this time and someone smarter than myself will kick it to the curb in a couple thousand years. I do no publishing of my theory in public, the public doesn’t need to know what’s real, they can’t handle the truth.

  28. Jesus was a dark-skinned man, according to the Christian Bible; or so I heard.
    There is less of a difference in the DNA of a Black Man from Nigeria compared to a White Woman from Norway vs. comparing the DNA from two brother Chimpanzees from the same mother/tribe; or so I heard.
    According to Jim Bone’s perspective, my dog could not have possibly had pups with different color coats; but they DID. In fact, one pup looked nothing like the others from the same litter – different shaped ears, snout, tail, etc.
    Ignorance is not bliss. Trust me on this!

  29. I agree with Leah!! 👽

  30. Jim Bone May I ask you a question regarding something you said ? Why do you place faith in your statement “We just know….“ ? Where were you taught these things?

  31. Another load of BS. Keep digging then

  32. Jim Bonehead , more like it.

  33. AliAbolhasani1981 | May 8, 2024 at 11:31 am | Reply

    Hello friends, isn’t it better to read a little about the topic we are discussing, whether it’s Jim, Leah or the rest, that is, enter the specialized field and then comment, we really messed up a scientific article of a scientific discussion

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