Category Archives: SOUTH AFRICA

Ancient astronaut theorists take note as scientists trace ancestral home of all humans to southern Africa

Ancient astronaut theorists take note as scientists trace ancestral home of all humans to southern Africa

According to researchers, all modern human beings could have descended from people now in Botswana.

Scientists believe they have discovered for the first time the “cradle of humanity,” where the first modern human beings evolved before spreading throughout the world.

In the prehistoric wetland of Makgadikgadi – Okavango just to the south of the Zambezi River are believed to have flourished.

Researchers have shown that the genetic root of every modern person comes from this region 200,000 years ago, a study of DNA records and migration patterns shows.

The wetland was a warm, lush green Garden of Eden in which early humans thrived before migrating when a wobble in the earth’s axis 130,000 years ago caused the climate to turn dry.  

And direct descendants of these pioneers can still be found living in the arid Kalahari desert today.

The first humans are believed to have developed in the prehistoric Makgadikgadi–Okavango wetland, just to the south of the Zambezi River. Their direct descendants – the Kehoe San people – still live there today
The Zambezi river pouring into Victoria Falls, near to the Kehoe San people’s homeland in Botswana
Zambezi River borders of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana

‘It has been clear for some time anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago,’ said the lead researcher, Professor Vanessa Hayes.

‘What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors.’

Professor Hayes, from Sydney University, studied the DNA of more than 1,200 living African people to pinpoint the origin of modern humanity.

She took samples from people called the Kehoe San, who live in rural Africa and who are known to be the most closely related to the original humans, and people genetically linked to them.

Her team could trace common ancestors of all the distinct groups back to the Makgadikgadi area of Botswana, which they have deemed the origin of man.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, add to existing geological and fossil evidence that proves Lake Makgadikgadi was home to early humans. In the past, scientists have suggested that smaller pockets of humans evolved in various places around Africa before spreading.

But Professor Hayes said the original humans evolved in the Makgadikgadi–Okavango wetland and remained there for a whopping 70,000 years.

‘There was a very large lake,’ she said. ‘By the time modern humans arrived, it was breaking up into smaller ones – creating a wetland.’

And she claims ‘green corridors’ of vegetation grew out of the wetland, which developed from a lake twice the size of the 23,000-square-mile Lake Victoria in Tanzania and Uganda, allowing people to migrate north-east and south-west.

Wetland is one of the healthiest ecosystems for sustaining life and would have been abundant enough for the human species to become established.

The climate then changed, drying out the land and causing the wetland to become what is now a region of salt pans and desert – this forced people to migrate.

Professor Hayes said: ‘The first migrants ventured northeast, followed by a second wave of migrants who traveled southwest.

‘A third population remained in the homeland until today. ‘In contrast to the northeasterly migrants, the southwesterly explorers appear to flourish, experiencing steady population growth.’

9-Year-Old Kid Literally Stumbled on Stunning Fossils of a New Hominid

9-Year-Old Kid Literally Stumbled on Stunning Fossils of a New Hominid

In South Africa, a young boy walking his dog has unconsciously stumbled through a pair of about 2 million years old which is now supposed to fill an integral gap in our knowledge of human evolution.

Nine-years-old Matthew Berger and his dog stumbled in a cavern close Johannesburg in 2008, in Malapa, South Africa, over the partially fossilized bones of an adult woman and a young man.

Since then, there has been much debate over whether these remains are genuinely distinct from previously discovered species.

Nine-year-old Matthew Berger upon the skeleton’s discovery.

The bones were found to be a close relative of the Homo genus and have come to be known as Australopithecus sediba (Au. Sediba) — “Australopithecus” means “southern ape.” And now, according to a new study, the remains are believed to be the bridge in human evolution between early humans and our more apelike ancestors.

Australopithecus sediba is thought to come between the 3-million-year-old apelike species known as Australopithecus afarensis (from which the famous “Lucy” specimen comes) and the “Handyman” species known as Homo habilis, who used tools 1.5 million to 2.1 million years ago.

And these latest Au. Sediba skeletons are even more complete than the famous “Lucy,” whose 1974 discovery was previously unprecedented.

“The anatomies we are seeing in Australopithecus sediba are forcing us to reassess the pathway by which we became human,” reported Jeremy DeSilva, co-author of the study.

The skeleton of Au. sediba on display at Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Though some researchers have noted this discovery as indeed that of a unique species since its uncovering in 2008, this latest study illustrates precisely how Au. sediba is, in fact, distinct.

The study thoroughly describes the new species’ anatomy and has found similarities with early members of the Homo genus “suggesting a close evolutionary relationship.”

The hands of the nearly 2-million-year-old Au. sediba resemble those of Homo habilis but are not the same, which suggests that the former was also able to use tools or at the very least, had a more precise grip than that of earlier species.

Australopithecus sediba is also now believed to have walked on two feet, though it would have spent much of its time in the trees, “perhaps for foraging and protection from predators,” the study said.

And all this, remember, came from an accidental discovery.

“Imagine for a moment that Matthew stumbled over the rock and continued following his dog without noticing the fossil,” the authors wrote.

“If those events had occurred instead, our science would not know about Au. sediba, but those fossils would still be there, still encased in calcified clastic sediments, still waiting to be discovered.”