Did you know that the Sahara was once green and fertile?

Publié le par hort

http://ecoworldly. com/2008/ 08/29/two- african-lost- tribes-discovere d-deep-in- the-sahara/

Two African ‘Lost Tribes’ Discovered Deep in the Sahara

Written by Sam Aola Ooko
Published on August 29th, 2008

The mystery of the lost tribes of the green Sahara has been unraveled by a joint team of archaeologists and palaeontologists who were out on a dinosaur-hunting expedition in the Ténéré Desert in present-day Niger but instead stumbled on a large, Stone Age graveyard.

Now whatever little may be known about the Kiffian and Tenerian tribes, thought to have lived in the Sahara between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago are bone harpoons, earthen pots, among other artifacts.

But what is so intriguing are the burial sites where doz­ens of fos­sil­ized hu­man skele­tons have been laid bare on the sur­face of an an­cient dune field by the hot Sa­har­an wind. The exploration team led by noted paleontologist and National Geographic explorer in residence, Paul Sereno, found jaw­bones still clenched nearly full sets of teeth.

In another grave where a mother appears to have been buried together with her two daughters in perhaps a ritualistic embrace, a ti­ny hand reached up through the sand, its fin­ger bones in­tact. On the sur­face lay har­poon points, pot­sherds, beads and stone tools.

But the story of the Green Sahara started way back in 2000 when the expedition team happened on a large, Stone Age graveyard in an area called Gobero, or ‘desert within a desert, in the local Tuareg dialect of the nomadic people presently occupying the Ténéré Des­ert swath of the Sahara in Niger. The site was brim­ming with skele­tons of humans and animals including large fish and crocodiles.

Here is the site of other dramatic scientific findings including the 500-toothed, plant-eating dinosaur Nigersaurus and the enormous extinct crocodilia Sarcosuchus, also known as Super Croc.

“Everywhere you turned, there were bones belonging to animals that don’t live in the desert,” Sereno told a news briefing in Washington, DC announcing the discovery August 14. “I realized we were in the green Sahara.”

Arid conditions forced the Kiffians, the initial occupants, to abandon the area a little over 8000 years ago but with the return of more humid conditions, around 6600 years ago; the region was repopulated by the more gracile Tenerian people who left behind elaborate grave goods, including animal bone and ivory ornaments.

It is believed that a resurgent period in between caused Africa’s sea­son­al mon­soons to shift slightly north, bring­ing new rains to the Sahara and dotting the area with lakes, drawing animals, fish and eventually people. This suggests why samples from the grave contained pollen clusters, perhaps a cultural ritual where individuals were laid to rest on a bed of flowers?



Publié dans classical africa

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