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Importance of Thar in Out of Africa Migration

Map showing Katoati site along with other  Palaeolithic sites (via Blinkhorn et al)

Map showing Katoati site along with other Palaeolithic sites (via Blinkhorn et al)

Few years back, it was believed that the volcanic eruption of Mt. Toba (74, 000 years back) affected Indian population catastrophically, but evidence from Jwalapuram in Andhra Pradesh indicated that Indians were a tough lot. Going further back in time, we now find new evidence regarding the path the Out of Africa humans took as they reached India.

One of the theories suggest that the early humans took a coastal route from Africa and reached Kerala where they made bird sounds. A new paper now suggests that the humans actually lived in Thar desert around 95,000 years back. During that period, Thar was not that arid, had fluvial activity and hence vegetation. Thus rather than using the coastal route, humans may have used a continental route and the river network to travel.

Another interesting find is the similarity of the tools used by the people who lived in Jwalapuram and in the Thar region and it suggests technological continuity between people who lived in North-West India and South India. That’s  not it. There were similarities between tools found in Thar and Sahar and Arabia and it could either be due to independent technological evolution in those places or due to cultural connections. It looks like Thar desert has now become an important region in the study of the dispersal of humans from Africa to rest of the world.

References:

  1. Blinkhorn, James, Hema Achyuthan, Michael Petraglia, and Peter Ditchfield. “Middle Palaeolithic Occupation in the Thar Desert During the Upper Pleistocene: The Signature of a Modern Human Exit Out of Africa?” Quaternary Science Reviews. Accessed July 22, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.012. (Thanks @Karmasura)

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