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Green wet Sahara

Happy new year, by the way.

I want to call your attention to a post by Razib in which he reviews a new paper on the archaeology of transitional Pleistocene-Holocene “wet Sahara”, including many interesting maps and quotes from the original paper, which is:
Nick A. Drake et al., Ancient watercourses and biogeography of the Sahara explain the peopling of the desert. PNAS 2010. Pay per view (depending on world region and at worst for six months only).
I won’t comment on it at least until it becomes freely available but the maps are quite interesting, as is the suggestion that this lush scenario may have been related to the flow of Nilo-Saharan languages (and some genetic packages probably associated with them).

Update (Jan 3): another review can be found at LiveScience.

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Posted by on January 1, 2011 in Africa, biology, ecology, water

 

Ancient lake revealed in Upper Egypt

An ancient major lake that would have appeared some 250,000 years ago and vanished definitively some 80,000 years ago has been discovered just North of the Egypt-Sudan border, just West of modern Aswan Reservoir, in the region known as Tushka.

Lake Tushka (deep blue) at two different prehistorical sizes
This lake probably played some role, yet to be understood, in the early period of Humankind. It was not the only one of its kind, other large lakes existed in what is now the Sahara, the most famous maybe being Lake Chad, which in the past was at least a thousand times larger than it is now, a true inland sea.

Today there are a few smaller lakes but were caused by human intervention, pumping excess water  from Lake Nasser.

Full story at Science News (found via Wash Park Prophet).

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Africa, Middle Paleolithic, Prehistory, water

 

Mars water is recent

Deposits of soluble minerals under the wheels of the trapped Mars rover but not in the upper layer support that water existed in liquid form recently on the red planet, otherwise the layers should be mixed by wind erosion.

Full story at Science Daily.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in astronomy, Mars, water