Ancient Rivers That Existed 100,000 Years Ago Created ‘Green Corridors’ Across Sahara – Three ancient river systems, now buried, may have created viable routes for human migration across the Sahara to the Mediterranean region about 100,000 years ago, according to a new research.

The researchers conducting computer simulations of paleoclimates in North Africa, found evidence of three major river systems that most probably existed in North Africa 130,000-100,000 years ago.

Now largely buried by dune systems in the desert, these rivers likely provided fertile habitats for animals and vegetation, creating ‘green corridors’ across the region.
At least one river system is estimated to have been 100 km wide and largely perennial.

The Irharhar river, westernmost of the three identified, may represent a likely route of human migration across the region.
In addition to rivers, the researchers’ simulations predict massive lagoons and wetlands in northeast Libya, some of which span over 70,000-square kilometers.

Sahara Rivers
Flowing rivers across the Sahara desert 100,000 years ago
Were Rivers Flowing across the Sahara During the Last Interglacial? Implications for Human Migration through Africa. Image Credits: Tom Coulthard Ramirez JA, Barton N, Rogerson M, Brücher T (2013)

“It’s exciting to think that 100,000 years ago there were three huge rivers forcing their way across a 1000km of the Sahara desert to the Mediterranean — and that our ancestors could have walked alongside them” said Professor Tom Coulthard from University of Hull, UK and a lead author of the study.

See also:

What Changed The Green Sahara Into A Desert?

Previous studies have shown that people travelled across the Saharan mountains toward more fertile Mediterranean regions, but when, where and how they did so is a subject of debate.

Photo crerdfits: mtsrs

Existing evidence supports the possibilities of a single trans-Saharan migration, many migrations along one route, or multiple migrations along several different routes.
The existence of ‘green corridors’ that provided water and food resources were likely critical to these events, but their location and the amount of water they carried is not known.

The simulations provided in this study aim to quantify the probability that these routes may have been viable for human migration across the region.