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Humans lived in the humid coastal forest A large-scale interdisciplinary study, including scientific analyses of archaeological plants, animals and shells from the cave indicates a broad perseverance of forest and grassland environments.
As the cave environment underwent little variation over time, humans found the site attractive for occupation, even during periods of time when other parts of Africa would have been inhospitable.
Here, we report a 78,000-year-long archeological record from Panga ya Saidi, a cave in the humid coastal forest of Kenya.
Following a shift in toolkits ~67,000 years ago, novel symbolic and technological behaviors assemble in a non-unilinear manner.
Homo sapiens developed a range of survival strategies to live in diverse habitats, including tropical forests, arid zones, coasts and the cold environments found at higher latitudes.
Technological innovations occur at 67,000 years ago Carefully prepared stone tool toolkits of the Middle Stone Age occur in deposits dating back to 78,000 years ago, but a distinct shift in technology to the Later Stone Age is shown by the recovery of small artefacts beginning at 67,000 years ago.
The Panga ya Saidi sequence after 67,000, however, has a mix of technologies, and no radical break of behavior can be detected at any time, arguing against the cognitive or cultural 'revolutions' theorized by some archaeologists.The evidence for gradual cultural changes does not support dramatic revolutions, and despite being close to the coast, there is no evidence that humans were using coastal 'super-highways' for migrations.An international, interdisciplinary group of scholars working along the East African coast have discovered a major cave site which records substantial activities of hunter-gatherers and later, Iron Age communities.Nicole Boivin states, "The East African coastal hinterland and its forests and have been long considered to be marginal to human evolution so the discovery of Panga ya Saidi cave will certainly change archaeologists' views and perceptions." Group Leader of the Stable Isotopes Lab Dr. Patrick Roberts adds, "Occupation in a tropical forest-grassland environment adds to our knowledge that our species lived in a variety of habitats in Africa." "The finds at Panga ya Saidi undermine hypotheses about the use of coasts as a kind of 'superhighway' that channeled migrating humans out of Africa, and around the Indian Ocean rim," observes Professor Michael Petraglia.