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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 4447 times)
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« on: May 16, 2009, 10:40:13 pm »

Around that time, according to the USGS group, the drying up to the Sahara reduced water-carrying channels to a few separate water holes, much as the billabongs of the Australian desert now lie along the courses of defunct ancient rivers.

More support for some form of prehistoric water connection in the Sahara, although not necessarily a vast river network, comes from a report soon to appear in QUATERNARY RESEARCH. Excavations conducted in 1987 at a wind-formed basin near the radar-exposed channels yielded several thousand remains of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals, say zoologist Kazimierz Kowalski of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow and his co-workers -- including Wendorf. The fossils came from sediment dated at about 135,000 years old.

Animals uncovered at the site, including crocodiles and water turtles, indicate a large lake was once present, the researchers contend. Annual rainfall at the time was at least 20 inches, they add.

The 1987 excavations also uncovered remains of deep-water fish, now under study by paleontologist Wim Van Neer of the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. Only through direct water connections can these creatures colonize new areas, Van Neer says. McCauley and his USGS colleagues suggest that around 100,000 years ago, streams represented by the radar-exposed channels hooked up with water sources in the Nile Valley nearly 200 miles to the east.

Wendorf, however, still doubts humans inhabited the area for extended periods. He says the archaeological sites unearthed earthed by McHugh probably represent remains of tool workshops used intermittently over tens of thousands of years.

Althouth McHugh and his co-workers noted in the January 1988 GEOARCHAEOLOGY that their research "has literally only scratched the surface," exporation under the Saharan sands will resume in 1991, when three new space shuttle radar flights are planned. Remarks USGS geologist Carol S. Breed, "We want to map the distribution of ancient river channels across all of northern Africa."

Bibliography for

"Rivers in the sand; the ancient Sahara may have harbored waterways and prehistoric humans"

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August 12, 1989,

August 19, 1989,

Sept 2, 1989

Bruce Bower

"Rivers in the sand; the ancient Sahara may have harbored waterways and prehistoric humans".

Science News.
August 26, 1989.
17 Jun. 2008.
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