Archaeologists have recovered evidence of early cultural innovations dating to 67,000 years ago from a cave near the coast of East Africa.
Until now, little was known about human history in East Africa over the last 78,000 years, with most archaeological research focused on the Rift Valley and in South Africa.
In addition to evidence of human occupation, researchers recovered plant and animal remains, helping them to recreate a timeline of the area’s ecological history. Their findings suggest the area’s climate and ecosystem — a forest-grassland ecotone, a transition between forest and grassland ecosystems — has remained stable over the last 78,000 years.
The ecological record confirms humans’ ability to adapt to a range of habitats.
“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,” Nicole Boivin, archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said in a news release.