Sahara desert was not always the vast dead land we see today. It was once a wet area, with lakes and lush vegetation, according to a research published this month.
A new study shows that three major rivers, which were probably the size of the Nile, were crossing Sahara desert on their way to the Mediterranean basin, 130,000 to 100,000 years ago.
“Those rivers cannot be excluded as a possible route followed by the Homo Sapiens on their journey from Africa to Europe,” researchers say on the report, published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Tom Koultcharnt, at the University of Hull in Britain, in collaboration with colleagues and scientists at other institutions, used computer models to simulate the climate of Africa during a period of thousands of years examined in the study.
The models showed that monsoons occurred about 600 km northern than they appear today, and blasted heavy rain falls on the mountains of the central Sahara. According to the models, the water formed three rivers longer than 1,000 kilometers and supplied vast wetlands on the coast of Libya, at an area of about 70,000 square kilometers.
The most westerly of the three ancient rivers could have offered people easy access to the southern shores of the Mediterranean, the team speculates.
The path they propose seems to match a series of archaeological sites in Algeria and Tunisia.
However, the beds of ancient rivers are today buried somewhere beneath the dunes in Sahara, along with the trail left, perhaps, by our ancestors.