A Twist on the Garden of Eden Story

Let’s talk about something other than Covid for a change.

It’s always interesting when folklore and science merge — and the outcome can be rather surprising.

Researchers/archeologists have identified a plateau where humans and animals lived year round with no need for migration for an extended period of time — potentially thousands of years. Apparently the climate allowed for lush vegetation throughout the year. Animals fed on the vegetation and homo sapiens (us) on the animals and vegetation. There was apparently enough for everyone.

When was this? Up to around 11,700 years ago. Harari places homo sapiens in this region approximately 100,000 years ago.

Does it still exist? It’s underwater now, flooded presumably by rising sea level. The plateau was once fully above water for a very extended time. (Is that the Great Flood of religion and legend? Not in the Middle East but far to the south?)

Where is it? The plateau exists off Pinnacle Point on the Southern coast of South Africa. Caves on the coast have served up artifacts of the animal and human life that was there.

Google maps: Pinnacle Point is marked in red and the shelf that was formerly above water is visible to the south. This is the southern tip of Africa.

Sources:

  1. Jamie Hodgkins, Curtis W. Marean, Jan A. Venter, Leesha Richardson, Patrick Roberts, Jana Zech, Mark Difford, Sandi R. Copeland, Caley M. Orr, Hannah May Keller, B. Patrick Fahey, Julia A. Lee-Thorp. An isotopic test of the seasonal migration hypothesis for large grazing ungulates inhabiting the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain. Quaternary Science Reviews, 2020; 235: 106221 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106221
  2. University of Colorado Denver. “Migration patterns reveal an Eden for ancient humans and animals.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200522140210.htm.
  3. Yuval Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, HarperCollins, 2015, p. 15.

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