Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara
August 16, 2008 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara. "How a dinosaur hunter uncovered the Sahara's strangest Stone Age graveyard."
posted by homunculus (9 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Sereno was interviewed on the Newshour a couple of days ago.
posted by homunculus at 12:01 PM on August 16, 2008

Cool post homunculus. Thanks.

There were also hundreds of animal bones. In addition to antelope and giraffe, Sereno quickly recognized the remains of water-adapted creatures like crocodiles and hippos, then turtles, fish, and clams. "Everywhere you turned, there were bones belonging to animals that don't live in the desert," said Sereno. "I realized we were in the Green Sahara."

That is amazing.

Sereno sounds like a real life Indiana Jones character. And he's cute too.

For much of the past 70,000 years, the Sahara has closely resembled the desert it is today. Some 12,000 years ago, however, a wobble in the Earth's axis and other factors caused Africa's seasonal monsoons to shift slightly north, bringing new rains to an area nearly the size of the contiguous United States. Lush watersheds stretched across the Sahara, from Egypt to Mauritania, drawing animal life and eventually people.

So fascinating. Never knew that. I love that carving of a giraffe in one of the photographs. Beautiful. And man, that story just gets more and more intruiging:

She held a Kiffian sherd next to a Tenerian one. "What is so amazing is that the people who made these two pots lived more than a thousand years apart."

Pollen remains show the woman and two children were buried on a bed of flowers.


There was a lone tree in that part of the Sahara, the Ténéré tree.

Paul Sereno works together with his wife, Gabrielle Lyon. They seem like really good people.
posted by nickyskye at 2:19 PM on August 16, 2008

I was hoping somebody would post on the discovery: the gallery of pictures is great! It is disappointing that they could not get more people to complete excavation of the site before political trouble. That has to be one of the largest burial sites ever found.
posted by francesca too at 3:02 PM on August 16, 2008

Seems like a good time to bring this up.
posted by telstar at 6:10 PM on August 16, 2008

Fantastic post, homunculus.
posted by humannaire at 8:05 PM on August 16, 2008

Seems like a good time to bring this up.

posted by humannaire at 8:05 PM on August 16, 2008

Cool article. I once worked a dig for part of a summer as a teenager. The findings are a lot more interesting than the actual work. I hope they can follow up their digs with more info.
posted by Mojojojo at 9:13 PM on August 16, 2008

Oh, the Tree of Ténéré - the last sad testament to all the lakes, rivers, lush plantlife, animals and people who used to thrive thousands and thousands of years ago in what is now the loneliest stretch of oblivion on earth - felled by a drunken truck driver in 1973.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:11 AM on August 17, 2008

Awesome article and great photos. Thanks for this.

To be accurate though, Turok is a dinosaur hunter. Paul Sereno is a paleontologist. It's a subtle difference.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:42 AM on August 17, 2008

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