According to a recent study published in the scientific journal Science Advances, humans used to occupy the Sahara Desert nearly 8,000 years ago. Today, the Sahara is one of the most hostile environments on planet Earth. A lot has changed in those 8,000 years, it seems. Hopefully, these 10 amazing facts will help answer some of your questions regarding the world’s most famous desert.
#1 Hunter-Gathers Thrived In The Sahara Desert.
The area we now call the Sahara Desert was once home to tribes of hunter-gathers who lived off plants and animals in the region between 5,000-11,000 years ago.
#2 The Sahara Is 10 Times Dryer Today.
According to Jessica Tierney from the University of Arizona, the Sahara Desert receives only one to four inches of rainfall per year. That’s 10 times less than during its “green period.”
#3 The Sahara Desert Used To Be Green
Using marine sediments, researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered the rainfall patterns in the Saraha Desert over the past 6,000 years. According to their studies, the Sahara went through a “green period” where the desert received over 10 times the amount of rain it does today.
#4 Humans Gradually Left The Sahara 8,000 Years Ago.
To support Tierney’s claim, archaeologists state that humans occupied most of Sahara during the wet period. However, they began to gradually leave around 8,000 years ago.
#5 Dry Climate May Be Responsible For Migration.
It might seem obvious, but researchers are still unsure whether the drying desert was the sole reason for humans leaving the Sahara region. Although, the fact that rainfall began to cease around the time humans migrated elsewhere is fairly conclusive.
#6 People Came Back After The Dry Period.
Interestingly enough, people eventually came back to the Sahara Desert after the dry period began. However, the culture was quite different this time around. Instead of hunter-gathers, cattle farmers took over the desert.
#7 Researchers Used Marine Sediments For The Sahara Study.
Tierney and the team at the University of Arizona used marine sediments from four different sites off the coast of West Africa instead of lake sediments for their research.
#8 Cores Helped To Reveal Rainfall Patterns.
The marine sediment cores came from a distance (north to south) of 800 miles (1,300 km). This helped reveal the ancient rainfall data of the “Green Sahara.”
#9 Researchers Used Ancient Leaf Wax To Determine Climate Conditions.
Using ancient leaf wax from the marine sediments, the team was able to determine the climate conditions of a given period.
#10 The Sahara Desert Is The Planet’s Biggest Source Of Dust.
Do you have a dirty house? Don’t blame the kids. Blame the Sahara Desert, for it’s now the planet’s largest source of dust. This is due to the lack of vegetation and rainfall.