would have been habitable by hunter-gatherer populations. But these spells of favorable climate may also have drawn down Neanderthals from the north. The Neanderthals may have thwarted previous attempts by humans in Africa to cross into Arabia, just as they crushed the attempt by anatomically modern humans to penetrate the Levant. By 50,000 years ago, however, the Neanderthals would have faced a different adversary. The ancestral people, with their new gift of language, would have enjoyed better organization and superior weaponry. Though physically weaker than the Neanderthals, the new model of humans may at last have gained an edge over their fierce archaic relatives.
Still, having their families with them, they may well have preferred to keep out of the archaics' way. So instead of striking out across the interior, they may have expanded along the coastline of southern Arabia, using their boats both as transport and to fish from.
So why was there only one migration of modern humans out of Africa? Could it have been that there was only one way out—the Gate of Grief—and the first people to cross it stayed put on the other side and prevented others from invading their territory? Perhaps more likely is that the odds of survival were small, and only one group of people was fortunate enough to surmount all the daunting obstacles in their path.
Was this article helpful?