This brilliantly instructive website shows the journey of mankind from its origins in the Horn of Africa to world-wide domination. Browse through it all, it’s all a very interesting read.
One of the most striking things happens around 85-75000 years mark, when humanity crosses the Red Sea for the first time and in a pre-historical blink of an eye spreads through Arabia, Indian Subcontinent, Indochina, Indonesia, all the way into southern China.
It will take further 25000 years to move further from this first frontier. Obviously, some dramatic breakthrough had happened to enable this remarkable journey.
According to some of the latest theories, this breakthrough was the advent of beach combing. This food revolution, possibly the greatest human invention apart from fire and wheel, enabled humans to travel any distance along the coast line.
There are great advantages of the beachcombing lifestyle over life in the savannahs and jungles. The food is always there, and in plenty. Wherever you go in the world, by the sea there will be always seashells and seaweed, great source of proteins and minerals. You don’t have to learn which are poisonous and which aren’t – as long as they are fresh and clean, almost anything out of the sea can be eaten. You don’t have to prepare the food in any way – it’s delicious and nutritious raw. You don’t have to waste energy hunting – it’s just lying there, waiting. 85000 years ago, a man could walk around the world eating just what he found by the sea – and he did.
According to geneticists, all non-African humans are descended from these intrepid pioneers. That means humanity got to where it is today because it had learned to eat oysters and clams.
So next time you shuck an oyster, think carefully about what you’re doing. Because this is exactly what the first explorers did. The same gesture, a hundred thousand years ago, began humanity’s incredible journey.