'Garden of Eden' gave refuge to last men standing during ice age'

MELBOURNE: A strip of land on Africa’s southern coast — nicknamed the Eden— became a last refuge for the band of early humans who survived an ice age that wiped out the species elsewhere, scientists claim. Researchers have found ochre and evidence of shellfish, which reveal the earliest dated evidence of modern humans at Pinnacle Point. Referred to by experts as "the garden of Eden", it may have been the only part of Africa to remain continuously habitable during the ice age that began about 195,000 years ago. The scientists have shown how a combination of rich vegetation and nutrient-laden currents in the sea created a source of food that could sustain early humans through devastating climate changes. "Shortly after Homo sapiens first evolved, the harsh climate conditions nearly extinguished our species," News.com.au quoted Curtis Marean of Arizona State University. "Recent finds suggest the small population that gave rise to humans alive today survived by exploiting a combination of resources along the southern coast of Africa," he said. Marean and his team argued the caves contain archaeological remains going back at least 164,000 years — and possibly even further back. The remains also showed that, irrespective of tough times seen by early humans in other places, inhabitants of Pinnacle Point were living in a land of plenty.