Water’s Edge Ancestors

Human evolution’s tide may have turned on lake and sea shores

By Bruce Bower, 10:55 AM July 28, 2011

In a cave hugging South Africa’s lush southern coastline, Curtis Marean suspects he has cornered a wily Stone Age crew that brought humans back from extinction’s brink. These plucky refugees of continent-wide desolation were able to pull off such a stunning evolutionary turnaround because they got lucky. A coastal oasis near the bottom of the world spread its sheltering arms in the nick of time.

Marean proposes that it was there, where the Arizona State University archaeologist now conducts...

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