Climate and Human Migrations

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Science  25 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5594, pp. 764-765
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078163

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About 14,600 years ago, humans first appeared in south central Chile. But the arid regions of the Atacama desert in northern Chile were not populated for another 2000 years, and human occupation of this region subsequently remained intermittent. In his Perspective, Dillehay highlights the report of Núñez et al., whose integrative archaeological and paleoecological study shows that climate was the key factor in these human migrations. The study illustrates the power of an integrative approach to understanding the relation between human societies and climate change.