1.9-million- and 2.4-million-year-old artifacts and stone tool–cutmarked bones from Ain Boucherit, Algeria

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Science  14 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6420, pp. 1297-1301
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0008

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  • RE: Coastal Dispersal of Pleistocene Homo?
    • Marc Verhaegen, Medical Doctor, Study Center for Anthropology, B-2580 Belgium.

    Very interesting article, thanks a lot for this new information, but it is not unexpected in my opinion. There are traces of human occupation (archaic Homo) in East-Africa ~2.6 Ma (cutmarks), now Algeria ~2.4 Ma (your paper), and as far as eastern China ~2.1 Ma (Zhu cs 2018 Nature 559:608). Only a coastal route can easily explain this early-Pleistocene intercontinental dispersal. Our "continental shelf hypothesis" has argued that, when Pleistocene sea-levels dropped, Homo could have followed the vast continental shelves (tree-poor but shellfish-rich?), and gradually from the coasts ventured inland along the rivers (Verhaegen & Munro 2002 Nutr.Health 16:25). This coastal route best explains the drastic brain expansion we see in H.erectus: "seafood is brainfood". Seafood and especially shellfish (which sea and other otters, some mungos, and capuchin monkeys open with stone tools) is extremely rich in brain-specific nutrients, such as DHA, iodine, taurin and oligo-elements (Cunnane & Stewart eds 2010 Human Brain Evolution, the Influence of Freshwater and Marine Food Resources, Wiley-Blackwell), google "coastal dispersal of Pleistocene Homo 2018 biology vs anthropocentrism". When these waterside people found drowned herbivores or stranded whales (e.g. Gutierrez cs 2001 Compt.Rend.Acad.Sci. 332:357), they would of course use their stone tools for trying to remove the bone marrow and other food-rests left in the carcasses. Apparently, early-...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.