Out of Eden the Long Way
One of the big questions in the study of human evolution is the question of how our ancestors spread across the world.
Our species evolved in Africa and migrated around the world from there. Most people on earth today are mixed descendants of multiple migrations to different places.
Somewhere in almost everyone’s family history, whether it was last year or thousands of years ago, there was someone who left the place they were born and set out into the unknown, looking for a new life somewhere else. For most of humankind’s time on this planet, we all did it the same way. We walked.
Paul Salopek is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Explorer who is on an epic ten-year journey around the world on foot, tracing the path of early human migration out of Africa. Along the way he is talking with people and sharing their stories through his writing and through educational programs for students. His project is called the Out of Eden Walk.
Salopek says he had the idea to tell a big story that “would connect us all, not just in the contemporary world, but also through the past.” He says his project is “a combination of science and writing that uses paleoanthropology and the study of the deep past to inform the route of my journey as I walk through the headlines in the day.”
Salopek began his walk in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, home to some of the most famous paleoanthropological discoveries in the world. From there, his journey will take him some 21,000 miles in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors.
We talked with him from Bishkek, the noisy capital city of Kyrgyzstan, where he was waiting for the snow to melt on the mountain pass.
Click here to see more photos from the Out of Eden Walk.
Articles by Paul Salopek:
- The Glorious Boneyard: A Report From Our Starting Line
- Gona: First Kitchen
- Borders Matter
- No Reply
- The Natural History of Compassion
Articles about early human migration:
- Were modern humans in Indonesia 73,000 years ago?
- Clues to Africa’s Mysterious Past Found in Ancient Skeletons