Early humans survived an ice age by using Africa's southern coast as a safe haven, scientists from the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University claim.
NewsCore reports the land, referred to as 'the garden of Eden' by the scientists, may have been the only part of Africa to remain habitable during the ice age that began around 195,000 years ago.
The scientists believe the area's abundance of rich vegetation and nutrient-laden currents in the ocean would have provided a food source which could sustain early humans through the climate changes.
Professor Curtis Marean, from the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, discovered numerous human artefacts around the isolated caves of Pinnacle Point, South Africa, east of Cape Town.
The ice age is believed to have wiped out human existence elsewhere.
"Shortly after Homo sapiens first evolved, the harsh climate conditions nearly extinguished our species," Professor Marean was quoted as saying.
"Recent finds suggest the small population that gave rise to all humans alive today survived by exploiting a unique combination of resources along the southern coast of Africa," Professor Marean continued.
Research showing that modern humans have far less genetic diversity than most other species led scientists to the idea that early humans were once reduced to a tiny remnant population.
Some scientists have suggested the human population could have fallen to as low as a few hundred individuals during this period, while others insisted the evidence to support this theory remains weak.
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