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News Release 11-039

Ancient Catastrophic Drought Leads to Question: How Severe Can Climate Change Become?

Extreme megadrought in Afro-Asian region likely had consequences for Paleolithic cultures

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Photo of a boat on the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika.

A boat on Lake Tanganyika today; the lake's ancient surface water level fell dramatically.

Credit: Curt Stager


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Photo of researchers conducting sediment coring to retrieve samples from Lake Tanganyika's floor.

Researchers conduct sediment coring to retrieve samples from Lake Tanganyika's floor.

Credit: Curt Stager


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Photo of the Ugandan trawler that was used to extract cores from the bottom of Lake Victoria.

The Ugandan trawler Ibis was used to extract cores from the bottom of Lake Victoria.

Credit: Curt Stager


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Photo of a boat in a wetland along Lake Victoria.

A wetland along Lake Victoria today, analogous to ancient drought conditions.

Credit: Curt Stager


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Photo of microscopic grass phytolith from one of the Lake Victoria core samples.

Microscopic grass phytolith, or "plant stone," from one of the Lake Victoria core samples.

Credit: Curt Stager


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Photo of Lake Elmenteita, Kenya.

Lake Elmenteita, Kenya: what Lake Victoria would have looked like in a shrunken state.

Credit: Curt Stager


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Cover of the February 25, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' findings are described in the February 25, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2011


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