A team of scientists from Japan have found evidence that the human settlement of the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean occurred almost immediately after those islands emerged from beneath the sea. Though it had been previously believed that a thousand years had to pass until these newly emerged islands had developed sufficient vegetation for humans to occupy them, the evidence from this study shows that humans not only showed up almost immediately, they acted to vegetate the island themselves in order to make it habitable.
The scientists drilled four cores just off the western shore of Laura Island, the largest island of Majuro Atoll, as well as thirteen trenches on that same island, in order to determine when the island first emerged from under the sea. They also excavated a well-preserved bank at the center of Laura Island to study the human occupation of the island.
What they found was that the Atoll emerged from underwater approximately 2000 years ago, triggered by a fall in sea level. More surprising, the first evidence of human settlement appeared to occur at almost the same time.
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