Waterworld: How the ocean made us who we are

Waterworld: How the ocean made us who we are

The ocean has shaped human history in deep and surprising ways. In a cave off the coast of South Africa, a pile of mussel, whelk, and giant periwinkle shells attests to the beginning of our romance with the sea — the remains of the earliest recorded human seafood meal, 167,000 years ago. Since then, the sea has provided trade routes and fueled empires. But the ocean’s importance to our story is greater still: With its powerful effect on the planet’s climate, the sea influenced human evolution in the forests of Africa, and today continues to touch us wherever we dwell, whether in mountains, deserts, or cities. World Oceans Day, June 8, gives us a chance to consider the ways the ocean has transformed who we are and how we live.

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