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I have created a map of migration patterns since the evolution of homo sapiens on my planet. I am wondering if the movement makes sense and feels realistic, when compared to the climates and terrain of my planet.

Migration patterns and years when humans reached various places

Elevation

Climate zones

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you need to label the starting point on your first map more clearly. It took me a while to realise it was the number 200 because I had to zoom in quite a lot to be able to read the labels and arrows in that dense cluster. Also surely you mean "thousands of years" not "millions of years" on that map? $\endgroup$
    – DrBob
    Commented Apr 14 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ It seems a bit odd that the migration started only 200K years ago. On Earth, humans began to migrate from Africa as early as about 2 million years ago. Also, something to consider is that climate change and changing shapes of landmasses would both drive the human migration and make migration to certain parts of the world easier/harder. For example you may decide that your humans migrated across what is now sea on your map earlier than expected because there used to be a land bridge there. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantSpaceHamster I'm curious where you heard that humans left Africa 2 million years ago. Yes, there were Neanderthals and Denisovans, but homo sapiens remained in Africa until about 100,000 years ago. Even a quick google search says they left 60-90,000 years ago. 2 million years ago, homo sapiens did not even exist in a modern sense, if they had left at that point in time, by today the humans on various continents would be different species. $\endgroup$
    – www
    Commented Apr 16 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ @www I meant any kind of species from Homo genus, i.e. ancestral humans. Absolutely, those wouldn't be homo sapiens. Reading the OP again, he's specifically asking about homo sapiens, so my bad. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 19 at 9:01

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The migration pattern doesn't make sense to me because the distance from the 1st to the 20th point of migration is relatively close and separated by tropical Islands. If the migrations happened over a long period, surely somebody would colonize the islands and eventually get across unless there is a missing explanation of why these islands are unhabitable.

However, perhaps this is an opportunity to come up with a barrier or reason. For example, maybe the land on those islands is impossible to cultivate, or there are tropical storms that make those waterways very dangerous.

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    $\begingroup$ We have a situation like this in real life. Life started in Africa, yet humans didn't reach Madagascar until 2,000 BC, and even then it was people sailing west from Asia. Due to prevailing wind direction and currents, early sailors would not have stumbled upon those islands to the south, they would've only arrived at them from the opposite direction, coming north. $\endgroup$
    – www
    Commented Apr 15 at 5:10
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Kind of Historically the migration of early humans took place initially along areas that maintained the same general temperatures (in our case equatorial) as our origin point. Our speed of migration was fairly rapid in that zone, and expanded outward until we hit other hominids (most notably the Neanderthals) living in THEIR native ranges.

We pushed out the other hominids when the climate changed, though not necessarily "in our favor" as it were. We just were better at adapting for insert reasons that a ton of very smart people are still arguing about and eventually drove out the competition.

One of the big factors in managing to conquer the colder climates was the bone needle, which let us make better clothes which helped survive cold weather more effectively. So some of my suggestions could be changed by the introduction of that technology earlier in your timeline. For more information I would suggest Before the Dawn and Neanderthal Rediscovered, both of which talk about human migration and the barriers thereunto.

New Migratory Pattern

If there are no other hominids on your planet, the migratory patter should largely be based on your Climate map. The initial spread (200-45) is right but would likely be quicker than that unless some specific hurdle like sea level or other hominid is slowing them down.

From there they should spread west across the entire temperate band down into the tropical savannah, then slowly spread south along the western coast colonizing the temperate band and tropical savannah to the south. Cold desert and tundra would be a hard barrier to your migration until the bone needle is invented. Tropical rainforest is a harder guess as to colonization time but if there aren't other hominids there it should go fairly quickly, if not quite as fast as temperate/tropical savannah regions.

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    $\begingroup$ This. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel basically. Going up on and down on planets through climatezones with animals and plants is hard. Hunter gatherers can do it, but have to domesticate what they find or what is "cross" biome compatible. $\endgroup$
    – Pica
    Commented Apr 15 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ Also coasts and island chains are basically highways since the dawn of time for any country with rivers. $\endgroup$
    – Pica
    Commented Apr 15 at 17:05
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There does not seem to be a good enough reason for the points on the Eastern, and Polar sides of the map to be this far from the original cluster. In general, human migration rarely involved sudden jumps of thousands of miles away from the previous point, and thus, the nearest neighbors. I would add more clusters around the inner sea, to show a slow spread from the original cluster, and then slow migrations, point after point, along rivers and shores.

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I think you're not taking the islands seriously enough.

Now, it's a bit hard to tell because you have no scale on this map, but assuming that the scale is similar to Earth, the gap between node 150 (1 step from origin) and node 35 on the island is, pessimistically, maybe 300km. Considering that the current world record for open ocean swimming in a single go is 250km and that there may be smaller islands not visible on this map, it is eminently reasonable that someone could swim across this gap.

And that's "hard mode".

Someone just holding on to driftwood or blown out to see on their small fishing canoe could easily cross this distance in a couple of days, and generally, the entire island-filled "inner ocean" is shaped in such a nature that, no matter which direction you drift, you will likely either land on an island or back on the main "C"-shaped continent somewhere in a rather short period of time. Provided one has potable water and isn't caught in some bad circular current or one isn't blown out into the big ocean, it's eminently survivable.

This has historical precedent too: ancient humans crossed hundreds of kilometers of ocean to settle on comparatively tiny specs of land using not much more than (presumably) simple carved boats, primitive sails, and their eyeballs looking at the night sky.

Compared to how much land was available in the Earth-human "cradle of humanity", I can easily imagine that your origin point, being much more land-restricted and generally closer to the sea, would see significant ocean crossing and island habitation much sooner than you indicate here (the islands, next to the weird hole in the major mountain range are the last places settled).

It wouldn't take much: a couple dozen people blown out to sea over a short enough time period, and bam: island populated.

I see a very reasonable scenario where human migration manages not only to go "counterclockwise" across your continent, but, perhaps a bit slower, in a clockwise manner too as the people do some island-hopping.

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