Tales of long travels

The produce aisle at my local supermarket always makes me feel as though I'm shopping at the United Nations. The languages, the headdresses, and some odd-looking fruit are all thrown together for a brief encounter.

The immigrants in these aisles are staking out new existences meal by meal as they push squeaky carts along the linoleum. But how they journeyed here is the striking story.

Wednesday, reporter Sara Miller looks at one of the more acute pressure points in the world's migrant flow (see story). For a human tide of sub-Saharan Africans, a tiny crack in Europe's facade - the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, on the Moroccan coast - is the best hope of escape from poverty and starvation.

Regardless of obstacles, both physical and administrative, these migrants, like millions before them, are risking their lives in the desperate hope of finding better ones.

History is the record of the movement of people. Globalization may have sped the flow, but fascination with the very first migrants - prehistoric man - still has archaeologists digging up bones on different continents.

The latest wrinkle on who arrived where, when is laid out in a new book, "Lost World" by Tom Koppel (see review). Koppel punches a hole in the long-held view that the earliest Americans showed up, spears in hand, over a land bridge from Siberia. The rugged image of mammoth-killing warriors marching down from the north isn't supported by the evidence, Koppel contends. Rather, the first Americans, he says, more likely evolved from an earlier AmerIndian culture that migrated down the Pacific coast in canoes.

The first chapter of this immigration story is still a draft.

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