Before the Sahara became the arid and inhospitable desert it is today, humans thrived there - even cultivating and storing wild grains, according to new research. This discovery marks the earliest evidence of the farming of cereal seeds in Africa. Some 10,000 years ago, during the early Holocene, the Sahara desert looked very different. Up until around 5,000 years ago, the region was thought to be lush and fertile, covered with vegetation and lakes. This was known as the African Humid Period.