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Sample records for early pleistocene hominin

  1. Hominin footprints from early Pleistocene deposits at Happisburgh, UK.

    PubMed

    Ashton, Nick; Lewis, Simon G; De Groote, Isabelle; Duffy, Sarah M; Bates, Martin; Bates, Richard; Hoare, Peter; Lewis, Mark; Parfitt, Simon A; Peglar, Sylvia; Williams, Craig; Stringer, Chris

    2014-01-01

    Investigations at Happisburgh, UK, have revealed the oldest known hominin footprint surface outside Africa at between ca. 1 million and 0.78 million years ago. The site has long been recognised for the preservation of sediments containing Early Pleistocene fauna and flora, but since 2005 has also yielded humanly made flint artefacts, extending the record of human occupation of northern Europe by at least 350,000 years. The sediments consist of sands, gravels and laminated silts laid down by a large river within the upper reaches of its estuary. In May 2013 extensive areas of the laminated sediments were exposed on the foreshore. On the surface of one of the laminated silt horizons a series of hollows was revealed in an area of ca. 12 m(2). The surface was recorded using multi-image photogrammetry which showed that the hollows are distinctly elongated and the majority fall within the range of juvenile to adult hominin foot sizes. In many cases the arch and front/back of the foot can be identified and in one case the impression of toes can be seen. Using foot length to stature ratios, the hominins are estimated to have been between ca. 0.93 and 1.73 m in height, suggestive of a group of mixed ages. The orientation of the prints indicates movement in a southerly direction on mud-flats along the river edge. Early Pleistocene human fossils are extremely rare in Europe, with no evidence from the UK. The only known species in western Europe of a similar age is Homo antecessor, whose fossil remains have been found at Atapuerca, Spain. The foot sizes and estimated stature of the hominins from Happisburgh fall within the range derived from the fossil evidence of Homo antecessor.

  2. Dental Ontogeny in Pliocene and Early Pleistocene Hominins

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Tanya M.; Tafforeau, Paul; Le Cabec, Adeline; Bonnin, Anne; Houssaye, Alexandra; Pouech, Joane; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo; Manthi, Fredrick; Ward, Carol; Makaremi, Masrour; Menter, Colin G.

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, our understanding of the evolution of human growth and development derived from studies of fossil juveniles that employed extant populations for both age determination and comparison. This circular approach has led to considerable debate about the human-like and ape-like affinities of fossil hominins. Teeth are invaluable for understanding maturation as age at death can be directly assessed from dental microstructure, and dental development has been shown to correlate with life history across primates broadly. We employ non-destructive synchrotron imaging to characterize incremental development, molar emergence, and age at death in more than 20 Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus and South African early Homo juveniles. Long-period line periodicities range from at least 6–12 days (possibly 5–13 days), and do not support the hypothesis that australopiths have lower mean values than extant or fossil Homo. Crown formation times of australopith and early Homo postcanine teeth fall below or at the low end of extant human values; Paranthropus robustus dentitions have the shortest formation times. Pliocene and early Pleistocene hominins show remarkable variation, and previous reports of age at death that employ a narrow range of estimated long-period line periodicities, cuspal enamel thicknesses, or initiation ages are likely to be in error. New chronological ages for SK 62 and StW 151 are several months younger than previous histological estimates, while Sts 24 is more than one year older. Extant human standards overestimate age at death in hominins predating Homo sapiens, and should not be applied to other fossil taxa. We urge caution when inferring life history as aspects of dental development in Pliocene and early Pleistocene fossils are distinct from modern humans and African apes, and recent work has challenged the predictive power of primate-wide associations between hominoid first molar emergence and

  3. Hominin teeth from the early Late Pleistocene site of Xujiayao, Northern China.

    PubMed

    Xing, Song; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, Jose María; Wu, Xiujie; Liu, Wu

    2015-02-01

    It is generally accepted that from the late Middle to the early Late Pleistocene (∼340-90 ka BP), Neanderthals were occupying Europe and Western Asia, whereas anatomically modern humans were present in the African continent. In contrast, the paucity of hominin fossil evidence from East Asia from this period impedes a complete evolutionary picture of the genus Homo, as well as assessment of the possible contribution of or interaction with Asian hominins in the evolution of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis. Here we present a comparative study of a hominin dental sample recovered from the Xujiayao site, in Northern China, attributed to the early Late Pleistocene (MIS 5 to 4). Our dental study reveals a mosaic of primitive and derived dental features for the Xujiayao hominins that can be summarized as follows: i) they are different from archaic and recent modern humans, ii) they present some features that are common but not exclusive to the Neanderthal lineage, and iii) they retain some primitive conformations classically found in East Asian Early and Middle Pleistocene hominins despite their young geological age. Thus, our study evinces the existence in China of a population of unclear taxonomic status with regard to other contemporary populations such as H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis. The morphological and metric studies of the Xujiayao teeth expand the variability known for early Late Pleistocene hominin fossils and suggest the possibility that a primitive hominin lineage may have survived late into the Late Pleistocene in China. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. The first hominin from the early Pleistocene paleocave of Haasgat, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Leece, A B; Kegley, Anthony D T; Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Herries, Andy I R; Hemingway, Jason; Kgasi, Lazarus; Potze, Stephany; Adams, Justin W

    2016-01-01

    localities in the topographically-distinct northern World Heritage Site. When coupled with the substantial differences in the mammalian faunal communities between the northern localities (e.g., Haasgat, Gondolin) and well-sampled Bloubank Valley sites (e.g., Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai), the recovery of the HGT 500 specimen highlights the potential for further research at the Haasgat locality for understanding the distribution and interactions of hominin populations across the landscape, ecosystems and fossil mammalian communities of early Pleistocene South Africa. Such contextual data from sites like Haasgat is critical for understanding the transition in hominin representation at ∼2 Ma sites in the region from Australopithecus to Paranthropus and early Homo.

  5. An Early Pleistocene hominin mandible from Atapuerca-TD6, Spain

    PubMed Central

    Carbonell, E.; Bermúdez de Castro, J. M.; Arsuaga, J. L.; Allue, E.; Bastir, M.; Benito, A.; Cáceres, I.; Canals, T.; Díez, J. C.; van der Made, J.; Mosquera, M.; Ollé, A.; Pérez-González, A.; Rodríguez, J.; Rodríguez, X. P.; Rosas, A.; Rosell, J.; Sala, R.; Vallverdú, J.; Vergés, J. M.

    2005-01-01

    We present a mandible recovered in 2003 from the Aurora Stratum of the TD6 level of the Gran Dolina site (Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain). The specimen, catalogued as ATD6-96, adds to the hominin sample recovered from this site in 1994–1996, and assigned to Homo antecessor. ATD6-96 is the left half of a gracile mandible belonging to a probably female adult individual with premolars and molars in place. This mandible shows a primitive structural pattern shared with all African and Asian Homo species. However, it is small and exhibits a remarkable gracility, a trait shared only with the Early and Middle Pleistocene Chinese hominins. Furthermore, none of the mandibular features considered apomorphic in the European Middle and Early Upper Pleistocene hominin lineage are present in ATD6-96. This evidence reinforces the taxonomic identity of H. antecessor and is consistent with the hypothesis of a close relationship between this species and Homo sapiens. PMID:15824320

  6. Microbial osteolysis in an Early Pleistocene hominin (Paranthropus robustus) from Swartkrans, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Grine, Frederick E; Bromage, Timothy G; Daegling, David J; Burr, David B; Brain, Charles K

    2015-08-01

    Microbiological degradation is one of the most important factors responsible for the destruction of bone in archaeological contexts. Microscopic focal destruction (MFD) is the most prevalent form of microbial tunneling and is encountered very commonly in human bones from archaeological sites, whereas animal bones from these same sites show significantly better preservation if they were deposited in a fragmentary (e.g., butchered) state. Similarly, most fossils show either no evidence or only minor traces of bacterial osteolysis. These observations and experimental evidence point to an endogenous origin for osteolytic bacteria, suggesting that bone bioerosion could potentially aid in reconstructing early taphonomic events. We here report extensive MFD in the mandibular corpus of a small (presumptive female) individual of the hominin Paranthropus robustus from the Early Pleistocene site of Swartkrans, South Africa. The specimen (SKX 5013) derives in situ from the Member 2 deposit, which is dated to ca. 1.5-1.0 Ma. Examination of sections from the corpus by backscattered electron microscopy reveals numerous small linear longitudinal and budded tunneling cavities, which tend to be concentrated around Haversian canals and are more abundant closer to the endosteal aspect of the section. The taphonomy of Swartkrans has been the subject of intense investigation, and given the possibility that different agents of accumulation may have been responsible for the faunal and hominin fossils in the different members at the site, the observation that a specimen of P. robustus from Member 2 displays significant microbial osteolysis is of potential interest. A study of the prevalence of this process in adequately large samples of the animal bones from these units may yield novel insights and provide refinement of our understanding of their taphonomic histories. Such observations might well reveal differences among the various members that could provide another valuable source of

  7. Early Pleistocene 40Ar/39Ar ages for Bapang Formation hominins, Central Jawa, Indonesia

    PubMed Central

    Larick, Roy; Ciochon, Russell L.; Zaim, Yahdi; Sudijono; Suminto; Rizal, Yan; Aziz, Fachroel; Reagan, Mark; Heizler, Matthew

    2001-01-01

    The Sangiran dome is the primary stratigraphic window for the Plio-Pleistocene deposits of the Solo basin of Central Jawa. The dome has yielded nearly 80 Homo erectus fossils, around 50 of which have known findspots. With a hornblende 40Ar/39Ar plateau age of 1.66 ± 0.04 mega-annum (Ma) reportedly associated with two fossils [Swisher, C.C., III, Curtis, G. H., Jacob, T., Getty, A. G., Suprijo, A. & Widiasmoro (1994) Science 263, 1118–1121), the dome offers evidence that early Homo dispersed to East Asia during the earliest Pleistocene. Unfortunately, the hornblende pumice was sampled at Jokotingkir Hill, a central locality with complex lithostratigraphic deformation and dubious specimen provenance. To address the antiquity of Sangiran H. erectus more systematically, we investigate the sedimentary framework and hornblende 40Ar/39Ar age for volcanic deposits in the southeast quadrant of the dome. In this sector, Bapang (Kabuh) sediments have their largest exposure, least deformation, and most complete tephrostratigraphy. At five locations, we identify a sequence of sedimentary cycles in which H. erectus fossils are associated with epiclastic pumice. From sampled pumice, eight hornblende separates produced 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages ranging from 1.51 ± 0.08 Ma at the Bapang/Sangiran Formation contact, to 1.02 ± 0.06 Ma, at a point above the hominin-bearing sequence. The chronological sequence of 40Ar/39Ar ages follows stratigraphic order across the southeast quadrant. An intermediate level yielding four nearly complete crania has an age of about 1.25 Ma. PMID:11309488

  8. Early Pleistocene 40Ar/39Ar ages for Bapang Formation hominins, Central Jawa, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Larick, R; Ciochon, R L; Zaim, Y; Sudijono; Suminto; Rizal, Y; Aziz, F; Reagan, M; Heizler, M

    2001-04-24

    The Sangiran dome is the primary stratigraphic window for the Plio-Pleistocene deposits of the Solo basin of Central Jawa. The dome has yielded nearly 80 Homo erectus fossils, around 50 of which have known findspots. With a hornblende (40)Ar/(39)Ar plateau age of 1.66 +/- 0.04 mega-annum (Ma) reportedly associated with two fossils [Swisher, C.C., III, Curtis, G. H., Jacob, T., Getty, A. G., Suprijo, A. & Widiasmoro (1994) Science 263, 1118-1121), the dome offers evidence that early Homo dispersed to East Asia during the earliest Pleistocene. Unfortunately, the hornblende pumice was sampled at Jokotingkir Hill, a central locality with complex lithostratigraphic deformation and dubious specimen provenance. To address the antiquity of Sangiran H. erectus more systematically, we investigate the sedimentary framework and hornblende (40)Ar/(39)Ar age for volcanic deposits in the southeast quadrant of the dome. In this sector, Bapang (Kabuh) sediments have their largest exposure, least deformation, and most complete tephrostratigraphy. At five locations, we identify a sequence of sedimentary cycles in which H. erectus fossils are associated with epiclastic pumice. From sampled pumice, eight hornblende separates produced (40)Ar/(39)Ar plateau ages ranging from 1.51 +/- 0.08 Ma at the Bapang/Sangiran Formation contact, to 1.02 +/- 0.06 Ma, at a point above the hominin-bearing sequence. The chronological sequence of (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages follows stratigraphic order across the southeast quadrant. An intermediate level yielding four nearly complete crania has an age of about 1.25 Ma.

  9. Leaf wax biomarker reconstruction of Early Pleistocene hydrological variation during hominin evolution in West Turkana, Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupien, R.; Russell, J. M.; Cohen, A. S.; Feibel, C. S.; Beck, C.; Castañeda, I. S.

    2016-12-01

    Climate change is thought to play a critical role in human evolution; however, this hypothesis is difficult to test due to a lack of long, high-quality paleoclimate records from key hominin fossil locales. To address this issue, we examine Plio-Pleistocene lake sediment drill cores from East Africa that were recovered by the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project, an international effort to study the environment in which our hominin ancestors evolved and dispersed. With new data we test various evolutionary hypotheses, such as the "variability selection" hypothesis, which posits that high-frequency environmental variations selected for generalist traits that allowed hominins to expand into variable environments. We analyzed organic geochemical signals of climate in lake cores from West Turkana, Kenya, which span 1.87-1.38 Ma and contain the first fossils from Homo erectus. In particular, we present a compound-specific hydrogen isotopic analysis of terrestrial plant waxes (δDwax) that records regional hydrology. The amount effect dominates water isotope fractionation in the tropics; therefore, these data are interpreted to reflect mean annual rainfall, which affects vegetation structure and thus, hominin habitats. The canonical view of East Africa is that climate became drier and increasingly felt high-latitude glacial-interglacial cycles during the Plio-Pleistocene. However, the drying trend seen in some records is not evident in Turkana δDwax, signifying instead a climate with a steady mean state. Spectral and moving variance analyses indicate paleohydrological variations related to both high-latitude glaciation (41 ky cycle) and local insolation-forced monsoons (21 ky cycle). An interval of particularly high-amplitude rainfall variation occurs at 1.7 Ma, which coincides with the intensification of the Walker Circulation. These results identify high- and low-latitude controls on East African paleohydrology during Homo erectus evolution. In particular, the

  10. Bovid mortality profiles in paleoecological context falsify hypotheses of endurance running-hunting and passive scavenging by early Pleistocene hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bunn, Henry T.; Pickering, Travis Rayne

    2010-11-01

    The world's first archaeological traces from 2.6 million years ago (Ma) at Gona, in Ethiopia, include sharp-edged cutting tools and cut-marked animal bones, which indicate consumption of skeletal muscle by early hominin butchers. From that point, evidence of hominin meat-eating becomes increasingly more common throughout the Pleistocene archaeological record. Thus, the substantive debate about hominin meat-eating now centers on mode(s) of carcass resource acquisition. Two prominent hypotheses suggest, alternatively, (1) that early Homo hunted ungulate prey by running them to physiological failure and then dispatching them, or (2) that early Homo was relegated to passively scavenging carcass residues abandoned by carnivore predators. Various paleontologically testable predictions can be formulated for both hypotheses. Here we test four predictions concerning age-frequency distributions for bovids that contributed carcass remains to the 1.8 Ma. old FLK 22 Zinjanthropus (FLK Zinj, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania) fauna, which zooarchaeological and taphonomic data indicate was formed predominantly by early Homo. In all but one case, the bovid mortality data from FLK Zinj violate test predictions of the endurance running-hunting and passive scavenging hypotheses. When combined with other taphonomic data, these results falsify both hypotheses, and lead to the hypothesis that early Homo operated successfully as an ambush predator.

  11. Early Pleistocene hominin deciduous teeth from the Homo antecessor Gran Dolina-TD6 bearing level (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Martín-Francés, Laura; Martínez de Pinillos, Marina; Modesto-Mata, Mario; García-Campos, Cecilia; Wu, Xiujie; Xing, Song; Liu, Wu

    2017-07-01

    During the last 13 years, the late Early Pleistocene Gran Dolina-TD6-2 level (Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain) has yielded an additional sample of 26 dental specimens attributed to Homo antecessor. In this report, we present a descriptive and comparative study of the six deciduous teeth. We provide external and internal morphological descriptions following classical terminology, as well as the mesiodistal and buccolingual measurements of the teeth. The internal morphology was described by means of micro-CT technique. The TD6 deciduous teeth preserve primitive features regarding the Homo clade, such as the presence of styles in lower and upper canines and developed anterior and posterior foveae in the dm 2 . However, other features related to the complexity of the crown morphology (e.g., cingulum) are not present in this sample. Furthermore, the great reduction of the talonid of the dm 1 s is also noteworthy. Despite the limited comparative evidence, the presence of a remarkably well-developed tuberculum molare in the dm 1 and dm 1 s from TD6 can be also considered a derived feature in the genus Homo. The TD6 hominins exhibit dental dimensions similar to those of other Pleistocene hominins. The dm 1 s are buccolingually elongated and the buccolingual diameter of ATD6-93 is the largest recorded so far in the Homo fossil record. This study expands the list of plesiomorphic features of H. antecessor, and provides some information on the evolutionary status of this species. However, the identification of some advanced traits evinces a step towards the derived morphology of European Pleistocene teeth. The study of the deciduous dentition confirms the mosaic pattern of H. antecessor morphology revealed in previous studies of this hominin sample. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Dental evidence on the hominin dispersals during the Pleistocene

    PubMed Central

    Martinón-Torres, M.; Bermúdez de Castro, J. M.; Gómez-Robles, A.; Arsuaga, J. L.; Carbonell, E.; Lordkipanidze, D.; Manzi, G.; Margvelashvili, A.

    2007-01-01

    A common assumption in the evolutionary scenario of the first Eurasian hominin populations is that they all had an African origin. This assumption also seems to apply for the Early and Middle Pleistocene populations, whose presence in Europe has been largely explained by a discontinuous flow of African emigrant waves. Only recently, some voices have speculated about the possibility of Asia being a center of speciation. However, no hard evidence has been presented to support this hypothesis. We present evidence from the most complete and up-to-date analysis of the hominin permanent dentition from Africa and Eurasia. The results show important morphological differences between the hominins found in both continents during the Pleistocene, suggesting that their evolutionary courses were relatively independent. We propose that the genetic impact of Asia in the colonization of Europe during the Early and Middle Pleistocene was stronger than that of Africa. PMID:17684093

  13. New early Pleistocene hominin teeth from the Swartkrans Formation, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Travis Rayne; Heaton, Jason L; Sutton, Morris B; Clarke, Ron J; Kuman, Kathleen; Senjem, Jess Hutton; Brain, C K

    2016-11-01

    We describe 14 hominin teeth and tooth fragments excavated recently from Swartkrans Cave (South Africa). The fossils derive from Members 1 (Lower Bank) and 3, from the Member 2/3 interface and from two deposits not yet assigned to member (the "Talus Cone Deposit" and the "Underground North Excavation" [UNE]) of the Swartkrans Formation, and include the first hominin fossil from the UNE, the two smallest Paranthropus robustus deciduous maxillary second molars in the entire hominin fossil record, and one of the smallest P. robustus permanent maxillary second molars from Swartkrans. The small permanent molar is accompanied by another tooth from a different individual but from the same stratigraphic level of the Swartkrans Formation; this second tooth is among, if not, the largest P. robustus permanent maxillary first molars known from anywhere-lending credence to assertions that degrees of body size sexual dimorphism previously ascribed to this species may be underestimated. It is more equivocal whether this evidence also supports hypotheses proposing that P. robustus assemblages from Swartkrans (as well as those from other South African cave sites) formed through the taphonomically biasing actions of large carnivores. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Middle Pleistocene Hominin Teeth from Longtan Cave, Hexian, China

    PubMed Central

    Xing, Song; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Zhang, Yingqi; Fan, Xiaoxiao; Zheng, Longting; Huang, Wanbo; Liu, Wu

    2014-01-01

    Excavations at the Longtan Cave, Hexian, Anhui Province of Eastern China, have yielded several hominin fossils including crania, mandibular fragments, and teeth currently dated to 412±25 ka. While previous studies have focused on the cranial remains, there are no detailed analyses of the dental evidence. In this study, we provide metric and morphological descriptions and comparisons of ten teeth recovered from Hexian, including microcomputed tomography analyses. Our results indicate that the Hexian teeth are metrically and morphologically primitive and overlap with H. ergaster and East Asian Early and mid-Middle Pleistocene hominins in their large dimensions and occlusal complexities. However, the Hexian teeth differ from H. ergaster in features such as conspicuous vertical grooves on the labial/buccal surfaces of the central incisor and the upper premolar, the crown outline shapes of upper and lower molars and the numbers, shapes, and divergences of the roots. Despite their close geological ages, the Hexian teeth are also more primitive than Zhoukoudian specimens, and resemble Sangiran Early Pleistocene teeth. In addition, no typical Neanderthal features have been identified in the Hexian sample. Our study highlights the metrical and morphological primitive status of the Hexian sample in comparison to contemporaneous or even earlier populations of Asia. Based on this finding, we suggest that the primitive-derived gradients of the Asian hominins cannot be satisfactorily fitted along a chronological sequence, suggesting complex evolutionary scenarios with the coexistence and/or survival of different lineages in Eurasia. Hexian could represent the persistence in time of a H. erectus group that would have retained primitive features that were lost in other Asian populations such as Zhoukoudian or Panxian Dadong. Our study expands the metrical and morphological variations known for the East Asian hominins before the mid-Middle Pleistocene and warns about the

  15. The late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record of eastern Asia: synthesis and review.

    PubMed

    Bae, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    Traditionally, Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils that cannot be allocated to Homo erectus sensu lato or modern H. sapiens have been assigned to different specific taxa. For example, in eastern Asia, these hominin fossils have been classified as archaic, early, or premodern H. sapiens. An increasing number of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils are currently being assigned to H. heidelbergensis. This is particularly the case for the African and European Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record. There have been suggestions that perhaps the eastern Asian late Middle Pleistocene hominins can also be allocated to the H. heidelbergensis hypodigm. In this article, I review the current state of the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record from eastern Asia and examine the various arguments for assigning these hominins to the different specific taxa. The two primary conclusions drawn from this review are as follows: 1) little evidence currently exists in the eastern Asian Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record to support their assignment to H. heidelbergensis; and 2) rather than add to the growing list of hominin fossil taxa by using taxonomic names like H. daliensis for northeast Asian fossils and H. mabaensis for Southeast Asian fossils, it is better to err on the side of caution and continue to use the term archaic H. sapiens to represent all of these hominin fossils. What should be evident from this review is the need for an increase in the quality and quantity of the eastern Asian hominin fossil data set. Fortunately, with the increasing number of large-scale multidisciplinary paleoanthropological field and laboratory research projects in eastern Asia, the record is quickly becoming better understood. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  16. Paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental context of the Early Pleistocene hominins from Dmanisi (Georgia, Lesser Caucasus) inferred from the herpetofaunal assemblage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Agustí, Jordi; Lordkipanidze, David; Rook, Lorenzo; Delfino, Massimo

    2014-12-01

    Dmanisi is currently the oldest Early Palaeolithic site discovered out of Africa. It has produced over 40 hominin remains, including a set of very informative skulls, in direct association with faunal remains and numerous lithic artifacts. Given the relevance of this locality, every effort is being made to reconstruct the landscapes where these hominins once lived. Amphibian and reptile remains from Dmanisi are here described for the first time and used as paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental proxies. They comprise at least six taxa: a green toad (Bufo gr. Bufo viridis), the Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), a green lizard (Lacerta gr. Lacerta viridis), a four-lined snake (Elaphe gr. Elaphe quatuorlineata), an indeterminate colubrid and a water snake (Natrix sp.). As these taxa are not extinct and their ecology can be directly studied, they can contribute to the reconstruction of the landscape and climate. The application of the Mutual Climatic Range method provides quantitative data indicating that during the hominin presence at Dmanisi climate was warm and dry, similar to the present-day Mediterranean climate. In comparison with today climate of Dmanisi, estimated mean annual temperature was 3.1 °C higher, with a greater increase of temperature in summer (+7.1 °C) than in winter (+4.7 °C). The mean annual precipitation was slightly lower (-65 mm) than the current level, with precipitation higher than current one during winter (+104 mm) but strongly lower during the other seasons, suggesting a stronger contrast in the rainfall regime during the year. From a paleoenvironmental point of view, fossil amphibians and reptiles all suggest the predominance of arid environments, from steppe or semi-desert to open Mediterranean forest, with stony or rocky substrate and bushy areas. The presence of permanent aquatic environments is also documented. These results mainly agree with those for large mammals, small mammals and the archaeobotanical analysis that indicate an

  17. Early hominin biogeography in Island Southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Larick, Roy; Ciochon, Russell L

    2015-01-01

    Island Southeast Asia covers Eurasia's tropical expanse of continental shelf and active subduction zones. Cutting between island landmasses, Wallace's Line separates Sunda and the Eastern Island Arc (the Arc) into distinct tectonic and faunal provinces. West of the line, on Sunda, Java Island yields many fossils of Homo erectus. East of the line, on the Arc, Flores Island provides one skeleton and isolated remains of Homo floresiensis. Luzon Island in the Philippines has another fossil hominin. Sulawesi preserves early hominin archeology. This insular divergence sets up a unique regional context for early hominin dispersal, isolation, and extinction. The evidence is reviewed across three Pleistocene climate periods. Patterns are discussed in relation to the pulse of global sea-level shifts, as well as regional geo-tectonics, catastrophes, stegodon dispersal, and paleogenomics. Several patterns imply evolutionary processes typical of oceanic islands. Early hominins apparently responded to changing island conditions for a million-and-a-half years, likely becoming extinct during the period in which Homo sapiens colonized the region. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. The cheetah Acinonyx pardinensis (Croizet et Jobert, 1828) s.l. at the hominin site of Dmanisi (Georgia) - A potential prime meat supplier in Early Pleistocene ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemmer, Helmut; Kahlke, Ralf-Dietrich; Vekua, Abesalom K.

    2011-09-01

    The fossil site of Dmanisi (southern Georgia) has yielded a significant amount of hominin remains dated to around 1.8 Ma, in addition to a rich contemporaneous faunal record. Based on topographic information combined with an updated list of the vertebrate faunal assemblage, the corresponding palaeo-landscape has been reconstructed. Over a distance of some kilometres the landscape pattern changed from that of a forested valley floor, to tree savannah and open grasslands, thus providing typical habitats for carnivores hunting in open spaces. Morphological analysis of the elements from a nearly complete cat's foreleg reveals the existence of a large and stoutly built cheetah, Acinonyx pardinensis (Croizet et Jobert, 1828) s.l., in the Dmanisi faunal assemblage. Body mass estimations based on the humerus and metacarpals point to a cat of around 100 kg. The amount of pure meat and associated leftovers produced by the cheetah's hunting activity available for other consumers has been estimated. Within Early Pleistocene ecosystems, the cheetah must be considered as a potential fresh prime meat supplier, above that of any other felid.

  19. Late Middle Pleistocene hominin teeth from Panxian Dadong, South China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wu; Schepartz, Lynne A; Xing, Song; Miller-Antonio, Sari; Wu, Xiujie; Trinkaus, Erik; Martinón-Torres, María

    2013-05-01

    The hominin teeth and evidence of hominin activities recovered from 1991 to 2005 at the Panxian Dadong site in South China are dated to the late Middle Pleistocene (MIS 8-6 or ca. 130-300 ka), a period for which very little is known about the morphology of Asian populations. The present study provides the first detailed morphometric description and comparisons of four hominin teeth (I(1), C1, P(3) and P3) from this site. Our study shows that the Panxian Dadong teeth combine archaic and derived features that align them with Middle and Upper Pleistocene fossils from East and West Asia and Europe. These teeth do not display any typical Neanderthal features and they are generally more derived than other contemporaneous populations from Asia and Africa. However, the derived traits are not diagnostic enough to specifically link the Panxian Dadong teeth to Homo sapiens, a common problem when analyzing the Middle Pleistocene dental record from Africa and Asia. These findings are contextualized in the discussion of the evolutionary course of Asian Middle Pleistocene hominins, and they highlight the necessity of incorporating the Asian fossil record in the still open debate about the origin of H. sapiens. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. New Middle Pleistocene hominin cranium from Gruta da Aroeira (Portugal).

    PubMed

    Daura, Joan; Sanz, Montserrat; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Hoffmann, Dirk L; Quam, Rolf M; Ortega, María Cruz; Santos, Elena; Gómez, Sandra; Rubio, Angel; Villaescusa, Lucía; Souto, Pedro; Mauricio, João; Rodrigues, Filipa; Ferreira, Artur; Godinho, Paulo; Trinkaus, Erik; Zilhão, João

    2017-03-28

    The Middle Pleistocene is a crucial time period for studying human evolution in Europe, because it marks the appearance of both fossil hominins ancestral to the later Neandertals and the Acheulean technology. Nevertheless, European sites containing well-dated human remains associated with an Acheulean toolkit remain scarce. The earliest European hominin crania associated with Acheulean handaxes are at the sites of Arago, Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos (SH), and Swanscombe, dating to 400-500 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 11-12). The Atapuerca (SH) fossils and the Swanscombe cranium belong to the Neandertal clade, whereas the Arago hominins have been attributed to an incipient stage of Neandertal evolution, to Homo heidelbergensis , or to a subspecies of Homo erectus A recently discovered cranium (Aroeira 3) from the Gruta da Aroeira (Almonda karst system, Portugal) dating to 390-436 ka provides important evidence on the earliest European Acheulean-bearing hominins. This cranium is represented by most of the right half of a calvarium (with the exception of the missing occipital bone) and a fragmentary right maxilla preserving part of the nasal floor and two fragmentary molars. The combination of traits in the Aroeira 3 cranium augments the previously documented diversity in the European Middle Pleistocene fossil record.

  1. New Middle Pleistocene hominin cranium from Gruta da Aroeira (Portugal)

    PubMed Central

    Daura, Joan; Sanz, Montserrat; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Hoffmann, Dirk L.; Quam, Rolf M.; Ortega, María Cruz; Santos, Elena; Gómez, Sandra; Rubio, Angel; Villaescusa, Lucía; Souto, Pedro; Mauricio, João; Rodrigues, Filipa; Ferreira, Artur; Godinho, Paulo; Trinkaus, Erik

    2017-01-01

    The Middle Pleistocene is a crucial time period for studying human evolution in Europe, because it marks the appearance of both fossil hominins ancestral to the later Neandertals and the Acheulean technology. Nevertheless, European sites containing well-dated human remains associated with an Acheulean toolkit remain scarce. The earliest European hominin crania associated with Acheulean handaxes are at the sites of Arago, Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos (SH), and Swanscombe, dating to 400–500 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 11–12). The Atapuerca (SH) fossils and the Swanscombe cranium belong to the Neandertal clade, whereas the Arago hominins have been attributed to an incipient stage of Neandertal evolution, to Homo heidelbergensis, or to a subspecies of Homo erectus. A recently discovered cranium (Aroeira 3) from the Gruta da Aroeira (Almonda karst system, Portugal) dating to 390–436 ka provides important evidence on the earliest European Acheulean-bearing hominins. This cranium is represented by most of the right half of a calvarium (with the exception of the missing occipital bone) and a fragmentary right maxilla preserving part of the nasal floor and two fragmentary molars. The combination of traits in the Aroeira 3 cranium augments the previously documented diversity in the European Middle Pleistocene fossil record. PMID:28289213

  2. Homo naledi and Pleistocene hominin evolution in subequatorial Africa

    PubMed Central

    Berger, Lee R; Hawks, John; Dirks, Paul HGM; Elliott, Marina; Roberts, Eric M

    2017-01-01

    New discoveries and dating of fossil remains from the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, have strong implications for our understanding of Pleistocene human evolution in Africa. Direct dating of Homo naledi fossils from the Dinaledi Chamber (Berger et al., 2015) shows that they were deposited between about 236 ka and 335 ka (Dirks et al., 2017), placing H. naledi in the later Middle Pleistocene. Hawks and colleagues (Hawks et al., 2017) report the discovery of a second chamber within the Rising Star system (Dirks et al., 2015) that contains H. naledi remains. Previously, only large-brained modern humans or their close relatives had been demonstrated to exist at this late time in Africa, but the fossil evidence for any hominins in subequatorial Africa was very sparse. It is now evident that a diversity of hominin lineages existed in this region, with some divergent lineages contributing DNA to living humans and at least H. naledi representing a survivor from the earliest stages of diversification within Homo. The existence of a diverse array of hominins in subequatorial comports with our present knowledge of diversity across other savanna-adapted species, as well as with palaeoclimate and paleoenvironmental data. H. naledi casts the fossil and archaeological records into a new light, as we cannot exclude that this lineage was responsible for the production of Acheulean or Middle Stone Age tool industries. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24234.001 PMID:28483041

  3. Hominin teeth from the Middle Pleistocene site of Yiyuan, Eastern China.

    PubMed

    Xing, Song; Sun, Chengkai; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Han, Fei; Zhang, Yingqi; Liu, Wu

    2016-06-01

    In 1981-1982, some hominin fossils, including a relatively complete skull and seven isolated teeth, were recovered from the Middle Pleistocene site of Yiyuan in Eastern China. In the present study we provide a detailed metric and morphological comparison of the Yiyuan dental sample in order to characterize better the variability of the human populations that inhabited China during the Middle Pleistocene. Aside from taxonomic and phylogenetic questions, the lack of understanding and/or knowledge about the morphological variability of these populations have caused concern about the human versus non-human nature of some of the hominin dental remains found in East Asia during the Early and the Middle Pleistocene. Thus, our study aims to present a detailed description and comparison of the Yiyuan isolated teeth to 1) discuss and support their human nature and 2) to explore their taxonomic affinities with regard to other penecontemporaneous populations from Asia. Our results clearly differentiate the Yiyuan sample from Pongo specimens and support a human attribution for the Yiyuan material. Our analyses also suggest that the Yiyuan teeth form a morphologically coherent group together with samples from Zhoukoudian, Chaoxian and Hexian. They are different from the more derived specimens from Panxian Dadong, suggesting a pattern of biogeographic isolation and different evolutionary trends between northern and southern China during the Middle Pleistocene. In addition, and despite sharing a common morphological bauplan with Homo erectus sensu stricto (s.s.), the Yiyuan, Zhoukoudian and Hexian teeth are also different from the Indonesian Early Pleistocene samples. In particular, the expression of a highly crenulated or dendritic enamel-dentine surface could be unique to these groups. Our study supports the notion that the taxonomy of the Pleistocene hominins from Asia may have been oversimplified. Future studies should explore the variability of the Asian specimens and

  4. Investigating the Signature of Aquatic Resource Use within Pleistocene Hominin Dietary Adaptations

    PubMed Central

    Archer, Will; Braun, David R.

    2013-01-01

    There is general agreement that the diet of early hominins underwent dramatic changes shortly after the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record. It is often assumed that this change is associated with dietary expansion to incorporate large mammal resources. Although other aspects of the hominin diet, such as aquatic or vegetal resources, are assumed to be a part of hominin subsistence, identifying evidence of these adaptations has proved difficult. Here we present a series of analyses that provide methodological support for the inclusion of aquatic resources in hominin dietary reconstructions. We suggest that bone surface modifications in aquatic species are morphologically distinguishable from bone surface modifications on terrestrial taxa. We relate these findings to differences that we document in the surface mechanical properties of the two types of bone, as reflected by significant differences in bone surface microhardness values between aquatic and terrestrial species. We hypothesize that the characteristics of bone surface modifications on aquatic taxa inhibit the ability of zooarchaeologists to consistently diagnose them correctly. Contingently, this difficulty influences correspondence levels between zooarchaeologists, and may therefore result in misinterpretation of the taphonomic history of early Pleistocene aquatic faunal assemblages. A blind test using aquatic specimens and a select group of 9 experienced zooarchaeologists as participants was designed to test this hypothesis. Investigation of 4 different possible explanations for blind test results suggest the dominant factors explaining patterning relate to (1) the specific methodologies employed to diagnose modifications on aquatic specimens and (2) the relative experience of participants with modifications on aquatic bone surfaces. Consequently we argue that an important component of early hominin diets may have hitherto been overlooked as a result of (a) the paucity of referential

  5. Megadontia, striae periodicity and patterns of enamel secretion in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Dean, M Christopher; Ramirez-Rozzi, Fernando; Bromage, Timothy G

    2008-01-01

    Early hominins formed large and thick-enamelled cheek-teeth within relatively short growth periods as compared with modern humans. To understand better the developmental basis of this process, we measured daily enamel increments, or cross striations, in 17 molars of Plio-Pleistocene hominins representing seven different species, including specimens attributed to early Homo. Our results show considerable variation across species, although all specimens conformed to the known pattern characterised by greater values in outer than inner enamel, and greater cuspal than cervical values. We then compared our results with the megadontia index, which represents tooth size in relation to body mass, for each species to assess the effect of daily growth rates on tooth size. Our results indicate that larger toothed (megadont) taxa display higher rates or faster forming enamel than smaller toothed hominins. By forming enamel quickly, large tooth crowns were able to develop within the constraints of shorter growth periods. Besides daily increments, many animals express long-period markings (striae of Retzius) in their enamel. We report periodicity values (number of cross striations between adjacent striae) in 14 new specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, and show that long-period striae express a strong association with male and average male–female body mass. Our results for Plio-Pleistocene hominins show that the biological rhythms that give rise to long-period striae are encompassed within the range of variation known for modern humans, but show a lower mean and modal value of 7 days in australopithecines. In our sample of early Homo, mean and modal periodicity values were 8 days, and therefore similar to modern humans. These new data on daily rates of enamel formation and periodicity provide a better framework to interpret surface manifestations of internal growth markings on

  6. Megadontia, striae periodicity and patterns of enamel secretion in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Dean, M Christopher; Ramirez-Rozzi, Fernando; Bromage, Timothy G

    2008-08-01

    Early hominins formed large and thick-enamelled cheek-teeth within relatively short growth periods as compared with modern humans. To understand better the developmental basis of this process, we measured daily enamel increments, or cross striations, in 17 molars of Plio-Pleistocene hominins representing seven different species, including specimens attributed to early Homo. Our results show considerable variation across species, although all specimens conformed to the known pattern characterised by greater values in outer than inner enamel, and greater cuspal than cervical values. We then compared our results with the megadontia index, which represents tooth size in relation to body mass, for each species to assess the effect of daily growth rates on tooth size. Our results indicate that larger toothed (megadont) taxa display higher rates or faster forming enamel than smaller toothed hominins. By forming enamel quickly, large tooth crowns were able to develop within the constraints of shorter growth periods. Besides daily increments, many animals express long-period markings (striae of Retzius) in their enamel. We report periodicity values (number of cross striations between adjacent striae) in 14 new specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, and show that long-period striae express a strong association with male and average male-female body mass. Our results for Plio-Pleistocene hominins show that the biological rhythms that give rise to long-period striae are encompassed within the range of variation known for modern humans, but show a lower mean and modal value of 7 days in australopithecines. In our sample of early Homo, mean and modal periodicity values were 8 days, and therefore similar to modern humans. These new data on daily rates of enamel formation and periodicity provide a better framework to interpret surface manifestations of internal growth markings on

  7. Early hominins in Europe: The Galerian migration hypothesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muttoni, Giovanni; Scardia, Giancarlo; Kent, Dennis V.

    2018-01-01

    Our updated review of sites bearing hominin remains and/or tools from Europe, including new findings from the Balkans, still indicates that the only compelling evidence of main hominin presence in these regions was only since ∼0.9 million years ago (Ma), bracketed by the end of the Jaramillo geomagnetic polarity subchron (0.99 Ma) and the Brunhes-Matuyama polarity chron boundary (0.78 Ma). This time window straddled the late Early Pleistocene climate transition (EPT) at the onset of enhanced glacial/interglacial activity that reverberated worldwide. Europe may have become initially populated during the EPT when, possibly for the first time in the Pleistocene, vast and exploitable ecosystems were generated along the eustatically emergent Po-Danube terrestrial conduit. These newly formed settings, characterized by stable terrestrial lowlands with open grasslands and reduced woody cover especially during glacial/interglacial transitions, are regarded as optimal ecosystems for several large Galerian immigrant mammals such as African and Asian megaherbivores, possibly linked with hominins in a common food web, to expand into en route to Europe. The question of when hominins first arrived in Europe thus places the issue in the context of changes in climate, paleogeography and faunal associations as potential environmental drivers and controlling agents in a specific time frame, a key feature of the Galerian migration hypothesis.

  8. Early hominins in Europe: The Galerian migration hypothesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muttoni, G.; Scardia, G.; Kent, D.

    2017-12-01

    Our updated review of sites bearing hominin remains and/or tools from Europe, including new findings from the Balkans, still indicates that the only compelling evidence of hominin presence in these regions was only since 0.9 Ma (million-years-ago), bracketed by the end of the Jaramillo geomagnetic polarity subchron (0.99 Ma) and the Brunhes-Matuyama polarity boundary (0.78 Ma). This time window straddled the late Early Pleistocene climate transition (EPR) at the onset of enhanced glacial/interglacial activity that reverberated worldwide. Europe may have become initially populated during the EPR when, possibly for the first time in the Pleistocene, vast and exploitable ecosystems were generated along the eustatically emergent Danube-Po migration gateway. These newly formed settings, characterized by lowlands with open grasslands and reduced woody cover during glacial/interglacial transitions, represented the closest analogues to the savanna environment to which several large Galerian immigrant mammals (e.g., African and Asian megaherbivores) linked with hominins in a common food web were adapted and could expand into en route to Europe. The question of when hominins first arrived in Europe thus places the issue in the context of changes in climate, paleogeography and faunal associations as potential environmental drivers and controlling agents in a specific time frame, a key feature of the Galerian migration hypothesis.

  9. Early hominin auditory ossicles from South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Quam, Rolf M.; de Ruiter, Darryl J.; Masali, Melchiorre; Arsuaga, Juan-Luis; Martínez, Ignacio; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo

    2013-01-01

    The middle ear ossicles are only rarely preserved in fossil hominins. Here, we report the discovery of a complete ossicular chain (malleus, incus, and stapes) of Paranthropus robustus as well as additional ear ossicles from Australopithecus africanus. The malleus in both early hominin taxa is clearly human-like in the proportions of the manubrium and corpus, whereas the incus and stapes resemble African and Asian great apes more closely. A deep phylogenetic origin is proposed for the derived malleus morphology, and this may represent one of the earliest human-like features to appear in the fossil record. The anatomical differences found in the early hominin incus and stapes, along with other aspects of the outer, middle, and inner ear, are consistent with the suggestion of different auditory capacities in these early hominin taxa compared with modern humans. PMID:23671079

  10. A geometric morphometric analysis of hominin upper second and third molars, with particular emphasis on European Pleistocene populations.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado-Simón, Leyre; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2012-09-01

    The study of dental morphology by means of geometric morphometric methods allows for a detailed and quantitative comparison of hominin species that is useful for taxonomic assignment and phylogenetic reconstruction. Upper second and third molars have been studied in a comprehensive sample of Plio- and Pleistocene hominins from African, Asian and European sites in order to complete our analysis of the upper postcanine dentition. Intraspecific variation in these two molars is high, but some interspecific trends can be identified. Both molars exhibit a strong reduction of the distal cusps in recent hominin species, namely European Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens, but this reduction shows specific patterns and proportions in the three groups. Second molars tend to show four well developed cusps in earlier hominin species and their morphology is only marginally affected by allometric effects. Third molars can be incipiently reduced in earlier species and they evince a significant allometric component, identified both inter- and intraspecifically. European Middle Pleistocene fossils from Sima de los Huesos (SH) show a very strong reduction of these two molars, even more marked than the reduction observed in Neanderthals and in modern human populations. The highly derived shape of SH molars points to an early acquisition of typical Neanderthal dental traits by pre-Neanderthal populations and to a deviation of this population from mean morphologies of other European Middle Pleistocene groups. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Palaeoenvironmental evolution at Plio-Pleistocene Hominin sites in Western Kenya: Preliminary results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vincent, Thomas; Whitfield, Elizabeth; Bishop, Laura; Plummer, Thomas; Ditchfield, Peter; Blumenthal, Scott; Finestone, Emma; Kiriakoulakis, Kostas

    2017-04-01

    This research uses a multiproxy approach to create detailed reconstructions of Plio-Pleistocene hominin landscapes and environments on the Homa Peninsula, western Kenya. Sedimentary sequences associated with this time period, containing hominin archaeological traces and faunal remains, are studied using analyses of particle size, phytoliths and lipid biomarkers. Reconstructing the palaeoenvironmental substrate here is critical in developing an understanding of the activity and behaviour of previous hominin inhabitants. Three archaeological sites exist in the region that form the bases of this research; these include Kanjera South, Nyayanga and Sare River. Research at Kanjera began in the early 20th century, but systematic investigation of the artefact and faunal assemblages of the southern exposures (Kanjera South), dating to ca. 2 Ma, did not begin until 1995. Field investigations and isotopic analyses of palaeosol carbonate nodules and fauna suggested that Kanjera South sediments were deposited in alluvial and lake marginal environments, on a grassy plain between wooded slopes and a permanent water body. Nyayanga and Sare River are new sites which have been little studied until present. Sediments at Nyayanga are thought to be ca. 2.6 Ma, whilst those at Sare River are ca. 1.77 Ma in age. This research refines previous reconstructions of the depositional environment at Kanjera South using analyses of particle size and end member mixing. These suggest that deposition occurred mainly through low-energy, ephemeral flows in a marginal lacustrine environment, with high energy, hyper-concentrated and viscous flows occurring intermittently. In contrast, these same techniques and field investigations at Nyayanga suggest there was a more consistent energy regime here than at Kanjera South, with sediments being deposited under low-energy conditions. Sediment samples at Sare River are undergoing similar analyses. Through detailed analyses of sediments at three archaeological

  12. Isotopic evidence of early hominin diets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sponheimer, Matt; Alemseged, Zeresenay; Cerling, Thure E.; Grine, Frederick E.; Kimbel, William H.; Leakey, Meave G.; Lee-Thorp, Julia A.; Kyalo Manthi, Fredrick; Reed, Kaye E.; Wood, Bernard A.; Wynn, Jonathan G.

    2013-06-01

    Carbon isotope studies of early hominins from southern Africa showed that their diets differed markedly from the diets of extant apes. Only recently, however, has a major influx of isotopic data from eastern Africa allowed for broad taxonomic, temporal, and regional comparisons among hominins. Before 4 Ma, hominins had diets that were dominated by C3 resources and were, in that sense, similar to extant chimpanzees. By about 3.5 Ma, multiple hominin taxa began incorporating 13C-enriched [C4 or crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)] foods in their diets and had highly variable carbon isotope compositions which are atypical for African mammals. By about 2.5 Ma, Paranthropus in eastern Africa diverged toward C4/CAM specialization and occupied an isotopic niche unknown in catarrhine primates, except in the fossil relations of grass-eating geladas (Theropithecus gelada). At the same time, other taxa (e.g., Australopithecus africanus) continued to have highly mixed and varied C3/C4 diets. Overall, there is a trend toward greater consumption of 13C-enriched foods in early hominins over time, although this trend varies by region. Hominin carbon isotope ratios also increase with postcanine tooth area and mandibular cross-sectional area, which could indicate that these foods played a role in the evolution of australopith masticatory robusticity. The 13C-enriched resources that hominins ate remain unknown and must await additional integration of existing paleodietary proxy data and new research on the distribution, abundance, nutrition, and mechanical properties of C4 (and CAM) plants.

  13. Isotopic evidence of early hominin diets

    PubMed Central

    Sponheimer, Matt; Alemseged, Zeresenay; Cerling, Thure E.; Grine, Frederick E.; Kimbel, William H.; Leakey, Meave G.; Lee-Thorp, Julia A.; Manthi, Fredrick Kyalo; Reed, Kaye E.; Wood, Bernard A.; Wynn, Jonathan G.

    2013-01-01

    Carbon isotope studies of early hominins from southern Africa showed that their diets differed markedly from the diets of extant apes. Only recently, however, has a major influx of isotopic data from eastern Africa allowed for broad taxonomic, temporal, and regional comparisons among hominins. Before 4 Ma, hominins had diets that were dominated by C3 resources and were, in that sense, similar to extant chimpanzees. By about 3.5 Ma, multiple hominin taxa began incorporating 13C-enriched [C4 or crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)] foods in their diets and had highly variable carbon isotope compositions which are atypical for African mammals. By about 2.5 Ma, Paranthropus in eastern Africa diverged toward C4/CAM specialization and occupied an isotopic niche unknown in catarrhine primates, except in the fossil relations of grass-eating geladas (Theropithecus gelada). At the same time, other taxa (e.g., Australopithecus africanus) continued to have highly mixed and varied C3/C4 diets. Overall, there is a trend toward greater consumption of 13C-enriched foods in early hominins over time, although this trend varies by region. Hominin carbon isotope ratios also increase with postcanine tooth area and mandibular cross-sectional area, which could indicate that these foods played a role in the evolution of australopith masticatory robusticity. The 13C-enriched resources that hominins ate remain unknown and must await additional integration of existing paleodietary proxy data and new research on the distribution, abundance, nutrition, and mechanical properties of C4 (and CAM) plants.

  14. The bony labyrinth of the middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos hominins (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Quam, Rolf; Lorenzo, Carlos; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia-Téllez, Ana; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2016-01-01

    We performed 3D virtual reconstructions based on CT scans to study the bony labyrinth morphology in 14 individuals from the large middle Pleistocene hominin sample from the site of the Sima de los Huesos (SH) in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. The Atapuerca (SH) hominins represent early members of the Neandertal clade and provide an opportunity to compare the data with the later in time Neandertals, as well as Pleistocene and recent humans more broadly. The Atapuerca (SH) hominins do not differ from the Neandertals in any of the variables related to the absolute and relative sizes and shape of the semicircular canals. Indeed, the entire Neandertal clade seems to be characterized by a derived pattern of canal proportions, including a relatively small posterior canal and a relatively large lateral canal. In contrast, one of the most distinctive features observed in Neandertals, the low placement of the posterior canal (i.e., high sagittal labyrinthine index), is generally not present in the Atapuerca (SH) hominins. This low placement is considered a derived feature in Neandertals and is correlated with a more vertical orientation of the ampullar line (LSCm < APA), posterior surface of the petrous pyramid (LSCm > PPp), and third part of the facial canal (LSCm < FC3). Some variation is present within the Atapuerca (SH) sample, however, with a few individuals approaching the Neandertal condition more closely. In addition, the cochlear shape index in the Atapuerca (SH) hominins is low, indicating a reduction in the height of the cochlea. Although the phylogenetic polarity of this feature is less clear, the low shape index in the Atapuerca (SH) hominins may be a derived feature. Regardless, cochlear height subsequently increased in Neandertals. In contrast to previous suggestions, the expanded data in the present study indicate no difference across the genus Homo in the angle of inclination of the cochlear basal turn (COs < LSCm). Principal components

  15. Taphonomic Analysis of the Faunal Assemblage Associated with the Hominins (Australopithecus sediba) from the Early Pleistocene Cave Deposits of Malapa, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Val, Aurore; Dirks, Paul H. G. M.; Backwell, Lucinda R.; d’Errico, Francesco; Berger, Lee R.

    2015-01-01

    Here we present the results of a taphonomic study of the faunal assemblage associated with the hominin fossils (Australopithecus sediba) from the Malapa site. Results include estimation of body part representation, mortality profiles, type of fragmentation, identification of breakage patterns, and microscopic analysis of bone surfaces. The diversity of the faunal spectrum, presence of animals with climbing proclivities, abundance of complete and/or articulated specimens, occurrence of antimeric sets of elements, and lack of carnivore-modified bones, indicate that animals accumulated via a natural death trap leading to an area of the cave system with no access to mammalian scavengers. The co-occurrence of well preserved fossils, carnivore coprolites, deciduous teeth of brown hyaena, and some highly fragmented and poorly preserved remains supports the hypothesis of a mixing of sediments coming from distinct chambers, which collected at the bottom of the cave system through the action of periodic water flow. This combination of taphonomic features explains the remarkable state of preservation of the hominin fossils as well as some of the associated faunal material. PMID:26061082

  16. The Middle Pleistocene archaeological record of Greece and the role of the Aegean in hominin dispersals: new data and interpretations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tourloukis, Vangelis; Karkanas, Panagiotis

    2012-06-01

    In the debate about hominin dispersals, Greece is expected to have been among the core areas for the peopling of Eurasia, serving as a 'refugium' and source region for (re)colonizations. Yet, its early Pleistocene record is still scarce, forming a conspicuous 'gap' in the early human geography of the Mediterranean. Here we investigate this gap and provide for the first time a synthesis of the Lower Palaeolithic record of Greece. Our study adopts a geoarchaeological approach to explain the current status of the record and argues that the 'absence of evidence' should be understood as the result of the biasing effects of erosional geomorphic processes and not as an indication of a former absence of hominins. In this line, the potential for archaeological preservation and recovery is assessed as a function of landscape dynamics. Climatic seasonality, tectonic activity, high relief and marine inundations have altogether contributed to significant reworking and/or total loss of archaeological sites: in spatial terms, only about 2-5% of the Lower Palaeolithic record of Greece may have survived up to the present. On the other hand, we interpret recent geological data, which show that half of the Aegean Sea would have been subaerially exposed for most of the early Pleistocene. Our results emphasize the potentially central role of the Aegean region in hominin dispersals, both as a biogeographical landbridge and as a highly productive landscape for occupation. This conclusion opens up new prospects for future fieldwork in an area that was hitherto essentially neglected. Finally, in showing how geomorphic processes bias site distribution patterns, the results and methodological perspective developed here can be seen as having implications that are wider than the geographical limits of the Greek Peninsula: they are pertinent to the investigation and interpretation of the early Pleistocene archaeological records in the highly dynamic landscapes of southern Europe - if not in

  17. Hominin responses to environmental changes during the Middle Pleistocene in central and southern Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orain, R.; Lebreton, V.; Russo Ermolli, E.; Sémah, A.-M.; Nomade, S.; Shao, Q.; Bahain, J.-J.; Thun Hohenstein, U.; Peretto, C.

    2013-03-01

    The palaeobotanical record of early Palaeolithic sites from Western Europe indicates that hominins settled in different kinds of environments. During the "mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT)", from about 1 to 0.6 Ma, the transition from 41- to 100-ka dominant climatic oscillations, occurring within a long-term cooling trend, was associated with an aridity crisis which strongly modified the ecosystems. Starting from the MPT the more favourable climate of central and southern Italy provided propitious environmental conditions for long-term human occupations even during the glacial times. In fact, the human strategy of territory occupation was certainly driven by the availabilities of resources. Prehistoric sites such as Notarchirico (ca. 680-600 ka), La Pineta (ca. 600-620 ka), Guado San Nicola (ca. 380-350 ka) or Ceprano (ca. 345-355 ka) testify to a preferential occupation of the central and southern Apennines valleys during interglacial phases, while later interglacial occupations were oriented towards the coastal plains, as attested by the numerous settlements of the Roma Basin (ca. 300 ka). Faunal remains indicate that human subsistence behaviours benefited from a diversity of exploitable ecosystems, from semi-open to closed environments. In central and southern Italy, several palynological records have already illustrated the regional- and local-scale vegetation dynamic trends. During the Middle Pleistocene climate cycles, mixed mesophytic forests developed during the interglacial periods and withdrew in response to increasing aridity during the glacial episodes. New pollen data from the Boiano Basin (Molise, Italy) attest to the evolution of vegetation and climate between MIS 13 and 9 (ca. 500 to 300 ka). In this basin the persistence of high edaphic humidity, even during the glacial phases, could have favoured the establishment of a refuge area for the arboreal flora and provided subsistence resources for the animal and hominin communities during the Middle

  18. Hominin responses to environmental changes during the Middle Pleistocene in Central and Southern Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orain, R.; Lebreton, V.; Russo Ermolli, E.; Sémah, A.-M.; Nomade, S.; Shao, Q.; Bahain, J.-J.; Thun Hohenstein, U.; Peretto, C.

    2012-10-01

    The palaeobotanical record of early Palaeolithic sites from Western Europe indicates that hominins settled in different kinds of environments. During the "Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT)", from about 1 to 0.6 Ma, the transition from 41-ka to 100-ka dominant climatic oscillations, occurring within a long-term cooling trend, was associated with an aridity crisis which strongly modified the ecosystems. Starting from the MPT the more favorable climate of central and southern Italy provided propitious environmental conditions for long-term human occupations even during the glacial times. In fact, the human strategy of territory occupation was certainly driven by the availabilities of resources. Prehistoric sites such as Notarchirico (ca. 680-600 ka), La Pineta (ca. 600-620 ka), Gaudo San Nicola (ca. 380-350 ka) or Ceprano (ca. 345-355 ka) testify to a preferential occupation of the central and southern Apennines valleys during interglacial phases, while later interglacial occupations were oriented towards the coastal plains, as attested by the numerous settlements of the Roma basin (ca. 300 ka). Faunal remains indicate that human subsistence behaviors benefited of a diversity of exploitable ecosystems, from semi-open to closed environments. In central and southern Italy, several palynological records have already illustrated the regional and local scale vegetation dynamic trends. During the Middle Pleistocene climate cycles, mixed mesophytic forests developed during the interglacial periods and withdrew in response to increasing aridity during the glacial episodes. New pollen data from the Boiano basin (Molise, Italy), attest to the evolution of vegetation and climate between OIS 13 and 9 (ca. 500 to 300 ka). In this basin, the persistence of high edaphic humidity, even during the glacial phases, could have favored the establishment of a refuge area for the arboreal flora and provided subsistence resources for the animal and hominin communities during the Middle

  19. New immature hominin fossil from European Lower Pleistocene shows the earliest evidence of a modern human dental development pattern

    PubMed Central

    Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado, Leyre; Gómez-Robles, Aida; Rosell, Jordi; López-Polín, Lucía; Arsuaga, Juan Luís; Carbonell, Eudald

    2010-01-01

    Here we present data concerning the pattern of dental development derived from the microcomputed tomography (microCT) study of a recently discovered immature hominin mandible with a mixed dentition recovered from the TD6 level of the Gran Dolina Lower Pleistocene cave site in Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain. These data confirm our previous results that nearly 1 million years ago at least one European hominin species had a fully modern pattern of dental development with a clear slowdown in the development of the molar field regarding the anterior dental field. Furthermore, using available information about enamel formation times and root extension rates in chimpanzees, early hominins, and modern humans, we have estimated that the formation time of the upper and lower first molars of individual 5 (H5) from TD6, which had just erupted at the time of the death of this individual, ranges between 5.3 and 6.6 y. Therefore, the eruption time of the first permanent molars (M1) in the TD6 hominins was within the range of variation of modern human populations. Because the time of M1 eruption in primates is a robust marker of life history, we suggest, as a working hypothesis, that these hominins had a prolonged childhood in the range of the variation of modern humans. If this hypothesis is true, it implies that the appearance in Homo of this important developmental biological feature and an associated increase in brain size preceded the development of the neocortical areas leading to the cognitive capabilities that are thought to be exclusive to Homo sapiens. PMID:20547843

  20. Nuclear DNA sequences from the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos hominins.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Matthias; Arsuaga, Juan-Luis; de Filippo, Cesare; Nagel, Sarah; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Nickel, Birgit; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia, Ana; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald; Viola, Bence; Kelso, Janet; Prüfer, Kay; Pääbo, Svante

    2016-03-24

    A unique assemblage of 28 hominin individuals, found in Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain, has recently been dated to approximately 430,000 years ago. An interesting question is how these Middle Pleistocene hominins were related to those who lived in the Late Pleistocene epoch, in particular to Neanderthals in western Eurasia and to Denisovans, a sister group of Neanderthals so far known only from southern Siberia. While the Sima de los Huesos hominins share some derived morphological features with Neanderthals, the mitochondrial genome retrieved from one individual from Sima de los Huesos is more closely related to the mitochondrial DNA of Denisovans than to that of Neanderthals. However, since the mitochondrial DNA does not reveal the full picture of relationships among populations, we have investigated DNA preservation in several individuals found at Sima de los Huesos. Here we recover nuclear DNA sequences from two specimens, which show that the Sima de los Huesos hominins were related to Neanderthals rather than to Denisovans, indicating that the population divergence between Neanderthals and Denisovans predates 430,000 years ago. A mitochondrial DNA recovered from one of the specimens shares the previously described relationship to Denisovan mitochondrial DNAs, suggesting, among other possibilities, that the mitochondrial DNA gene pool of Neanderthals turned over later in their history.

  1. Out of Africa: modern human origins special feature: middle and later Pleistocene hominins in Africa and Southwest Asia.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2009-09-22

    Approximately 700,000 years ago, Homo erectus in Africa was giving way to populations with larger brains accompanied by structural adjustments to the vault, cranial base, and face. Such early Middle Pleistocene hominins were not anatomically modern. Their skulls display strong supraorbital tori above projecting faces, flattened frontals, and less parietal expansion than is the case for Homo sapiens. Postcranial remains seem also to have archaic features. Subsequently, some groups evolved advanced skeletal morphology, and by ca. 200,000 years ago, individuals more similar to recent humans are present in the African record. These fossils are associated with Middle Stone Age lithic assemblages and, in some cases, Acheulean tools. Crania from Herto in Ethiopia carry defleshing cutmarks and superficial scoring that may be indicative of mortuary practices. Despite these signs of behavioral innovation, neither the Herto hominins, nor others from Late Pleistocene sites such as Klasies River in southern Africa and Skhūl/Qafzeh in Israel, can be matched in living populations. Skulls are quite robust, and it is only after approximately 35,000 years ago that people with more gracile, fully modern morphology make their appearance. Not surprisingly, many questions concerning this evolutionary history have been raised. Attention has centered on systematics of the mid-Pleistocene hominins, their paleobiology, and the timing of dispersals that spread H. sapiens out of Africa and across the Old World. In this report, I discuss structural changes characterizing the skulls from different time periods, possible regional differences in morphology, and the bearing of this evidence on recognizing distinct species.

  2. Homo erectus and Middle Pleistocene hominins: brain size, skull form, and species recognition.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2013-09-01

    Hominins that differ from Homo erectus, the Neanderthals, and recent humans are known from Middle Pleistocene localities across the Old World. The taxonomic status of these populations has been clouded by controversy. Perhaps the most critical problem has been an incomplete understanding of variation in skull form. Here, both H. erectus and later mid-Pleistocene hominins are the focus of an investigation aimed at clarifying the relationships among brain volume, basicranial dimensions, neurocranial shape, and certain facial characters. Brain size in H. erectus averages about 950 cm(3), while in a series of Middle Pleistocene crania from Africa and Europe, volume is about 1230 cm(3). If encephalization is the primary mechanism operating in the mid-Pleistocene, then diverse aspects of cranial form cannot all be treated as independent variables. Correlation is utilized to examine the associations among measurements for more than 30 H. erectus crania that are reasonably well preserved. A similar approach is used with the Middle Pleistocene sample. Patterns of covariation are compared in order to assess integration. Next, factor analysis is applied to the H. erectus specimens in an attempt to identify modules, tightly integrated traits that can evolve independently. Studies of the variation within H. erectus are followed by direct comparisons with the Middle Pleistocene population. Discriminant functions facilitate the description of intergroup differences. Traits that vary independently from brain volume include anterior frontal broadening, lateral expansion of the parietal vault, elevation of the lambda-inion chord, and rounding of the sagittal contour of the occipital. This finding helps to resolve the problem of species recognition. Neurocranial proportions as well as characters from the cranial base and face can be incorporated into a differential diagnosis for the mid-Pleistocene sample. Evidence presented here supports arguments for speciation in the Middle

  3. Persistent C3 vegetation accompanied Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution in the Malawi Rift (Chiwondo Beds, Malawi).

    PubMed

    Lüdecke, Tina; Schrenk, Friedemann; Thiemeyer, Heinrich; Kullmer, Ottmar; Bromage, Timothy G; Sandrock, Oliver; Fiebig, Jens; Mulch, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    The development of East African savannas is crucial for the origin and evolution of early hominins. These ecosystems, however, vary widely in their fraction of woody cover and today range from closed woodland to open grassland savanna. Here, we present the first Plio-Pleistocene long-term carbon isotope (δ(13)C) record from pedogenic carbonate and Suidae teeth in the southern East African Rift (EAR). These δ(13)C data from the Chiwondo and Chitimwe Beds (Karonga Basin, Northern Malawi) represent a southern hemisphere record in the EAR, a key region for reconstructing vegetation patterns in today's Zambezian Savanna, and permit correlation with data on the evolution and migration of early hominins in today's Somali-Masai Endemic Zone. The sediments along the northwestern shore of Lake Malawi contain fossils attributed to Homo rudolfensis and Paranthropus boisei. The associated hominin localities (Uraha, Malema) are situated between the well-known hominin bearing sites of the Somali-Masai Endemic Zone in the Eastern Rift and the Highveld Grassland in southern Africa, and fill an important geographical gap for hominin research. Persistent δ(13)C values around -9‰ from pedogenic carbonate and suid enamel covering the last ∼4.3 Ma indicate a C3-dominated closed environment with regional patches of C4-grasslands in the Karonga Basin. The overall fraction of woody cover of 60-70% reflects significantly higher canopy density in the Malawi Rift than the Eastern Rift through time. The discrepancy between the two savanna types originated in the Late Pliocene, when the Somali-Masai ecosystem started to show increasing evidence for open, C4-dominated landscapes. Based on the Malawi δ(13)C data, the evolution of savanna ecosystems in Eastern Africa followed different patterns along the north-south extent of the EAR. The appearance of C4-grasses is considered a driver of evolutionary faunal shifts, but despite the difference of ecosystem evolution in the north, similar

  4. Sporadic sampling, not climatic forcing, drives observed early hominin diversity.

    PubMed

    Maxwell, Simon J; Hopley, Philip J; Upchurch, Paul; Soligo, Christophe

    2018-05-08

    The role of climate change in the origin and diversification of early hominins is hotly debated. Most accounts of early hominin evolution link observed fluctuations in species diversity to directional shifts in climate or periods of intense climatic instability. None of these hypotheses, however, have tested whether observed diversity patterns are distorted by variation in the quality of the hominin fossil record. Here, we present a detailed examination of early hominin diversity dynamics, including both taxic and phylogenetically corrected diversity estimates. Unlike past studies, we compare these estimates to sampling metrics for rock availability (hominin-, primate-, and mammal-bearing formations) and collection effort, to assess the geological and anthropogenic controls on the sampling of the early hominin fossil record. Taxic diversity, primate-bearing formations, and collection effort show strong positive correlations, demonstrating that observed patterns of early hominin taxic diversity can be explained by temporal heterogeneity in fossil sampling rather than genuine evolutionary processes. Peak taxic diversity at 1.9 million years ago (Ma) is a sampling artifact, reflecting merely maximal rock availability and collection effort. In contrast, phylogenetic diversity estimates imply peak diversity at 2.4 Ma and show little relation to sampling metrics. We find that apparent relationships between early hominin diversity and indicators of climatic instability are, in fact, driven largely by variation in suitable rock exposure and collection effort. Our results suggest that significant improvements in the quality of the fossil record are required before the role of climate in hominin evolution can be reliably determined. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

  5. First Early Hominin from Central Africa (Ishango, Democratic Republic of Congo)

    PubMed Central

    Crevecoeur, Isabelle; Skinner, Matthew M.; Bailey, Shara E.; Gunz, Philipp; Bortoluzzi, Silvia; Brooks, Alison S.; Burlet, Christian; Cornelissen, Els; De Clerck, Nora; Maureille, Bruno; Semal, Patrick; Vanbrabant, Yves; Wood, Bernard

    2014-01-01

    Despite uncontested evidence for fossils belonging to the early hominin genus Australopithecus in East Africa from at least 4.2 million years ago (Ma), and from Chad by 3.5 Ma, thus far there has been no convincing evidence of Australopithecus, Paranthropus or early Homo from the western (Albertine) branch of the Rift Valley. Here we report the discovery of an isolated upper molar (#Ish25) from the Western Rift Valley site of Ishango in Central Africa in a derived context, overlying beds dated to between ca. 2.6 to 2.0 Ma. We used µCT imaging to compare its external and internal macro-morphology to upper molars of australopiths, and fossil and recent Homo. We show that the size and shape of the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) surface discriminate between Plio-Pleistocene and post-Lower Pleistocene hominins, and that the Ishango molar clusters with australopiths and early Homo from East and southern Africa. A reassessment of the archaeological context of the specimen is consistent with the morphological evidence and suggest that early hominins were occupying this region by at least 2 Ma. PMID:24427292

  6. Hominin skeletal part abundances and claims of deliberate disposal of corpses in the Middle Pleistocene.

    PubMed

    Egeland, Charles P; Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel; Pickering, Travis Rayne; Menter, Colin G; Heaton, Jason L

    2018-05-01

    Humans are set apart from other organisms by the realization of their own mortality. Thus, determining the prehistoric emergence of this capacity is of significant interest to understanding the uniqueness of the human animal. Tracing that capacity chronologically is possible through archaeological investigations that focus on physical markers that reflect "mortality salience." Among these markers is the deliberate and culturally mediated disposal of corpses. Some Neandertal bone assemblages are among the earliest reasonable claims for the deliberate disposal of hominins, but even these are vigorously debated. More dramatic assertions center on the Middle Pleistocene sites of Sima de los Huesos (SH, Spain) and the Dinaledi Chamber (DC, South Africa), where the remains of multiple hominin individuals were found in deep caves, and under reported taphonomic circumstances that seem to discount the possibility that nonhominin actors and processes contributed to their formation. These claims, with significant implications for charting the evolution of the "human condition," deserve scrutiny. We test these assertions through machine-learning analyses of hominin skeletal part representation in the SH and DC assemblages. Our results indicate that nonanthropogenic agents and abiotic processes cannot yet be ruled out as significant contributors to the ultimate condition of both collections. This finding does not falsify hypotheses of deliberate disposal for the SH and DC corpses, but does indicate that the data also support partially or completely nonanthropogenic formational histories.

  7. Taphonomic interpretations of a new Plio-Pleistocene hominin-bearing assemblage at Kromdraai (Gauteng, South Africa)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fourvel, Jean-Baptiste; Thackeray, John Francis; Brink, James S.; O'Regan, Hannah; Braga, José

    2018-06-01

    Within the past 80 years, the Kromdraai site in South Africa has provided a diverse Early Pleistocene fauna (notably bovids, carnivores, primates, large rodents, birds, proboscidea). Since 2014, the Kromdraai bone accumulation has been the focus of intensive fieldwork that demonstrated that the site is much larger than previously recognised. In the present taphonomic study of a new and large faunal sample including more than 2400 remains, stratigraphically controlled, we aim to test previous interpretations of the Kromdraai assemblage as representing a death trap or a carnivore lair. In particular, we aim to discuss the relationships between faunal communities in the context of carnivores, either predator-prey or predator-predator interactions. We investigate the relative abundance of anatomical elements and their fragmentation, the mortality profiles and tooth-mark frequency. We conclude that carnivores (particularly felids and hyenids) played a major role in the accumulation of fauna from Member 2, which (thus far) is the oldest depositional period investigated at Kromdraai. However, the high species diversity suggests that the secondary predators (scavengers) could have modified the bone deposit produced by the primary predators. The presence of hominin remains is also questioned. Our results shed new light on the palaeoecology of the Kromdraai Member 2 hominins, in terms of opportunistic predators and/or prey of large carnivores.

  8. Pleistocene Hominins as a Resource for Carnivores: A c. 500,000-Year-Old Human Femur Bearing Tooth-Marks in North Africa (Thomas Quarry I, Morocco)

    PubMed Central

    Daujeard, Camille; Geraads, Denis; Gallotti, Rosalia; Lefèvre, David; Mohib, Abderrahim; Raynal, Jean-Paul; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2016-01-01

    In many Middle Pleistocene sites, the co-occurrence of hominins with carnivores, who both contributed to faunal accumulations, suggests competition for resources as well as for living spaces. Despite this, there is very little evidence of direct interaction between them to-date. Recently, a human femoral diaphysis has been recognized in South-West of Casablanca (Morocco), in the locality called Thomas Quarry I. This site is famous for its Middle Pleistocene fossil hominins considered representatives of Homo rhodesiensis. The bone was discovered in Unit 4 of the Grotte à Hominidés (GH), dated to c. 500 ky and was associated with Acheulean artefacts and a rich mammalian fauna. Anatomically, it fits well within the group of known early Middle Pleistocene Homo, but its chief point of interest is that the diaphyseal ends display numerous tooth marks showing that it had been consumed shortly after death by a large carnivore, probably a hyena. This bone represents the first evidence of consumption of human remains by carnivores in the cave. Whether predated or scavenged, this chewed femur indicates that humans were a resource for carnivores, underlining their close relationships during the Middle Pleistocene in Atlantic Morocco. PMID:27120202

  9. A revision of hominin fossil teeth from Fontana Ranuccio (Middle Pleistocene, Anagni, Frosinone, Italy).

    PubMed

    Rubini, Mauro; Cerroni, Vittorio; Festa, Giulia; Sardella, Raffaele; Zaio, Paola

    2014-12-01

    The Fontana Ranuccio hominin teeth (FR, Latium, Italy) are dated to the Middle Pleistocene. In previous studies these teeth were classified as two lower (left and right) second molars, one lower left central incisor and a badly worn incisor crown, the exact position of which could not be determined. In 2012 these remains were acquired by the Anthropological Service of S.B.A.L. (Italian Ministry of Culture) and for this reason re-analysed. In a thorough revision we have reassessed them both morphologically and dimensionally as two lower (left and right) first molars, one lower left lateral incisor and a possible upper left canine. The comparison with penecontemporaneous and diachronic samples shows that the Fontana Ranuccio teeth are morphologically similar to Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos, Arago XIII and Neanderthal samples. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. An updated age for the Xujiayao hominin from the Nihewan Basin, North China: implications for Middle Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ao, H.

    2017-12-01

    With an inventory of >60 early Paleolithic sites, >100,000 in situ stone tools, and tons of mammal fossils, the Nihewan Basin in North China is one of the most important Paleolithic areas in East Asia. The Xujiayao site in the northwestern margin of Nihewan Basin is one of the most important Paleolithic sites worldwide. Twenty archaic Homo fossils have been excavated along with more than 30,000 lithic artifacts and 5000 mammalian fossil specimens. Dating of the Xujiayao hominin has been pursued since its excavation in the 1970s, but its age has remained controversial because of limitations of the previous dating techniques that have been applied to available materials. Here, we report new ages for the Xujiayao hominin based on combined electron spin resonance (ESR) dating of quartz in the sediments and high-resolution magnetostratigraphy of the fluvio-lacustrine sequence. The magnetostratigraphy suggests that the upper Matuyama and Brunhes polarity chrons are recorded at Xujiayao. The ESR dating results indicate a pooled average age of 260, 370 ka for the Homo-bearing layer, which is consistent with its position within the middle Brunhes normal polarity chron indicated by magnetostratigraphy. This age estimate makes the Xujiayao hominin among the oldest mid-Pleistocene hominins with derived Neanderthal traits in East Asia. Our updated age and the Neanderthal-like traits of the Xujiayao Homo fossils, particularly the Denisovan-like molar teeth, make it possible that the Xujiayao hominin could represent an early Denisovan, a sister group of Neanderthals. If this Homo species affiliation is documented by DNA study, it will imply that Neanderthals expanded to East Asia as early as 370 ka, just 60 ka after the origin of Neanderthals in West Europe at 430 ka, and then they further involved into typical Denisovans under local climatic and demographic pressure.

  11. Influence of Plio-Pleistocene basin hydrology on the Turkana hominin enamel carbonate δ(18)O values.

    PubMed

    Quinn, Rhonda L

    2015-09-01

    Stable oxygen isotopes of hominin enamel carbonate (δ(18)OEC) provide a window into aspects of past drinking behavior and diet, body size, breastfeeding and weaning, mobility, and paleoclimate. It is tempting to compare all hominins across time and space in order to gauge species-level adaptations to changing environments and niche separation between those living sympatrically. Basinal, sub-basinal, and micro-environmental differences, however, may exert an influence on variation in enamel carbonate isotopic values that must be reconciled before hominin species across Africa can be meaningfully compared. Plio-Pleistocene Turkana hominin δ(18)OEC values show a considerable spread, potentially revealing many intrinsic and extrinsic contributing factors operating on different scales. In this study, I examine Turkana hominin δ(18)OEC values relative to identity (taxon, tooth type and number, body size of taxon), dietary (δ(13)C value, Turkana coeval and modern mammalian δ(18)OEC values), and contextual (time, depositional environment) information of each specimen and collection locality and discuss various potential influences. Turkana hominin δ(18)OEC values may primarily reflect differences in imbibed water sources (lake vs. river) as a function of evolving basin hydrology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Enamel hypoplasias and physiological stress in the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene hominins.

    PubMed

    Cunha, E; Rozzi, F Ramirez; Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Martinón-Torres, M; Wasterlain, S N; Sarmiento, S

    2004-11-01

    This study presents an analysis of linear enamel hypoplasias (LEH) and plane-form defects (PFD) in the hominine dental sample from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) Middle Pleistocene site in Atapuerca (Spain). The SH sample comprises 475 teeth, 467 permanent and 8 deciduous, belonging to a minimum of 28 individuals. The method for recording PFD and LEH is discussed, as well as the definition of LEH. The prevalence of LEH and PFD in SH permanent dentition (unilateral total count) is 4.6% (13/280). Only one deciduous tooth (lower dc) showed an enamel disruption. Prevalence by individual ranges from 18.7-30%. The most likely explanation for the relatively low LEH and PFD prevalence in the SH sample suggests that the SH population exhibited a low level of developmental stress. The age at occurrence of LEH and PFD was determined by counting the number of perikymata between each lesion and the cervix of the tooth. Assuming a periodicity of nine days for the incremental lines, the majority of LEH in the SH sample occurred during the third year of life and may be related to the metabolic stress associated with weaning.

  13. The medial pterygoid tubercle in the Atapuerca Early and Middle Pleistocene mandibles: evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Bermúdez de Castro, José-María; Quam, Rolf; Martinón-Torres, María; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia-Téllez, Ana; Arsuaga, Juan Luís; Carbonell, Eudald

    2015-01-01

    Numerous studies have attempted to identify the presence of uniquely derived (autoapomorphic) Neandertal features. Here, we deal with the medial pterygoid tubercle (MTP), which is usually present on the internal face of the ascending ramus of Neandertal specimens. Our study stems from the identification of a hypertrophied tubercle in ATD6-96, an Early Pleistocene mandible recovered from the TD6 level of the Atapuerca-Gran Dolina site and attributed to Homo antecessor. Our review of the literature and study of numerous original fossil specimens and high quality replicas confirm that the MTP occurs at a high frequency in Neandertals (ca. 89%) and is also present in over half (ca. 55%) of the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos (SH) hominins. In contrast, it is generally absent or minimally developed in other extinct hominins, but can be found in variable frequencies (Pleistocene and recent H. sapiens samples. The presence of this feature in ATD6-96 joins other traits shared by H. antecessor, the SH hominins and Neandertals. Since the TD6 hominins have been attributed either to MIS 21 or to MIS 25, it seems that a suite of assumed derived Neandertal features appeared in the Early Pleistocene, and they should be interpreted as synapomorphies shared among different taxa. We suggest that H. antecessor, the SH hominins and Neandertals shared a common ancestor in which these features appeared during the Early Pleistocene. The presence of the MTP in taxa other than H. neanderthalensis precludes this feature from being a Neandertal autapomorphy. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. A morphometric analysis of maxillary molar crowns of Middle-Late Pleistocene hominins.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Shara E

    2004-09-01

    This study explores the significance of shape differences in the maxillary first molar crowns of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans. It uses morphometric analysis to quantify these differences and to investigate how the orientation of major cusps, relative cusp base areas and occlusal polygon area influence crown shape. The aims of this study were to 1) quantify these data to test whether the tooth shapes of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans differ significantly and 2) to explore if either of the shapes is derived relative to earlier fossil hominins. Data were collected from digital occlusal photographs using image-processing software. Cusp angles, relative cusp base areas and occlusal polygon areas were measured on Neandertals (n=15), contemporary modern humans (n=62), Upper Paleolithic humans (n=6), early anatomically modern humans (n=3) and Homo erectus (n=3). Univariate and multivariate statistical tests were used to evaluate the differences between contemporary modern humans and Neandertals, while the much sparser data sets from the other fossil samples were included primarily for comparison. Statistically significant differences reflecting overall crown shape and internal placement of the crown apices were found. Neandertals are distinguished from contemporary humans by possessing maxillary first molars that 1) are markedly skewed; 2) possess a narrower distal segment of the occlusal polygon compared to the mesial segment; 3) possess a significantly smaller metacone and a significantly larger hypocone; and 4) possess a significantly smaller relative occlusal polygon area reflecting internally placed cusps. Differences in relative cusp base areas of the hypocone and metacone may contribute to the shape differences observed in Neandertals. However, early anatomically modern humans possessing a pattern of relative cusp base areas similar to Neandertals lack their unusual shape. That the morphology observed in non-Neandertal fossil hominins is

  15. Early Pleistocene occurrence of Acheulian technology in North China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Xingwen; Ao, Hong; Dekkers, Mark J.; Roberts, Andrew P.; Zhang, Peng; Lin, Shan; Huang, Weiwen; Hou, Yamei; Zhang, Weihua; An, Zhisheng

    2017-01-01

    Acheulian tools with their associated level of cognizance heralded a major threshold in the evolution of hominin technology, culture and behavior. Thus, unraveling occurrence ages of Acheulian technology across different regions worldwide constitutes a key aspect of understanding the archeology of early human evolution. Here we present a magneto-cyclochronology for the Acheulian assemblage from Sanmenxia Basin, Loess Plateau, North China. Our results place a sequence of stable normal and reversed paleomagnetic polarities within a regional lithostratigraphic context. The Acheulian assemblage is dated to be older than the Matuyama-Brunhes boundary at 0.78 Ma, and is found in strata that are probably equivalent to a weak paleosol subunit within loess layer L9 in the Chinese loess-paleosol sequence, which corresponds to marine isotope stage (MIS) 23, a relatively subdued interglacial period with age range of ∼0.89-0.92 Ma. This age of ∼0.9 Ma implies that Acheulian stone tools were unambiguously present in North China during the Early Pleistocene. It distinctly enlarges the geographic distribution of Acheulian technology and brings its occurrence in North China back into the Early Pleistocene, which is contemporaneous with its first emergence in Europe. Combined with other archeological records, the larger area over which Acheulian technology existed in East Asia during the terminal Early Pleistocene has important implications for understanding early human occupation of North China.

  16. Homo floresiensis-like fossils from the early Middle Pleistocene of Flores.

    PubMed

    van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Kaifu, Yousuke; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kono, Reiko T; Brumm, Adam; Setiyabudi, Erick; Aziz, Fachroel; Morwood, Michael J

    2016-06-09

    The evolutionary origin of Homo floresiensis, a diminutive hominin species previously known only by skeletal remains from Liang Bua in western Flores, Indonesia, has been intensively debated. It is a matter of controversy whether this primitive form, dated to the Late Pleistocene, evolved from early Asian Homo erectus and represents a unique and striking case of evolutionary reversal in hominin body and brain size within an insular environment. The alternative hypothesis is that H. floresiensis derived from an older, smaller-brained member of our genus, such as Homo habilis, or perhaps even late Australopithecus, signalling a hitherto undocumented dispersal of hominins from Africa into eastern Asia by two million years ago (2 Ma). Here we describe hominin fossils excavated in 2014 from an early Middle Pleistocene site (Mata Menge) in the So'a Basin of central Flores. These specimens comprise a mandible fragment and six isolated teeth belonging to at least three small-jawed and small-toothed individuals. Dating to ~0.7 Ma, these fossils now constitute the oldest hominin remains from Flores. The Mata Menge mandible and teeth are similar in dimensions and morphological characteristics to those of H. floresiensis from Liang Bua. The exception is the mandibular first molar, which retains a more primitive condition. Notably, the Mata Menge mandible and molar are even smaller in size than those of the two existing H. floresiensis individuals from Liang Bua. The Mata Menge fossils are derived compared with Australopithecus and H. habilis, and so tend to support the view that H. floresiensis is a dwarfed descendent of early Asian H. erectus. Our findings suggest that hominins on Flores had acquired extremely small body size and other morphological traits specific to H. floresiensis at an unexpectedly early time.

  17. Alternating high and low climate variability: The context of natural selection and speciation in Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution.

    PubMed

    Potts, Richard; Faith, J Tyler

    2015-10-01

    Interaction of orbital insolation cycles defines a predictive model of alternating phases of high- and low-climate variability for tropical East Africa over the past 5 million years. This model, which is described in terms of climate variability stages, implies repeated increases in landscape/resource instability and intervening periods of stability in East Africa. It predicts eight prolonged (>192 kyr) eras of intensified habitat instability (high variability stages) in which hominin evolutionary innovations are likely to have occurred, potentially by variability selection. The prediction that repeated shifts toward high climate variability affected paleoenvironments and evolution is tested in three ways. In the first test, deep-sea records of northeast African terrigenous dust flux (Sites 721/722) and eastern Mediterranean sapropels (Site 967A) show increased and decreased variability in concert with predicted shifts in climate variability. These regional measurements of climate dynamics are complemented by stratigraphic observations in five basins with lengthy stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental records: the mid-Pleistocene Olorgesailie Basin, the Plio-Pleistocene Turkana and Olduvai Basins, and the Pliocene Tugen Hills sequence and Hadar Basin--all of which show that highly variable landscapes inhabited by hominin populations were indeed concentrated in predicted stages of prolonged high climate variability. Second, stringent null-model tests demonstrate a significant association of currently known first and last appearance datums (FADs and LADs) of the major hominin lineages, suites of technological behaviors, and dispersal events with the predicted intervals of prolonged high climate variability. Palynological study in the Nihewan Basin, China, provides a third test, which shows the occupation of highly diverse habitats in eastern Asia, consistent with the predicted increase in adaptability in dispersing Oldowan hominins. Integration of fossil, archeological

  18. Early Pleistocene third metacarpal from Kenya and the evolution of modern human-like hand morphology

    PubMed Central

    Ward, Carol V.; Tocheri, Matthew W.; Plavcan, J. Michael; Brown, Francis H.; Manthi, Fredrick Kyalo

    2014-01-01

    Despite discoveries of relatively complete hands from two early hominin species (Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus sediba) and partial hands from another (Australopithecus afarensis), fundamental questions remain about the evolution of human-like hand anatomy and function. These questions are driven by the paucity of hand fossils in the hominin fossil record between 800,000 and 1.8 My old, a time interval well documented for the emergence and subsequent proliferation of Acheulian technology (shaped bifacial stone tools). Modern and Middle to Late Pleistocene humans share a suite of derived features in the thumb, wrist, and radial carpometacarpal joints that is noticeably absent in early hominins. Here we show that one of the most distinctive features of this suite in the Middle Pleistocene to recent human hand, the third metacarpal styloid process, was present ∼1.42 Mya in an East African hominin from Kaitio, West Turkana, Kenya. This fossil thus provides the earliest unambiguous evidence for the evolution of a key shared derived characteristic of modern human and Neandertal hand morphology and suggests that the distinctive complex of radial carpometacarpal joint features in the human hand arose early in the evolution of the genus Homo and probably in Homo erectus sensu lato. PMID:24344276

  19. Exploring the Potential of Laser Ablation Carbon Isotope Analysis for Examining Ecology during the Ontogeny of Middle Pleistocene Hominins from Sima de los Huesos (Northern Spain).

    PubMed

    Garcia, Nuria; Feranec, Robert S; Passey, Benjamin H; Cerling, Thure E; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2015-01-01

    Laser ablation of tooth enamel was used to analyze stable carbon isotope compositions of teeth of hominins, red deer, and bears from middle Pleistocene sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain, to investigate the possibility that this technique could be used as an additional tool to identify periods of physiological change that are not detectable as changes in tooth morphology. Most of the specimens were found to have minimal intra-tooth variation in carbon isotopes (< 2.3‰), suggesting isotopically uniform diets through time and revealing no obvious periods of physiological change. However, one of the two sampled hominin teeth displayed a temporal carbon isotope shift (3.2‰) that was significantly greater than observed for co-occurring specimens. The δ13C value of this individual averaged about -16‰ early in life, and -13‰ later in life. This isotopic change occurred on the canine crown about 4.2 mm from the root, which corresponds to an approximate age of two to four years old in modern humans. Our dataset is perforce small owing to the precious nature of hominid teeth, but it demonstrates the potential utility of the intra-tooth isotope profile method for extracting ontogenetic histories of human ancestors.

  20. Exploring the Potential of Laser Ablation Carbon Isotope Analysis for Examining Ecology during the Ontogeny of Middle Pleistocene Hominins from Sima de los Huesos (Northern Spain)

    PubMed Central

    Garcia, Nuria; Feranec, Robert S.; Passey, Benjamin H.; Cerling, Thure E.; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2015-01-01

    Laser ablation of tooth enamel was used to analyze stable carbon isotope compositions of teeth of hominins, red deer, and bears from middle Pleistocene sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain, to investigate the possibility that this technique could be used as an additional tool to identify periods of physiological change that are not detectable as changes in tooth morphology. Most of the specimens were found to have minimal intra-tooth variation in carbon isotopes (< 2.3‰), suggesting isotopically uniform diets through time and revealing no obvious periods of physiological change. However, one of the two sampled hominin teeth displayed a temporal carbon isotope shift (3.2‰) that was significantly greater than observed for co-occurring specimens. The δ13C value of this individual averaged about -16‰ early in life, and -13‰ later in life. This isotopic change occurred on the canine crown about 4.2 mm from the root, which corresponds to an approximate age of two to four years old in modern humans. Our dataset is perforce small owing to the precious nature of hominid teeth, but it demonstrates the potential utility of the intra-tooth isotope profile method for extracting ontogenetic histories of human ancestors. PMID:26673156

  1. Geological and edaphic constraints on early hominin landscape exploitation in the Kenya Rift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuebler, S.; King, G. C. P.; Rucina, S.

    2017-12-01

    Our study in the Kenya Rift shows that soil edaphics and active rift structures play a key role in present day animal movements as well as the for the location of early hominin sites. Based on studying the relationship between the geology, tectonics and soil development we identified 'good' and 'bad' regions both in terms of edaphics and accessibility for grazing animals. We created palaeoenvironmental reconstructions for interpreting human land use and exploitation of large mammals in the Kenya Rift for the relevant time frame of 1 Ma BP. At Olorgesailie the hominin site is located in lacustrine sediments at the southern edge of a playa that extends north and northwest of Mt. Olorgesailie. Lakebeds are now tilted and eroded by motion on two north-south striking faults. The lake was trapped by volcanic flows and alluvial fans from Mt. Olorgesailie and was released by fault motion leading to deep river incision and exposure of the site. To the west and the north steep fault scarps bound the playa forming a natural barrier for animals. Field observations and information from local shepherds suggest that the abundant trachytes at the valley floor produce poor soils whereas the soils developed on lacustrine and alluvial sediments close to the hominin site provide much more attractive grazing sites for present-day animals. This is supported by our soil analysis. With a lake in the past the Olorgesailie site represents an key example of how early hominins may have used the landscape for their strategic advantage. At Kariandusi site we investigated the tectonic and volcanic history of the region, and the system of lakes that have undergone periodic expansion and contraction during the Pleistocene in response to climatic and tectonic controls. We used this information to reconstruct topographic features as they would have existed at different periods of the past and their likely influence on patterns of large-mammal movements, and linked this with information from soil

  2. Rates of anterior tooth wear in Middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Martinón-Torres, M; Sarmiento, S; Lozano, M; Arsuaga, J L; Carbonell, E

    2003-10-14

    This study presents quantitative data on the rates of anterior tooth wear in a Pleistocene human population. The data were obtained for the hominin sample of the Sima de los Huesos site in Atapuerca, Spain. The fossil record belongs to a minimum of 28 individuals of the same biological population, assigned to the species Homo heidelbergensis. We have estimated the original and the preserved crown height of the mandibular incisors (I1 and I2) of 11 individuals, whose age at death can be ascertained from the mineralization stage and tooth eruption. Results provide a range of 0.276-0.348 and 0.288-0.360 mm per year for the mean wear rate of the mandibular I1 and I2, respectively, in individuals approximately 16-18 years old. These data suggest that incisors' crowns would be totally worn out toward the fifth decade of life. Thus, we expect the life expectancy of this population to be seriously limited. These data, which could be contrasted with results obtained on hominins at other sites, could be of interest for estimating the death age of adult individuals.

  3. Rates of anterior tooth wear in Middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)

    PubMed Central

    de Castro, J. M. Bermúdez; Martinón-Torres, M.; Sarmiento, S.; Lozano, M.; Arsuaga, J. L.; Carbonell, E.

    2003-01-01

    This study presents quantitative data on the rates of anterior tooth wear in a Pleistocene human population. The data were obtained for the hominin sample of the Sima de los Huesos site in Atapuerca, Spain. The fossil record belongs to a minimum of 28 individuals of the same biological population, assigned to the species Homo heidelbergensis. We have estimated the original and the preserved crown height of the mandibular incisors (I1 and I2) of 11 individuals, whose age at death can be ascertained from the mineralization stage and tooth eruption. Results provide a range of 0.276–0.348 and 0.288–0.360 mm per year for the mean wear rate of the mandibular I1 and I2, respectively, in individuals ≈16–18 years old. These data suggest that incisors' crowns would be totally worn out toward the fifth decade of life. Thus, we expect the life expectancy of this population to be seriously limited. These data, which could be contrasted with results obtained on hominins at other sites, could be of interest for estimating the death age of adult individuals. PMID:14528001

  4. Continuity versus discontinuity of the human settlement of Europe between the late Early Pleistocene and the early Middle Pleistocene. The mandibular evidence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Rosell, Jordi; Blasco, Ruth; Arsuaga, Juan Luís; Carbonell, Eudald

    2016-12-01

    One of the most interesting aspects of the settlement of Europe is the possible continuity or discontinuity of the populations living in this continent during the Early and Middle Pleistocene. In this paper we present an analysis of the mandibular fossil record from four important Pleistocene European sites, Gran Dolina-TD6-2 (Sierra de Atapuerca), Mauer, Arago, and Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos. We focus this study in the recognition of key derived mandibular features that may be useful to assess the relationship among the populations represented at these sites. In order to make an approach to the ecological scenario, we also present a short review and discussion of the archaeological and paleoenvironmental evidences at that time. Our results suggest that probably there was a demographic discontinuity between the late Early Pleistocene populations (MIS 21-MIS 19), and those dated to the MIS 15. Hybridization between residents and new settlers cannot be discarded. However, some features of the Gran Dolina-TD6 hominins point to some relationship between the population represented in this site (probably dated to the MIS 21) and the European Middle Pleistocene and early Late Pleistocene populations. A hypothetical scenario is presented in order to understand this apparent contradiction with the model of discontinuity.

  5. A synthesis of Plio-Pleistocene leaf wax biomarker records of hydrological variation in East Africa and their relationship with hominin evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupien, R.; Russell, J. M.; Campisano, C. J.; Feibel, C. S.; Deino, A. L.; Kingston, J.; Potts, R.; Cohen, A. S.

    2017-12-01

    Climate change is thought to play a critical role in human evolution. However, the mechanisms behind this relationship are difficult to test due to a lack of long, high-quality paleoclimate records from hominin fossil locales. We improve the understanding of this relationship by examining Plio-Pleistocene lake sediment cores from East Africa that were drilled by the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project, an international effort to study the environment in which our hominin ancestors evolved and dispersed. We have analyzed organic geochemical signals of climate from drill cores from Ethiopia and Kenya spanning the Pliocene to recent time (from north to south: paleolake Hadar, Lake Turkana, Lake Baringo, and paleolake Koora). Specifically, we analyzed the hydrogen isotopic composition of terrestrial leaf waxes, which records changes in regional atmospheric circulation and hydrology. We reconstructed quantitative records of rainfall amount at each of the study sites, which host sediment spanning different geologic times and regions. By compiling these records, we test hominin evolutionary hypotheses as well as crucial questions about climate trend and variability. We find that there is a gradual or step-wise enrichment in δDwax, signifying a trend from a wet to dry climate, from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene, perhaps implying an influence of global temperature, ice sheet extent, and/or atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on East African climate. However, the shift is small relative to the amplitude of orbital-scale isotopic variations. The records indicate a strong influence of eccentricity-modulated orbital precession, and imply that local insolation effects are the likely cause of East African precipitation. Several of the intervals of high isotopic variability coincide with key hominin fossil or technological transitions, suggesting that climate variability plays a key role in hominin evolution.

  6. Dietary change among hominins and cercopithecids in Ethiopia during the early Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levin, Naomi E.; Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Frost, Stephen R.; Saylor, Beverly Z.

    2015-10-01

    The incorporation of C4 resources into hominin diet signifies increased dietary breadth within hominins and divergence from the dietary patterns of other great apes. Morphological evidence indicates that hominin diet became increasingly diverse by 4.2 million years ago but may not have included large proportions of C4 foods until 800 thousand years later, given the available isotopic evidence. Here we use carbon isotope data from early to mid Pliocene hominin and cercopithecid fossils from Woranso-Mille (central Afar, Ethiopia) to constrain the timing of this dietary change and its ecological context. We show that both hominins and some papionins expanded their diets to include C4 resources as early as 3.76 Ma. Among hominins, this dietary expansion postdates the major dentognathic morphological changes that distinguish Australopithecus from Ardipithecus, but it occurs amid a continuum of adaptations to diets of tougher, harder foods and to committed terrestrial bipedality. In contrast, carbon isotope data from cercopithecids indicate that C4-dominated diets of the earliest members of the Theropithecus oswaldi lineage preceded the dental specialization for grazing but occurred after they were fully terrestrial. The combined data indicate that the inclusion of C4 foods in hominin diet occurred as part of broader ecological changes in African primate communities.

  7. Dietary change among hominins and cercopithecids in Ethiopia during the early Pliocene

    PubMed Central

    Levin, Naomi E.; Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Frost, Stephen R.; Saylor, Beverly Z.

    2015-01-01

    The incorporation of C4 resources into hominin diet signifies increased dietary breadth within hominins and divergence from the dietary patterns of other great apes. Morphological evidence indicates that hominin diet became increasingly diverse by 4.2 million years ago but may not have included large proportions of C4 foods until 800 thousand years later, given the available isotopic evidence. Here we use carbon isotope data from early to mid Pliocene hominin and cercopithecid fossils from Woranso-Mille (central Afar, Ethiopia) to constrain the timing of this dietary change and its ecological context. We show that both hominins and some papionins expanded their diets to include C4 resources as early as 3.76 Ma. Among hominins, this dietary expansion postdates the major dentognathic morphological changes that distinguish Australopithecus from Ardipithecus, but it occurs amid a continuum of adaptations to diets of tougher, harder foods and to committed terrestrial bipedality. In contrast, carbon isotope data from cercopithecids indicate that C4-dominated diets of the earliest members of the Theropithecus oswaldi lineage preceded the dental specialization for grazing but occurred after they were fully terrestrial. The combined data indicate that the inclusion of C4 foods in hominin diet occurred as part of broader ecological changes in African primate communities. PMID:26371308

  8. Fossil hominin radii from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, Laura; Carretero, José Miguel; García-González, Rebeca; Lorenzo, Carlos; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Quam, Rolf; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia-Téllez, Ana; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2016-01-01

    Complete radii in the fossil record preceding recent humans and Neandertals are very scarce. Here we introduce the radial remains recovered from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) site in the Sierra de Atapuerca between 1976 and 2011 and which have been dated in excess of 430 ky (thousands of years) ago. The sample comprises 89 specimens, 49 of which are attributed to adults representing a minimum of seven individuals. All elements are described anatomically and metrically, and compared with other fossil hominins and recent humans in order to examine the phylogenetic polarity of certain radial features. Radial remains from SH have some traits that differentiate them from those of recent humans and make them more similar to Neandertals, including strongly curved shafts, anteroposterior expanded radial heads and both absolutely and relatively long necks. In contrast, the SH sample differs from Neandertals in showing a high overall gracility as well as a high frequency (80%) of an anteriorly oriented radial tuberosity. Thus, like the cranial and dental remains from the SH site, characteristic Neandertal radial morphology is not present fully in the SH radii. We also analyzed the cross-sectional properties of the SH radial sample at two different levels: mid-shaft and at the midpoint of the neck length. When standardized by shaft length, no difference in the mid-shaft cross-sectional properties were found between the SH hominins, Neandertals and recent humans. Nevertheless, due to their long neck length, the SH hominins show a higher lever efficiency than either Neandertals or recent humans. Functionally, the SH radial morphology is consistent with more efficient pronation-supination and flexion-extension movements. The particular trait composition in the SH sample and Neandertals resembles more closely morphology evident in recent human males. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. New radiometric ages for the BH-1 hominin from Balanica (Serbia): implications for understanding the role of the Balkans in Middle Pleistocene human evolution.

    PubMed

    Rink, William J; Mercier, Norbert; Mihailović, Dušan; Morley, Mike W; Thompson, Jeroen W; Roksandic, Mirjana

    2013-01-01

    Newly obtained ages, based on electron spin resonance combined with uranium series isotopic analysis, and infrared/post-infrared luminescence dating, provide a minimum age that lies between 397 and 525 ka for the hominin mandible BH-1 from Mala Balanica cave, Serbia. This confirms it as the easternmost hominin specimen in Europe dated to the Middle Pleistocene. Inferences drawn from the morphology of the mandible BH-1 place it outside currently observed variation of European Homo heidelbergensis. The lack of derived Neandertal traits in BH-1 and its contemporary specimens in Southeast Europe, such as Kocabaş, Vasogliano and Ceprano, coupled with Middle Pleistocene synapomorphies, suggests different evolutionary forces acting in the east of the continent where isolation did not play such an important role during glaciations.

  10. New Radiometric Ages for the BH-1 Hominin from Balanica (Serbia): Implications for Understanding the Role of the Balkans in Middle Pleistocene Human Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Rink, William J.; Mercier, Norbert; Mihailović, Dušan; Morley, Mike W.; Thompson, Jeroen W.; Roksandic, Mirjana

    2013-01-01

    Newly obtained ages, based on electron spin resonance combined with uranium series isotopic analysis, and infrared/post-infrared luminescence dating, provide a minimum age that lies between 397 and 525 ka for the hominin mandible BH-1 from Mala Balanica cave, Serbia. This confirms it as the easternmost hominin specimen in Europe dated to the Middle Pleistocene. Inferences drawn from the morphology of the mandible BH-1 place it outside currently observed variation of European Homo heidelbergensis. The lack of derived Neandertal traits in BH-1 and its contemporary specimens in Southeast Europe, such as Kocabaş, Vasogliano and Ceprano, coupled with Middle Pleistocene synapomorphies, suggests different evolutionary forces acting in the east of the continent where isolation did not play such an important role during glaciations. PMID:23405085

  11. Intergroup cannibalism in the European Early Pleistocene: the range expansion and imbalance of power hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Saladié, Palmira; Huguet, Rosa; Rodríguez-Hidalgo, Antonio; Cáceres, Isabel; Esteban-Nadal, Montserrat; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald

    2012-11-01

    In this paper, we compare cannibalism in chimpanzees, modern humans, and in archaeological cases with cannibalism inferred from evidence from the Early Pleistocene assemblage of level TD6 of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). The cannibalism documented in level TD6 mainly involves the consumption of infants and other immature individuals. The human induced modifications on Homo antecessor and deer remains suggest that butchering processes were similar for both taxa, and the remains were discarded on the living floor in the same way. This finding implies that a group of hominins that used the Gran Dolina cave periodically hunted and consumed individuals from another group. However, the age distribution of the cannibalized hominins in the TD6 assemblage is not consistent with that from other cases of exo-cannibalism by human/hominin groups. Instead, it is similar to the age profiles seen in cannibalism associated with intergroup aggression in chimpanzees. For this reason, we use an analogy with chimpanzees to propose that the TD6 hominins mounted low-risk attacks on members of other groups to defend access to resources within their own territories and to try and expand their territories at the expense of neighboring groups. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Another window to the subsistence of Middle Pleistocene hominins in Europe: A taphonomic study of Cuesta de la Bajada (Teruel, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel; Barba, Rebeca; Soto, Enrique; Sesé, Carmen; Santonja, Manuel; Pérez-González, Alfredo; Yravedra, José; Galán, Ana Belén

    2015-10-01

    Cuesta de la Bajada is a Middle Pleistocene site (MIS 8-9) in which some of the earliest evidence of Middle Paleolithic stone tool tradition is documented. The small format tool assemblage, dominated by simple flakes and scrapers, is associated to abundant remains of equids and cervids, in which both percussion and cut marks are well represented. The anatomical distribution of these bone surface modifications indicate primary access to fleshed carcasses by hominins. Hunting is further supported by the analysis of age profiles, in which prime adults are predominant both in equids and cervids. The taphonomic analysis of the site adds more information to human predatory behaviors as documented in other Middle Pleistocene sites and is one of the best examples of hunting documented in the Middle Pleistocene European archaeological record.

  13. The environment of the Ethiopian highlands at the Mid Pleistocene Transition: Fauna, flora and hominins in the 850-700 ka sequence of Gombore II (Melka Kunture)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mussi, M.; Altamura, F.; Bonnefille, R.; De Rita, D.; Melis, R. T.

    2016-10-01

    Environment, climatic change and human evolution have been debated over the last 50 years giving special attention to the Plio-Pleistocene sites of the Rift Valley. In this paper we discuss the environment and the limits of hominin adaptability based on evidence from Melka Kunture, at 2000 m asl on the Ethiopian highlands, and specifically on the ∼850 ka to ∼700 ka sequence at sub-site Gombore II. Human fossils and multiple Acheulean occurrences, as well as hippo remains and footprints, combined with palynological analysis, provide a highly detailed chronological resolution of the changing local environmental conditions during the last ∼150 ka of the MPT (Mid Pleistocene Transition), including the sequence of events after a volcanic eruption. Layers containing footprints and fossils are evidence of near-continuous occupation by hippos and their recolonization of the area after a disruptive volcanic eruption. Conversely, Acheulean implements and human fossils suggest that peopling by hominins occurred at a different and discontinuous pace even when the flora and fauna were re-established and the environment was rather stable. Most notably, the assembled evidence points to the limits of Homo erectus s.l. adaptability. Apparently, this hominin could no longer live at 2000 m asl when the climate deteriorated during glacial isotopic stage 20, becoming markedly colder than it is today, but re-colonized the area when the climate turned warmer again during isotopic stage 19.

  14. Hominins without fellow travellers? First appearances and inferred dispersals of Afro-Eurasian large-mammals in the Plio-Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Regan, H. J.; Turner, A.; Bishop, L. C.; Elton, S.; Lamb, A. L.

    2011-06-01

    Discoveries of fossil Homo outside Africa predating 1.0 Ma have generated much discussion about hominin dispersal routes. However, tool-using bipeds were only one element of the inter-continental mammalian dispersals that occurred during the climatic changes of the Pliocene and Pleistocene. This paper will place hominin movements in the context of those of the wider mammalian fauna, which includes carnivores, bovids and non-human primates. The distribution of these different taxa suggests that species moved individually when the environmental conditions were right for them, rather than in multi-species waves of dispersal, and allows evaluation of the contextual evidence for the newly emerging 'Out of Asia' paradigm as well as the established 'Out of Africa' model.

  15. New footprints from Laetoli (Tanzania) provide evidence for marked body size variation in early hominins

    PubMed Central

    Masao, Fidelis T; Ichumbaki, Elgidius B; Cherin, Marco; Barili, Angelo; Boschian, Giovanni; Iurino, Dawid A; Menconero, Sofia; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo; Manzi, Giorgio

    2016-01-01

    Laetoli is a well-known palaeontological locality in northern Tanzania whose outstanding record includes the earliest hominin footprints in the world (3.66 million years old), discovered in 1978 at Site G and attributed to Australopithecus afarensis. Here, we report hominin tracks unearthed in the new Site S at Laetoli and referred to two bipedal individuals (S1 and S2) moving on the same palaeosurface and in the same direction as the three hominins documented at Site G. The stature estimates for S1 greatly exceed those previously reconstructed for Au. afarensis from both skeletal material and footprint data. In combination with a comparative reappraisal of the Site G footprints, the evidence collected here embodies very important additions to the Pliocene record of hominin behaviour and morphology. Our results are consistent with considerable body size variation and, probably, degree of sexual dimorphism within a single species of bipedal hominins as early as 3.66 million years ago. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.19568.001 PMID:27964778

  16. An Early Pleistocene high-resolution paleoclimate reconstruction from the West Turkana (Kenya) HSPDP drill site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stockhecke, Mona; Beck, Catherine; Brown, Erik T.; Cohen, Andrew; Deocampo, Daniel M.; Feibel, Craig S.; Pelletier, Jon D.; Rabideaux, Nathane M.; Sier, Mark

    2016-04-01

    The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), and the related Olorgesailie Drilling Project (ODP), recovered ~2 km of drill core since 2012. At the HSPDP West Turkana Kaitio (WTK) site a 216 m-long core that covers the Early Pleistocene time window (1.3 to 1.87 Ma) during which hominids first expanded out of Africa and marine records document reorganization of tropical climate and the development of the strong Walker circulation. WTK carries particular interest for paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental reconstructions as it is located only 2.5 km from the location of one of the most complete hominin skeletons ever recovered (Nariokotome Boy). XRF core scanning data provide a means of evaluating records of past environmental conditions continuously and at high resolution. However, the record contains complex lithologies reflecting repeated episodes of inundation and desiccation along a dynamic lake margin. Here we present a methodological approach to address the highly variable lithostratigraphy of the East African records to establish comprehensive paleoclimate timeseries. The power spectrum of the presented hydroclimate record peaks at Milankovitch cycles, qualifying HSPDP drill cores from the Turkana Basin to be used as high-resolution Early Pleistocene paleoclimate archive. Comparing these data with marine climate reconstructions sheds light into athmospheric processes and continental climate dynamics.

  17. Surprising trunk rotational capabilities in chimpanzees and implications for bipedal walking proficiency in early hominins

    PubMed Central

    Thompson, Nathan E.; Demes, Brigitte; O'Neill, Matthew C.; Holowka, Nicholas B.; Larson, Susan G.

    2015-01-01

    Human walking entails coordinated out-of-phase axial rotations of the thorax and pelvis. A long-held assumption is that this ability relies on adaptations for trunk flexibility present in humans, but not in chimpanzees, other great apes, or australopithecines. Here we use three-dimensional kinematic analyses to show that, contrary to current thinking, chimpanzees walking bipedally rotate their lumbar and thoracic regions in a manner similar to humans. This occurs despite differences in the magnitude of trunk motion, and despite morphological differences in truncal ‘rigidity' between species. These results suggest that, like humans and chimpanzees, early hominins walked with upper body rotations that countered pelvic rotation. We demonstrate that even if early hominins walked with pelvic rotations 50% larger than humans, they may have accrued the energetic and mechanical benefits of out-of-phase thoracic rotations. This would have allowed early hominins to reduce work and locomotor cost, improving walking efficiency early in hominin evolution. PMID:26441046

  18. Late Pleistocene age and archaeological context for the hominin calvaria from GvJm-22 (Lukenya Hill, Kenya)

    PubMed Central

    Tryon, Christian A.; Crevecoeur, Isabelle; Faith, J. Tyler; Ekshtain, Ravid; Nivens, Joelle; Patterson, David; Mbua, Emma N.; Spoor, Fred

    2015-01-01

    Kenya National Museums Lukenya Hill Hominid 1 (KNM-LH 1) is a Homo sapiens partial calvaria from site GvJm-22 at Lukenya Hill, Kenya, associated with Later Stone Age (LSA) archaeological deposits. KNM-LH 1 is securely dated to the Late Pleistocene, and samples a time and region important for understanding the origins of modern human diversity. A revised chronology based on 26 accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates on ostrich eggshells indicates an age range of 23,576–22,887 y B.P. for KNM-LH 1, confirming prior attribution to the Last Glacial Maximum. Additional dates extend the maximum age for archaeological deposits at GvJm-22 to >46,000 y B.P. (>46 kya). These dates are consistent with new analyses identifying both Middle Stone Age and LSA lithic technologies at the site, making GvJm-22 a rare eastern African record of major human behavioral shifts during the Late Pleistocene. Comparative morphometric analyses of the KNM-LH 1 cranium document the temporal and spatial complexity of early modern human morphological variability. Features of cranial shape distinguish KNM-LH 1 and other Middle and Late Pleistocene African fossils from crania of recent Africans and samples from Holocene LSA and European Upper Paleolithic sites. PMID:25730861

  19. A mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Matthias; Fu, Qiaomei; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Glocke, Isabelle; Nickel, Birgit; Arsuaga, Juan-Luis; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia, Ana; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Carbonell, Eudald; Pääbo, Svante

    2014-01-16

    Excavations of a complex of caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain have unearthed hominin fossils that range in age from the early Pleistocene to the Holocene. One of these sites, the 'Sima de los Huesos' ('pit of bones'), has yielded the world's largest assemblage of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils, consisting of at least 28 individuals dated to over 300,000 years ago. The skeletal remains share a number of morphological features with fossils classified as Homo heidelbergensis and also display distinct Neanderthal-derived traits. Here we determine an almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos and show that it is closely related to the lineage leading to mitochondrial genomes of Denisovans, an eastern Eurasian sister group to Neanderthals. Our results pave the way for DNA research on hominins from the Middle Pleistocene.

  20. Continuity or discontinuity in the European Early Pleistocene human settlement: the Atapuerca evidence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Blasco, Ruth; Rosell, Jordi; Carbonell, Eudald

    2013-09-01

    The nature, timing, pattern, favourable circumstances and impediments of the human occupation of the European continent during the Early Pleistocene are hot topics in Quaternary studies. In particular, the problem of the (dis) continuity of the settlement of Europe in this period is an important matter of discussion, which has been approached in the last decade from different points of view. The Gran Dolina (TD) and Sima del Elefante (TE) cave sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca, (Spain) include large and quasi-continuous stratigraphic sequences that stretch back from at least 1.2 million years ago (Ma) to the Matuyama/Brunhes boundary. The archaeological and paleontological record from these sites can help to test different hypotheses about the character of the human settlement in this region and period. Furthermore, the TD6 level has yielded a large collection of human fossil remains attributed to Homo antecessor. According to different geochronological methods, as well as to paleomagnetic and biostratigraphical analyses, these hominins belong to an age range of 0.96-0.80 Ma. Unfortunately, the finding in 2007 of some human fossil remains in the TE9 level, dated to about 1.22 Ma, was not enough to conclude whether H. antecessor had deep roots in the European Early Pleistocene. A set of derived features of H. antecessor shared with both the Neanderthal lineage and modern humans suggests that this species is related, and not far, from the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. If we assume that there was a lineal biological relationship between the TE9 and TD6 hominins, we should reconsider many of the conclusions achieved in previous paleontological and genetic studies. In addition, we would be obliged to build a highly complicated paleogeographical scenario for the origin of the MRCA. Although continuity in the settlement of Europe during the entire late Early Pleistocene is not discarded (e.g. in refuge areas), it seems that

  1. Measures of maturation in early fossil hominins: events at the first transition from australopiths to early Homo

    PubMed Central

    Dean, M. Christopher

    2016-01-01

    An important question in palaeoanthropology is whether, among the australopiths and the first fossil hominins attributed to early Homo, there was a shift towards a more prolonged period of growth that can be distinguished from that of the living great apes and whether between the end of weaning and the beginning of puberty there was a slow period of growth as there is in modern humans. Evidence for the pace of growth in early fossil hominins comes from preserved tooth microstructure. A record of incremental growth in enamel and dentine persists, which allows us to reconstruct tooth growth and compare key measures of dental maturation with modern humans and living great apes. Despite their diverse diets and way of life, it is currently difficult to identify any clear differences in the timing of dental development among living great apes, australopiths and the earliest hominins attributed to the genus Homo. There is, however, limited evidence that some early hominins may have attained a greater proportion of their body mass and stature relatively earlier in the growth period than is typical of modern humans today. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298465

  2. Was skin cancer a selective force for black pigmentation in early hominin evolution?

    PubMed Central

    Greaves, Mel

    2014-01-01

    Melanin provides a crucial filter for solar UV radiation and its genetically determined variation influences both skin pigmentation and risk of cancer. Genetic evidence suggests that the acquisition of a highly stable melanocortin 1 receptor allele promoting black pigmentation arose around the time of savannah colonization by hominins at some 1–2 Ma. The adaptive significance of dark skin is generally believed to be protection from UV damage but the pathologies that might have had a deleterious impact on survival and/or reproductive fitness, though much debated, are uncertain. Here, I suggest that data on age-associated cancer incidence and lethality in albinos living at low latitudes in both Africa and Central America support the contention that skin cancer could have provided a potent selective force for the emergence of black skin in early hominins. PMID:24573849

  3. Plio-Pleistocene vegetation response on orbitally forced climatic cycles in Southern Europe - implications for early human environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bruch, Angela; Bertini, Adele

    2013-04-01

    The pace and causes of the early human colonization, in one or several migratory waves from Africa in new environments of the Eurasian continent during the Early Pleistocene, are still a matter of debate. However, climate change is considered a major driving factor of hominin evolution and dispersal patterns. In fact directly or indirectly by its severe influence on vegetation, physiography of landscape, and animal distribution, climate modulates the availability of resources. Plant fossils usually are rare or even absent at hominin sites. Thus, direct evidence on local vegetation and environment is generally missing. Independent from such localities, pollen profiles from the Mediterranean realm show the response of regional vegetation on global climate changes and cyclicity, with distinct spatial and temporal differences. Furthermore, plant fossils provide proxies for climate quantification that can be compared to the global signal, and add data to understanding the regional differentiation of Mediterranean environments. In this presentation we will discuss various palaeobotanical data from Southern Europe to assess Early Pleistocene climate and vegetation in time and space as part of the environment during the first expansions of early humans out of Africa.

  4. New dating evidence of the early presence of hominins in Southern Europe.

    PubMed

    Michel, Véronique; Shen, Chuan-Chou; Woodhead, Jon; Hu, Hsun-Ming; Wu, Chung-Che; Moullé, Pierre-Élie; Khatib, Samir; Cauche, Dominique; Moncel, Marie-Hélène; Valensi, Patricia; Chou, Yu-Min; Gallet, Sylvain; Echassoux, Anna; Orange, François; de Lumley, Henry

    2017-08-30

    The first "Out of Africa" migrations represent a seminal event in the history of humankind. At the gates of Europe, the first appearance of Hominins is recorded in Georgia, 1.8 million years ago (Ma); however, the picture of migration across the continent remains incomplete. Vallonnet Cave (France) is a Lower Paleolithic prehistoric site with traces of hominin activities including lithic remains and cut-marks on mammal bones. Here, we apply the uranium-lead (U-Pb) methods to two flowstones to date the intervening archaeological levels. The U-Pb data, coupled with paleomagnetic constraints, provide an age range from 1.2 to 1.1 Ma. The results conclusively demonstrate that Vallonnet Cave is one of the oldest European prehistoric sites in France with early hominin occupations associated with an Epivillafranchian fauna. Combined with data from other archaeological sites, the new precise chronology suggests a widespread occupation the Northern Mediterranean to Southwestern Europe at ~1.2 Ma.

  5. Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene Temperature Reconstructions from Paleolakes of the West Turkana and North Awash Basins, East Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Castañeda, I. S.; Thompson-Munson, M.; Lupien, R.; Russell, J. M.

    2015-12-01

    The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP) aims to reconstruct past environments of the East African Rift Valley from locations in close proximity to some of the world's most important fossil hominin and artifact sites. In this study, we investigate sediments from the West Turkana and North Awash Basins, which were recently drilled as part of the HSPDP. The North Awash Basin contains abundant early hominin fossils and the lakebeds of the Hadar Formation (~3.6 to ~2.9 Ma) will provide a record of climate variability during the Pliocene, prior to the intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation at ~2.7 Ma. The lakebeds of the Turkana Basin are Early Pleistocene in age (~1.9 to ~1.45 Ma) and span the interval that includes some the earliest fossils of Homo rudolfensis and H. ergaster/erectus. Here we examine the organic geochemistry of West Turkana and North Awash Basin sediments and investigate the use of proxies based on isoprenoid and branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) to reconstruct temperature, including TEX86 and the methylation and cyclization (MBT and CBT) ratios and relative abundances of branched GDGTs. We also examine variability in the abundances and ratios of plant leaf waxes (n-alkanes) to provide insight into past vegetation changes on the East African landscape.

  6. A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; Hakim, Budianto; Ramli, Muhammad; Aubert, Maxime; van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Li, Bo; Burhan, Basran; Saiful, Andi Muhammad; Siagian, Linda; Sardi, Ratno; Jusdi, Andi; Abdullah; Mubarak, Andi Pampang; Moore, Mark W; Roberts, Richard G; Zhao, Jian-Xin; McGahan, David; Jones, Brian G; Perston, Yinika; Szabó, Katherine; Mahmud, M Irfan; Westaway, Kira; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wahyu; van der Kaars, Sander; Grün, Rainer; Wood, Rachel; Dodson, John; Morwood, Michael J

    2018-01-01

    This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into 'Wallacea', the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011-13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35-24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter-remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35-23 ka cal BP-and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other 'megafauna' in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi.

  7. Long-term climate record inferred from early-middle Pleistocene amphibian and squamate reptile assemblages at the Gran Dolina Cave, Atapuerca, Spain.

    PubMed

    Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Bailon, Salvador; Cuenca-Bescós, Gloria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bermúdez de Castro, José Maria; Carbonell, Eudald

    2009-01-01

    The Gran Dolina cave site is famous for having delivered some of the oldest hominin remains of Western Europe (Homo antecessor, ca. 960 ka). Moreover, the evidence of lithic industries throughout the long vertical section suggests occupation on the part of hominins from the latest early Pleistocene (levels TD3/4, TD5, and TD6) to the late middle Pleistocene (level TD10). The Gran Dolina Sondeo Sur (TDS) has furnished a great number of small-vertebrate remains; among them some 40,000 bones are attributed to amphibians and squamates. Although they do not differ specifically from the extant herpetofauna of the Iberian Peninsula, the overlap of their current distribution areas (= mutual climatic range method) in Spain can provide mean annual temperatures (MAT), the mean temperatures of the coldest (MTC) and warmest (MTW) months, and mean annual precipitation (MAP) estimations for each sub-level, and their change can be studied throughout the sequence. Results from the squamate and amphibian study indicate that during hominin occupation the MAT (10-13 degrees C) was always slightly warmer than at present in the vicinity of the Gran Dolina Cave, and the MAP (800-1000mm) was greater than today in the Burgos area. Climatic differences between "glacial" and "interglacial" phases are poorly marked. Summer temperatures (MTW) show stronger oscillations than winter temperatures (MTC), but seasonality remains almost unchanged throughout the sequence. These results are compared with those for large mammals, small mammals, and pollen analysis, giving a scenario for the palaeoclimatic conditions that occurred during the early to middle Pleistocene in Atapuerca, and hence a scenario for the hominins that once lived in the Sierra de Atapuerca.

  8. Freshwater Fossil Pearls from the Nihewan Basin, Early Early Pleistocene.

    PubMed

    Li, Su-Ping; Yao, Pei-Yi; Li, Jin-Feng; Ferguson, David Kay; Min, Long-Rui; Chi, Zhen-Qing; Wang, Yong; Yao, Jian-Xin; Sha, Jin-Geng

    2016-01-01

    Fossil blister pearls attached to the shells of an Anodonta mollusk from China, early Early Pleistocene, are reported here for the first time. The pearls were investigated in detail using a variety of methods. Micro-CT scanning of the fossil pearls was carried out to discover the inner structure and the pearl nucleus. Using CTAn software, changes in the gray levels of the biggest pearl, which reflect the changing density of the material, were investigated. The results provide us with some clues on how these pearls were formed. Sand grains, shell debris or material with a similar density could have stimulated the development of these pearls. X-ray diffraction analysis of one fossil pearl and the shell to which it was attached reveals that only aragonite exists in both samples. The internal structures of our fossil shells and pearls were investigated using a Scanning Electron Microscope. These investigations throw some light on pearl development in the past.

  9. Shedding light on the Early Pleistocene of TD6 (Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain): The technological sequence and occupational inferences

    PubMed Central

    2018-01-01

    This paper aims to update the information available on the lithic assemblage from the entire sequence of TD6 now that the most recent excavations have been completed, and to explore possible changes in both occupational patterns and technological strategies evidenced in the unit. This is the first study to analyse the entire TD6 sequence, including subunits TD6.3 and TD6.1, which have never been studied, along with the better-known TD6.2 Homo antecessor-bearing subunit. We also present an analysis of several lithic refits found in TD6, as well as certain technical features that may help characterise the hominin occupations. The archaeo-palaeontological record from TD6 consists of 9,452 faunal remains, 443 coprolites, 1,046 lithic pieces, 170 hominin remains and 91 Celtis seeds. The characteristics of this record seem to indicate two main stages of occupation. In the oldest subunit, TD6.3, the lithic assemblage points to the light and limited hominin occupation of the cave, which does, however, grow over the course of the level. In contrast, the lithic assemblages from TD6.2 and TD6.1 are rich and varied, which may reflect Gran Dolina cave’s establishment as a landmark in the region. Despite the occupational differences between the lowermost subunit and the rest of the deposit, technologically the TD6 lithic assemblage is extremely homogeneous throughout. In addition, the composition and spatial distribution of the 12 groups of lithic refits found in unit TD6, as well as the in situ nature of the assemblage demonstrate the high degree of preservation at the site. This may help clarify the nature of the Early Pleistocene hominin occupations of TD6, and raise reasonable doubt about the latest interpretations that support the ex situ character of the assemblage as a whole. PMID:29370188

  10. Shedding light on the Early Pleistocene of TD6 (Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain): The technological sequence and occupational inferences.

    PubMed

    Mosquera, Marina; Ollé, Andreu; Rodríguez-Álvarez, Xose Pedro; Carbonell, Eudald

    2018-01-01

    This paper aims to update the information available on the lithic assemblage from the entire sequence of TD6 now that the most recent excavations have been completed, and to explore possible changes in both occupational patterns and technological strategies evidenced in the unit. This is the first study to analyse the entire TD6 sequence, including subunits TD6.3 and TD6.1, which have never been studied, along with the better-known TD6.2 Homo antecessor-bearing subunit. We also present an analysis of several lithic refits found in TD6, as well as certain technical features that may help characterise the hominin occupations. The archaeo-palaeontological record from TD6 consists of 9,452 faunal remains, 443 coprolites, 1,046 lithic pieces, 170 hominin remains and 91 Celtis seeds. The characteristics of this record seem to indicate two main stages of occupation. In the oldest subunit, TD6.3, the lithic assemblage points to the light and limited hominin occupation of the cave, which does, however, grow over the course of the level. In contrast, the lithic assemblages from TD6.2 and TD6.1 are rich and varied, which may reflect Gran Dolina cave's establishment as a landmark in the region. Despite the occupational differences between the lowermost subunit and the rest of the deposit, technologically the TD6 lithic assemblage is extremely homogeneous throughout. In addition, the composition and spatial distribution of the 12 groups of lithic refits found in unit TD6, as well as the in situ nature of the assemblage demonstrate the high degree of preservation at the site. This may help clarify the nature of the Early Pleistocene hominin occupations of TD6, and raise reasonable doubt about the latest interpretations that support the ex situ character of the assemblage as a whole.

  11. Conarticular congruence of the hominoid subtalar joint complex with implications for joint function in Plio-Pleistocene hominins.

    PubMed

    Prang, Thomas C

    2016-07-01

    The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that conarticular surfaces areas and curvatures are correlates of mobility at the hominoid talocalcaneal and talonavicular joints. Articular surface areas and curvatures of the talonavicular, anterior talocalcaneal, and posterior talocalcaneal joints were quantified using a total of 425 three-dimensional surface models of extant hominoid and fossil hominin tali, calcanei, and naviculars. Quadric surface fitting was used to calculate curvatures, pairwise comparisons were used to evaluate statistical differences between taxa, and regression was used to test for the effects of allometry. Pairwise comparisons show that the distributions of values for joint curvature indices follow the predicted arboreal-terrestrial morphocline in hominoid primates with no effect of body mass (PGLS p > 0.05). OH 8 (Homo habilis) and LB 1 (Homo floresiensis) can be accommodated within the range of human variation for the talonavicular joint, whereas MH2 (Australopithecus sediba) falls within the ranges of variation for Pan troglodytes and Gorilla gorilla in measures of posterior talocalcaneal joint congruity. Joint curvature indices are better discriminators than joint surface area indices, which may reflect a greater contribution of rotation, rather than translation, to joint movement in plantigrade taxa due to discrepancies in conarticular congruence and the "convex-concave" rule. The pattern of joint congruence in Au. sediba contributes to other data on the foot and ankle suggesting that the lateral side of the foot was more mobile than the medial side, which is consistent with suggestions of increased medial weight transfer associated with hyperpronation. Am J Phys Anthropol 160:446-457, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Viewpoints: diet and dietary adaptations in early hominins: the hard food perspective.

    PubMed

    Strait, David S; Constantino, Paul; Lucas, Peter W; Richmond, Brian G; Spencer, Mark A; Dechow, Paul C; Ross, Callum F; Grosse, Ian R; Wright, Barth W; Wood, Bernard A; Weber, Gerhard W; Wang, Qian; Byron, Craig; Slice, Dennis E; Chalk, Janine; Smith, Amanda L; Smith, Leslie C; Wood, Sarah; Berthaume, Michael; Benazzi, Stefano; Dzialo, Christine; Tamvada, Kelli; Ledogar, Justin A

    2013-07-01

    Recent biomechanical analyses examining the feeding adaptations of early hominins have yielded results consistent with the hypothesis that hard foods exerted a selection pressure that influenced the evolution of australopith morphology. However, this hypothesis appears inconsistent with recent reconstructions of early hominin diet based on dental microwear and stable isotopes. Thus, it is likely that either the diets of some australopiths included a high proportion of foods these taxa were poorly adapted to consume (i.e., foods that they would not have processed efficiently), or that aspects of what we thought we knew about the functional morphology of teeth must be wrong. Evaluation of these possibilities requires a recognition that analyses based on microwear, isotopes, finite element modeling, and enamel chips and cracks each test different types of hypotheses and allow different types of inferences. Microwear and isotopic analyses are best suited to reconstructing broad dietary patterns, but are limited in their ability to falsify specific hypotheses about morphological adaptation. Conversely, finite element analysis is a tool for evaluating the mechanical basis of form-function relationships, but says little about the frequency with which specific behaviors were performed or the particular types of food that were consumed. Enamel chip and crack analyses are means of both reconstructing diet and examining biomechanics. We suggest that current evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that certain derived australopith traits are adaptations for consuming hard foods, but that australopiths had generalized diets that could include high proportions of foods that were both compliant and tough. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Plio-Pleistocene facies environments from the KBS Member, Koobi Fora Formation: implications for climate controls on the development of lake-margin hominin habitats in the northeast Turkana Basin (northwest Kenya).

    PubMed

    Lepre, Christopher J; Quinn, Rhonda L; Joordens, Josephine C A; Swisher, Carl C; Feibel, Craig S

    2007-11-01

    Climate change is hypothesized as a cause of major events of Plio-Pleistocene East African hominin evolution, but the vertically discontinuous and laterally confined nature of the relevant geological records has led to difficulties with assessing probable links between the two. High-resolution sedimentary sequences from lacustrine settings can provide comprehensive data of environmental changes and detailed correlations with well-established orbital and marine records of climate. Hominin-bearing deposits from Koobi Fora Ridge localities in the northeast Turkana Basin of Kenya are an archive of Plio-Pleistocene lake-margin sedimentation though significant developmental junctures of northern African climates, East African environments, and hominin evolution. This study examines alluvial channel and floodplain, nearshore lacustrine, and offshore lacustrine facies environments for the approximately 136-m-thick KBS Member (Koobi Fora Formation) exposed at the Koobi Fora Ridge. Aspects of the facies environments record information on the changing hydrosedimentary dynamics of the lake margin and give insights into potential climatic controls. Seasonal/yearly climate changes are represented by the varve-like laminations in offshore mudstones and the slickensides, dish-shaped fractures, and other paleosol features overprinted on floodplain strata. Vertical shifts between facies environments, however, are interpreted to indicate lake-level fluctuations deriving from longer-term, dry-wet periods in monsoonal rainfall. Recurrence periods for the inferred lake-level changes range from about 10,000 to 50,000 years, and several are consistent with the average estimated timescales of orbital precession ( approximately 20,000 years) and obliquity ( approximately 40,000 years). KBS Member facies environments from the Koobi Fora Ridge document the development of lake-margin hominin habitats in the northeast Turkana Basin. Environmental changes in these habitats may be a result of

  14. Retrieving chronological age from dental remains of early fossil hominins to reconstruct human growth in the past.

    PubMed

    Dean, M Christopher

    2010-10-27

    A chronology of dental development in Pan troglodytes is arguably the best available model with which to compare and contrast reconstructed dental chronologies of the earliest fossil hominins. Establishing a time scale for growth is a requirement for being able to make further comparative observations about timing and rate during both dento-skeletal growth and brain growth. The absolute timing of anterior tooth crown and root formation appears not to reflect the period of somatic growth. In contrast, the molar dentition best reflects changes to the total growth period. Earlier initiation of molar mineralization, shorter crown formation times, less root length formed at gingival emergence into functional occlusion are cumulatively expressed as earlier ages at molar eruption. Things that are similar in modern humans and Pan, such as the total length of time taken to form individual teeth, raise expectations that these would also have been the same in fossil hominins. The best evidence there is from the youngest fossil hominin specimens suggests a close resemblance to the model for Pan but also hints that Gorilla may be a better developmental model for some. A mosaic of great ape-like features currently best describes the timing of early hominin dental development.

  15. Retrieving chronological age from dental remains of early fossil hominins to reconstruct human growth in the past

    PubMed Central

    Dean, M. Christopher

    2010-01-01

    A chronology of dental development in Pan troglodytes is arguably the best available model with which to compare and contrast reconstructed dental chronologies of the earliest fossil hominins. Establishing a time scale for growth is a requirement for being able to make further comparative observations about timing and rate during both dento-skeletal growth and brain growth. The absolute timing of anterior tooth crown and root formation appears not to reflect the period of somatic growth. In contrast, the molar dentition best reflects changes to the total growth period. Earlier initiation of molar mineralization, shorter crown formation times, less root length formed at gingival emergence into functional occlusion are cumulatively expressed as earlier ages at molar eruption. Things that are similar in modern humans and Pan, such as the total length of time taken to form individual teeth, raise expectations that these would also have been the same in fossil hominins. The best evidence there is from the youngest fossil hominin specimens suggests a close resemblance to the model for Pan but also hints that Gorilla may be a better developmental model for some. A mosaic of great ape-like features currently best describes the timing of early hominin dental development. PMID:20855313

  16. Age and context of the oldest known hominin fossils from Flores.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Storey, Michael; Kurniawan, Iwan; Alloway, Brent V; Setiawan, Ruly; Setiyabudi, Erick; Grün, Rainer; Moore, Mark W; Yurnaldi, Dida; Puspaningrum, Mika R; Wibowo, Unggul P; Insani, Halmi; Sutisna, Indra; Westgate, John A; Pearce, Nick J G; Duval, Mathieu; Meijer, Hanneke J M; Aziz, Fachroel; Sutikna, Thomas; van der Kaars, Sander; Flude, Stephanie; Morwood, Michael J

    2016-06-09

    Recent excavations at the early Middle Pleistocene site of Mata Menge in the So'a Basin of central Flores, Indonesia, have yielded hominin fossils attributed to a population ancestral to Late Pleistocene Homo floresiensis. Here we describe the age and context of the Mata Menge hominin specimens and associated archaeological findings. The fluvial sandstone layer from which the in situ fossils were excavated in 2014 was deposited in a small valley stream around 700 thousand years ago, as indicated by (40)Ar/(39)Ar and fission track dates on stratigraphically bracketing volcanic ash and pyroclastic density current deposits, in combination with coupled uranium-series and electron spin resonance dating of fossil teeth. Palaeoenvironmental data indicate a relatively dry climate in the So'a Basin during the early Middle Pleistocene, while various lines of evidence suggest the hominins inhabited a savannah-like open grassland habitat with a wetland component. The hominin fossils occur alongside the remains of an insular fauna and a simple stone technology that is markedly similar to that associated with Late Pleistocene H. floresiensis.

  17. Tooth enamel stable isotopes of Holocene and Pleistocene fossil fauna reveal glacial and interglacial paleoenvironments of hominins in Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Janssen, Renée; Joordens, Josephine C. A.; Koutamanis, Dafne S.; Puspaningrum, Mika R.; de Vos, John; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H. J. L.; Reijmer, John J. G.; Hampe, Oliver; Vonhof, Hubert B.

    2016-07-01

    The carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope compositions of fossilized animal tissues have become important proxies of paleodiet and paleoenvironment, but such stable isotope studies have not yet been extensively applied to the fossil assemblages of Sundaland (the biogeographical region comprising most of the Indonesian Archipelago). Here, we use the isotope composition of tooth enamel to investigate the diet and habitat of bovids, cervids, and suids from several Holocene and Pleistocene sites on Java and Sumatra. Our carbon isotope results indicate that individual sites are strongly dominated by either C3-browsers or C4-grazers. Herbivores from the Padang Highlands (Sumatra) and Hoekgrot (Java) cave faunas were mainly C3-browsers, while herbivores from Homo erectus-bearing sites Trinil and Sangiran (Java) utilized an almost exclusive C4 diet. The suids from all sites show a wide range of δ13C values, corroborating their omnivorous diet. For the dataset as a whole, oxygen and carbon isotope values are positively correlated. This suggests that isotopic enrichment of rainwater and vegetation δ18O values coincides with an increase of C4-grasslands. We interpret this pattern to mainly reflect the environmental contrast between glacial (drier, more C4) and interglacial (wetter, more C3) conditions. Intermediate herbivore δ13C values indicating mixed C3/C4 feeding is relatively rare, which we believe to reflect the abruptness of the transition between glacial and interglacial precipitation regimes in Sundaland. For seven Homo erectus bone samples we were not able distinguish between diagenetic overprint and original isotope values, underlining the need to apply this isotopic approach to Homo erectus tooth enamel instead of bone. Importantly, our present results on herbivore and omnivore faunas provide the isotopic framework that will allow interpretation of such Homo erectus enamel isotope data.

  18. Early pleistocene sediments at Great Blakenham, Suffolk, England

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibbard, P. L.; Allen, P.; Field, M. H.; Hallam, D. F.

    Detailed investigation of a fine sediment sequence, the College Farm Silty Clay Member, that overlies the Creeting Sands (Early Pleistocene) in Suffolk, is presented. The sedimentary sequence is thought to represent a freshwater pool accumulation in a small coastal embayment. Palaeobotanical investigation of the sediment indicates that it accumulated during the late temperate substage of a temperate (interglacial) event. The occurrence of Tsuga pollen, associated with abundant remains of the water fern Azolla tegeliensis indicate that the deposits are of Early Pleistocene age and are correlated with a later part of the Antian-Bramertonian Stage. Correlation with Tiglian TO substage in The Netherlands' sequence is most likely. The sediments' normal palaeomagnetic polarity reinforces the biostratigraphical correlation.

  19. The lithic industry of Sima del Elefante (Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain) in the context of Early and Middle Pleistocene technology in Europe.

    PubMed

    de Lombera-Hermida, Arturo; Bargalló, Amèlia; Terradillos-Bernal, Marcos; Huguet, Rosa; Vallverdú, Josep; García-Antón, Maria-Dolores; Mosquera, Marina; Ollé, Andreu; Sala, Robert; Carbonell, Eudald; Rodríguez-Álvarez, Xosé-Pedro

    2015-05-01

    This paper presents the lithic assemblages documented at Sima del Elefante (TE) and their importance in the context of the Early and Middle Pleistocene human occupation of Europe. We also study changes in human behaviour within the context of the palaeoenvironmental evolution of the Sierra de Atapuerca. This site has characteristics that are of great value for the study of human evolution. The lower levels of TE (Units TE7-TE14) are an essential reference for understanding the early stages of the colonization of Europe. The TE9c level has provided stone tools (Mode 1), faunal remains, and human fossils dated to 1.22 Ma (millions of years ago). Moreover, this is one of the few European sites with a stratigraphic sequence that includes remains of human occupations predating the Jaramillo subchron (Early Pleistocene) and from the Late Middle Pleistocene (Units TE18-TE19). Despite this, the presence of archaeologically sterile units (TE15-17) prevents us from establishing a continuous relationship between the Early and Middle Pleistocene human settlements and, consequently, between their technological and behavioural differences. We can, however compare the technological and palaeoeconomic strategies adopted by different species of hominins during two key phases of the occupation of Europe. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi

    PubMed Central

    Hakim, Budianto; Ramli, Muhammad; Aubert, Maxime; van den Bergh, Gerrit D.; Li, Bo; Burhan, Basran; Saiful, Andi Muhammad; Siagian, Linda; Sardi, Ratno; Jusdi, Andi; Abdullah; Mubarak, Andi Pampang; Moore, Mark W.; Roberts, Richard G.; Zhao, Jian-xin; McGahan, David; Jones, Brian G.; Perston, Yinika; Szabó, Katherine; Mahmud, M. Irfan; Westaway, Kira; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E. Wahyu; van der Kaars, Sander; Grün, Rainer; Wood, Rachel; Dodson, John

    2018-01-01

    This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into ‘Wallacea’, the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011–13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35–24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter–remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35–23 ka cal BP–and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other ‘megafauna’ in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi. PMID:29641524

  1. Early hominins in north-west Europe: A punctuated long chronology?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hosfield, Rob; Cole, James

    2018-06-01

    In light of changing views regarding the identity and evolutionary positions of Europe's Lower Palaeolithic hominins, a re-consideration of the hominin occupation of north-west Europe from c. 1 million years ago (mya) to c. 400 thousand years ago (kya) is timely. A change in the scale and character of the overall European Palaeolithic record around c. 800-600 kya has been well documented and argued over since the mid-1990s. Hominin expansion into the European north-west, potentially from southern Europe, Africa or south-western Asia, has been linked to the introduction of a new lithic technology in the form of the biface. We evaluate three potential drivers for this northern range expansion: changing palaeo-climatic conditions, the emergence of an essentially modern human life history, and greater hominin behavioural plasticity. Our evaluation suggests no major changes in these three factors during the c. 800-600 kya period other than enhanced behavioural plasticity suggested by the appearance of the biface. We offer here a model of hominin occupation for north-west Europe termed the 'punctuated long chronology' and suggest that the major changes in the European Lower Palaeolithic record that occur at a species-wide level may post-date, rather than precede, the Anglian Glaciation (marine isotope stage (MIS) 12).

  2. Carnivoran Remains from the Malapa Hominin Site, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Kuhn, Brian F.; Werdelin, Lars; Hartstone-Rose, Adam; Lacruz, Rodrigo S.; Berger, Lee R.

    2011-01-01

    Recent discoveries at the new hominin-bearing deposits of Malapa, South Africa, have yielded a rich faunal assemblage associated with the newly described hominin taxon Australopithecus sediba. Dating of this deposit using U-Pb and palaeomagnetic methods has provided an age of 1.977 Ma, being one of the most accurately dated, time constrained deposits in the Plio-Pleistocene of southern Africa. To date, 81 carnivoran specimens have been identified at this site including members of the families Canidae, Viverridae, Herpestidae, Hyaenidae and Felidae. Of note is the presence of the extinct taxon Dinofelis cf. D. barlowi that may represent the last appearance date for this species. Extant large carnivores are represented by specimens of leopard (Panthera pardus) and brown hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea). Smaller carnivores are also represented, and include the genera Atilax and Genetta, as well as Vulpes cf. V. chama. Malapa may also represent the first appearance date for Felis nigripes (Black-footed cat). The geochronological age of Malapa and the associated hominin taxa and carnivoran remains provide a window of research into mammalian evolution during a relatively unknown period in South Africa and elsewhere. In particular, the fauna represented at Malapa has the potential to elucidate aspects of the evolution of Dinofelis and may help resolve competing hypotheses about faunal exchange between East and Southern Africa during the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene. PMID:22073222

  3. Carnivoran remains from the Malapa hominin site, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Kuhn, Brian F; Werdelin, Lars; Hartstone-Rose, Adam; Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Berger, Lee R

    2011-01-01

    Recent discoveries at the new hominin-bearing deposits of Malapa, South Africa, have yielded a rich faunal assemblage associated with the newly described hominin taxon Australopithecus sediba. Dating of this deposit using U-Pb and palaeomagnetic methods has provided an age of 1.977 Ma, being one of the most accurately dated, time constrained deposits in the Plio-Pleistocene of southern Africa. To date, 81 carnivoran specimens have been identified at this site including members of the families Canidae, Viverridae, Herpestidae, Hyaenidae and Felidae. Of note is the presence of the extinct taxon Dinofelis cf. D. barlowi that may represent the last appearance date for this species. Extant large carnivores are represented by specimens of leopard (Panthera pardus) and brown hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea). Smaller carnivores are also represented, and include the genera Atilax and Genetta, as well as Vulpes cf. V. chama. Malapa may also represent the first appearance date for Felis nigripes (Black-footed cat). The geochronological age of Malapa and the associated hominin taxa and carnivoran remains provide a window of research into mammalian evolution during a relatively unknown period in South Africa and elsewhere. In particular, the fauna represented at Malapa has the potential to elucidate aspects of the evolution of Dinofelis and may help resolve competing hypotheses about faunal exchange between East and Southern Africa during the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene.

  4. Earliest Porotic Hyperostosis on a 1.5-Million-Year-Old Hominin, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

    PubMed Central

    Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel; Pickering, Travis Rayne; Diez-Martín, Fernando; Mabulla, Audax; Musiba, Charles; Trancho, Gonzalo; Baquedano, Enrique; Bunn, Henry T.; Barboni, Doris; Santonja, Manuel; Uribelarrea, David; Ashley, Gail M.; Martínez-Ávila, María del Sol; Barba, Rebeca; Gidna, Agness; Yravedra, José; Arriaza, Carmen

    2012-01-01

    Meat-eating was an important factor affecting early hominin brain expansion, social organization and geographic movement. Stone tool butchery marks on ungulate fossils in several African archaeological assemblages demonstrate a significant level of carnivory by Pleistocene hominins, but the discovery at Olduvai Gorge of a child's pathological cranial fragments indicates that some hominins probably experienced scarcity of animal foods during various stages of their life histories. The child's parietal fragments, excavated from 1.5-million-year-old sediments, show porotic hyperostosis, a pathology associated with anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, including anemia, are most common at weaning, when children lose passive immunity received through their mothers' milk. Our results suggest, alternatively, that (1) the developmentally disruptive potential of weaning reached far beyond sedentary Holocene food-producing societies and into the early Pleistocene, or that (2) a hominin mother's meat-deficient diet negatively altered the nutritional content of her breast milk to the extent that her nursing child ultimately died from malnourishment. Either way, this discovery highlights that by at least 1.5 million years ago early human physiology was already adapted to a diet that included the regular consumption of meat. PMID:23056303

  5. A New Tephrochronology for Early Diverse Stone Tool Technologies and Long-Distance Raw Material Transport in the Middle-Late Pleistocene Kapthurin Formation, East Africa.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blegen, N.; Jicha, B.

    2017-12-01

    The Middle to Late Pleistocene (780-10 ka) of East Africa records significant behavioral change, the earliest fossils of Homo sapiens and the dispersals of our species across and out of Africa. Studying human evolution in the Middle to Late Pleistocene thus requires an extensive and precise chronology relating the appearances of various behaviors preserved in archaeological sequences to aspects of hominin biology and evidence of past environments preserved in the fossils and geological sequences. Tephrochronology provides the chronostratigraphic resolution to achieve this through correlation and dating of volcanic ashes. The tephrochronology of the Kapthurin Formation presented here, based on tephra correlations and 40Ar/ 39Ar dates, provides new ages between 396.3 ± 3.4 ka and 465.3 ± 1.0 ka for nine sites showing some of the earliest evidence of diverse blade and Levallois methods of core reduction. These are >110 kyr older than previously known in East Africa. New 40Ar/ 39Ar dates provide a refined age of 222.5 ± 0.6 ka for early evidence of long-distance obsidian transport at the Sibilo School Road Site. Long-distance tephra correlation between the Baringo and Lake Victoria basins also provides a new date of 100 ka for the Middle Stone Age site of Keraswanin. By providing new or older dates for 11 sites containing several important aspects of hominin behavior and extending the chronology of the Kapthurin Formation forward by 130,000 years, the tephrochronology presented here contributes one of the longest and most refined chronostratigraphic frameworks relevant to modern human evolution. In conjunction with recent archaeological and paleoenvironmental data, this tephrochronology provides the foundation to understand the process of modern human behavioral evolution through the East African Middle and Late Pleistocene as it relates to biological and paleoenvironmental circumstances.

  6. Early Pleistocene origin of reefs around Lanai, Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Webster, Jody M.; Clague, David A.; Faichney, Iain D.E.; Fullagar, Paul D.; Hein, James R.; Moore, James G.; Paull, Charles K.

    2010-01-01

    A sequence of submerged terraces (L1–L12) offshore Lanai was previously interpreted as reefal, and correlated with a similar series of reef terraces offshore Hawaii island, whose ages are known to be <500 ka. We present bathymetric, observational, lithologic and 51 87Sr/86Sr isotopic measurements for the submerged Lanai terraces ranging from −300 to −1000 m (L3–L12) that indicate that these terraces are drowned reef systems that grew in shallow coral reef to intermediate and deeper fore-reef slope settings since the early Pleistocene. Age estimates based on 87Sr/86Sr isotopic measurements on corals, coralline algae, echinoids, and bulk sediments, although lacking the precision (∼±0.23 Ma) to distinguish the age–depth relationship and drowning times of individual reefs, indicate that the L12–L3 reefs range in age from ∼1.3–0.5 Ma and are therefore about 0.5–0.8 Ma older than the corresponding reefs around the flanks of Hawaii. These new age data, despite their lack of precision and the influence of later-stage submarine diagenesis on some analyzed corals, clearly revise the previous correlations between the reefs off Lanai and Hawaii. Soon after the end of major shield building (∼1.3–1.2 Ma), the Lanai reefs initiated growth and went through a period of rapid subsidence and reef drowning associated with glacial/interglacial cycles similar to that experienced by the Hawaii reefs. However, their early Pleistocene initiation means they experienced a longer, more complex growth history than their Hawaii counterparts.

  7. Carrying capacity, carnivoran richness and hominin survival in Europe.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, Jesús; Mateos, Ana

    2018-05-01

    Carrying capacity, the maximum biomass that an ecosystem can sustain over the long term, strongly influences several ecological processes and it is also one of the main determinants of biodiversity. Here, we estimate the carrying capacity (CC) of the late Early and early Middle Pleistocene ecosystems of Europe, using equations describing the relationship between CC and climatic variables observed in the present, as well as maps of inferred paleotemperature and paleoprecipitation. Maps of paleoclimate values were interpolated from the composite benthic stable oxygen isotope ratios and a transfer function was used to estimate ungulate carrying capacity (CC U ) from the interpolated mean annual temperature and annual precipitation values. Carnivoran carrying capacity was subsequently estimated from ungulate carrying capacity and the effect of CC on the carnivoran faunas was analyzed in 12 paleocommunities from Southern Europe. Our results show that carnivoran species richness is strongly related to ungulate carrying capacity in recent ecosystems, but the late Early Pleistocene paleocommunities from Southern Europe included much richer carnivore guilds than would be expected for a recent community with a similar ungulate carrying capacity. Thus, those late Early Pleistocene ecosystems supported a high number of carnivoran species, but the carnivoran biomass they could support was relatively low. Consequently, carnivorans occurred at low densities in Southern Europe compared to the recent African savanna ecosystems, but likely also compared to coeval East African ecosystems. Consequently, the first Homo populations that arrived in Europe at the end of the late Early Pleistocene found mammal communities consisting of a low number of prey species, which accounted for a moderate herbivore biomass, as well as a diverse but not very abundant carnivore guild. This relatively low carnivoran density implies that the hominin-carnivore encounter rate was lower in the European

  8. Luminescence dating and palaeomagnetic age constraint on hominins from Sima de los Huesos, Atapuerca, Spain.

    PubMed

    Arnold, Lee J; Demuro, Martina; Parés, Josep M; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Aranburu, Arantza; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald

    2014-02-01

    Establishing a reliable chronology on the extensive hominin remains at Sima de los Huesos is critical for an improved understanding of the complex evolutionary histories and phylogenetic relationships of the European Middle Pleistocene hominin record. In this study, we use a combination of 'extended-range' luminescence dating techniques and palaeomagnetism to provide new age constraint on sedimentary infills that are unambiguously associated with the Sima fossil assemblage. Post-infrared-infrared stimulated luminescence (pIR-IR) dating of K-feldspars and thermally transferred optically stimulated luminescence (TT-OSL) dating of individual quartz grains provide weighted mean ages of 433 ± 15 ka (thousands of years) and 416 ± 19 ka, respectively, for allochthonous sedimentary horizons overlying the hominin-bearing clay breccia. The six replicate luminescence ages obtained for this deposit are reproducible and provide a combined minimum age estimate of 427 ± 12 ka for the underlying hominin fossils. Palaeomagnetic directions for the luminescence dated sediment horizon and underlying fossiliferous clays display exclusively normal polarities. These findings are consistent with the luminescence dating results and confirm that the hominin fossil horizon accumulated during the Brunhes Chron, i.e., within the last 780 ka. The new bracketing age constraint for the Sima hominins is in broad agreement with radiometrically dated Homo heidelbergensis fossil sites, such as Mauer and Arago, and suggests that the split of the H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens lineages took place during the early Middle Pleistocene. More widespread numerical dating of key Early and Middle Pleistocene fossil sites across Europe is needed to test and refine competing models of hominin evolution. The new luminescence chronologies presented in this study demonstrate the versatility of TT-OSL and pIR-IR techniques and the potential role they could play in helping to refine evolutionary

  9. Early human symbolic behavior in the Late Pleistocene of Wallacea.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; Langley, Michelle C; Moore, Mark W; Hakim, Budianto; Ramli, Muhammad; Sumantri, Iwan; Burhan, Basran; Saiful, Andi Muhammad; Siagian, Linda; Suryatman; Sardi, Ratno; Jusdi, Andi; Abdullah; Mubarak, Andi Pampang; Hasliana; Hasrianti; Oktaviana, Adhi Agus; Adhityatama, Shinatria; van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Aubert, Maxime; Zhao, Jian-Xin; Huntley, Jillian; Li, Bo; Roberts, Richard G; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Perston, Yinika; Grün, Rainer

    2017-04-18

    Wallacea, the zone of oceanic islands separating the continental regions of Southeast Asia and Australia, has yielded sparse evidence for the symbolic culture of early modern humans. Here we report evidence for symbolic activity 30,000-22,000 y ago at Leang Bulu Bettue, a cave and rock-shelter site on the Wallacean island of Sulawesi. We describe hitherto undocumented practices of personal ornamentation and portable art, alongside evidence for pigment processing and use in deposits that are the same age as dated rock art in the surrounding karst region. Previously, assemblages of multiple and diverse types of Pleistocene "symbolic" artifacts were entirely unknown from this region. The Leang Bulu Bettue assemblage provides insight into the complexity and diversification of modern human culture during a key period in the global dispersal of our species. It also shows that early inhabitants of Sulawesi fashioned ornaments from body parts of endemic animals, suggesting modern humans integrated exotic faunas and other novel resources into their symbolic world as they colonized the biogeographically unique regions southeast of continental Eurasia.

  10. Early human symbolic behavior in the Late Pleistocene of Wallacea

    PubMed Central

    Brumm, Adam; Hakim, Budianto; Ramli, Muhammad; Sumantri, Iwan; Burhan, Basran; Saiful, Andi Muhammad; Siagian, Linda; Suryatman; Sardi, Ratno; Jusdi, Andi; Abdullah; Mubarak, Andi Pampang; Hasliana; Hasrianti; Oktaviana, Adhi Agus; Adhityatama, Shinatria; van den Bergh, Gerrit D.; Aubert, Maxime; Zhao, Jian-xin; Huntley, Jillian; Li, Bo; Roberts, Richard G.; Saptomo, E. Wahyu; Perston, Yinika; Grün, Rainer

    2017-01-01

    Wallacea, the zone of oceanic islands separating the continental regions of Southeast Asia and Australia, has yielded sparse evidence for the symbolic culture of early modern humans. Here we report evidence for symbolic activity 30,000–22,000 y ago at Leang Bulu Bettue, a cave and rock-shelter site on the Wallacean island of Sulawesi. We describe hitherto undocumented practices of personal ornamentation and portable art, alongside evidence for pigment processing and use in deposits that are the same age as dated rock art in the surrounding karst region. Previously, assemblages of multiple and diverse types of Pleistocene “symbolic” artifacts were entirely unknown from this region. The Leang Bulu Bettue assemblage provides insight into the complexity and diversification of modern human culture during a key period in the global dispersal of our species. It also shows that early inhabitants of Sulawesi fashioned ornaments from body parts of endemic animals, suggesting modern humans integrated exotic faunas and other novel resources into their symbolic world as they colonized the biogeographically unique regions southeast of continental Eurasia. PMID:28373568

  11. Late Pleistocene climate drivers of early human migration.

    PubMed

    Timmermann, Axel; Friedrich, Tobias

    2016-10-06

    On the basis of fossil and archaeological data it has been hypothesized that the exodus of Homo sapiens out of Africa and into Eurasia between ~50-120 thousand years ago occurred in several orbitally paced migration episodes. Crossing vegetated pluvial corridors from northeastern Africa into the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant and expanding further into Eurasia, Australia and the Americas, early H. sapiens experienced massive time-varying climate and sea level conditions on a variety of timescales. Hitherto it has remained difficult to quantify the effect of glacial- and millennial-scale climate variability on early human dispersal and evolution. Here we present results from a numerical human dispersal model, which is forced by spatiotemporal estimates of climate and sea level changes over the past 125 thousand years. The model simulates the overall dispersal of H. sapiens in close agreement with archaeological and fossil data and features prominent glacial migration waves across the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant region around 106-94, 89-73, 59-47 and 45-29 thousand years ago. The findings document that orbital-scale global climate swings played a key role in shaping Late Pleistocene global population distributions, whereas millennial-scale abrupt climate changes, associated with Dansgaard-Oeschger events, had a more limited regional effect.

  12. Late Pleistocene climate drivers of early human migration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Timmermann, Axel; Friedrich, Tobias

    2016-10-01

    On the basis of fossil and archaeological data it has been hypothesized that the exodus of Homo sapiens out of Africa and into Eurasia between ~50-120 thousand years ago occurred in several orbitally paced migration episodes. Crossing vegetated pluvial corridors from northeastern Africa into the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant and expanding further into Eurasia, Australia and the Americas, early H. sapiens experienced massive time-varying climate and sea level conditions on a variety of timescales. Hitherto it has remained difficult to quantify the effect of glacial- and millennial-scale climate variability on early human dispersal and evolution. Here we present results from a numerical human dispersal model, which is forced by spatiotemporal estimates of climate and sea level changes over the past 125 thousand years. The model simulates the overall dispersal of H. sapiens in close agreement with archaeological and fossil data and features prominent glacial migration waves across the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant region around 106-94, 89-73, 59-47 and 45-29 thousand years ago. The findings document that orbital-scale global climate swings played a key role in shaping Late Pleistocene global population distributions, whereas millennial-scale abrupt climate changes, associated with Dansgaard-Oeschger events, had a more limited regional effect.

  13. Man the Fat Hunter: The Demise of Homo erectus and the Emergence of a New Hominin Lineage in the Middle Pleistocene (ca. 400 kyr) Levant

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Dor, Miki; Gopher, Avi; Hershkovitz, Israel; Barkai, Ran

    2011-01-01

    The worldwide association of H. erectus with elephants is well documented and so is the preference of humans for fat as a source of energy. We show that rather than a matter of preference, H. erectus in the Levant was dependent on both elephants and fat for his survival. The disappearance of elephants from the Levant some 400 kyr ago coincides with the appearance of a new and innovative local cultural complex – the Levantine Acheulo-Yabrudian and, as is evident from teeth recently found in the Acheulo-Yabrudian 400-200 kyr site of Qesem Cave, the replacement of H. erectus by a new hominin. We employ a bio-energetic model to present a hypothesis that the disappearance of the elephants, which created a need to hunt an increased number of smaller and faster animals while maintaining an adequate fat content in the diet, was the evolutionary drive behind the emergence of the lighter, more agile, and cognitively capable hominins. Qesem Cave thus provides a rare opportunity to study the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of our post-erectus ancestors, the fat hunters. PMID:22174868

  14. A new tephrochronology for early diverse stone tool technologies and long-distance raw material transport in the Middle to Late Pleistocene Kapthurin Formation, East Africa.

    PubMed

    Blegen, Nick; Jicha, Brian R; McBrearty, Sally

    2018-05-09

    The Middle to Late Pleistocene (780-10 ka) of East Africa records evidence of significant behavioral change, early fossils of Homo sapiens, and the dispersals of our species across and out of Africa. Studying human evolution in this time period thus requires an extensive and precise chronology relating behavioral evidence from archaeological sequences to aspects of hominin biology and evidence of past environments from fossils and geological sequences. Tephrochronology provides the chronostratigraphic resolution to achieve this through correlation and dating of volcanic ashes. The tephrochronology of the Kapthurin Formation presented here, based on tephra correlations and 40 Ar/ 39 Ar dates, provides new ages between 395.6 ± 3.5 ka and 465.3 ± 1.0 ka for nine sites showing diverse blade and Levallois methods of core reduction. These are >110 kyr older than previously known in East Africa. New 40 Ar/ 39 Ar dates provide a refined age of 222.5 ± 0.6 ka for early evidence of long-distance (166 km) obsidian transport at the Sibilo School Road Site. A tephra correlation between the Baringo and Victoria basins also provides a new date of ∼100 ka for the Middle Stone Age site of Keraswanin. By providing new and older dates for 11 sites containing several important aspects of hominin behavior and extending the chronology of the Kapthurin Formation forward by ∼130,000 years, the tephrochronology presented here contributes one of the longest and most refined chronostratigraphic frameworks of Middle through Late Pleistocene East Africa. This tephrochronology thus provides the foundation to understand the process of modern human behavioral evolution as it relates to biological and paleoenvironmental circumstances. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade. PMID:18380861

  16. A ~600 kyr duration Early Pleistocene record from the West Turkana (Kenya) HSPDP drill site: elemental XRF variability to reconstruct climate change in Turkana Boy's backyard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stockhecke, M.; Beck, C. C.; Brown, E. T.; Cohen, A.; Deino, A. L.; Feibel, C. S.; Sier, M.

    2015-12-01

    Outcrops in the Kenyan and Ethiopian rift valleys document repeated occurrences of freshwater lakes and wooded landscapes over the past 4 million years at locations that are currently seasonally-dry savanna. Studies of the rich fossil records, in combination with outcropping lacustrine sequences, led to major breakthroughs in our knowledge of driving factors in human evolution. However, study of continuous drill core from ancient lake basins provides a basis for to unravel East African climate dynamics in an unseen fashion. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), and the related Olorgesailie Drilling Project, recovered ~2 km of drill core since 2012. A major project goal is characterization of East African paleoclimate in order to evaluate its impact on hominin evolution. XRF core scanning data provide a means of evaluating records of past environmental conditions continuously and at high resolution. However, the HSPDP records contain complex lithologies reflecting repeated episodes of inundation and desiccation of the lake basins. Nevertheless, careful data evaluation based on detailed lithostratigraphy, which includes smear-slide microscopic analyses and X-radiographic images, allows disentanglement of complex signals and robust identification of continuous sequences for any cyclostratigraphic and statistical analysis. At the HSPDP Turkana Basin site a 175.6 m-long core the covers the Early Pleistocene time window during which hominids first expanded out of Africa and marine records document reorganization of tropical climate and the development of the strong Walker circulation. This drill site carries particular interest as it is located in only 2.5 km from the location of one of the most complete hominin skeletons ever recovered (Turkana Boy). Here we present a methodological approach to address the highly variable lithostratigraphy of the East African records to establish comprehensive and environmentally meaningful paleoclimate timeseries

  17. Oldest Evidence of Toolmaking Hominins in a Grassland-Dominated Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Plummer, Thomas W.; Ditchfield, Peter W.; Bishop, Laura C.; Kingston, John D.; Ferraro, Joseph V.; Braun, David R.; Hertel, Fritz; Potts, Richard

    2009-01-01

    Background Major biological and cultural innovations in late Pliocene hominin evolution are frequently linked to the spread or fluctuating presence of C4 grass in African ecosystems. Whereas the deep sea record of global climatic change provides indirect evidence for an increase in C4 vegetation with a shift towards a cooler, drier and more variable global climatic regime beginning approximately 3 million years ago (Ma), evidence for grassland-dominated ecosystems in continental Africa and hominin activities within such ecosystems have been lacking. Methodology/Principal Findings We report stable isotopic analyses of pedogenic carbonates and ungulate enamel, as well as faunal data from ∼2.0 Ma archeological occurrences at Kanjera South, Kenya. These document repeated hominin activities within a grassland-dominated ecosystem. Conclusions/Significance These data demonstrate what hitherto had been speculated based on indirect evidence: that grassland-dominated ecosystems did in fact exist during the Plio-Pleistocene, and that early Homo was active in open settings. Comparison with other Oldowan occurrences indicates that by 2.0 Ma hominins, almost certainly of the genus Homo, used a broad spectrum of habitats in East Africa, from open grassland to riparian forest. This strongly contrasts with the habitat usage of Australopithecus, and may signal an important shift in hominin landscape usage. PMID:19844568

  18. A mandible from the Middle Pleistocene Hexian site and its significance in relation to the variability of Asian Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wu; Martinón-Torres, María; Kaifu, Yousuke; Wu, Xiujie; Kono, Reiko T; Chang, Chun-Hsiang; Wei, Pianpian; Xing, Song; Huang, Wanbo; Bermúdez de Castro, José María

    2017-04-01

    This study presents the first detailed morphological description and comparison of a Middle Pleistocene hominin mandibular fragment (PA 831) and associated teeth from the Hexian site in Eastern China. We aim to investigate where the Hexian mandible fits within the genus Homo variability in the light of an increased and better characterized Asian fossils record. Comparative samples include Pleistocene Homo mandibles and teeth from Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as earlier African hominins (Australopithecus and early Homo) and Holocene recent humans. Both conventional morphological description and metric analysis were used. In addition, virtual reconstructions of the enamel dentine junction (EDJ) surface, pulp cavity, and roots with micro-CT were used to the mandible and teeth. The Hexian mandible is characterized by a plesiomorphic structural pattern for the Homo clade, with strong corpus robustness and a subparallel and low-positioned mylohyoid line that differentiates the swollen subalveolar planum from the shallow subalveolar fossa. Features that are derived compared to early Homo include a moderately curved dental arcade, a well-developed lateral prominence placed at the M 2 -M 3 level, and multiple mental foramina. The Hexian mandible's complex enamel surface and strong, stout root structure are primitive traits for the Homo clade. Finally, the highly crenulated "dendrite-like" EDJ found in the molars may represent a dental feature specific to the continental Asian Homo erectus, but more data is needed to confirm this. Mandibular and dental features indicate that the Hexian mandible and teeth differ from northern Chinese H. erectus and European Middle Pleistocene hominins, but show some affinities with the Early Pleistocene specimens from Africa (Homo ergaster) and Java (H. erectus), as well as the Middle-Late Pleistocene mandible from Penghu, Taiwan. Compared to contemporaneous continental Asian hominin populations, the Hexian fossils may represent the

  19. Brain size and encephalization in early to Mid-Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2004-06-01

    Important changes in the brain have occurred during the course of human evolution. Both absolute and relative size increases can be documented for species of Homo, culminating in the appearance of modern humans. One species that is particularly well-represented by fossil crania is Homo erectus. The mean capacity for 30 individuals is 973 cm(3). Within this group there is substantial variation, but brain size increases slightly in specimens from later time periods. Other Middle Pleistocene crania differ from those of Homo erectus. Characters of the facial skeleton, vault, and cranial base suggest that fossils from sites such as Arago Cave in France, the Sima de los Huesos in Spain, Bodo in Ethiopia, Broken Hill in Zambia, and perhaps Dali in China belong to the taxon Homo heidelbergensis. Ten of these mid-Quaternary hominins have brains averaging 1,206 cm(3) in volume, and many fall beyond the limits of size predicted for Homo erectus of equivalent age. When orbit height is used to construct an index of relative brain size, it is apparent that the (significant) increase in volume documented for the Middle Pleistocene individuals is not simply a consequence of larger body mass. Encephalization quotient values confirm this finding. These changes in absolute and relative brain size can be taken as further corroborative evidence for a speciation event, in which Homo erectus produced a daughter lineage. It is probable that Homo heidelbergensis originated in Africa or western Eurasia and then ranged widely across the Old World. Archaeological traces indicate that these populations differed in their technology and behavior from earlier hominins. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  20. Shallow-water habitats as sources of fallback foods for hominins.

    PubMed

    Wrangham, Richard; Cheney, Dorothy; Seyfarth, Robert; Sarmiento, Esteban

    2009-12-01

    Underground storage organs (USOs) have been proposed as critical fallback foods for early hominins in savanna, but there has been little discussion as to which habitats would have been important sources of USOs. USOs consumed by hominins could have included both underwater and underground storage organs, i.e., from both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Shallow aquatic habitats tend to offer high plant growth rates, high USO densities, and relatively continuous USO availability throughout the year. Baboons in the Okavango delta use aquatic USOs as a fallback food, and aquatic or semiaquatic USOs support high-density human populations in various parts of the world. As expected given fossilization requisites, the African early- to mid-Pleistocene shows an association of Homo and Paranthropus fossils with shallow-water and flooded habitats where high densities of plant-bearing USOs are likely to have occurred. Given that early hominins in the tropics lived in relatively dry habitats, while others occupied temperate latitudes, ripe, fleshy fruits of the type preferred by African apes would not normally have been available year round. We therefore suggest that water-associated USOs were likely to have been key fallback foods, and that dry-season access to aquatic habitats would have been an important predictor of hominin home range quality. This study differs from traditional savanna chimpanzee models of hominin origins by proposing that access to aquatic habitats was a necessary condition for adaptation to savanna habitats. It also raises the possibility that harvesting efficiency in shallow water promoted adaptations for habitual bipedality in early hominins.

  1. Ecospaces occupied by Homo erectus and Homo sapiens in insular Southeast Asia in the Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertler, Christine; Haupt, Susanne; Volmer, Rebekka; Bruch, Angela

    2014-05-01

    Hominins migrated to the islands of the Sunda Shelf multiple times. At least two immigration events are evident, an early immigration of Homo erectus in the late Early Pleistocene and a second immigration of Homo sapiens during the Late Pleistocene. Regional environments changed considerably in the Pleistocene. Expansion patterns among hominins are at least co-determined by their ecologies and environmental change. We examine these expansion patterns on the basis of habitat reconstructions. Mammalian communities provide a geographically extensive record and permit to assess hominin ecospaces. Although chronological resolution is low, they represent the most complete record of habitat changes associated with hominin expansion patterns. In order to reconstruct and compare hominin ecospaces on a quantitative scale, we set up a reference sample consisting of mammalian communities of 117 national parks in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The diversity of such communities is assessed by ecological profiling of specialized herbivore taxa. Moreover, datasets on climate and vegetation correlate with the diversity structure of such specialized herbivore communities. Reconstructing the diversity structure of communities at key sites in Pleistocene Southeast Asia permits to infer features of the climatic and vegetation framework associated with different hominin taxa. Our results show that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens did not occupy similar ecospaces. The ecospace of Homo erectus is characterized by comparatively low diversity among frugivorous and folivorous taxa, while obligate grazers are part of the assemblages. Specialized herbivore communities with such a diversity structure occur at present in East Africa, while they are absent in Southeast Asia. In the reference sample, this type of ecospace corresponds to seasonal wetlands. Although Homo sapiens still inhabits this type of environment in Southeast Asia, his ecospace is wider. Homo sapiens is associated with

  2. Form and function of the human and chimpanzee forefoot: implications for early hominin bipedalism

    PubMed Central

    Fernández, Peter J.; Holowka, Nicholas B.; Demes, Brigitte; Jungers, William L.

    2016-01-01

    During bipedal walking, modern humans dorsiflex their forefoot at the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPJs) prior to push off, which tightens the plantar soft tissues to convert the foot into a stiff propulsive lever. Particular features of metatarsal head morphology such as “dorsal doming” are thought to facilitate this stiffening mechanism. In contrast, chimpanzees are believed to possess MTPJ morphology that precludes high dorsiflexion excursions during terrestrial locomotion. The morphological affinity of the metatarsal heads has been used to reconstruct locomotor behavior in fossil hominins, but few studies have provided detailed empirical data to validate the assumed link between morphology and function at the MTPJs. Using three-dimensional kinematic and morphometric analyses, we show that humans push off with greater peak dorsiflexion angles at all MTPJs than do chimpanzees during bipedal and quadrupedal walking, with the greatest disparity occurring at MTPJ 1. Among MTPJs 2–5, both species exhibit decreasing peak angles from medial to lateral. This kinematic pattern is mirrored in the morphometric analyses of metatarsal head shape. Analyses of Australopithecus afarensis metatarsals reveal morphology intermediate between humans and chimpanzees, suggesting that this species used different bipedal push-off kinematics than modern humans, perhaps resulting in a less efficient form of bipedalism. PMID:27464580

  3. Form and function of the human and chimpanzee forefoot: implications for early hominin bipedalism.

    PubMed

    Fernández, Peter J; Holowka, Nicholas B; Demes, Brigitte; Jungers, William L

    2016-07-28

    During bipedal walking, modern humans dorsiflex their forefoot at the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPJs) prior to push off, which tightens the plantar soft tissues to convert the foot into a stiff propulsive lever. Particular features of metatarsal head morphology such as "dorsal doming" are thought to facilitate this stiffening mechanism. In contrast, chimpanzees are believed to possess MTPJ morphology that precludes high dorsiflexion excursions during terrestrial locomotion. The morphological affinity of the metatarsal heads has been used to reconstruct locomotor behavior in fossil hominins, but few studies have provided detailed empirical data to validate the assumed link between morphology and function at the MTPJs. Using three-dimensional kinematic and morphometric analyses, we show that humans push off with greater peak dorsiflexion angles at all MTPJs than do chimpanzees during bipedal and quadrupedal walking, with the greatest disparity occurring at MTPJ 1. Among MTPJs 2-5, both species exhibit decreasing peak angles from medial to lateral. This kinematic pattern is mirrored in the morphometric analyses of metatarsal head shape. Analyses of Australopithecus afarensis metatarsals reveal morphology intermediate between humans and chimpanzees, suggesting that this species used different bipedal push-off kinematics than modern humans, perhaps resulting in a less efficient form of bipedalism.

  4. Aridity and hominin environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blumenthal, Scott A.; Levin, Naomi E.; Brown, Francis H.; Brugal, Jean-Philip; Chritz, Kendra L.; Harris, John M.; Jehle, Glynis E.; Cerling, Thure E.

    2017-07-01

    Aridification is often considered a major driver of long-term ecological change and hominin evolution in eastern Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene; however, this hypothesis remains inadequately tested owing to difficulties in reconstructing terrestrial paleoclimate. We present a revised aridity index for quantifying water deficit (WD) in terrestrial environments using tooth enamel δ18O values, and use this approach to address paleoaridity over the past 4.4 million years in eastern Africa. We find no long-term trend in WD, consistent with other terrestrial climate indicators in the Omo-Turkana Basin, and no relationship between paleoaridity and herbivore paleodiet structure among fossil collections meeting the criteria for WD estimation. Thus, we suggest that changes in the abundance of C4 grass and grazing herbivores in eastern Africa during the Pliocene and Pleistocene may have been decoupled from aridity. As in modern African ecosystems, other factors, such as rainfall seasonality or ecological interactions among plants and mammals, may be important for understanding the evolution of C4 grass- and grazer-dominated biomes.

  5. Consistent C3 plant habitat of hominins during 400-300 ka at the Longyadong Cave site (Luonan Basin, central China) revealed by stable carbon isotope analyses of loess deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Hongyan; Lu, Huayu; Wang, Shejiang

    2017-04-01

    The proportions of woody and grassland taxa in terrestrial ecosystems played an important role in the origin and evolution of early Palaeolithic hominins. However the influence of ecosystem changes on hominin behavior and adaptations in Asia has not been studied in detail. Hominins have exploited the Luonan Basin in the Eastern Qinling Mountains, central China, since the early Paleolithic. Dated sites, consisting of alternating loess and soil deposits with in situ artefacts, are common in the region, and provide a detailed record of Early to Middle Pleistocene hominin environments. Here, we present the results of measurements of the stable carbon isotopic composition of soil organic matter (δ13C) in the loess-paleosol sequences from the Longyadong Cave site. Our analyses of δ13C show that for at least 400 ka the Longyadong Cave site and its surroundings were dominated by C3 woody plants, whereas the nearby Liuwan site was dominated by C4 and C3 mixed grassland or woody grassland vegetation. These findings demonstrate that between 400 and 300 ka in the Luonan Basin, hominins occupied a habitat consisting of a mosaic of grassland and woodland/forest. Although the vegetation of the region changed in response to the glacial-interglacial climatic cycles, patches of woody vegetation in landscapes such as at Longyadong Cave site persisted continuously. Such environments seem to be have been favored by hominins living in the Luonan Basin, possibly because they provided a diverse range of food resources during both glacial and interglacial intervals of the Middle Pleistocene, when most of northern China was experiencing an increasing trend of drying and cooling and steppe environments were expanding. Thus, the Luonan Basin would have served as a refugium for hominin occupation in China during the Middle Pleistocene.

  6. A late Pleistocene human presence at Huaca Prieta, Peru, and early Pacific Coastal adaptations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dillehay, Tom D.; Bonavia, Duccio; Goodbred, Steve L.; Pino, Mario; Vásquez, Victor; Tham, Teresa Rosales

    2012-05-01

    Archaeological excavations in deep pre-mound levels at Huaca Prieta in northern Peru have yielded new evidence of late Pleistocene cultural deposits that shed insights into the early human occupation of the Pacific coast of South America. Radiocarbon dates place this occupation between ~ 14,200 and 13,300 cal yr BP. The cultural evidence shares certain basic technological and subsistence traits, including maritime resources and simple flake tools, with previously discovered late Pleistocene sites along the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile. The results help to expand our knowledge of early maritime societies and human adaption to changing coastal environments.

  7. Postcranial morphology of the middle Pleistocene humans from Sima de los Huesos, Spain.

    PubMed

    Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carretero, José-Miguel; Lorenzo, Carlos; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Pablos, Adrián; Rodríguez, Laura; García-González, Rebeca; Bonmatí, Alejandro; Quam, Rolf M; Pantoja-Pérez, Ana; Martínez, Ignacio; Aranburu, Arantza; Gracia-Téllez, Ana; Poza-Rey, Eva; Sala, Nohemi; García, Nuria; Alcázar de Velasco, Almudena; Cuenca-Bescós, Gloria; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald

    2015-09-15

    Current knowledge of the evolution of the postcranial skeleton in the genus Homo is hampered by a geographically and chronologically scattered fossil record. Here we present a complete characterization of the postcranium of the middle Pleistocene paleodeme from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) and its paleobiological implications. The SH hominins show the following: (i) wide bodies, a plesiomorphic character in the genus Homo inherited from their early hominin ancestors; (ii) statures that can be found in modern human middle-latitude populations that first appeared 1.6-1.5 Mya; and (iii) large femoral heads in some individuals, a trait that first appeared during the middle Pleistocene in Africa and Europe. The intrapopulational size variation in SH shows that the level of dimorphism was similar to modern humans (MH), but the SH hominins were less encephalized than Neandertals. SH shares many postcranial anatomical features with Neandertals. Although most of these features appear to be either plesiomorphic retentions or are of uncertain phylogenetic polarity, a few represent Neandertal apomorphies. Nevertheless, the full suite of Neandertal-derived features is not yet present in the SH population. The postcranial evidence is consistent with the hypothesis based on the cranial morphology that the SH hominins are a sister group to the later Neandertals. Comparison of the SH postcranial skeleton to other hominins suggests that the evolution of the postcranium occurred in a mosaic mode, both at a general and at a detailed level.

  8. Postcranial morphology of the middle Pleistocene humans from Sima de los Huesos, Spain

    PubMed Central

    Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carretero, José-Miguel; Lorenzo, Carlos; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Pablos, Adrián; Rodríguez, Laura; García-González, Rebeca; Bonmatí, Alejandro; Quam, Rolf M.; Pantoja-Pérez, Ana; Martínez, Ignacio; Aranburu, Arantza; Gracia-Téllez, Ana; Poza-Rey, Eva; Sala, Nohemi; García, Nuria; Alcázar de Velasco, Almudena; Cuenca-Bescós, Gloria; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald

    2015-01-01

    Current knowledge of the evolution of the postcranial skeleton in the genus Homo is hampered by a geographically and chronologically scattered fossil record. Here we present a complete characterization of the postcranium of the middle Pleistocene paleodeme from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) and its paleobiological implications. The SH hominins show the following: (i) wide bodies, a plesiomorphic character in the genus Homo inherited from their early hominin ancestors; (ii) statures that can be found in modern human middle-latitude populations that first appeared 1.6–1.5 Mya; and (iii) large femoral heads in some individuals, a trait that first appeared during the middle Pleistocene in Africa and Europe. The intrapopulational size variation in SH shows that the level of dimorphism was similar to modern humans (MH), but the SH hominins were less encephalized than Neandertals. SH shares many postcranial anatomical features with Neandertals. Although most of these features appear to be either plesiomorphic retentions or are of uncertain phylogenetic polarity, a few represent Neandertal apomorphies. Nevertheless, the full suite of Neandertal-derived features is not yet present in the SH population. The postcranial evidence is consistent with the hypothesis based on the cranial morphology that the SH hominins are a sister group to the later Neandertals. Comparison of the SH postcranial skeleton to other hominins suggests that the evolution of the postcranium occurred in a mosaic mode, both at a general and at a detailed level. PMID:26324920

  9. Co-existence of scimitar-toothed cats, lions and hominins in the European Pleistocene. Implications of the post-cranial anatomy of Homotherium latidens (Owen) for comparative palaeoecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antón, Mauricio; Galobart, Angel; Turner, Alan

    2005-05-01

    Human occupants of Europe shared food resources with a number of larger Carnivora, and their coexistence with two lion-sized felids, the lion and the scimitar-toothed machairodont Homotherium latidens, poses intriguing paleoecological problems. We investigate the ecology of Homotherium latidens using an exceptional sample of postcrania from the Spanish Early Pleistocene site of Incarcal, making comparisons with modern cats and with other machairodont species. Evidence of cursorial adaptations in Homotherium suggests a hunting technique different from modern cats or smilodontine sabre-tooths. Some, like reduction of the claws, would have limited the ability of individual homotheres to bring down large prey, implying group action. Homotherium would also have been disadvantaged in direct confrontation with Pleistocene lions by smaller body mass, reduced forepaw muscle strength, smaller claws and more fragile dentition. Its hunting technique would have worked best in more open habitats, but competition from lions would have forced it to seek moderate cover. Among factors that could de-stabilise coexistence of the two big cat species in Pleistocene Europe we invoke a decrease in environmental mosaicism associated with stepped climatic change over the last million years, and the increased importance of humans within the larger predator guild.

  10. Dietary traits of the late Early Pleistocene Bison menneri (Bovidae, Mammalia) from its type site Untermassfeld (Central Germany) and the problem of Pleistocene 'wood bison'

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Asperen, Eline N.; Kahlke, Ralf-Dietrich

    2017-12-01

    Over the course of the Early and early Middle Pleistocene, a climatic cooling trend led to the partial opening up of landscapes in the western Palaearctic. This led to a gradual replacement of browsers by grazers, whilst some herbivore species shifted their diet towards including more grass. Wear patterns of herbivore cheek teeth can inform our understanding of the timing and extent of this change and indicate levels of dietary plasticity. One of the indicator species of the faunal turnover is the first large-sized form of bison in the Palaearctic, Bison menneri. The dental mesowear of the palaeopopulation from the species' late Early Pleistocene type site of Untermassfeld in Central Germany and the Late Pleistocene B. priscus from Taubach, both from habitat mosaics of forested habitats and more open landscapes, have a mixed feeder profile similar to that of North American wood bison, which has a distinct preference for open habitats but occasionally consumes a high amount of browse as a fall-back food. In contrast, the grazer mesowear signature of early Middle Pleistocene B. schoetensacki voigtstedtensis from Voigtstedt indicates these animals likely did not regularly feed in the densely forested area around the site. The mesowear of B. schoetensacki from Süssenborn, in a more open environment, is similar to that of extant European bison. Both Pleistocene and extant bison are grazers to mixed feeders with relatively high tolerance of a suboptimal browsing diet. None of these species can be regarded as true 'wood bison'.

  11. Similar millennial climate variability on the Iberian margin during two early Pleistocene glacials and MIS 3

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Birner, B.; Hodell, D. A.; Tzedakis, P. C.; Skinner, L. C.

    2016-01-01

    Although millennial-scale climate variability (<10 ka) has been well studied during the last glacial cycles, little is known about this important aspect of climate in the early Pleistocene, prior to the Middle Pleistocene Transition. Here we present an early Pleistocene climate record at centennial resolution for two representative glacials (marine isotope stages (MIS) 37-41 from approximately 1235 to 1320 ka) during the "41 ka world" at Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site U1385 (the "Shackleton Site") on the southwest Iberian margin. Millennial-scale climate variability was suppressed during interglacial periods (MIS 37, MIS 39, and MIS 41) and activated during glacial inceptions when benthic δ18O exceeded 3.2‰. Millennial variability during glacials MIS 38 and MIS 40 closely resembled Dansgaard-Oeschger events from the last glacial (MIS 3) in amplitude, shape, and pacing. The phasing of oxygen and carbon isotope variability is consistent with an active oceanic thermal bipolar see-saw between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres during most of the prominent stadials. Surface cooling was associated with systematic decreases in benthic carbon isotopes, indicating concomitant changes in the meridional overturning circulation. A comparison to other North Atlantic records of ice rafting during the early Pleistocene suggests that freshwater forcing, as proposed for the late Pleistocene, was involved in triggering or amplifying perturbations of the North Atlantic circulation that elicited a bipolar see-saw response. Our findings support similarities in the operation of the climate system occurring on millennial time scales before and after the Middle Pleistocene Transition despite the increases in global ice volume and duration of the glacial cycles.

  12. Implications of the avian fauna for paleoecology in the Early Pleistocene of the Iberian Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Marco, A

    1999-01-01

    The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the landscape and climate during the formation of the Lower Pleistocene TD6 layer at Gran Dolina, Atapuerca. Habitat preferences and phenetic behavioural spectra of fossil birds are reconstructed using comparisons of fossil bird assemblages with modern avian communities. This method is based upon the phenology (seasonality and breeding status) of each species for both the fossil association and modern communities. The results indicate that more open country and wetter conditions prevailed during the early Pleistocene than were previously inferred. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

  13. The mid-face of lower Pleistocene hominins and its bearing on the attribution of SK 847 and StW 53.

    PubMed

    Williams, Frank L'engle; Schroeder, Lauren; Ackermann, Rebecca Rogers

    2012-08-01

    SK 847 and StW 53 have often been cited as evidence for early Homo in South Africa. To examine whether midfacial morphology is in agreement with these attributions, we analyze Euclidean distances calculated from 3-D coordinates on the maxillae of SK 847 and StW 53, as well as Australopithecus africanus (Sts 5, Sts 71), Paranthropus robustus (SK 46, SK 48, SK 52, SK 83), early Homo (KNM-ER 1813, KNM-ER 1805, KNM-ER 3733, KNM-WT 15000), P. boisei (KNM-ER 406, KNM-WT 17000, KNM-WT 17400), Gorilla gorilla (n=116), Homo sapiens (n=342), Pan paniscus (n=21) and P. troglodytes (n=65). Multivariate analyses separate extant hominoids suggesting we have captured taxonomic affinity. With the exception of SK 847 and SK 52, South African fossils tend to cluster together. P. robustus differs substantially from East African robust megadonts. SK 847 and StW 53 resemble the East African Homo specimens that are the most australopith-like, such as KNM-WT 15000 and KNM-ER 1813. The resemblance between StW 53 and Homo is driven partly by similarities in maxillary size. When distances are scaled, StW 53 aligns with A. africanus, while SK 847 clusters primarily with early Homo. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  14. Terrestrial Effects of Nearby Supernovae in the Early Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, B. C.; Engler, E. E.; Kachelrieß, M.; Melott, A. L.; Overholt, A. C.; Semikoz, D. V.

    2016-07-01

    Recent results have strongly confirmed that multiple supernovae happened at distances of ˜100 pc, consisting of two main events: one at 1.7-3.2 million years ago, and the other at 6.5-8.7 million years ago. These events are said to be responsible for excavating the Local Bubble in the interstellar medium and depositing 60Fe on Earth and the Moon. Other events are indicated by effects in the local cosmic ray (CR) spectrum. Given this updated and refined picture, we ask whether such supernovae are expected to have had substantial effects on the terrestrial atmosphere and biota. In a first look at the most probable cases, combining photon and CR effects, we find that a supernova at 100 pc can have only a small effect on terrestrial organisms from visible light and that chemical changes such as ozone depletion are weak. However, tropospheric ionization right down to the ground, due to the penetration of ≥TeV CRs, will increase by nearly an order of magnitude for thousands of years, and irradiation by muons on the ground and in the upper ocean will increase twentyfold, which will approximately triple the overall radiation load on terrestrial organisms. Such irradiation has been linked to possible changes in climate and increased cancer and mutation rates. This may be related to a minor mass extinction around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, and further research on the effects is needed.

  15. TERRESTRIAL EFFECTS OF NEARBY SUPERNOVAE IN THE EARLY PLEISTOCENE

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, B. C.; Engler, E. E.; Kachelrieß, M.

    Recent results have strongly confirmed that multiple supernovae happened at distances of ∼100 pc, consisting of two main events: one at 1.7–3.2 million years ago, and the other at 6.5–8.7 million years ago. These events are said to be responsible for excavating the Local Bubble in the interstellar medium and depositing {sup 60}Fe on Earth and the Moon. Other events are indicated by effects in the local cosmic ray (CR) spectrum. Given this updated and refined picture, we ask whether such supernovae are expected to have had substantial effects on the terrestrial atmosphere and biota. In a first look atmore » the most probable cases, combining photon and CR effects, we find that a supernova at 100 pc can have only a small effect on terrestrial organisms from visible light and that chemical changes such as ozone depletion are weak. However, tropospheric ionization right down to the ground, due to the penetration of ≥TeV CRs, will increase by nearly an order of magnitude for thousands of years, and irradiation by muons on the ground and in the upper ocean will increase twentyfold, which will approximately triple the overall radiation load on terrestrial organisms. Such irradiation has been linked to possible changes in climate and increased cancer and mutation rates. This may be related to a minor mass extinction around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, and further research on the effects is needed.« less

  16. Neandertal and Denisovan DNA from Pleistocene sediments.

    PubMed

    Slon, Viviane; Hopfe, Charlotte; Weiß, Clemens L; Mafessoni, Fabrizio; de la Rasilla, Marco; Lalueza-Fox, Carles; Rosas, Antonio; Soressi, Marie; Knul, Monika V; Miller, Rebecca; Stewart, John R; Derevianko, Anatoly P; Jacobs, Zenobia; Li, Bo; Roberts, Richard G; Shunkov, Michael V; de Lumley, Henry; Perrenoud, Christian; Gušić, Ivan; Kućan, Željko; Rudan, Pavao; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Essel, Elena; Nagel, Sarah; Nickel, Birgit; Schmidt, Anna; Prüfer, Kay; Kelso, Janet; Burbano, Hernán A; Pääbo, Svante; Meyer, Matthias

    2017-05-12

    Although a rich record of Pleistocene human-associated archaeological assemblages exists, the scarcity of hominin fossils often impedes the understanding of which hominins occupied a site. Using targeted enrichment of mitochondrial DNA, we show that cave sediments represent a rich source of ancient mammalian DNA that often includes traces of hominin DNA, even at sites and in layers where no hominin remains have been discovered. By automation-assisted screening of numerous sediment samples, we detected Neandertal DNA in eight archaeological layers from four caves in Eurasia. In Denisova Cave, we retrieved Denisovan DNA in a Middle Pleistocene layer near the bottom of the stratigraphy. Our work opens the possibility of detecting the presence of hominin groups at sites and in areas where no skeletal remains are found. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  17. Way out of Africa: Early Pleistocene paleoenvironments inhabited by Homo erectus in Sangiran, Java.

    PubMed

    Bettis, E Arthur; Milius, Adrianne K; Carpenter, Scott J; Larick, Roy; Zaim, Yahdi; Rizal, Yan; Ciochon, Russell L; Tassier-Surine, Stephanie A; Murray, Daniel; Suminto; Bronto, Sutinko

    2009-01-01

    A sequence of paleosols in the Solo Basin, Central Java, Indonesia, documents the local and regional environments present when Homo erectus spread through Southeast Asia during the early Pleistocene. The earliest human immigrants encountered a low-relief lake-margin landscape dominated by moist grasslands with open woodlands in the driest landscape positions. By 1.5 Ma, large streams filled the lake and the landscape became more riverine in nature, with riparian forests, savanna, and open woodland. Paleosol morphology and carbon isotope values of soil organic matter and pedogenic carbonates indicate a long-term shift toward regional drying or increased duration of the annual dry season through the early Pleistocene. This suggests that an annual dry season associated with monsoon conditions was an important aspect of the paleoclimate in which early humans spread from Africa to Southeast Asia.

  18. Limestone percussion tools from the late Early Pleistocene sites of Barranco León and Fuente Nueva 3 (Orce, Spain).

    PubMed

    Barsky, Deborah; Vergès, Josep-María; Sala, Robert; Menéndez, Leticia; Toro-Moyano, Isidro

    2015-11-19

    In recent years, there is growing interest in the study of percussion scars and breakage patterns on hammerstones, cores and tools from Oldowan African and Eurasian lithic assemblages. Oldowan stone toolkits generally contain abundant small-sized flakes and their corresponding cores, and are characterized by their structural dichotomy of heavy- and light-duty tools. This paper explores the significance of the lesser known heavy-duty tool component, providing data from the late Lower Pleistocene sites of Barranco León and Fuente Nueva 3 (Orce, Spain), dated 1.4-1.2 Myr. Using quantitative and qualitative data from the large-sized limestone industries from these two major sites, we present a new methodology highlighting their morpho-technological features. In the light of the results, we discuss the shortfalls of extant classificatory methods for interpreting the role of percussive technology in early toolkits. This work is rooted in an experimental program designed to reproduce the wide range of percussion marks observed on the limestone artefacts from these two sites. A visual and descriptive reference is provided as an interpretative aid for future comparative research. Further experiments using a variety of materials and gestures are still needed before the elusive traces yield the secrets of the kinds of percussive activities carried out by hominins at these, and other, Oldowan sites. © 2015 The Author(s).

  19. Limestone percussion tools from the late Early Pleistocene sites of Barranco León and Fuente Nueva 3 (Orce, Spain)

    PubMed Central

    Barsky, Deborah; Vergès, Josep-María; Sala, Robert; Menéndez, Leticia; Toro-Moyano, Isidro

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, there is growing interest in the study of percussion scars and breakage patterns on hammerstones, cores and tools from Oldowan African and Eurasian lithic assemblages. Oldowan stone toolkits generally contain abundant small-sized flakes and their corresponding cores, and are characterized by their structural dichotomy of heavy- and light-duty tools. This paper explores the significance of the lesser known heavy-duty tool component, providing data from the late Lower Pleistocene sites of Barranco León and Fuente Nueva 3 (Orce, Spain), dated 1.4–1.2 Myr. Using quantitative and qualitative data from the large-sized limestone industries from these two major sites, we present a new methodology highlighting their morpho-technological features. In the light of the results, we discuss the shortfalls of extant classificatory methods for interpreting the role of percussive technology in early toolkits. This work is rooted in an experimental program designed to reproduce the wide range of percussion marks observed on the limestone artefacts from these two sites. A visual and descriptive reference is provided as an interpretative aid for future comparative research. Further experiments using a variety of materials and gestures are still needed before the elusive traces yield the secrets of the kinds of percussive activities carried out by hominins at these, and other, Oldowan sites. PMID:26483530

  20. Chronology for the Cueva Victoria fossil site (SE Spain): Evidence for Early Pleistocene Afro-Iberian dispersals.

    PubMed

    Gibert, Luis; Scott, Gary R; Scholz, Denis; Budsky, Alexander; Ferràndez, Carles; Ribot, Francesc; Martin, Robert A; Lería, María

    2016-01-01

    Cueva Victoria has provided remains of more than 90 species of fossil vertebrates, including a hominin phalanx, and the only specimens of the African cercopithecid Theropithecus oswaldi in Europe. To constrain the age of the vertebrate remains we used paleomagnetism, vertebrate biostratigraphy and (230)Th/U dating. Normal polarity was identified in the non-fossiliferous lowest and highest stratigraphic units (red clay and capping flowstones) while reverse polarity was found in the intermediate stratigraphic unit (fossiliferous breccia). A lower polarity change occurred during the deposition of the decalcification clay, when the cave was closed and karstification was active. A second polarity change occurred during the capping flowstone formation, when the upper galleries were filled with breccia. The mammal association indicates a post-Jaramillo age, which allows us to correlate this upper reversal with the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary (0.78 Ma). Consequently, the lower reversal (N-R) is interpreted as the end of the Jaramillo magnetochron (0.99 Ma). These ages bracket the age of the fossiliferous breccia between 0.99 and 0.78 Ma, suggesting that the capping flowstone was formed during the wet Marine Isotopic Stage 19, which includes the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary. Fossil remains of Theropithecus have been only found in situ ∼1 m below the B/M boundary, which allows us to place the arrival of Theropithecus to Cueva Victoria at ∼0.9-0.85 Ma. The fauna of Cueva Victoria lived during a period of important climatic change, known as the Early-Middle Pleistocene Climatic Transition. The occurrence of the oldest European Acheulean tools at the contemporaneous nearby site of Cueva Negra suggest an African dispersal into SE Iberia through the Strait of Gibraltar during MIS 22, when sea-level was ∼100 m below its present position, allowing the passage into Europe of, at least, Theropithecus and Homo bearing Acheulean technology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All

  1. A new Lower Pleistocene archeological site in Europe (Vallparadís, Barcelona, Spain)

    PubMed Central

    Martínez, Kenneth; Garcia, Joan; Carbonell, Eudald; Agustí, Jordi; Bahain, Jean-Jaques; Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Burjachs, Francesc; Cáceres, Isabel; Duval, Mathieu; Falguères, Christophe; Gómez, Manuel; Huguet, Rosa

    2010-01-01

    Here we report the discovery of a new late Lower Pleistocene site named Vallparadís (Barcelona, Spain) that produced a rich archeological and paleontological sequence dated from the upper boundary of the Jaramillo subchron to the early Middle Pleistocene. This deposit contained a main archeological layer with numerous artifacts and a rich macromammalian assemblage, some of which bore cut marks, that could indicate that hominins had access to carcasses. Paleomagnetic analysis, electron spin resonance-uranium series (ESR-US), and the biostratigraphic chronological position of the macro- and micromammal and lithic assemblages of this layer reinforce the proposal that hominins inhabited Europe during the Lower Pleistocene. The archeological sequence provides key information on the successful adaptation of European hominins that preceded the well-known fossil population from Atapuerca and succeeded the finds from Orce basin. Hence, this discovery enables us to close a major chronological gap in the early prehistory of Iberia. According to the information in this paper and the available data from these other sites, we propose that Mediterranean Western Europe was repeatedly and perhaps continuously occupied during the late Matuyama chron. PMID:20231433

  2. Evidence for Early Pleistocene Glaciation obtained from borecores collected in East-Central Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barendregt, R. W.; Andriashek, L. D.; Jackson, L. E.

    2014-12-01

    Borecores collected from the east-central region of Alberta, Canada have recently been sub-sampled and studied for paleomagnetic remanence characteristics. A preliminary magnetostratigraphy has been established for sediments previously assumed to represent multiple continental (Laurentide) glaciations, but for which no geochronology was available for the pre-late Wisconsin units. Comprised primarily of tills and lesser thicknesses of interbedded glacio-lacustrine and outwash sediments, the record is extensive, reaching to thicknesses of 300 metres within buried valleys. Most of the sampled units are not accessible from outcrop, and their sedimentology and stratigraphy is derived from core data only. The lowermost tills are reversely magnetized in the majority of borecores sampled to date. These tills are underlain by Empress Formation sediments and/or Colorado Group shales, and overlain by normally magnetized sediments. Both tills contain substantial weathering horizons at their surface, suggesting that interglacial or nonglacial conditions persisted for some time after each period of till deposition. Whether these tills represent a single Early Pleistocene glaciation, or perhaps two, will require additional borecore measurements. This new record of Early Pleistocene glaciation(s) in east-central Alberta places the westernmost extent of earliest Laurentide ice some 300 km farther westward from its previously established limit in the Saskatoon to Regina region of the western Canadian prairies, but still well short of the all-time limit and elevation reached during the Late Wisconsin (Late Pleistocene) in the foothills of the Alberta and Montana Rocky Mountains. Key Words: East-Central Alberta glacial history, Early Pleistocene (Laurentide) glaciation, till magnetostratigraphy, Quaternary history of Western Canadian Prairies, continental glaciations of North America.

  3. Termites in the hominin diet: a meta-analysis of termite genera, species and castes as a dietary supplement for South African robust australopithecines.

    PubMed

    Lesnik, Julie J

    2014-06-01

    Termite foraging by chimpanzees and present-day modern humans is a well-documented phenomenon, making it a plausible hypothesis that early hominins were also utilizing this resource. Hominin termite foraging has been credited by some to be the explanation for the unexpected carbon isotope signatures present in South African hominin teeth, which suggest the diet was different from that of extant non-human great apes, consisting of a significant amount of resources that are not from woody-plants. Grass-eating termites are one potential resource that could contribute to the carbon signature. However, not all termites eat grasses, and in fact, the termites that are most widely consumed by chimpanzees and by many present-day human populations at best have a mixed diet that includes small amounts of grasses. Here I review the ecology of termites and how it affects their desirability as a food resource for hominins, and conduct a meta-analysis of nutritional values for various genera, species and castes from the literature. Termites are very diverse, even within species, and this variability affects both their carbon signatures and nutritional value, hindering generalizations regarding the contribution of termites to the hominin diet. It is concluded here that a combination of soldiers and alates of the genus Macrotermes be used to model the insectivory component of the Plio-Pleistocene hominin diet due to their significant amounts of energy-yielding nutrients and potential role as a critical resource for supporting larger-brained hominins. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  4. An early to mid-Pleistocene deep Arctic Ocean ostracode fauna with North Atlantic affinities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeNinno, Lauren H.; Cronin, Thomas M.; Rodriquez-Lazaro, J.; Brenner, Alec R.

    2015-01-01

    An early to middle Pleistocene ostracode fauna was discovered in sediment core P1-93-AR-23 (P23, 76.95°N, 155.07°W) from 951 meter water depth from the Northwind Ridge, western Arctic Ocean. Piston core P23 yielded more than 30,000 specimens and a total of about 30 species. Several early to mid-Pleistocene species in the genera Krithe,Echinocythereis, Pterygocythereis, and Arcacythere are now extinct in the Arctic and show taxonomic affinities to North Atlantic Ocean species. Our results suggest that there was a major ostracode faunal turnover during the global climate transitions known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT, ~ 1.2 to 0.7 Ma) and the Mid-Brunhes Event (MBE, ~ 400 ka) reflecting the development of perennial sea ice during interglacial periods and large ice shelves during glacial periods over the last 400,000 years.

  5. Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Persistent Hominin Carnivory

    PubMed Central

    Ferraro, Joseph V.; Plummer, Thomas W.; Pobiner, Briana L.; Oliver, James S.; Bishop, Laura C.; Braun, David R.; Ditchfield, Peter W.; Seaman, John W.; Binetti, Katie M.; Seaman, John W.; Hertel, Fritz; Potts, Richard

    2013-01-01

    The emergence of lithic technology by ∼2.6 million years ago (Ma) is often interpreted as a correlate of increasingly recurrent hominin acquisition and consumption of animal remains. Associated faunal evidence, however, is poorly preserved prior to ∼1.8 Ma, limiting our understanding of early archaeological (Oldowan) hominin carnivory. Here, we detail three large well-preserved zooarchaeological assemblages from Kanjera South, Kenya. The assemblages date to ∼2.0 Ma, pre-dating all previously published archaeofaunas of appreciable size. At Kanjera, there is clear evidence that Oldowan hominins acquired and processed numerous, relatively complete, small ungulate carcasses. Moreover, they had at least occasional access to the fleshed remains of larger, wildebeest-sized animals. The overall record of hominin activities is consistent through the stratified sequence – spanning hundreds to thousands of years – and provides the earliest archaeological evidence of sustained hominin involvement with fleshed animal remains (i.e., persistent carnivory), a foraging adaptation central to many models of hominin evolution. PMID:23637995

  6. New radiocarbon dates for terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene settlements in West Turkana, northern Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beyin, Amanuel; Prendergast, Mary E.; Grillo, Katherine M.; Wang, Hong

    2017-07-01

    The Turkana Basin in northern Kenya is located in an environmentally sensitive region along the eastern African Rift system. Lake Turkana's sensitivity to fluctuations in precipitation makes this an ideal place to study prehistoric human adaptations during key climatic transitions. Here we present eleven radiocarbon dates from two recently excavated sites in West Turkana, Kokito 01 and Kokito 02. The sites span the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, a time of fluctuating lake levels and novel cultural responses within the region. Several scenarios are laid out for the interpretation of site chronologies, and these are discussed with reference to the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene chronological record for the region. Given the paucity of well-dated sites from this timespan in the Turkana Basin, the new radiocarbon dates are an important step toward establishing human settlement history and associated cultural developments in the region.

  7. Synchrotron radiation reveals the identity of the large felid from Monte Argentario (Early Pleistocene, Italy).

    PubMed

    Cherin, Marco; Iurino, Dawid A; Zanatta, Marco; Fernandez, Vincent; Paciaroni, Alessandro; Petrillo, Caterina; Rettori, Roberto; Sardella, Raffaele

    2018-05-29

    We describe here a partial skull with associated mandible of a large felid from Monte Argentario, Italy (Early Pleistocene; ~1.5 million years). Propagation x-ray phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography of the specimen, still partially embedded in the rock matrix, allows ascribing it reliably to Acinonyx pardinensis, one of the most intriguing extinct carnivorans of the Old World Plio-Pleistocene. The analysis of images and 3D models obtained through synchrotron microtomography - here applied for the first time on a Plio-Pleistocene carnivoran - reveals a mosaic of cheetah-like and Panthera-like features, with the latter justifying previous attributions of the fossil to the extinct Eurasian jaguar Panthera gombaszoegensis. Similarly, we reassign to A. pardinensis some other Italian materials previously referred to P. gombaszoegensis (sites of Pietrafitta and Ellera di Corciano). The recognition of Panthera-like characters in A. pardinensis leads to reconsidering the ecological role of this species, whose hunting strategy was likely to be different from those of the living cheetah. Furthermore, we hypothesise that the high intraspecific variation in body size in A. pardinensis can be the result of sexual dimorphism, as observed today in all large-sized felids.

  8. Early-Middle Pleistocene environmental changes and human evolution in the Italian peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manzi, Giorgio; Magri, Donatella; Palombo, Maria Rita

    2011-06-01

    This paper is aimed to elucidate the ecological scenario in Italy in the Early to Middle Pleistocene, when species of the genus Homo are known to spread across Europe in two distinct waves: earlier than 1.2 Ma and at about 600 ka, respectively. This topic represents both (1) a fundamental aspect for a better understanding of the factors that allowed humans to colonize the middle latitudes of Eurasia, and (2) a reasonable frontier for current Quaternary palaeobiology, thanks to increasing knowledge of regional and local patterns. As for Italy, a combination of palaeobotanical and palaeontological data sets shows on the one hand a general complexity in both space and time, and on the other hand changes of considerable importance within and among the biological communities. These changes had a major importance during the worldwide change in the Earth climatic system known as "Middle Pleistocene Revolution", which according to our data culminates with crucial effects of the extreme conditions of MIS 16. Subsequently, during great part of the Middle Pleistocene, the peculiar features of the Italian territory may have favoured isolation and a local persistence of plant populations and possibly mammal taxa, humans included, as for instance suggested by the corrected chronology of the Ceprano calvarium.

  9. Hominin Hip Biomechanics: Changing Perspectives.

    PubMed

    Warrener, Anna G

    2017-05-01

    The shape of the human pelvis reflects the unique demands placed on the hip abductor muscles (gluteus medius and gluteus minimus), which stabilize the body in the frontal plane during bipedal locomotion. This morphological shift occurred early in hominin evolution, yet important shape differences between hominin species have led to significant disagreement about abductor function and locomotor capability in these extinct taxa. A static biomechanical model that relies on a close association between skeletal measurements of the pelvis and femur has traditionally been used to reconstruct hip biomechanics in these species. However, experimental biomechanical approaches have highlighted the dynamic nature of mediolateral balance in walking and running, challenging the assumptions of the static hip model. This article reviews traditional approaches for understanding hip abductor function, shows how they have been applied to the fossil hominin record, and discusses new techniques that integrate the dynamic nature of mediolateral balance during human locomotion. Anat Rec, 300:932-945, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. Terrestrial nest-building by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): implications for the tree-to-ground sleep transition in early hominins.

    PubMed

    Koops, Kathelijne; McGrew, William C; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro; Knapp, Leslie A

    2012-07-01

    Nest-building is a great ape universal and arboreal nesting in chimpanzees and bonobos suggests that the common ancestor of Pan and Homo also nested in trees. It has been proposed that arboreal nest-building remained the prevailing pattern until Homo erectus, a fully terrestrial biped, emerged. We investigated the unusual occurrence of ground-nesting in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), which may inform on factors influencing the tree-to-ground sleep transition in the hominin lineage. We used a novel genetic approach to examine ground-nesting in unhabituated chimpanzees at Seringbara in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea. Previous research showed that ground-nesting at Seringbara was not ecologically determined. Here, we tested a possible mate-guarding function of ground-nesting by analyzing DNA from shed hairs collected from ground nests and tree nests found in close proximity. We examined whether or not ground-nesting was a group-level behavioral pattern and whether or not it occurred in more than one community. We used multiple genetic markers to identify sex and to examine variation in mitochondrial DNA control region (HV1, HV2) sequences. Ground-nesting was a male-biased behavior and males constructed more elaborate ("night") nests than simple ("day") nests on the ground. The mate-guarding hypothesis was not supported, as ground and associated tree nests were built either by maternally-related males or possibly by the same individuals. Ground-nesting was widespread and likely habitual in two communities. We suggest that terrestrial nest-building may have already occurred in arboreally-adapted early hominins before the emergence of H. erectus. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Virtual reconstruction of the Early Pleistocene mandible ATD6-96 from Gran Dolina-TD6-2 (Sierra De Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martín-Francés, Laura; Modesto-Mata, Mario; Martínez de Pinillos, Marina; Martinón-Torres, María; García-Campos, Cecilia; Carretero, José Miguel

    2016-04-01

    In this report, we present a further study of the late Early Pleistocene ATD6-96 human mandible, recovered from the TD6-2 level of the Gran Dolina cave site (Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain) and attributed to Homo antecessor. ATD6-96 consists of a left half of a gracile mandible of an adult individual with the premolars and molars in place that is broken at the level of the lateral incisor-canine septum. The present analysis is based on a virtual reconstruction of the whole mandible by means of computed tomography (CT). We have reconstructed the symphysis using information from a modern human sample, as well as from a wide sample composed of several Homo specimens. This research has allowed us to record new variables with taxonomic and phylogenetic interest. We have estimated the length/width index of the alveolar arcade, as well as the percentage of the arcade length with regard to the total length. The latter confirms that ATD6-96 shares with all African and Asian Homo species a primitive structural pattern, as it was established in previous studies. In constrast, the length/width index of the alveolar arcade in the H. antecessor specimen is close to the mean values of Neandertals and the Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos hominins. H. antecessor is derived regarding the shape of the mandibular alveolar arcade within the genus Homo and points to an early divergence from contemporaneous African populations. Our results also ratify the affinities of H. antecessor with Neanderthals, although the precise relationship with this lineage needs further research. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Discontinuity of Human Presence at Atapuerca during the Early Middle Pleistocene: A Matter of Ecological Competition?

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Gómez, Guillermo; Mateos, Ana; Martín-González, Jesús Angel; Blasco, Ruth; Rosell, Jordi; Rodríguez, Jesús

    2014-01-01

    Increasing evidence suggests that the European human settlement is older than 1.2 Ma. However, there is a fierce debate about the continuity or discontinuity of the early human settlement of Europe. In particular, evidence of human presence in the interval 0.7−0.5 Ma is scarce in comparison with evidence for the previous and later periods. Here, we present a case study in which the environmental conditions at Sierra de Atapuerca in the early Middle Pleistocene, a period without evidence of human presence, are compared with the conditions in the previous period, for which a relatively intense human occupation is documented. With this objective in mind, the available resources for a human population and the intensity of competition between secondary consumers during the two periods are compared using a mathematical model. The Gran Dolina site TD8 level, dated to 0.7−0.6 Ma, is taken as representative of the period during which Atapuerca was apparently not occupied by humans. Conditions at TD8 are compared with those of the previous period, represented by the TD6-2 level, which has yielded abundant evidence of intense human occupation. The results show that survival opportunities for a hypothetical human population were lower at TD8 than they were at TD6-2. Increased resource competition between secondary consumers arises as a possible explanation for the absence of human occupation at Atapuerca in the early Middle Pleistocene. PMID:25054305

  13. Discontinuity of human presence at Atapuerca during the early Middle Pleistocene: a matter of ecological competition?

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Gómez, Guillermo; Mateos, Ana; Martín-González, Jesús Angel; Blasco, Ruth; Rosell, Jordi; Rodríguez, Jesús

    2014-01-01

    Increasing evidence suggests that the European human settlement is older than 1.2 Ma. However, there is a fierce debate about the continuity or discontinuity of the early human settlement of Europe. In particular, evidence of human presence in the interval 0.7-0.5 Ma is scarce in comparison with evidence for the previous and later periods. Here, we present a case study in which the environmental conditions at Sierra de Atapuerca in the early Middle Pleistocene, a period without evidence of human presence, are compared with the conditions in the previous period, for which a relatively intense human occupation is documented. With this objective in mind, the available resources for a human population and the intensity of competition between secondary consumers during the two periods are compared using a mathematical model. The Gran Dolina site TD8 level, dated to 0.7-0.6 Ma, is taken as representative of the period during which Atapuerca was apparently not occupied by humans. Conditions at TD8 are compared with those of the previous period, represented by the TD6-2 level, which has yielded abundant evidence of intense human occupation. The results show that survival opportunities for a hypothetical human population were lower at TD8 than they were at TD6-2. Increased resource competition between secondary consumers arises as a possible explanation for the absence of human occupation at Atapuerca in the early Middle Pleistocene.

  14. A leaf wax biomarker record of early Pleistocene hydroclimate from West Turkana, Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupien, R. L.; Russell, J. M.; Feibel, C.; Beck, C.; Castañeda, I.; Deino, A.; Cohen, A. S.

    2018-04-01

    Climate is thought to play a critical role in human evolution; however, this hypothesis is difficult to test due to a lack of long, high-quality paleoclimate records from key hominin fossil locales. To address this issue, we analyzed organic geochemical indicators of climate in a drill core from West Turkana, Kenya that spans ∼1.9-1.4 Ma, an interval that includes several important hominin evolutionary transitions. We analyzed the hydrogen isotopic composition of terrestrial plant waxes (δDwax) to reconstruct orbital-timescale changes in regional hydrology and their relationship with global climate forcings and the hominin fossil record. Our data indicate little change in the long-term mean hydroclimate during this interval, in contrast to inferred changes in the level of Lake Turkana, suggesting that lake level may be responding dominantly to deltaic progradation or tectonically-driven changes in basin configuration as opposed to hydroclimate. Time-series spectral analyses of the isotopic data reveal strong precession-band (21 kyr) periodicity, indicating that regional hydroclimate was strongly affected by changes in insolation. We observe an interval of particularly high-amplitude hydrologic variation at ∼1.7 Ma, which occurs during a time of high orbital eccentricity hence large changes in processionally-driven insolation amplitude. This interval overlaps with multiple hominin species turnovers, the appearance of new stone tool technology, and hominin dispersal out of Africa, supporting the notion that climate variability played an important role in hominin evolution.

  15. Mineralogical evidence of reduced East Asian summer monsoon rainfall on the Chinese loess plateau during the early Pleistocene interglacials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meng, Xianqiang; Liu, Lianwen; Wang, Xingchen T.; Balsam, William; Chen, Jun; Ji, Junfeng

    2018-03-01

    The East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) is an important component of the global climate system. A better understanding of EASM rainfall variability in the past can help constrain climate models and better predict the response of EASM to ongoing global warming. The warm early Pleistocene, a potential analog of future climate, is an important period to study EASM dynamics. However, existing monsoon proxies for reconstruction of EASM rainfall during the early Pleistocene fail to disentangle monsoon rainfall changes from temperature variations, complicating the comparison of these monsoon records with climate models. Here, we present three 2.6 million-year-long EASM rainfall records from the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) based on carbonate dissolution, a novel proxy for rainfall intensity. These records show that the interglacial rainfall on the CLP was lower during the early Pleistocene and then gradually increased with global cooling during the middle and late Pleistocene. These results are contrary to previous suggestions that a warmer climate leads to higher monsoon rainfall on tectonic timescales. We propose that the lower interglacial EASM rainfall during the early Pleistocene was caused by reduced sea surface temperature gradients across the equatorial Pacific, providing a testable hypothesis for climate models.

  16. Reconstructing the palaeoenvironments of the early Pleistocene mammal faunas from the pollen preserved on fossil bones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ravazzi, Cesare; Pini, Roberta; Breda, Marzia

    2009-12-01

    We carried out a systematic investigation on the pollen content of sediment adhering to skeletal elements of large mammals which originate from the long lacustrine record of Leffe (Early Pleistocene of the Italian Alps). Three local faunas were discovered during mining activities along the intermediate part (spanning from 1.5 to 0.95 Ma) of the basin succession. The excellent pollen preservation allowed testing the reproducibility of the pollen signal from single skeletons. A clear palaeoenvironmental patterning, consistent with the ecological preferences of the considered mammal species, emerged from the canonical correspondence analysis of pollen types diagnostic for vegetation communities. Edaphic factors related to seasonal river activity changes and to the development of swamp forests in the riverbanks are significantly associated to the occurrences of Hippopotamus cf. antiquus, whereas finds of Mammuthus meridionalis belong to fully forested landscapes dominated by conifer or mixed forests of oceanic, warm to cool-temperate climate. Rhinoceros habitats include variable forest cover under different climate states. Distinct cool-temperate, partially open vegetation could be recognized for large deer included Cervalces cf carnutorum. A palynostratigraphic correlation between individual spectra and a reference palynostratigraphic record allowed assignment of many fossil remains to a precise stratigraphic position. This procedure also shown that the Leffe local faunas include specimens accumulated under different environmental and climate states, as a consequence of high-frequency climate changes characterizing the Late Villafranchian Early Pleistocene.

  17. Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Evidence of Prostatic Stones at Al Khiday Cemetery, Central Sudan

    PubMed Central

    Usai, Donatella

    2017-01-01

    The recovery of three stone-like ovoid objects within the burial of a pre-Mesolithic (Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene) individual at Al Khiday cemetery (Central Sudan) raises the question of the nature and origin of these objects. The position in which the objects were found in relation to the human skeleton suggested a pathological condition affecting the individual, possibly urinary bladder, kidney stones or gallstones. To solve this issue, a multi-analytical approach, consisting of tomographic, microstructural and compositional analyses, was therefore performed. Based on their microstructure and mineralogical composition, consisting of hydroxylapatite and whitlockite, the investigated stones were identified as primary (endogenous) prostatic calculi. In addition, the occurrence of bacterial imprints also indicates on-going infectious processes in the individual. This discovery of the earliest known case of lithiasis extends the appearance of prostatic stones into the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene, a disease which therefore can no longer be considered exclusive to the modern era, but which also affected prehistoric individuals, whose lifestyle and diet were significantly different to our own. PMID:28122013

  18. Early and Middle Pleistocene vegetation history of the Médoc region, southwest France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Brien, C. E.; Jones, R. L.

    2003-09-01

    Pleistocene deposits, together with their pollen, plant macrofossil, foraminiferal, dinoflagellate and coleopteran remains, from five sites along the Atlantic coast of the Médoc Peninsula are described and discussed. Sediments making up the Négade Formation are shown to have been laid down under either estuarine or lagoonal conditions when closed Quercus-Pinus-Tsuga canadensis regional woodland existed. Comparison with plant records from The Netherlands indicates that these deposits are most likely attributable to either the Early Pleistocene Bavel Interglacial (marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 31), or an interglacial of the Waalian (MIS 37-49) or Tiglian (MIS 63-79). In addition, clays assigned to the Argiles du Gurp sensu stricto, were similarly deposited in either an estuary or lagoon, which subsequently was cut off from the sea. A freshwater lake with vegetation dominated by Azolla filiculoides then developed. This was succeeded by reedswamp and an organic mud (termed Lignite in the corresponding French stratigraphical records) formed. Regional Quercus-Abies woodland was replaced by one with Pinus dominant and Pterocarya a minor component. Comparison with plant records from France and other parts of Europe suggest that the clays and organic mud might be correlated with the Holsteinian (Praclaux) Interglacial (MIS 11c). Copyright

  19. Evolution of middle-late Pleistocene human cranio-facial form: a 3-D approach.

    PubMed

    Harvati, Katerina; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Gunz, Philipp

    2010-11-01

    The classification and phylogenetic relationships of the middle Pleistocene human fossil record remains one of the most intractable problems in paleoanthropology. Several authors have noted broad resemblances between European and African fossils from this period, suggesting a single taxon ancestral to both modern humans and Neanderthals. Others point out 'incipient' Neanderthal features in the morphology of the European sample and have argued for their inclusion in the Neanderthal lineage exclusively, following a model of accretionary evolution of Neanderthals. We approach these questions using geometric morphometric methods which allow the intuitive visualization and quantification of features previously described qualitatively. We apply these techniques to evaluate proposed cranio-facial 'incipient' facial, vault, and basicranial traits in a middle-late Pleistocene European hominin sample when compared to a sample of the same time depth from Africa. Some of the features examined followed the predictions of the accretion model and relate the middle Pleistocene European material to the later Neanderthals. However, although our analysis showed a clear separation between Neanderthals and early/recent modern humans and morphological proximity between European specimens from OIS 7 to 3, it also shows that the European hominins from the first half of the middle Pleistocene still shared most of their cranio-facial architecture with their African contemporaries. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Latest Early Pleistocene remains of Lynx pardinus (Carnivora, Felidae) from the Iberian Peninsula: Taxonomy and evolutionary implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boscaini, Alberto; Alba, David M.; Beltrán, Juan F.; Moyà-Solà, Salvador; Madurell-Malapeira, Joan

    2016-07-01

    The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a critically endangered felid that, during the last fifty years, has been subject to an intensive conservation program in an attempt to save it from extinction. This species is first recorded at ca. 1.7-1.6 Ma (late Villafranchian, late Early Pleistocene) in NE Iberian Peninsula, roughly coinciding with the large faunal turnover that occurred around the middle to late Villafranchian boundary. Here we describe the largest collection of L. pardinus remains available to date from the Iberian late Early Pleistocene (Epivillafranchian), including localities from the Vallparadís Section (Vallès-Penedès Basin, NE Iberian Peninsula) and Cueva Victoria (Cartagena, SE Iberian Peninsula). The morphology and biometry of the studied material attests to the widespread occurrence of L. pardinus in the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula since the latest Early Pleistocene, i.e., about 0.5 million years earlier than it was generally accepted (i.e., at the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene). Based on the features observed in the large sample studied in this paper, we conclude that Lynx spelaeus is a junior synonym of L. pardinus and further propose to assign all the Epivillafranchian and younger fossil lynxes from SW Europe to the extant species L. pardinus. Due to the arrival of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) into Europe at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene, the attribution of specimens younger than MIS 5e to either this species or L. pardinus solely on morphological grounds has proven equivocal. Here we discuss the main diagnostic features of both species of European lynxes and further review their evolutionary history and paleobiogeography throughout the Pleistocene.

  1. Latest Early Pleistocene wolf-like canids from the Iberian Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartolini Lucenti, Saverio; Alba, David M.; Rook, Lorenzo; Moyà-Solà, Salvador; Madurell-Malapeira, Joan

    2017-04-01

    Several species of the genus Canis (Carnivora: Canidae) have been recorded from the European Early Pleistocene, but the phylogenetic relationships among them and in relation to extant members of this genus are still unclear. This is particularly true for the medium-sized and wolf-like extinct species Canis mosbachensis. It has been considered by many researchers as a descendant of the larger Canis etruscus and as a likely putative ancestor of extant wolves (Canis lupus). Other scholars, in contrast, have advocated instead for a closer relationship between C. mosbachensis and the extinct Canis arnensis, and even a close relationship between C. mosbachensis and C. lupus has been questioned. Here we describe the previously unpublished medium-sized Canis remains from the late Early Pleistocene site of Vallparadís Estació, along with additional new Canis material from the roughly coeval site of Cueva Victoria (both in the Iberian Peninsula), and compare them qualitatively and morphometrically with both extant and extinct species of this genus. The described material most closely resembles in craniodental size and shape the remains from Central and Southern Europe that have been previously assigned to C. mosbachensis, to which they are hence formally attributed. The excellent preservation of the newly described specimens (which include the most complete skull of this taxon) enables the description of features previously unknown for this species, which further support a close phylogenetic link with living wolves. Based on the described material, we review the role played by C. mosbachensis in the evolutionary history of European fossil canids, and conclude that this extinct species is most closely related to C. lupus and other closely-allied species, such as Canis anthus and Canis latrans.

  2. New foot remains from the Gran Dolina-TD6 Early Pleistocene site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).

    PubMed

    Pablos, Adrián; Lorenzo, Carlos; Martínez, Ignacio; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Carbonell, Eudald; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2012-10-01

    This paper presents and describes new foot fossils from the species Homo antecessor, found in level TD6 of the site of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain). These new fossils consist of an almost complete left talus (ATD6-95) and the proximal three-quarters of a right fourth metatarsal (ATD6-124). The talus ATD6-95 is tentatively assigned to Hominin 10 of the TD6 sample, an adult male specimen with which the second metatarsal ATD6-70+107 (already published) is also tentatively associated. Analysis of these fossils and other postcranial remains has made possible to estimate a stature similar to those of the specimens from the Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain). The morphology of the TD6 metatarsals does not differ significantly from that of modern humans, Neanderthals and the specimens from Sima de los Huesos. Talus ATD6-95, however, differs from the rest of the comparative samples in being long and high, having a long and wide trochlea, and displaying a proportionally short neck. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. (40)Ar/(39)Ar dating of Bed I, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and the chronology of early Pleistocene climate change.

    PubMed

    Deino, Alan L

    2012-08-01

    (40)Ar/(39)Ar dating of tuffs and lavas of the late Pleistocene volcanic and sedimentary sequence of Olduvai Gorge, north-central Tanzania, provides the basis for a revision of Bed I chronostratigraphy. Bed I extends from immediately above the Naabi Ignimbrite at 2.038 ± 0.005 Ma to Tuff IF at 1.803 ± 0.002 Ma. Tuff IB, a prominent widespread marker tuff in the basin and a key to understanding hominin evolutionary chronologies and paleoclimate histories, has an age of 1.848 ± 0.003 Ma. The largest lake expansion event in the closed Olduvai lake basin during Bed I times encompassed the episode of eruption and emplacement of this tuff. This lake event is nearly coincident with the maximum precessional insolation peak of the entire Bed I/Lower Bed II interval, calculated from an astronomical model of the boreal summer orbital insolation time-series. The succeeding precessional peak also apparently coincides with the next youngest expansion of paleo-Lake Olduvai. The extreme wet/dry climate shifts seen in the upper part of Bed I occur during an Earth-orbital eccentricity maximum, similar to episodic lake expansions documented elsewhere in the East African Rift during the Neogene. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Possible linkage between supernovae, increased terrestrial lightning, and wildfire activity in the Late Miocene and Early Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, B. C.; Feulner, G.; Melott, A. L.; Kirsten, T.; von Bloh, W.

    2017-12-01

    Radioisotopes from deep-sea deposits show that Earth was affected by nearby supernovae about 2.5 and 8 million years ago. Recent modelling work shows that high-energy particles from these events resulted in greatly enhanced ionization of the troposphere. This could have led to an increase in wildfires via more frequent lightning. Here we show that published data on global fire activity from charcoal records reveal a marked increase in wildfires around the times of the supernova explosions. We use a dynamic global vegetation model to assess the impact of increased lightning frequency on vegetation patterns, finding a patchy global decrease in tree cover. Regionally, vegetation changes are particularly pronounced in western North America, the Mediterranean, Central Asia, Northern Indochina, subtropical South America, Africa and Australia, and notably East Africa, in agreement with empirical evidence for a global shift towards savannas during the Pleistocene. Our results demonstrate that moderately nearby supernovae have the potential to affect life on Earth even if they are too distant to initiate a mass extinction. Finally, we note that the shift from forest to savannah biomes in the East African Rift Valley region has been tentatively linked to hominin evolution in this region.

  5. Replicating the Ice-Volume Signal of the Early Pleistocene with a Complex Earth System Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tabor, C. R.; Poulsen, C. J.; Pollard, D.

    2013-12-01

    Milankovitch theory proposes high-latitude summer insolation intensity paces the ice ages by controlling perennial snow cover amounts (Milankovitch, 1941). According to theory, the ~21 kyr cycle of precession should dominate the ice-volume records since it has the greatest influence on high-latitude summer insolation. Modeling experiments frequently support Milankovitch theory by attributing the majority of Northern Hemisphere high-latitude summer snowmelt to changes in the cycle of precession (e.g. Jackson and Broccoli, 2003). However, ice-volume proxy records, especially those of the Early Pleistocene (2.6-0.8 Ma), display variability with a period of ~41 kyr (Raymo and Lisiecki, 2005), indicative of insolation forcing from obliquity, which has a much smaller influence on summer insolation intensity than precession. Several hypotheses attempt to explain the discrepancies between Milkankovitch theory and the proxy records by invoking phenomena such as insolation gradients (Raymo and Nisancioglu, 2003), hemispheric offset (Raymo et al., 2006; Lee and Poulsen, 2009), and integrated summer energy (Huybers, 2006); however, all of these hypotheses contain caveats (Ruddiman, 2006) and have yet to be supported by modeling studies that use a complex GCM. To explore potential solutions to this '41 kyr problem,' we use an Earth system model composed of the GENESIS GCM and Land Surface model, the BIOME4 vegetation model, and the Pennsylvania State ice-sheet model. Using an asynchronous coupling technique, we run four idealized transient combinations of obliquity and precession, representing the orbital extremes of the Pleistocene (Berger and Loutre, 1991). Each experiment is run through several complete orbital cycles with a dynamic ice domain spanning North America and Greenland, and fixed preindustrial greenhouse-gas concentrations. For all orbital configurations, model results produce greater ice-volume spectral power at the frequency of obliquity despite significantly

  6. Modeling the imprint of Milankovitch cycles on early Pleistocene ice volume

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roychowdhury, R.; DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.

    2017-12-01

    Global climate during Quaternary and Late Pliocene (present-3.1 Ma) is characterized by alternating glacial and interglacial conditions. Several proposed theories associate these cycles with variations in the Earth's orbital configuration. In this study, we attempt to address the anomalously strong obliquity forcing in the Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene ice volume records (41 kyr world), which stands in sharp contrast to the primary cyclicity of insolation, which is at precessional periods (23 kyr). Model results from GCM simulations show that at low eccentricities (e<0.015), the effect of precession is minimal, and the integrated insolation metrics (such as summer metric, PDD, etc.) vary in-phase between the two hemispheres. At higher eccentricities (e>0.015), precessional response is important, and the insolation metrics vary out-of-phase between the two hemispheres. Using simulations from a GCM-driven ice sheet model, we simulate time continuous ice volume changes from Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Under eccentricities lower than 0.015, ice sheets in both hemispheres respond only to obliquity cycle, and grow and melt together (in-phase). If the ice sheet is simulated with eccentricity higher than 0.015, both hemispheres become more sensitive to precessional variation, and vary out-of-phase with each other, which is consistent with proxy observations from the late Pleistocene glaciations. We use the simulated ice volumes from 2.0 to 1.0 ma to empirically calculate global benthic δ18O variations based on the assumption that relationships between collapse and growth of ice-sheets and sea level is linear and symmetric and that the isotopic signature of the individual ice-sheets has not changed with time. Our modeled global benthic δ18O values are broadly consistent with the paleoclimate proxy records such as the LR04 stack.

  7. Subsistence strategies in Argentina during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martínez, Gustavo; Gutiérrez, María A.; Messineo, Pablo G.; Kaufmann, Cristian A.; Rafuse, Daniel J.

    2016-07-01

    This paper highlights regional and temporal variation in the presence and exploitation of faunal resources from different regions of Argentina during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Specifically, the faunal analysis considered here includes the zooarchaeological remains from all sites older than 7500 14C years BP. We include quantitative information for each reported species (genus, family, or order) and we use the number of identified specimens (NISP per taxon and the NISPtotal by sites) as the quantitative measure of taxonomic abundance. The taxonomic richness (Ntaxatotal and Ntaxaexploited) and the taxonomic heterogeneity or Shannon-Wiener index are estimated in order to consider dietary generalization or specialization, and ternary diagrams are used to categorize subsistence patterns of particular sites and regions. The archaeological database is composed of 78 sites which are represented by 110 stratigraphic contexts. Our results demonstrate that although some quantitative differences between regions are observed, artiodactyls (camelids and deer) were the most frequently consumed animal resource in Argentina. Early hunter-gatherers did not follow a specialized predation strategy in megamammals. A variety in subsistence systems, operating in parallel with a strong regional emphasis is shown, according to specific environmental conditions and cultural trajectories.

  8. Early Pleistocene Climate in Western Arid Central Asia Inferred from Loess-Palaeosol Sequences in North Iran

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, X.; Wei, H.; Khormali, F.; Taheri, M.; Danukalova, G.; Chen, F.

    2016-12-01

    Arid central Asia (ACA) is one of the most arid regions in the mid-latitudes and one of the main potential dust sources for the northern hemisphere. The relatively weak study of Pleistocene loess/dust records from in situ ACA hinders our comprehensive understanding of the spatio-temporal record of aeolian loess accumulation and long term climatic changes in Asia as a whole. The northern Iran is located in the westernmost part of ACA. The precipitation here is mainly influenced by the zonal Westerlies, while the dust is mainly transported by regional westerly and northwest-northeasterly winds. Previous loess study in northern Iran demonstrate that most of the loess deposits in this region accumulated during the middle to late Pleistocene, and that the palaeosol and loess layers formed during interglacial and glacial periods, respectively. However, the Early Pleistocene loess and paleoclimate history in this key region remains porely constraints. In this work we focus on the chronology, sedimentology, and paleoclimatic records of the early Pleistocene loess-paleosol sequence in north Iran. Multi-sedimentological evidence suggests the widely distributed red-coloured silt-dominated sediments, unconformably underlying the upper Pleistocene loess successions, in north Iran are aeolian in origin. The dominance of the coarse dust component in the loess samples suggests the main body of the Iranian loess was transported predominantly by the local low-level winds from proximal source regions. Magnetostratigraphy with biostratigraphic age constraints indiciate the red-colored loess accumulated between 2.4 and 1.81 Ma, an equivalent of the Wucheng formation on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Paleoclimatic proxy incies and micromorphological evidence reveals that the climate during the early Pleistocene in the western ACA was semi-arid, but wetter, warmer, and less windy than during the late Pleistocene and present interglacial. Comparison of loess records between north Iran and the

  9. Preliminary Study of Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene Plant Food Strategies in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayashi Tang, M.; Liu, X.; Fritz, G.; Zhao, Z.

    2017-12-01

    In recent decades, studies on the domestication and early cultivation of seed crops have contributed significantly to how we understand human-plant interactions, and their impact on human social organisation and the environment. It is becoming clear, however, that plants have been critical to the human diet for much longer and in more diverse ways than previously assumed. This paper is a preliminary attempt at identifying and addressing early prehistoric plant food strategies in China. In particular, very little is known about the use of vegetatively propagated plants, despite their significant representation in modern crops. Many ingredients of Chinese medicine are also roots and tubers (or vegetative storage organs, VSOs). Unlike seed crops, however, we lack a systematic criterion for examining diagnostic characters of different VSO taxa in the archaeological record. To address this issue, we characterized commonly consumed and historically significant VSOs in China, by studying experimentally charred modern samples under the optical microscope and scanning electron microscope. We then compared the characteristics of these modern VSO samples against plant remains from Late Pleistocene to early Holocene archaeological sites in China, such as Zengpiyan (Guangxi), Zhaoguodong (Guizhou), and Jiahu (Henan) sites. We found that different taxa of VSOs can be differentiated by using multiple lines of evidence, including: shape and size of various cells, texture and arrangement of cell walls, as well as anatomical arrangements of organs, especially the vascular bundles. Though identification can be difficult when fragile cell structures have collapsed or deteriorated, more robust features are often preserved for diagnosis. Our results suggest that the potential for studying the role of vegetatively propagated plants in early human-environmental interactions is overlooked, and can be expanded significantly with further investment in their systematic identification.

  10. Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene environments inferred from the Lake El'gygytgyn pollen record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andreev, Andrei; Wennrich, Volker; Tarasov, Pavel; Raschke (Morozova), Elena; Brigham-Grette, Julie; Nowaczyk, Norbert; Melles, Martin

    2014-05-01

    The Arctic is known to play a crucial role within the global climate system. The mid-Pliocene (3-3.5 Ma) is considered to be the most probable scenario of the future climate changes. However, reliable climate projections are hampered by the complexity of the underlying natural variability and feedback mechanisms. An important prerequisite for the validation and improvement of the future projections is a better understanding of the long-term environmental history of the Arctic. Unfortunately, formation of continuous paleoenvironmental records in the Arctic was widely restricted due to repeated glaciations. Continuous sequences that penetrate the entire Quaternary and further into the Pliocene are highly desired and would enable to validate the temperature rise during the mid-Pliocene that was proposed by former studies. Such a record has now become available from Lake El'gygytgyn (67º30'N, 172º05E') located in a meteorite impact crater in north-eastern Siberia. The impact nearly 3.6 Ma ago formed an 18 km wide hole in the ground that then filled with water. The retrieved lake sediments have trapped pollen from a several thousand square-kilometer source area providing reliable insights into regional and over-regional millennial-scale vegetation and climate changes of the Arctic since the Pliocene. The ''El'gygytgyn Drilling Project" of ICDP has completed three holes in the center of the lake, penetrating about 318 m thick lake sediments and about 200 m of the impact rocks below. Because of its unusual origin and high-latitude setting in western Beringia, scientific drilling at Lake El'gygytgyn offered unique opportunities for paleoclimate research, allowing time-continuous climatic and environmental reconstructions back into the Pliocene. Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene pollen assemblages can be subdivided into 55 pollen zones, which reflect the main environmental fluctuations in the region 3.55-2.15 Ma BP. Pollen-based climate reconstructions show that

  11. First Asian record of Panthera (Leo) fossilis (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae) in the Early Pleistocene of Western Siberia, Russia.

    PubMed

    Sotnikova, Marina V; Foronova, Irina V

    2014-08-01

    A lion-like pantherine felid is described as Panthera (Leo) fossilis from the late Early Pleistocene sediments of the Kuznetsk Basin (Western Siberia, Russia). The find of P. fossilis first recorded in Asia considerably extends the current notion of the eastward expansion of the most ancient lions. The Siberian lion is geologically the oldest form and is dimensionally among the largest members of the group of fossil lions on the Eurasian continent. Although known by mandibular remains only, it is readily distinguished from Panthera (Leo) spelaea by a heavy built mandibular corpus with rectangular profile in the cheek teeth area, a deep, well-outlined and narrow anterior section of the masseteric fossa, and a large p4 supported by a big unreduced anterior root. The Siberian lion shares these features with the European Middle Pleistocene P. fossilis and the American Late Pleistocene P. (Leo) atrox, which suggests their close relationship. P. atrox originated from P. fossilis and was isolated in North America south of the Late Pleistocene ice sheets. This explains why the American lion has retained more primitive features than the coeval Eurasian cave lion P. (L.) spelaea. © 2013 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

  12. Pliocene and early Pleistocene environments and climates of the western Snake River Plain, Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thompson, R.S.

    1996-01-01

    Sedimentological, palynological, and magnetic susceptibility data provide paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic information from a 989 ft (301 m) core of sediments from the upper Glenns Ferry and Bruneau Formations from near the town of Bruneau, Idaho. Chronology is based on stratigraphic position, paleomagnetism, and biostratigraphic data. Palynological data from the Glenns Ferry sediments reveal a pollen flora similar to the modern regional pollen flora, with very rare occurrences of now-extirpated taxa common earlier in the Tertiary. Palynological data from the Pliocene portion of this core indicate conditions more moist than today, with cooler summers and perhaps warmer winters. The pollen spectra from the Bruneau Formation sediments resemble those of the Wisconsinan glacial period on the Snake River Plain, and hence indicate cold and dry conditions during some portion of the early Pleistocene. The deep-water Glenns Ferry lacustrine episode appears to date between approximately 3.5 to 3.3 and 2.5 Ma, and thus occurred during the middle Pliocene period of warmer-than-modern global temperatures. Similar sustained wetter-than-present conditions occurred in the same age range at sites across the western USA. This moist period was apparently followed by an interval of regional arid conditions that persisted for several hundred thousand years. -from Author

  13. Earliest hominin occupation of Sulawesi, Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van den Bergh, Gerrit D.; Li, Bo; Brumm, Adam; Grün, Rainer; Yurnaldi, Dida; Moore, Mark W.; Kurniawan, Iwan; Setiawan, Ruly; Aziz, Fachroel; Roberts, Richard G.; Suyono; Storey, Michael; Setiabudi, Erick; Morwood, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Sulawesi is the largest and oldest island within Wallacea, a vast zone of oceanic islands separating continental Asia from the Pleistocene landmass of Australia and Papua (Sahul). By one million years ago an unknown hominin lineage had colonized Flores immediately to the south, and by about 50 thousand years ago, modern humans (Homo sapiens) had crossed to Sahul. On the basis of position, oceanic currents and biogeographical context, Sulawesi probably played a pivotal part in these dispersals. Uranium-series dating of speleothem deposits associated with rock art in the limestone karst region of Maros in southwest Sulawesi has revealed that humans were living on the island at least 40 thousand years ago (ref. 5). Here we report new excavations at Talepu in the Walanae Basin northeast of Maros, where in situ stone artefacts associated with fossil remains of megafauna (Bubalus sp., Stegodon and Celebochoerus) have been recovered from stratified deposits that accumulated from before 200 thousand years ago until about 100 thousand years ago. Our findings suggest that Sulawesi, like Flores, was host to a long-established population of archaic hominins, the ancestral origins and taxonomic status of which remain elusive.

  14. Environmental, depositional and cultural changes in the upper Pleistocene and early Holocene; the Cinglera del Capello Sequence (Capellades, Spain)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vaquero, Manuel; Allué, Ethel; Bischoff, James L.; Burjachs, Francesc; Vallverdú, Josep

    2013-01-01

    The correlation between environmental and cultural changes is one of the primary archeological and paleoanthropological research topics. Analysis of ice and marine cores has yielded a high-resolution record of millennial-scale changes during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene eras. However, cultural changes are documented in low-resolution continental deposits; thus, their correlation with the millennial-scale climatic sequence is often difficult. In this paper, we present a rare occurrence in which a thick archeological sequence is associated with a high-resolution environmental record. The Cinglera del Capello is a tufa-draped cliff located in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula, 50 km west of Barcelona. This cliff harbors several rock-shelters with Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene deposits. Together, the deposits of four rock-shelters span from 7000 to 70,000 years ago and provide a high-resolution record of the environmental and human dynamics during this timespan. This record allows the correlation of the cultural and environmental changes. The multiproxy approach to the Cinglera evidence indicates that the main cultural stages of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene (Middle Paleolithic, Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic) are associated with significant changes in the environmental and depositional contexts.

  15. Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse.

    PubMed

    Orlando, Ludovic; Ginolhac, Aurélien; Zhang, Guojie; Froese, Duane; Albrechtsen, Anders; Stiller, Mathias; Schubert, Mikkel; Cappellini, Enrico; Petersen, Bent; Moltke, Ida; Johnson, Philip L F; Fumagalli, Matteo; Vilstrup, Julia T; Raghavan, Maanasa; Korneliussen, Thorfinn; Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Vogt, Josef; Szklarczyk, Damian; Kelstrup, Christian D; Vinther, Jakob; Dolocan, Andrei; Stenderup, Jesper; Velazquez, Amhed M V; Cahill, James; Rasmussen, Morten; Wang, Xiaoli; Min, Jiumeng; Zazula, Grant D; Seguin-Orlando, Andaine; Mortensen, Cecilie; Magnussen, Kim; Thompson, John F; Weinstock, Jacobo; Gregersen, Kristian; Røed, Knut H; Eisenmann, Véra; Rubin, Carl J; Miller, Donald C; Antczak, Douglas F; Bertelsen, Mads F; Brunak, Søren; Al-Rasheid, Khaled A S; Ryder, Oliver; Andersson, Leif; Mundy, John; Krogh, Anders; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Kjær, Kurt; Sicheritz-Ponten, Thomas; Jensen, Lars Juhl; Olsen, Jesper V; Hofreiter, Michael; Nielsen, Rasmus; Shapiro, Beth; Wang, Jun; Willerslev, Eske

    2013-07-04

    The rich fossil record of equids has made them a model for evolutionary processes. Here we present a 1.12-times coverage draft genome from a horse bone recovered from permafrost dated to approximately 560-780 thousand years before present (kyr BP). Our data represent the oldest full genome sequence determined so far by almost an order of magnitude. For comparison, we sequenced the genome of a Late Pleistocene horse (43 kyr BP), and modern genomes of five domestic horse breeds (Equus ferus caballus), a Przewalski's horse (E. f. przewalskii) and a donkey (E. asinus). Our analyses suggest that the Equus lineage giving rise to all contemporary horses, zebras and donkeys originated 4.0-4.5 million years before present (Myr BP), twice the conventionally accepted time to the most recent common ancestor of the genus Equus. We also find that horse population size fluctuated multiple times over the past 2 Myr, particularly during periods of severe climatic changes. We estimate that the Przewalski's and domestic horse populations diverged 38-72 kyr BP, and find no evidence of recent admixture between the domestic horse breeds and the Przewalski's horse investigated. This supports the contention that Przewalski's horses represent the last surviving wild horse population. We find similar levels of genetic variation among Przewalski's and domestic populations, indicating that the former are genetically viable and worthy of conservation efforts. We also find evidence for continuous selection on the immune system and olfaction throughout horse evolution. Finally, we identify 29 genomic regions among horse breeds that deviate from neutrality and show low levels of genetic variation compared to the Przewalski's horse. Such regions could correspond to loci selected early during domestication.

  16. Early human speciation, brain expansion and dispersal influenced by African climate pulses.

    PubMed

    Shultz, Susanne; Maslin, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Early human evolution is characterised by pulsed speciation and dispersal events that cannot be explained fully by global or continental paleoclimate records. We propose that the collated record of ephemeral East African Rift System (EARS) lakes could be a proxy for the regional paleoclimate conditions experienced by early hominins. Here we show that the presence of these lakes is associated with low levels of dust deposition in both West African and Mediterranean records, but is not associated with long-term global cooling and aridification of East Africa. Hominin expansion and diversification seem to be associated with climate pulses characterized by the precession-forced appearance and disappearance of deep EARS lakes. The most profound period for hominin evolution occurs at about 1.9 Ma; with the highest recorded diversity of hominin species, the appearance of Homo (sensu stricto) and major dispersal events out of East Africa into Eurasia. During this period, ephemeral deep-freshwater lakes appeared along the whole length of the EARS, fundamentally changing the local environment. The relationship between the local environment and hominin brain expansion is less clear. The major step-wise expansion in brain size around 1.9 Ma when Homo appeared was coeval with the occurrence of ephemeral deep lakes. Subsequent incremental increases in brain size are associated with dry periods with few if any lakes. Plio-Pleistocene East African climate pulses as evinced by the paleo-lake records seem, therefore, fundamental to hominin speciation, encephalisation and migration.

  17. Early Human Speciation, Brain Expansion and Dispersal Influenced by African Climate Pulses

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Maslin, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Early human evolution is characterised by pulsed speciation and dispersal events that cannot be explained fully by global or continental paleoclimate records. We propose that the collated record of ephemeral East African Rift System (EARS) lakes could be a proxy for the regional paleoclimate conditions experienced by early hominins. Here we show that the presence of these lakes is associated with low levels of dust deposition in both West African and Mediterranean records, but is not associated with long-term global cooling and aridification of East Africa. Hominin expansion and diversification seem to be associated with climate pulses characterized by the precession-forced appearance and disappearance of deep EARS lakes. The most profound period for hominin evolution occurs at about 1.9 Ma; with the highest recorded diversity of hominin species, the appearance of Homo (sensu stricto) and major dispersal events out of East Africa into Eurasia. During this period, ephemeral deep-freshwater lakes appeared along the whole length of the EARS, fundamentally changing the local environment. The relationship between the local environment and hominin brain expansion is less clear. The major step-wise expansion in brain size around 1.9 Ma when Homo appeared was coeval with the occurrence of ephemeral deep lakes. Subsequent incremental increases in brain size are associated with dry periods with few if any lakes. Plio-Pleistocene East African climate pulses as evinced by the paleo-lake records seem, therefore, fundamental to hominin speciation, encephalisation and migration. PMID:24146922

  18. Antecedent rivers and early rifting: a case study from the Plio-Pleistocene Corinth rift, Greece

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemelsdaël, Romain; Ford, Mary; Malartre, Fabrice

    2016-04-01

    Models of early rifting present syn-rift sedimentation as the direct response to the development of normal fault systems where footwall-derived drainage supplies alluvial to lacustrine sediments into hangingwall depocentres. These models often include antecedent rivers, diverted into active depocentres and with little impact on facies distributions. However, antecedent rivers can supply a high volume of sediment from the onset of rifting. What are the interactions between major antecedent rivers and a growing normal fault system? What are the implications for alluvial stratigraphy and facies distributions in early rifts? These questions are investigated by studying a Plio-Pleistocene fluvial succession on the southern margin of the Corinth rift (Greece). In the northern Peloponnese, early syn-rift deposits are preserved in a series of uplifted E-W normal fault blocks (10-15 km long, 3-7 km wide). Detailed sedimentary logging and high resolution mapping of the syn-rift succession (400 to 1300 m thick) define the architecture of the early rift alluvial system. Magnetostratigraphy and biostratigraphic markers are used to date and correlate the fluvial succession within and between fault blocks. The age of the succession is between 4.0 and 1.8 Ma. We present a new tectonostratigraphic model for early rift basins based on our reconstructions. The early rift depositional system was established across a series of narrow normal fault blocks. Palaeocurrent data show that the alluvial basin was supplied by one major sediment entry point. A low sinuosity braided river system flowed over 15 to 30 km to the NE. Facies evolved downstream from coarse conglomerates to fined-grained fluvial deposits. Other minor sediment entry points supply linked and isolated depocentres. The main river system terminated eastward where it built stacked small deltas into a shallow lake (5 to 15 m deep) that occupied the central Corinth rift. The main fluvial axis remained constant and controlled

  19. Acinonyx pardinensis (Carnivora, Felidae) from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy): predatory behavior and ecological role of the giant Plio-Pleistocene cheetah

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cherin, Marco; Iurino, Dawid Adam; Sardella, Raffaele; Rook, Lorenzo

    2014-03-01

    The site of Pantalla (central Italy) yielded a rich late Villafranchian (Early Pleistocene) faunal assemblage, which includes some well-preserved large mammal skulls. We describe here two nearly complete crania and a left hemimandible of Acinonyx pardinensis from this locality, representing the most complete cranial material of this species in Europe. These finds allowed us to define more clearly the craniodental morphology of A. pardinensis. Similarly to the forms from North Africa and China, the giant cheetah from Pantalla has a more generalized skull than the living Acinonyx jubatus, showing some primitive, pantherine-like features such as the less domed dorsal outline of the cranium, the more developed sagittal and nuchal crests and the less bowed zygomatic arches. High-resolution CT scans of the specimens were used to obtain the first 3D model of a cranium with articulated mandible of A. pardinensis. Starting from the insertion areas on this model we reconstructed the jaw muscles of the Pantalla felid, confirming its affinities with pantherine felines. In the light of the musculoskeletal skull anatomy and the average body mass (about 80 kg), it is likely that A. pardinensis could kill large prey through a hunting strategy more similar to pantherine cats than to the living cheetah.

  20. Size variation in early human mandibles and molars from Klasies River, South Africa: comparison with other middle and late Pleistocene assemblages and with modern humans.

    PubMed

    Royer, Danielle F; Lockwood, Charles A; Scott, Jeremiah E; Grine, Frederick E

    2009-10-01

    Previous studies of the Middle Stone Age human remains from Klasies River have concluded that they exhibited more sexual dimorphism than extant populations, but these claims have not been assessed statistically. We evaluate these claims by comparing size variation in the best-represented elements at the site, namely the mandibular corpora and M(2)s, to that in samples from three recent human populations using resampling methods. We also examine size variation in these same elements from seven additional middle and late Pleistocene sites: Skhūl, Dolní Vestonice, Sima de los Huesos, Arago, Krapina, Shanidar, and Vindija. Our results demonstrate that size variation in the Klasies assemblage was greater than in recent humans, consistent with arguments that the Klasies people were more dimorphic than living humans. Variation in the Skhūl, Dolní Vestonice, and Sima de los Huesos mandibular samples is also higher than in the recent human samples, indicating that the Klasies sample was not unusual among middle and late Pleistocene hominins. In contrast, the Neandertal samples (Krapina, Shanidar, and Vindija) do not evince relatively high mandibular and molar variation, which may indicate that the level of dimorphism in Neandertals was similar to that observed in extant humans. These results suggest that the reduced levels of dimorphism in Neandertals and living humans may have developed independently, though larger fossil samples are needed to test this hypothesis.

  1. Hominin life history: reconstruction and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Robson, Shannen L; Wood, Bernard

    2008-01-01

    In this review we attempt to reconstruct the evolutionary history of hominin life history from extant and fossil evidence. We utilize demographic life history theory and distinguish life history variables, traits such as weaning, age at sexual maturity, and life span, from life history-related variables such as body mass, brain growth, and dental development. The latter are either linked with, or can be used to make inferences about, life history, thus providing an opportunity for estimating life history parameters in fossil taxa. We compare the life history variables of modern great apes and identify traits that are likely to be shared by the last common ancestor of Pan-Homo and those likely to be derived in hominins. All great apes exhibit slow life histories and we infer this to be true of the last common ancestor of Pan-Homo and the stem hominin. Modern human life histories are even slower, exhibiting distinctively long post-menopausal life spans and later ages at maturity, pointing to a reduction in adult mortality since the Pan-Homo split. We suggest that lower adult mortality, distinctively short interbirth intervals, and early weaning characteristic of modern humans are derived features resulting from cooperative breeding. We evaluate the fidelity of three life history-related variables, body mass, brain growth and dental development, with the life history parameters of living great apes. We found that body mass is the best predictor of great ape life history events. Brain growth trajectories and dental development and eruption are weakly related proxies and inferences from them should be made with caution. We evaluate the evidence of life history-related variables available for extinct species and find that prior to the transitional hominins there is no evidence of any hominin taxon possessing a body size, brain size or aspects of dental development much different from what we assume to be the primitive life history pattern for the Pan-Homo clade. Data for

  2. Liquefaction along Late Pleistocene to early Holocene Faults as Revealed by Lidar in Northwest Tasmania, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webb, J.; Gardner, T.

    2016-12-01

    In northwest Tasmania well-preserved mid-Holocene beach ridges with maximum radiocarbon ages of 5.25 ka occur along the coast; inland are a parallel set of lower relief beach ridges of probable MIS 5e age. The latter are cut by northeast-striking faults clearly visible on LIDAR images, with a maximum vertical displacement (evident as difference in topographic elevation) of 3 m. Also distinct on the LIDAR images are large sand boils along the fault lines; they are up to 5 m in diameter and 2-3 m high and mostly occur on the hanging wall close to the fault traces. Without LIDAR it would have been almost impossible to distinguish either the fault scarps or the sand boils. Excavations through the sand boils show that they are massive, with no internal structure, suggesting that they formed in a single event. They are composed of well-sorted, very fine white sand, identical to the sand in the underlying beach ridges. The sand boils overlie a peaty paleosol; this formed in the tea-tree swamp that formerly covered the area, and has been offset along the faults. Radiocarbon dating of the buried organic-rich paleosol gave ages of 14.8-7.2 ka, suggesting that the faulting is latest Pleistocene to early Holocene in age; it occurred prior to deposition of the mid-Holocene beach ridges, which are not offset. The beach ridge sediments are up to 7 m thick and contain an iron-cemented hard pan 1-3 m below the surface. The water table is very shallow and close to the ground surface, so the sands of the beach ridges are mostly saturated. During faulting these sands experienced extensive liquefaction. The resulting sand boils rose to a substantial height of 2-3 m, probably possibly reflecting the elevation of the potentiometric surface within the confined part of the beach ridge sediments below the iron-cemented hard pan. Motion on the faults was predominantly dip slip (shown by an absence of horizontal offset) and probably reverse, which is consistent with the present-day northwest

  3. Using provenance of terrigenous sediment to reconstruct the Agulhas Leakage during the Early and Late Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearson, B.; Franzese, A. M.

    2017-12-01

    instance, for the Early Pleistocene ( 1.3 - 1.5 Ma), K-Ar model ages correlate with shipboard measurements of natural gamma radiation, which show approximate 41 kyr periodicity.

  4. A record of reversed polarity carries by the iron sulphide greigite in British early Pleistocene sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallam, D. F.; Maher, B. A.

    1994-01-01

    Palaeomagnetic measurements were made on samples extracted from a short sequence of early Pleistocene estuarine clays, now exposed in a sea cliff near Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast, UK. On the basis of earlier palynological work, these clays had been ascribed a Pastonian (late Tiglian) age. The clays show marked changes in colour, from reddish-brown at the top of the unit, to blue-grey in the middle, and grey-brown at the base. The palaeomagnetic data vary in close association with these colour changes. The top and basal brown clays show scattered normal directions of low intensity, while the middle blue clays show strongly clustered reversed directions, of much higher intensities. Some samples taken from the boundary between the middle blue clays and upper red clays show upon demagnetisation a normal overprint on a stable reversed polarity. Using high-gradient magnetic extraction, magnetic concentrates have been obtained from the strongly magnetic middle blue clays. The presence of iron sulphide minerals in these concentrates was identified using energy-dispersive X-ray analysis during scanning electron microscopy. More specifically, X-ray diffraction identifies greigite as the only detectable ferrimagnetic mineral in the magnetic concentrates. Rock magnetic measurements show clear qualitative differences in the magnetic mineralogies of the three clay subunits, but absolute identification of the magnetic mineralogy of the weakly magnetic upper and basal brown clays has not yet been possible. We interpret the sequence as a primary reversed polarity record. This record is carried by the iron sulphide greigate as a chemical remanence acquired during `syn'-depositional reduction of iron via the decomposition of organic material in these anoxic tidal clays. Subsequently, the upper and basl subunits of the clay have been oxidised by permeation of groundwater from the adjacent coarse-grained sediments. Most of the griegite in the oxidised margins of the clay has

  5. Land-sea coupling of early Pleistocene glacial cycles in the southern North Sea exhibit dominant Northern Hemisphere forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Donders, Timme H.; van Helmond, Niels A. G. M.; Verreussel, Roel; Munsterman, Dirk; ten Veen, Johan; Speijer, Robert P.; Weijers, Johan W. H.; Sangiorgi, Francesca; Peterse, Francien; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Lourens, Lucas; Kuhlmann, Gesa; Brinkhuis, Henk

    2018-03-01

    We assess the disputed phase relations between forcing and climatic response in the early Pleistocene with a spliced Gelasian (˜ 2.6-1.8 Ma) multi-proxy record from the southern North Sea basin. The cored sections couple climate evolution on both land and sea during the intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation (NHG) in NW Europe, providing the first well-constrained stratigraphic sequence of the classic terrestrial Praetiglian stage. Terrestrial signals were derived from the Eridanos paleoriver, a major fluvial system that contributed a large amount of freshwater to the northeast Atlantic. Due to its latitudinal position, the Eridanos catchment was likely affected by early Pleistocene NHG, leading to intermittent shutdown and reactivation of river flow and sediment transport. Here we apply organic geochemistry, palynology, carbonate isotope geochemistry, and seismostratigraphy to document both vegetation changes in the Eridanos catchment and regional surface water conditions and relate them to early Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles and relative sea level changes. Paleomagnetic and palynological data provide a solid integrated timeframe that ties the obliquity cycles, expressed in the borehole geophysical logs, to Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 103 to 92, independently confirmed by a local benthic oxygen isotope record. Marine and terrestrial palynological and organic geochemical records provide high-resolution reconstructions of relative terrestrial and sea surface temperature (TT and SST), vegetation, relative sea level, and coastal influence.During the prominent cold stages MIS 98 and 96, as well as 94, the record indicates increased non-arboreal vegetation, low SST and TT, and low relative sea level. During the warm stages MIS 99, 97, and 95 we infer increased stratification of the water column together with a higher percentage of arboreal vegetation, high SST, and relative sea level maxima. The early Pleistocene distinct warm-cold alterations are

  6. Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene oscillations in Mediterranean Overflow water: a new perspective from the Iberian Margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alonso-Garcia, M.; Salgueiro, E.; Rodrigues, T.; Alvarez Zarikian, C. A.; Kuhnert, H.; Roehl, U.; Voelker, A. H. L.; Sierro, F. J.; Abrantes, F. F. G.

    2016-12-01

    During the Late Pliocene to the Early Pleistocene the Earth experienced a transition from the warm Pliocene climate, with high greenhouse gases concentrations, to a colder climate with significant expansion of ice-sheets in the Northern Hemisphere and alternation between glacial and interglacial periods. Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain this climate transition, and recently, the enhancement of the Mediterranean Overflow Water (MOW) was suggested to have played a major role since it contributes high salinity water to the North Atlantic. Sedimentary records from the last glacial cycle and modelling experiments evidenced this link and suggested that the MOW injection of salty water to intermediate depths may have enhanced the upper branch of NADW, which ultimately reinvigorated the whole Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation. Here we present sedimentological and paleontological data from Site U1391 (37° N; 9° W; 1085 m water depth), recovered on the Southwest Iberian Margin during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 339. This site is located in a plastered drift in the path of the MOW and offers high sedimentation rates to perform high resolution studies of past climatic and oceanographic conditions. In this study, we combined XRF geochemical data (from X-ray fluorescence core scanning) with grain-size, benthic foraminifer δ18O and δ13C, and ostracod records to reconstruct deep water circulation and climatic conditions during the Plio-Pleistocene transition. The high-resolution record of the XRF analysis indicates a switch in the response of MOW to climate changes across this transition. Early Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles show a stronger coupling between MOW oscillations (as indicated by the Zr/Al ratio) and sea surface temperature conditions (as indicated by the Ca/Ti ratio).

  7. Spatial organization of hominin activities at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel.

    PubMed

    Alperson-Afil, Nira; Sharon, Gonen; Kislev, Mordechai; Melamed, Yoel; Zohar, Irit; Ashkenazi, Shosh; Rabinovich, Rivka; Biton, Rebecca; Werker, Ella; Hartman, Gideon; Feibel, Craig; Goren-Inbar, Naama

    2009-12-18

    The spatial designation of discrete areas for different activities reflects formalized conceptualization of a living space. The results of spatial analyses of a Middle Pleistocene Acheulian archaeological horizon (about 750,000 years ago) at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel, indicate that hominins differentiated their activities (stone knapping, tool use, floral and faunal processing and consumption) across space. These were organized in two main areas, including multiple activities around a hearth. The diversity of human activities and the distinctive patterning with which they are organized implies advanced organizational skills of the Gesher Benot Ya'aqov hominins.

  8. Early Pleistocene human hand phalanx from the Sima del Elefante (TE) cave site in Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain).

    PubMed

    Lorenzo, Carlos; Pablos, Adrián; Carretero, José Miguel; Huguet, Rosa; Valverdú, Josep; Martinón-Torres, María; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carbonell, Eudald; Bermúdez de Castro, José María

    2015-01-01

    In this study, a new Early Pleistocene proximal hand phalanx (ATE9-2) from the Sima del Elefante cave site (TE - Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain), ascribed to Homo sp., is presented and comparatively described in the context of the evolution of the genus Homo. The ATE9-2 specimen is especially important because of the paucity of hand bones in the human fossil record during the Early Pleistocene. The morphological and metrical analyses of the phalanx ATE9-2 indicate that there are no essential differences between it and comparator fossil specimens for the genus Homo after 1.3 Ma (millions of years ago). Similar to Sima de los Huesos and Neandertal specimens, ATE9-2 is a robust proximal hand phalanx, probably reflecting greater overall body robusticity in these populations or a higher gracility in modern humans. The age of level TE9 from Sima del Elefante and morphological and metrical studies of ATE9-2 suggest that the morphology of the proximal hand phalanges and, thus, the morphology of the hand could have remained stable over the last 1.2-1.3 Ma. Taking into account the evidence recently provided by a metacarpal from Kaitio (Kenya) from around 1.42 Ma, we argue that modern hand morphology is present in the genus Homo subsequent to Homo habilis. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. The late Early Pleistocene human dental remains from Uadi Aalad and Mulhuli-Amo (Buia), Eritrean Danakil: macromorphology and microstructure.

    PubMed

    Zanolli, Clément; Bondioli, Luca; Coppa, Alfredo; Dean, Christopher M; Bayle, Priscilla; Candilio, Francesca; Capuani, Silvia; Dreossi, Diego; Fiore, Ivana; Frayer, David W; Libsekal, Yosief; Mancini, Lucia; Rook, Lorenzo; Medin Tekle, Tsegai; Tuniz, Claudio; Macchiarelli, Roberto

    2014-09-01

    Fieldwork performed during the last 15 years in various Early Pleistocene East African sites has significantly enlarged the fossil record of Homo erectus sensu lato (s.l.). Additional evidence comes from the Danakil Depression of Eritrea, where over 200 late Early to early Middle Pleistocene sites have been identified within a ∼1000 m-thick sedimentary succession outcropping in the Dandiero Rift Basin, near Buia. Along with an adult cranium (UA 31), which displays a blend of H. erectus-like and derived morpho-architectural features and three pelvic remains, two isolated permanent incisors (UA 222 and UA 369) have also been recovered from the 1 Ma (millions of years ago) Homo-bearing outcrop of Uadi Aalad. Since 2010, our surveys have expanded to the nearby (4.7 km) site of Mulhuli-Amo (MA). This is a fossiliferous area that has been preliminarily surveyed because of its exceptional concentration of Acheulean stone tools. So far, the site has yielded 10 human remains, including the unworn crown of a lower permanent molar (MA 93). Using diverse analytical tools (including high resolution μCT and μMRI), we analysed the external and internal macromorphology and microstructure of the three specimens, and whenever possible compared the results with similar evidence from early Homo, H. erectus s.l., H. antecessor, H. heidelbergensis (from North Africa), Neanderthals and modern humans. We also assessed the UA 369 lower incisor from Uadi Aalad for root completion timing and showed that it compares well with data for root apex closure in modern human populations. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Age and date for early arrival of the Acheulian in Europe (Barranc de la Boella, la Canonja, Spain).

    PubMed

    Vallverdú, Josep; Saladié, Palmira; Rosas, Antonio; Huguet, Rosa; Cáceres, Isabel; Mosquera, Marina; Garcia-Tabernero, Antonio; Estalrrich, Almudena; Lozano-Fernández, Iván; Pineda-Alcalá, Antonio; Carrancho, Ángel; Villalaín, Juan José; Bourlès, Didier; Braucher, Régis; Lebatard, Anne; Vilalta, Jaume; Esteban-Nadal, Montserrat; Bennàsar, Maria Lluc; Bastir, Marcus; López-Polín, Lucía; Ollé, Andreu; Vergés, Josep Maria; Ros-Montoya, Sergio; Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido; García, Ana; Martinell, Jordi; Expósito, Isabel; Burjachs, Francesc; Agustí, Jordi; Carbonell, Eudald

    2014-01-01

    The first arrivals of hominin populations into Eurasia during the Early Pleistocene are currently considered to have occurred as short and poorly dated biological dispersions. Questions as to the tempo and mode of these early prehistoric settlements have given rise to debates concerning the taxonomic significance of the lithic assemblages, as trace fossils, and the geographical distribution of the technological traditions found in the Lower Palaeolithic record. Here, we report on the Barranc de la Boella site which has yielded a lithic assemblage dating to ∼1 million years ago that includes large cutting tools (LCT). We argue that distinct technological traditions coexisted in the Iberian archaeological repertoires of the late Early Pleistocene age in a similar way to the earliest sub-Saharan African artefact assemblages. These differences between stone tool assemblages may be attributed to the different chronologies of hominin dispersal events. The archaeological record of Barranc de la Boella completes the geographical distribution of LCT assemblages across southern Eurasia during the EMPT (Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition, circa 942 to 641 kyr). Up to now, chronology of the earliest European LCT assemblages is based on the abundant Palaeolithic record found in terrace river sequences which have been dated to the end of the EMPT and later. However, the findings at Barranc de la Boella suggest that early LCT lithic assemblages appeared in the SW of Europe during earlier hominin dispersal episodes before the definitive colonization of temperate Eurasia took place.

  11. Age and Date for Early Arrival of the Acheulian in Europe (Barranc de la Boella, la Canonja, Spain)

    PubMed Central

    Vallverdú, Josep; Saladié, Palmira; Rosas, Antonio; Huguet, Rosa; Cáceres, Isabel; Mosquera, Marina; Garcia-Tabernero, Antonio; Estalrrich, Almudena; Lozano-Fernández, Iván; Pineda-Alcalá, Antonio; Carrancho, Ángel; Villalaín, Juan José; Bourlès, Didier; Braucher, Régis; Lebatard, Anne; Vilalta, Jaume; Esteban-Nadal, Montserrat; Bennàsar, Maria Lluc; Bastir, Marcus; López-Polín, Lucía; Ollé, Andreu; Vergés, Josep Maria; Ros-Montoya, Sergio; Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido; García, Ana; Martinell, Jordi; Expósito, Isabel; Burjachs, Francesc; Agustí, Jordi; Carbonell, Eudald

    2014-01-01

    The first arrivals of hominin populations into Eurasia during the Early Pleistocene are currently considered to have occurred as short and poorly dated biological dispersions. Questions as to the tempo and mode of these early prehistoric settlements have given rise to debates concerning the taxonomic significance of the lithic assemblages, as trace fossils, and the geographical distribution of the technological traditions found in the Lower Palaeolithic record. Here, we report on the Barranc de la Boella site which has yielded a lithic assemblage dating to ∼1 million years ago that includes large cutting tools (LCT). We argue that distinct technological traditions coexisted in the Iberian archaeological repertoires of the late Early Pleistocene age in a similar way to the earliest sub-Saharan African artefact assemblages. These differences between stone tool assemblages may be attributed to the different chronologies of hominin dispersal events. The archaeological record of Barranc de la Boella completes the geographical distribution of LCT assemblages across southern Eurasia during the EMPT (Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition, circa 942 to 641 kyr). Up to now, chronology of the earliest European LCT assemblages is based on the abundant Palaeolithic record found in terrace river sequences which have been dated to the end of the EMPT and later. However, the findings at Barranc de la Boella suggest that early LCT lithic assemblages appeared in the SW of Europe during earlier hominin dispersal episodes before the definitive colonization of temperate Eurasia took place. PMID:25076416

  12. A major change in North Atlantic deep water circulation during the Early Pleistocene transition 1.6 million years ago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khélifi, N.; Frank, M.

    2013-12-01

    The global ocean-climate system has been highly sensitive to the formation and advection of deep water in the North Atlantic but its evolution over the Pliocene-Pleistocene global cooling is not fully understood. In particular, changes in the sources and mixing of prevailing deep waters are not well constrained. Here we present new records of the bottom-water radiogenic neodymium isotope (ϵNd) variability obtained from three DSDP/ODP sites at water depths between 2100 and 5000 m in the Northeast Atlantic to reconstruct changes in deep water circulation over the past 4 million years. Prior to 1.6 million years ago (Ma), we find ϵNd values primarily oscillating between -9 and -11 at all sites, consistent with enhanced vertical mixing of water masses. At 1.6 Ma, the ϵNd signatures synchronously shifted to less radiogenic values around -12 at different water depths and water mass signatures gradually became more distinct. Since then values and amplitudes of "glacial/interglacial" ϵNd oscillations have been similar to the Late Quaternary at each site. This change 1.6 Ma reflects a major reorganization of deep water circulation in the Northeast Atlantic towards a more stratified water column with distinct water masses accompanying the enhanced response of climate to the Earth's obliquity forcing during the Early Pleistocene transition.

  13. Dancing to the rhythms of the Pleistocene? Early Middle Paleolithic population dynamics in NW Iberia (Duero Basin and Cantabrian Region)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sánchez Yustos, Policarpo; Diez Martín, Fernando

    2015-08-01

    The Northwest of Iberia has yielded one of the most complete European Middle Paleolithic records. Despite this wealth of information, very little is known about population dynamics during this period. For that reason, the main concern of this paper is to provide socio-environmental models that may help explain Early Middle Paleolithic (EMP) population dynamics in NW Iberia, assessing to what extent they were shaped by climate forces. The archaeological record is analyzed on the basis of the heuristics of ecological models, already employed in the European Pleistocene record but never at a regional scale, in order to detect long-term changes in the composition of EMP populations, and the environmental, biological and sociocultural process influencing those changes. According to the models proposed, we have detected a long-term population dynamic between MIS 11 and MIS 6, characterized by low environmental stress, high biological productivity, interaction among populations and sociocultural complexity. Eventually, this population dynamic was broken due to an extreme climate phase in late MIS 6 that had a profound impact on populations and sociocultural structures. As a result, the Upper Pleistocene population of NW Iberia was concentrated in the Cantabrian region. This area became an isolated Neanderthal glacial refugium that hosted a population with different origins and fragile long-term demographic stability.

  14. A geometric morphometric analysis of hominin lower molars: Evolutionary implications and overview of postcanine dental variation.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado-Simón, Leyre; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2015-05-01

    Lower molars have been extensively studied in the context of hominin evolution using classic and geometric morphometric analyses, 2D and 3D approaches, evaluations of the external (outer enamel surface) and internal anatomy (dentine, pulp chamber, and radicular canals), and studies of the crown and root variation. In this study, we present a 2D geometric morphometric analysis of the crown anatomy of lower first, second, and third molars of a broad sample of hominins, including Pliocene and Lower, Middle, and Upper Pleistocene species coming from Africa, Asia, and Europe. We show that shape variability increases from first to second and third molars. While first molars tend to retain a relatively stable 5-cusped conformation throughout the hominin fossil record, second and third molars show marked distal reductions in later Homo species. This trend to distal reduction is similar to that observed in previous studies of premolars and upper second and third molars, and points to a correlated reduction of distal areas across the whole postcanine dentition. Results on lower molar variation, as well as on other postcanine teeth, show certain trends in European Pleistocene populations from the Atapuerca sites. Middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos show Neanderthal affinities and strong dental reduction, especially in the most distal molars. The degree of dental reduction in this population is stronger than that observed in classic Neanderthals. Homo antecessor hominins from Gran Dolina-TD6 have primitive lower teeth that contrast with their more derived upper teeth. The evolutionary implications of these dental affinities are discussed in light of recent paleogenetic studies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. An Early Pleistocene 190 kyr pollen record from the ODP Site 976, Western Mediterranean region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joannin, Sebastien; Combourieu Nebout, Nathalie

    2010-05-01

    The Mid-Pleistocene Transition (1.200 to 0.500 Ma) corresponded to a period of increased cooling and the shift from "41 kyr world" to "100 kyr world". Climate cycles were 41 kyr long as a response of the climate system to the obliquity orbital parameter forcing, then the climate system responded to a combination of eccentricity and precession resulting in 100 kyr long cycles. The Mediterranean region offers the opportunity to study climate response to orbital forcing at this particular period. It is usually done on marine proxies that are preserved in continuous sediments with good age attributions but may be affected by calorific inertia of marine environments. We investigate continental palaeoenvironment changes inferred from pollen analyses through time on a short interval of the ODP Site 976 (259.50 to 230.42 mcd). In order to search for short climate oscillations, the chronology has been refined according to the comparison between the pollen ratio "mesothermic vs. Caryophyllaceae, Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae and steppe elements" curve and Mediterranean and LR04 oxygen isotope curves. The time slice runs from ~1.090 Ma (MIS 31) to ~0.900 Ma (MIS 23). Pollen analyses provide a new record of the south western Mediterranean vegetation and climate changes at the beginning of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. Vegetation successions are evidenced in pollen diagram with replacement of mesothermic elements by mid- and high-altitude trees, ended by strengthening of Caryophyllaceae, Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae, and steppe vegetation. These vegetation successions reveal two overlapping rhythms that may be related to climate responses to both obliquity and precession orbital parameters, while wavelet analyses on pollen ratio only indicate the shift from precession to obliquity dominance. The comparison of these two approaches raised the question of their own limit.

  16. Long-term patterns of body mass and stature evolution within the hominin lineage

    PubMed Central

    Pablos, Adrián; Stock, Jay T.

    2017-01-01

    Body size is a central determinant of a species' biology and adaptive strategy, but the number of reliable estimates of hominin body mass and stature have been insufficient to determine long-term patterns and subtle interactions in these size components within our lineage. Here, we analyse 254 body mass and 204 stature estimates from a total of 311 hominin specimens dating from 4.4 Ma to the Holocene using multi-level chronological and taxonomic analytical categories. The results demonstrate complex temporal patterns of body size variation with phases of relative stasis intermitted by periods of rapid increases. The observed trajectories could result from punctuated increases at speciation events, but also differential proliferation of large-bodied taxa or the extinction of small-bodied populations. Combined taxonomic and temporal analyses show that in relation to australopithecines, early Homo is characterized by significantly larger average body mass and stature but retains considerable diversity, including small body sizes. Within later Homo, stature and body mass evolution follow different trajectories: average modern stature is maintained from ca 1.6 Ma, while consistently higher body masses are not established until the Middle Pleistocene at ca 0.5–0.4 Ma, likely caused by directional selection related to colonizing higher latitudes. Selection against small-bodied individuals (less than 40 kg; less than 140 cm) after 1.4 Ma is associated with a decrease in relative size variability in later Homo species compared with earlier Homo and australopithecines. The isolated small-bodied individuals of Homo naledi (ca 0.3 Ma) and Homo floresiensis (ca 100–60 ka) constitute important exceptions to these general patterns, adding further layers of complexity to the evolution of body size within the genus Homo. At the end of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, body size in Homo sapiens declines on average, but also extends to lower limits not seen in

  17. Long-term patterns of body mass and stature evolution within the hominin lineage.

    PubMed

    Will, Manuel; Pablos, Adrián; Stock, Jay T

    2017-11-01

    Body size is a central determinant of a species' biology and adaptive strategy, but the number of reliable estimates of hominin body mass and stature have been insufficient to determine long-term patterns and subtle interactions in these size components within our lineage. Here, we analyse 254 body mass and 204 stature estimates from a total of 311 hominin specimens dating from 4.4 Ma to the Holocene using multi-level chronological and taxonomic analytical categories. The results demonstrate complex temporal patterns of body size variation with phases of relative stasis intermitted by periods of rapid increases. The observed trajectories could result from punctuated increases at speciation events, but also differential proliferation of large-bodied taxa or the extinction of small-bodied populations. Combined taxonomic and temporal analyses show that in relation to australopithecines, early Homo is characterized by significantly larger average body mass and stature but retains considerable diversity, including small body sizes. Within later Homo , stature and body mass evolution follow different trajectories: average modern stature is maintained from ca 1.6 Ma, while consistently higher body masses are not established until the Middle Pleistocene at ca 0.5-0.4 Ma, likely caused by directional selection related to colonizing higher latitudes. Selection against small-bodied individuals (less than 40 kg; less than 140 cm) after 1.4 Ma is associated with a decrease in relative size variability in later Homo species compared with earlier Homo and australopithecines. The isolated small-bodied individuals of Homo naledi ( ca 0.3 Ma) and Homo floresiensis ( ca 100-60 ka) constitute important exceptions to these general patterns, adding further layers of complexity to the evolution of body size within the genus Homo . At the end of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, body size in Homo sapiens declines on average, but also extends to lower limits not seen in

  18. Simple technologies and diverse food strategies of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene at Huaca Prieta, Coastal Peru

    PubMed Central

    Dillehay, Tom D.; Goodbred, Steve; Pino, Mario; Vásquez Sánchez, Víctor F.; Tham, Teresa Rosales; Adovasio, James; Collins, Michael B.; Netherly, Patricia J.; Hastorf, Christine A.; Chiou, Katherine L.; Piperno, Dolores; Rey, Isabel; Velchoff, Nancy

    2017-01-01

    Simple pebble tools, ephemeral cultural features, and the remains of maritime and terrestrial foods are present in undisturbed Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene deposits underneath a large human-made mound at Huaca Prieta and nearby sites on the Pacific coast of northern Peru. Radiocarbon ages indicate an intermittent human presence dated between ~15,000 and 8000 calendar years ago before the mound was built. The absence of fishhooks, harpoons, and bifacial stone tools suggests that technologies of gathering, trapping, clubbing, and exchange were used primarily to procure food resources along the shoreline and in estuarine wetlands and distant mountains. The stone artifacts are minimally worked unifacial stone tools characteristic of several areas of South America. Remains of avocado, bean, and possibly cultivated squash and chile pepper are also present, suggesting human transport and consumption. Our new findings emphasize an early coastal lifeway of diverse food procurement strategies that suggest detailed observation of resource availability in multiple environments and a knowledgeable economic organization, although technologies were simple and campsites were seemingly ephemeral and discontinuous. These findings raise questions about the pace of early human movement along some areas of the Pacific coast and the level of knowledge and technology required to exploit maritime and inland resources. PMID:28560337

  19. Simple technologies and diverse food strategies of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene at Huaca Prieta, Coastal Peru.

    PubMed

    Dillehay, Tom D; Goodbred, Steve; Pino, Mario; Vásquez Sánchez, Víctor F; Tham, Teresa Rosales; Adovasio, James; Collins, Michael B; Netherly, Patricia J; Hastorf, Christine A; Chiou, Katherine L; Piperno, Dolores; Rey, Isabel; Velchoff, Nancy

    2017-05-01

    Simple pebble tools, ephemeral cultural features, and the remains of maritime and terrestrial foods are present in undisturbed Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene deposits underneath a large human-made mound at Huaca Prieta and nearby sites on the Pacific coast of northern Peru. Radiocarbon ages indicate an intermittent human presence dated between ~15,000 and 8000 calendar years ago before the mound was built. The absence of fishhooks, harpoons, and bifacial stone tools suggests that technologies of gathering, trapping, clubbing, and exchange were used primarily to procure food resources along the shoreline and in estuarine wetlands and distant mountains. The stone artifacts are minimally worked unifacial stone tools characteristic of several areas of South America. Remains of avocado, bean, and possibly cultivated squash and chile pepper are also present, suggesting human transport and consumption. Our new findings emphasize an early coastal lifeway of diverse food procurement strategies that suggest detailed observation of resource availability in multiple environments and a knowledgeable economic organization, although technologies were simple and campsites were seemingly ephemeral and discontinuous. These findings raise questions about the pace of early human movement along some areas of the Pacific coast and the level of knowledge and technology required to exploit maritime and inland resources.

  20. Using obsidian transfer distances to explore social network maintenance in late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers.

    PubMed

    Pearce, Eiluned; Moutsiou, Theodora

    2014-12-01

    Social behaviour is notoriously difficult to study archaeologically and it is unclear how large the networks of prehistoric humans were, or how they remained connected. Maintaining social cohesion was crucial for early humans because social networks facilitate cooperation and are imperative for survival and reproduction. Recent hunter-gatherer social organisation typically comprises a number of nested layers, ranging from the nuclear family through to the ~1500-strong ethnolinguistic tribe. Here we compare maximum obsidian transfer distances from the late Pleistocene with ethnographic data on the size of the geographic areas associated with each of these social grouping layers in recent hunter-gatherers. The closest match between the two is taken to indicate the maximum social layer within which contact could be sustained by Pleistocene hominins. Within both the (sub)tropical African and Subarctic biomes, the maximum obsidian transfer distances for Pleistocene modern humans (~200km and ~400km respectively) correspond to the geographic ranges of the outermost tribal layer in recent hunter-gatherers. This suggests that modern humans could potentially sustain the cohesion of their entire tribe at all latitudes, even though networks are more dispersed nearer the poles. Neanderthal obsidian transfer distances (300km) indicate that although Neanderthal home ranges are larger than those of low latitude hominins, Neanderthals travelled shorter distances than modern humans living at the same high latitudes. We argue that, like modern humans, Neanderthals could have maintained tribal cohesion, but that their tribes were substantially smaller than those of contemporary modern humans living in similar environments. The greater time taken to traverse the larger modern human tribal ranges may have limited the frequency of their face-to-face interactions and thus necessitated additional mechanisms to ensure network connectivity, such as the exchange of symbolic artefacts

  1. Using obsidian transfer distances to explore social network maintenance in late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers

    PubMed Central

    Pearce, Eiluned; Moutsiou, Theodora

    2014-01-01

    Social behaviour is notoriously difficult to study archaeologically and it is unclear how large the networks of prehistoric humans were, or how they remained connected. Maintaining social cohesion was crucial for early humans because social networks facilitate cooperation and are imperative for survival and reproduction. Recent hunter-gatherer social organisation typically comprises a number of nested layers, ranging from the nuclear family through to the ~1500-strong ethnolinguistic tribe. Here we compare maximum obsidian transfer distances from the late Pleistocene with ethnographic data on the size of the geographic areas associated with each of these social grouping layers in recent hunter-gatherers. The closest match between the two is taken to indicate the maximum social layer within which contact could be sustained by Pleistocene hominins. Within both the (sub)tropical African and Subarctic biomes, the maximum obsidian transfer distances for Pleistocene modern humans (~200km and ~400km respectively) correspond to the geographic ranges of the outermost tribal layer in recent hunter-gatherers. This suggests that modern humans could potentially sustain the cohesion of their entire tribe at all latitudes, even though networks are more dispersed nearer the poles. Neanderthal obsidian transfer distances (300km) indicate that although Neanderthal home ranges are larger than those of low latitude hominins, Neanderthals travelled shorter distances than modern humans living at the same high latitudes. We argue that, like modern humans, Neanderthals could have maintained tribal cohesion, but that their tribes were substantially smaller than those of contemporary modern humans living in similar environments. The greater time taken to traverse the larger modern human tribal ranges may have limited the frequency of their face-to-face interactions and thus necessitated additional mechanisms to ensure network connectivity, such as the exchange of symbolic artefacts

  2. Climate sensitivity derived from orbital-scale, δ11B-based pCO2 estimates in the early Pleistocene, ~1.5 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dyez, K. A.; Hoenisch, B.

    2015-12-01

    Atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the late Pleistocene have been characterized from ancient air bubbles trapped within polar ice sheets. Ice-core records clearly demonstrate the glacial-interglacial relationship between the global carbon cycle and climate, but they are so far limited to the last 800 ky, when glacial cycles occurred approximately every 100-ky. Boron isotope ratios (δ11B) recorded in the tests of fossil planktic foraminifera offer an opportunity to extend the atmospheric pCO2 record into the early Pleistocene, when glacial cycles instead occurred approximately every 41-ky. We present a new high-resolution record of planktic foraminiferal d11B, Mg/Ca (a sea surface temperature proxy) and salinity estimates from the deconvolution of δ18O and Mg/Ca. Combined with reasonable assumptions of ocean alkalinity, these data allow us to estimate pCO2 over three of the 41-ky climate cycles at ~1.5 Ma. Our results confirm the hypothesis that climate and atmospheric pCO2 were coupled beyond ice core records and provide new constraints for studies of long-term CO2 storage and release, regional controls on the early Pleistocene carbon cycle, and estimating climate sensitivity before the mid-Pleistocene transition.

  3. The Punta Lucero Quarry site (Zierbena, Bizkaia): a window into the Middle Pleistocene in the Northern Iberian Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Sala, Nohemi; Arceredillo, Diego; García, Nuria; Martínez-Pillado, Virginia; Rios-Garaizar, Joseba; Garate, Diego; Solar, Gonzalo; Libano, Iñaki

    2015-08-01

    The period between the end of the Early Pleistocene and the mid-Middle Pleistocene (roughly between 1.0 and 0.4 Ma BP) is of great interest in Western Europe. It witnessed several climatic oscillations and changes in the fauna, the demise of a hominin species and the appearance of another, along with important cultural and technological changes. Thus, the few available sites with these chronologies is vital to the understanding of the tempo and mode of these changes. Middle Pleistocene sites in the Northern Iberian Peninsula are very rare. Here we present the study of the site found at the Punta Lucero Quarry (Biscay province, Northern Iberian Peninsula), which includes for the first time the complete collection from the site. The fossil association from this site includes several ungulates, such as a Megacerine deer, Cervus elaphus, large bovids (likely both Bos primigenius and Bison sp. are present), Stephanorhinus sp., and carnivores, such as Homotherium latidens, Panthera gombaszoegensis, Canis mosbachensis and Vulpes sp. This association is typical of a middle Middle Pleistocene chronology and would be the oldest macro-mammal site in the Eastern Cantabrian region. This site would likely correspond to a chronology after Mode 1 technological complex and before the arrival of Mode 2 technology in this region. Thus, it offers a glimpse into the paleoecological conditions slightly prior to or contemporaneous with the first Acheulian makers in the northern fringe of the Iberian Peninsula.

  4. Social organization and the evolution of cumulative technology in apes and hominins.

    PubMed

    Pradhan, Gauri R; Tennie, Claudio; van Schaik, Carel P

    2012-07-01

    Culturally supported accumulation (or ratcheting) of technological complexity is widely seen as characterizing hominin technology relative to that of the extant great apes, and thus as representing a threshold in cultural evolution. To explain this divide, we modeled the process of cultural accumulation of technology, which we defined as adding new actions to existing ones to create new functional combinations, based on a model for great ape tool use. The model shows that intraspecific and interspecific variation in the presence of simple and cumulative technology among extant orangutans and chimpanzees is largely due to variation in sociability, and hence opportunities for social learning. The model also suggests that the adoption of extensive allomaternal care (cooperative breeding) in early Pleistocene Homo, which led to an increase in sociability and to teaching, and hence increased efficiency of social learning, was enough to facilitate technological ratcheting. Hence, socioecological changes, rather than advances in cognitive abilities, can account for the cumulative cultural changes seen until the origin of the Acheulean. The consequent increase in the reliance on technology could have served as the pacemaker for increased cognitive abilities. Our results also suggest that a more important watershed in cultural evolution was the rise of donated culture (technology or concepts), in which technology or concepts was transferred to naïve individuals, allowing them to skip many learning steps, and specialization arose, which allowed individuals to learn only a subset of the population's skills. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Before the Emergence of Homo sapiens: Overview on the Early-to-Middle Pleistocene Fossil Record (with a Proposal about Homo heidelbergensis at the subspecific level)

    PubMed Central

    Manzi, Giorgio

    2011-01-01

    The origin of H. sapiens has deep roots, which include two crucial nodes: (1) the emergence and diffusion of the last common ancestor of later Homo (in the Early Pleistocene) and (2) the tempo and mode of the appearance of distinct evolutionary lineages (in the Middle Pleistocene). The window between 1,000 and 500 thousand years before present appears of crucial importance, including the generation of a new and more encephalised kind of humanity, referred to by many authors as H. heidelbergensis. This species greatly diversified during the Middle Pleistocene up to the formation of new variants (i.e., incipient species) that, eventually, led to the allopatric speciation of H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. The special case furnished by the calvarium found near Ceprano (Italy), dated to 430–385 ka, offers the opportunity to investigate this matter from an original perspective. It is proposed to separate the hypodigm of a single, widespread, and polymorphic human taxon of the Middle Pleistocene into distinct subspecies (i.e., incipient species). The ancestral one should be H. heidelbergensis, including specimens such as Ceprano and the mandible from Mauer. PMID:21716742

  6. A new otter from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy), with remarks on the evolutionary history of Mediterranean Quaternary Lutrinae (Carnivora, Mustelidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cherin, Marco; Iurino, Dawid Adam; Willemsen, Gerard; Carnevale, Giorgio

    2016-03-01

    Here we describe a well-preserved sub-complete lutrine cranium from the late Villafranchian (Early Pleistocene) of Pantalla (Italy) and we assign it to the new taxon Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov. The new genus Lutraeximia is characterized by a relatively short and large cranium, with a peculiar shape of the postorbital area and a short and vertical muzzle in lateral view. We refer to the same genus the partially complete skeleton of Lutra trinacriae from the Middle-Late Pleistocene of Sicily. Lutraeximia umbra was a medium-large otter (predicted body mass larger than 13.5 kg) with a unique combination of characters in the upper dentition. A phylogenetic analysis based on craniodental characters places Lutraeximia umbra in a monophyletic clade including the living Lutrogale perspicillata plus the extinct Lutrogale cretensis and three Pleistocene otters from Italy: Sardolutra ichnusae and the sister taxa Lutraeximia trinacriae and Lutraeximia umbra. The recognition of this clade evidences the broad diversity of peri-Mediterranean Lutrinae during the Pleistocene.

  7. The top of the Olduvai subchron in a high-resolution magnetostratigraphy from the West Turkana core WTK13, Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sier, Mark; Langereis, Cor; Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume; Feibel, Craig; Jordeens, Jose; van der Lubbe, Jeroen; Beck, Catherine; Olago, Daniel; Cohen, Andrew

    2017-04-01

    One of the major challenges in understanding the evolution of our own species is identifying the role climate change has played in the evolution of earlier hominin species. To clarify the influence of climate, we need long and continuous high-resolution paleoclimate records, preferably obtained from hominin-bearing sediments, that are well-dated by tephro- and magnetostratigraphy and other methods. This is hindered, however, by the fact that fossil-bearing sediments are often discontinuous, and subject to weathering, which may lead to oxidation and remagnetization. To obtain fresh, unweathered sediments, the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP) collected a 216- meter core (WTK13) in 2013 from deposits of Early Pleistocene paleolake Lorenyang in the western Turkana Basin (Kenya). Here, we present the magnetostratigraphy of the core. Rock magnetic analyses reveal the presence of iron sulphides carrying the remanent magnetizations. To recover polarity orientation from the near-equatorial WTK13 core drilled at 5°N, we developed and successfully applied two independent drill-core reorientation methods taking advantage of (1) the sedimentary fabric as expressed in the Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) and (2) the occurrence of a viscous component oriented in the present day field. The reoriented directions reveal a normal to reversed polarity reversal identified as the top of the Olduvai subchron. From this excellent record, we find no evidence for the 'Vrica subchron' previously reported in the area. We suggest that outcrop-based interpretations supporting the presence of the Vrica subchron have been affected by the oxidation of iron sulphides initially present in the sediments as evident in the core record, and by subsequent remagnetization. Based on our new high-resolution magnetostratigraphy and stratigraphic markers, we provide constraints for an initial age model of the WTK13 core. We discuss the implications of the observed geomagnetic

  8. Nonlinear detection of large-scale transitions in Plio-Pleistocene African climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Donges, J. F.; Donner, R. V.; Trauth, M. H.; Marwan, N.; Schellnhuber, H. J.; Kurths, J.

    2011-12-01

    Potential paleoclimatic driving mechanisms acting on human development present an open problem of cross-disciplinary scientific interest. The analysis of paleoclimate archives encoding the environmental variability in East Africa during the last 5 Ma (million years) has triggered an ongoing debate about possible candidate processes and evolutionary mechanisms. In this work, we apply a novel nonlinear statistical technique, recurrence network analysis, to three distinct marine records of terrigenous dust flux. Our method enables us to identify three epochs with transitions between qualitatively different types of environmental variability in North and East Africa during the (i) Mid-Pliocene (3.35-3.15 Ma BP (before present)), (ii) Early Pleistocene (2.25-1.6 Ma BP), and (iii) Mid-Pleistocene (1.1-0.7 Ma BP). A deeper examination of these transition periods reveals potential climatic drivers, including (i) large-scale changes in ocean currents due to a spatial shift of the Indonesian throughflow in combination with an intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation, (ii) a global reorganization of the atmospheric Walker circulation induced in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean, and (iii) shifts in the dominating temporal variability pattern of glacial activity during the Mid-Pleistocene, respectively. A statistical reexamination of the available fossil record demonstrates a remarkable coincidence between the detected transition periods and major steps in hominin evolution. This suggests that the observed shifts between more regular and more erratic environmental variability have acted as a trigger for rapid change in the development of humankind in Africa.

  9. A critical review of the German Paleolithic hominin record.

    PubMed

    Street, Martin; Terberger, Thomas; Orschiedt, Jörg

    2006-12-01

    We review the hominin fossil record from western Central Europe in light of the recent major revisions of the geochronological context. The mandible from Mauer (Homo heidelbergensis), dated to circa 500,000 years ago, continues to represent the earliest German hominin and may coincide with the occupation of Europe north of the high alpine mountain chains. Only limited new evidence is available for the Middle Pleistocene, mostly in the form of skull fragments, a pattern that may relate to taphonomic processes. These finds and their ages suggest the gradual evolution of a suite of Neandertal features during this period. Despite new finds of classic Neandertals, there is no clear proof for Neandertal burial from Germany. Alternatively, cut marks on a skull fragment from the Neandertal type site suggest special treatment of that individual. New Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates of previous finds leave little reliably dated evidence for anatomically modern humans (AMH) in Europe before 30,000 BP; the remains from Hahnöfersand, Binshof-Speyer, Paderborn-Sande, and Vogelherd are now of Holocene age. Thus, a correlation of AMH with the Aurignacian remains to be proven, and the general idea of a long coexistence of Neandertals and AMH in Europe may be questioned. In western Central Europe, evidence of Gravettian human fossils is also very limited, although a new double grave from lower Austria may be relevant. The only dated burial from the German Upper Paleolithic (from Mittlere Klause) falls into a time period (circa 18,600 BP) represented by only a few occupation sites in western Central Europe. A number of human remains at Magdalenian sites appear to result from variable (secondary) burial practices. In contrast, the Final Paleolithic (circa 12,000-9600 cal. BC) yields an increase of hominin finds, including multiple burials (Bonn-Oberkassel, Neuwied-Irlich), similar to the situation in western and southern Europe.

  10. Subsurface North Atlantic warming as a trigger of rapid cooling events: evidence from the early Pleistocene (MIS 31-19)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernández-Almeida, I.; Sierro, F.-J.; Cacho, I.; Flores, J.-A.

    2015-04-01

    Subsurface water column dynamics in the subpolar North Atlantic were reconstructed in order to improve the understanding of the cause of abrupt ice-rafted detritus (IRD) events during cold periods of the early Pleistocene. We used paired Mg / Ca and δ18O measurements of Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sinistral - sin.), deep-dwelling planktonic foraminifera, to estimate the subsurface temperatures and seawater δ18O from a sediment core from Gardar Drift, in the subpolar North Atlantic. Carbon isotopes of benthic and planktonic foraminifera from the same site provide information about the ventilation and water column nutrient gradient. Mg / Ca-based temperatures and seawater δ18O suggest increased subsurface temperatures and salinities during ice-rafting, likely due to northward subsurface transport of subtropical waters during periods of weaker Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Planktonic carbon isotopes support this suggestion, showing coincident increased subsurface ventilation during deposition of IRD. Subsurface accumulation of warm waters would have resulted in basal warming and break-up of ice-shelves, leading to massive iceberg discharges in the North Atlantic. The release of heat stored at the subsurface to the atmosphere would have helped to restart the AMOC. This mechanism is in agreement with modelling and proxy studies that observe a subsurface warming in the North Atlantic in response to AMOC slowdown during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3.

  11. Subsurface North Atlantic warming as a trigger of rapid cooling events: evidences from the Early Pleistocene (MIS 31-19)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernández-Almeida, I.; Sierro, F.-J.; Cacho, I.; Flores, J.-A.

    2014-10-01

    Subsurface water column dynamics in the subpolar North Atlantic were reconstructed in order to improve the understanding of the cause of abrupt IRD events during cold periods of the Early Pleistocene. We used Mg / Ca-based temperatures of deep-dwelling (Neogloboquadrina pachyderma sinistral) planktonic foraminifera and paired Mg / Ca-δ18O measurements to estimate the subsurface temperatures and δ18O of seawater at Site U1314. Carbon isotopes on benthic and planktonic foraminifera from the same site provide information about the ventilation and water column nutrient gradient. Mg / Ca-based temperatures and δ18O of seawater suggest increased temperatures and salinities during ice-rafting, likely due to enhanced northward subsurface transport of subtropical waters during periods of AMOC reduction. Planktonic carbon isotopes support this suggestion, showing coincident increased subsurface ventilation during deposition of ice-rafted detritus (IRD). Warm waters accumulated at subsurface would result in basal warming and break-up of ice-shelves, leading to massive iceberg discharges in the North Atlantic. Release of heat and salt stored at subsurface would help to restart the AMOC. This mechanism is in agreement with modelling and proxy studies that observe a subsurface warming in the North Atlantic in response to AMOC slowdown during the MIS3.

  12. CT scanning analysis of Megantereon whitei (Carnivora, Machairodontinae) from Monte Argentario (Early Pleistocene, central Italy): evidence of atavistic teeth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iurino, Dawid Adam; Sardella, Raffaele

    2014-12-01

    CT scanning analysis applied to vertebrate palaeontology is providing an increasing number of data of great interest. This method can be used in many branches of palaeontology such as the investigation of all the fossilized elements in a hard matrix and the hidden structures in the bones. A large number of pathologies are "hidden", completely or partially invisible on the external surface of the bones because their development took place within the bones. However, the study of these diseases and abnormalities plays a crucial role in our understanding of evolutionary and adaptive processes of extinct taxa. The analysis of a partial skeleton of the sabre-toothed felid Megantereon whitei from the Early Pleistocene karst filling deposits of Monte Argentario (Tuscany, Italy) has been carried out. The CT scanning analysis put in evidence the presence of supernumerary teeth (P2) and the absence of P3 in the mandible. The occurrence of P2 can be considered as an evidence of atavism. Such an archaic feature is recorded for the first time in Megantereon.

  13. The Brazilian megamastofauna of the Pleistocene/Holocene transition and its relationship with the early human settlement of the continent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbe, Alex; Hubbe, Mark; Neves, Walter A.

    2013-03-01

    One of the most intriguing questions regarding the Brazilian Late Quaternary extinct megafauna and Homo sapiens is to what extent they coexisted and how humans could have contributed to the former's extinction. The aim of this article is to review the chronological and archaeological evidences of their coexistence in Brazil and to evaluate the degree of direct interaction between them. Critical assessment of the Brazilian megafauna chronological data shows that several of the late Pleistoscene/early Holocene dates available so far cannot be considered reliable, but the few that do suggest that at least two species (Catonyx cuvieri, ground sloth; Smilodon populator, saber-toothed cat) survived until the beginning of the Holocene in Southeast Brazil. Archaeological data indicates that the first human groups arrived in Brazil and were inhabiting this region during the last millennia of the Pleistocene and, consequently, they coexisted with the extinct fauna in some parts of Brazil for at least one thousand years. There is no robust evidence favoring any kind of direct interaction between humans and megafauna prior to their extinction. To date, it is not possible to properly judge the indirect influence of humans (landscape transformation, introduction of predators, among others) in this extinction event. Intense and to some extent unique climate changes between the Last Glacial Maximum and the Holocene favors the interpretation that they had a major contribution to the megafauna extinction, although the scarcity of data impedes the proper testing of this hypothesis.

  14. Subsurface warming in the subpolar North Atlantic during rapid climate events in the Early and Mid-Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernández-Almeida, Iván; Sierro, Francisco; Cacho, Isabel; Abel Flores, José

    2014-05-01

    A new high-resolution reconstruction of the temperature and salinity of the subsurface waters using paired Mg/Ca-δ18O measurements on the planktonic foraminifera Neogloboquadrina pachyderma sinistrorsa (sin.) was conducted on a deep-sea sediment core in the subpolar North Atlantic (Site U1314). This study aims to reconstruct millennial-scale subsurface hydrography variations during the Early and Mid-Pleistocene (MIS 31-19). These rapid climate events are characterized by abrupt shifts between warm/cold conditions, and ice-sheet oscillations, as evidenced by major ice rafting events recorded in the North Atlantic sediments (Hernández-Almeida et al., 2012), similar to those found during the Last Glacial period (Marcott et al, 2011). The Mg/Ca derived paleotemperature and salinity oscillations prior and during IRD discharges at Site U1314 are related to changes in intermediate circulation. The increases in Mg/Ca paleotemperatures and salinities during the IRD event are preceded by short episodes of cooling and freshening of subsurface waters. The response of the AMOC to this perturbation is an increased of warm and salty water coming from the south, transported to high latitudes in the North Atlantic beneath the thermocline. This process is accompanied by a southward shift in the convection cell from the Nordic Seas to the subpolar North Atlantic and better ventilation of the North Atlantic at mid-depths. Poleward transport of warm and salty subsurface subtropical waters causes intense basal melting and thinning of marine ice-shelves, that culminates in large-scale instability of the ice sheets, retreat of the grounding line and iceberg discharge. The mechanism proposed involves the coupling of the AMOC with ice-sheet dynamics, and would explain the presence of these fluctuations before the establishment of high-amplitude 100-kyr glacial cycles. Hernández-Almeida, I., Sierro, F.J., Cacho, I., Flores, J.A., 2012. Impact of suborbital climate changes in the North

  15. Late Pliocene - Early Pleistocene paleoenvironmental reconstruction based on stable isotope compositions of Stephanorhinus sp. and Mammut sp. teeth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szabó, Péter; Kovács, János; Kocsis, László; Gasparik, Mihály; Vennemann, Torsten; Demény, Attila; Virág, Attila

    2014-05-01

    Stable isotope measurements of skeletal apatite from herbivorous mammals are often used to provide information on the terrestrial paleoenvironment and paleoclimate. In this study fossil teeth of Stephanorhinus Kretzoi 1942 (rhinoceros) and Mammut Blumenbach 1799 (mastodon), amongst others, were investigated from the Carpathian Basin. According to the biostratigraphy, the age of the samples has a range from Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene. Reconstructing paleoclimate and paleoenvironment of this era is important as it can be an analogue for the future climate. Oxygen and carbon isotopic compositions were measured from the tooth enamel, because it is believed to be the most resistant to diagenetic alteration (e.g., Kohn & Cerling, 2002). The carbon isotopic composition in the carbonate fraction of apatite can be related to the diet of the animal (Kohn & Cerling, 2002). Hence, it can reflect the photosynthetic pathway (C3 or C4) of the plants consumed by these herbivores. The δ18O values were determined in the phosphate fraction of apatite. In the case of large mammals that are obligate drinkers, the δ18O values closely track those of the environmental water (Bryant & Froelich, 1995). Knowing the δ18O values of environmental water and relating it to local precipitation, the mean annual temperature (MAT) of the site can be calculated (Dansgaard, 1964). The δ13C values range from -10 to -15 o (VPDB). The result clearly shows that these animals consumed C3 plants. Most of the δ13C values indicate mixed grassland-open woodland rather than a closed canopy forest. Although there is variation in the δ18O values (mean 14.2 ± 1.0 o VSMOW, n=17), most of the samples would support a MAT range of 8-12 ° C. This is in good agreement with other proxies for the localities and time period (Kovács et al., 2013). Bryant, D.J. & Froelich, P.N. (1995) A model of oxygen-isotope fractionation in bodywater of large-mammals. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 59, 4523

  16. Evidence of fatal skeletal injuries on Malapa Hominins 1 and 2

    PubMed Central

    L’Abbé, Ericka N.; Symes, Steven A.; Pokines, James T.; Cabo, Luis L.; Stull, Kyra E.; Kuo, Sharon; Raymond, David E.; Randolph-Quinney, Patrick S.; Berger, Lee R.

    2015-01-01

    Malapa is one of the richest early hominin sites in Africa and the discovery site of the hominin species, Australopithecus sediba. The holotype and paratype (Malapa Hominin 1 and 2, or MH1 and MH2, respectively) skeletons are among the most complete in the early hominin record. Dating to approximately two million years BP, MH1 and MH2 are hypothesized to have fallen into a natural pit trap. All fractures evident on MH1 and MH2 skeletons were evaluated and separated based on wet and dry bone fracture morphology/characteristics. Most observed fractures are post-depositional, but those in the right upper limb of the adult hominin strongly indicate active resistance to an impact, while those in the juvenile hominin mandible are consistent with a blow to the face. The presence of skeletal trauma independently supports the falling hypothesis and supplies the first evidence for the manner of death of an australopith in the fossil record that is not attributed to predation or natural death. PMID:26459912

  17. A new record of late Pliocene-early Pleistocene aeolian loess-red clay deposits from the western Chinese Loess Plateau and its palaeoenvironmental implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zan, Jinbo; Fang, Xiaomin; Zhang, Weilin; Yan, Maodu; Zhang, Dawen

    2018-04-01

    The loess-red clay sequences in northern China provide high-resolution terrestrial records of Asian monsoon evolution and aridification of the Asian interior. To date, however, aeolian deposits of late Pliocene-early Pleistocene age (3.5-2.4 Ma) have only rarely been reported from the western Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP), which significantly hinders our understanding of the distribution of aeolian deposits and the palaeoenvironmental evolution of the region. Here, we present magnetostratigraphic, lithologic and magnetic susceptibility results for two recently-drilled boreholes from the north bank of Baxie River, central Linxia Basin, which are highly correlative with those of the loess-red clay deposits spanning the interval from 3.6 to 2.4 Ma in the eastern CLP. Our results provide the first direct evidence for the occurrence of late Pliocene-early Pleistocene aeolian deposits in the western CLP and provide new insights into the distribution of aeolian deposits in northern China. The spatial coherence of the magnetic susceptibility fluctuations further indicates that magnetic susceptibility is a powerful tool for stratigraphic correlation of late Pliocene aeolian deposits in the western CLP. In addition, our results demonstrate that erosional events may have occurred in the early or middle Pleistocene, and they may provide new insights into the reasons for the absence of loess-red clay deposits from 3.5 to 2.4 Ma in most parts of the western CLP.

  18. Fossil amphibians and reptiles from Tegelen (Province of Limburg) and the early Pleistocene palaeoclimate of The Netherlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villa, Andrea; Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; van den Hoek Ostende, Lars W.; Delfino, Massimo

    2018-05-01

    Few Quaternary herpetofaunas have been recovered from The Netherlands. Among these, the one coming from the early Pleistocene site of the Russel-Tiglia-Egypte pit near Tegelen is of particular interest, because it is the type locality of the recently described, last western European palaeobatrachid anuran, Palaeobatrachus eurydices. The large number of fossil remains of amphibians and reptiles found in the pit are representative of a very diverse fauna, including at least 17 taxa: Triturus gr. T. cristatus, Lissotriton sp., Pelobates fuscus, Bufo bufo, Bombina sp., Pelophylax sp., Rana sp., Hyla gr. H. arborea, Pelodytes sp., Mauremys sp., Lacerta sp., Lacertidae indet., Anguis gr. A. fragilis, cf. Pseudopus sp., "colubrines" indet., Natrix natrix and Vipera sp. Emys orbicularis, previously reported from a different Tegelen pit, is not present in this assemblage. Palaeoclimatic conditions reconstructed based on the herpetofaunistic association indicate a humid subtropical climate (Cfa according to the Köppen-Geiger classification of climates) for Tegelen during the TC5 section of the Tiglian, with low, but fairly regular rainfalls during the year. Mean annual temperature was 13.4 ± 0.3 °C and mean annual precipitation was 542 ± 50 mm. Moreover, three dry months were present during summer and early autumn, resulting in a much drier climate than the one present at Tegelen today. Nevertheless, the occurrence of the water-dwelling P. eurydices suggests the persistence of suitable permanent water bodies during the whole year, and the survival of this taxon in this part of Europe might have been allowed by the generally humid climate.

  19. Unraveling hominin behavior at another anthropogenic site from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania): new archaeological and taphonomic research at BK, Upper Bed II.

    PubMed

    Domínguez-Rodrigo, M; Mabulla, A; Bunn, H T; Barba, R; Diez-Martín, F; Egeland, C P; Espílez, E; Egeland, A; Yravedra, J; Sánchez, P

    2009-09-01

    New archaeological excavations and research at BK, Upper Bed II (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania) have yielded a rich and unbiased collection of fossil bones. These new excavations show that BK is a stratified deposit formed in a riverine setting close to an alluvial plain. The present taphonomic study reveals the second-largest collection of hominin-modified bones from Olduvai, with abundant cut marks found on most of the anatomical areas preserved. Meat and marrow exploitation is reconstructed using the taphonomic signatures left on the bones by hominins. Highly cut-marked long limb shafts, especially those of upper limb bones, suggest that hominins at BK were actively engaged in acquiring small and middle-sized animals using strategies other than passive scavenging. The exploitation of large-sized game (Pelorovis) by Lower Pleistocene hominins, as suggested by previous researchers, is supported by the present study.

  20. Evolution of the hominin knee and ankle.

    PubMed

    Frelat, Mélanie A; Shaw, Colin N; Sukhdeo, Simone; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Benazzi, Stefano; Ryan, Timothy M

    2017-07-01

    The dispersal of the genus Homo out of Africa approximately 1.8 million years ago (Ma) has been understood within the context of changes in diet, behavior, and bipedal locomotor efficiency. While various morphological characteristics of the knee and ankle joints are considered part of a suite of traits indicative of, and functionally related to, habitual bipedal walking, the timing and phylogenetic details of these morphological changes remain unclear. To evaluate the timing of knee and ankle joint evolution, we apply geometric morphometric methods to three-dimensional digital models of the proximal and distal tibiae of fossil hominins, Holocene Homo sapiens, and extant great apes. Two sets of landmarks and curve semilandmarks were defined on each specimen. Because some fossils were incomplete, digital reconstructions were carried out independently to estimate missing landmarks and semilandmarks. Group shape variation was evaluated through shape-and form-space principal component analysis and fossil specimens were projected to assess variation in the morphological space computed from the extant comparative sample. We show that a derived proximal tibia (knee) similar to that seen in living H. sapiens evolved with early Homo at ∼2 Ma. In contrast, derived characteristics in the distal tibia appear later, probably with the arrival of Homo erectus. These results suggest a dissociation of the morphologies of the proximal and distal tibia, perhaps indicative of divergent functional demands and, consequently, selective pressures at these joints. It appears that longer distance dispersals that delivered the Dmanisi hominins to Georgia by 1.8 Ma and H. erectus to east-southeast Asia by 1.6 Ma were facilitated by the evolution of a morphologically derived knee complex comparable to that of recent humans and an ankle that was morphologically primitive. This research sets the foundation for additional paleontological, developmental, and functional research to better

  1. Cranial base evolution within the hominin clade

    PubMed Central

    Nevell, L; Wood, B

    2008-01-01

    The base of the cranium (i.e. the basioccipital, the sphenoid and the temporal bones) is of particular interest because it undergoes significant morphological change within the hominin clade, and because basicranial morphology features in several hominin species diagnoses. We use a parsimony analysis of published cranial and dental data to predict the cranial base morphology expected in the hypothetical last common ancestor of the Pan–Homo clade. We also predict the primitive condition of the cranial base for the hominin clade, and document the evolution of the cranial base within the major subclades within the hominin clade. This analysis suggests that cranial base morphology has continued to evolve in the hominin clade, both before and after the emergence of the genus Homo. PMID:18380865

  2. Three-dimensional evaluation of root canal morphology in lower second premolars of early and middle Pleistocene human populations from Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain).

    PubMed

    Prado-Simón, Leyre; Martinón-Torres, María; Baca, Pilar; Olejniczak, Anthony J; Gómez-Robles, Aida; Lapresa, María; Luis Arsuaga, Juan; María Bermúdez de Castro, José

    2012-03-01

    The aim of this study is to describe the morphology of the roots and root canals of permanent lower second premolars (LP4s) with fully developed roots of five hominin groups: Homo sp. (ATE9-1 specimen) from Atapuerca-Sima del Elefante locality, H. antecessor (ATD6-4 and ATD6-125) from Atapuerca-Gran Dolina TD6 locality, H. heidelbergensis from Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos locality, H. neanderthalensis from Krapina, Regourdou, and Abri Bourgeois-Delaunay localities, and two contemporary H. sapiens groups. The teeth were scanned by means of microtomography. The roots were divided into three virtual segments by three planes: cemento-enamel junction (CEJ), mid-root (MR), and mid-apex (MA). Volumetric and planar direct measurements of the whole teeth and each segment were taken. Descriptive statistical analyses and nonparametric Mann-Whiney test were performed to test for significant differences (P < 0.025) between groups. ATE9-1 and Gran Dolina-TD6 fossils present intricate radicular complexes that might be transitional between the morphologies of Australopithecus robustus and African early Homo and the derived conditions typically found in later Homo. In H. neanderthalensis and H. heidelbergensis, the root canals are wide, with small apical convergence. This trait is particularly pronounced in the Sima de los Huesos sample which may reflect a particularity of this population. Our study demonstrates the potential of hominin roots and root canals as untapped sources of taxonomic information when the tooth crown is fragmented. Future studies, including more fossil specimens and species will shed light in the polarity of the morphologies observed. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Greigite formed in early Pleistocene lacustrine sediments from the Heqing Basin, southwest China, and its paleoenvironmental implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qiang, Xiaoke; Xu, Xinwen; Zhao, Hui; Fu, Chaofeng

    2018-05-01

    The ferrimagnetic iron sulfide greigite (Fe3S4) occurs widely in sulfidic lacustrine and marine sedimentary environments. Knowledge of its formation and persistence is important for both magnetostratigraphic and paleoenvironmental studies. Although the formation mechanism of greigite has been widely demonstrated, the sedimentary environments associated with greigite formation in lakes, especially on relatively long timescales, are poorly understood. A long and continuous sequence of Pleistocene lacustrine sediments was recovered in the Heqing drill core from southwestern China, which provides an outstanding record of continental climate and environment. Integrated magnetic, geochemical, and paleoclimatic analysis of the lacustrine sequence provides an opportunity to improve our understanding of the environmental controls on greigite formation. Rock magnetic and scanning electron microscope analyses of selected samples from the core reveal that greigite is present in the lower part of the core (part 1, 665.8-372.5 m). Greigite occurs throughout this interval and is the dominant magnetic mineral, irrespective of the climatic state. The magnetic susceptibility (χ) record, which is mainly controlled by the concentration of greigite, matches well with variations in the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) index and total organic carbon (TOC) content, with no significant time lag. This indicates that the greigite formed during early diagenesis. In greigite-bearing intervals, with the χ increase, Bc value increase and tends to be stable at about 50 mT. Therefore, we suggest that χ values could estimate the variation of greigite concentration approximately in the Heqing core. Greigite favored more abundant in terrigenous-rich and organic-poor layers associated with weak summer monsoon which are characterized by high χ values, high Fe content, high Rb/Sr ratio and low TOC content. Greigite enhancement can be explained by variations in terrigenous inputs. Our studies demonstrate

  4. Evidence of Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene marine environments in the deep subsurface of the Lihue Basin, Kauai, Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izuka, S.K.; Resig, J.M.

    2008-01-01

    Cuttings recovered from two deep exploratory wells in the Lihue Basin, Kauai, Hawaii, include fossiliferous marine deposits that offer an uncommon opportunity to study paleoenvironments from the deep subsurface in Hawaii and interpret the paleogeography and geologic history of Kauai. These deposits indicate that two marine incursions gave rise to protected shallow-water, low-energy embayments in the southern part of the Lihue Basin in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene. During the first marine incursion, the embayment was initially zoned, with a variable-salinity environment nearshore and a normal-marine reef environment offshore. The offshore reef environment eventually evolved to a nearshore, variable-salinity environment as the outer part of the embayment shallowed. During the second marine incursion, the embayment had normal-marine to hypersaline conditions, which constitute a significant departure from the variable-salinity environment present during the first marine incursion. Large streams draining the southern Lihue Basin are a likely source of the freshwater that caused the salinity fluctuations evident in the fossils from the first marine incursion. Subsequent volcanic eruptions produced lava flows that buried the embayment and probably diverted much of the stream flow in the southern Lihue Basin northward, to its present point of discharge north of Kalepa Ridge. As a result, the embayment that formed during the second marine incursion received less freshwater, and a normal-marine to hypersaline environment developed. The shallow-water marine deposits, currently buried between 86 m and 185 m below present sea level, have implications for regional tectonics and global eustasy. Copyright ?? 2008, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

  5. The Role of Orbital Forcing in the Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition: Continuing the Precession Verses Obliquity Debate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maslin, M. A.; Brierley, C. M.

    2015-12-01

    The Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition (EMPT) is the term used to describe the prolongation and intensification of glacial-interglacial climate cycles that initiated after 900,000 years ago. During the transition glacial-interglacial cycles shift from lasting 41,000 years to an average of 100,000 years. The structure of these glacial-interglacial cycles shifts from smooth to more abrupt 'saw-toothed' like transitions. In fact we argue there is shift from a bimodal climate to a tripartite climate system (see Figure). Despite eccentricity having by far the weakest influence on insolation received at the Earth's surface of any of the orbital parameters; it is often assumed to be the primary driver of the post-EMPT 100,000 years climate cycles because of the similarity in duration. The traditional solution to this is to call for a highly nonlinear response by the global climate system to eccentricity. This 'eccentricity myth' is due to an artefact of spectral analysis which means that the last 8 glacial-interglacial average out at about 100,000 years in length despite ranging from 80,000 to 120,000 years. With the realisation that eccentricity is not the major driving force a debate has emerged as to whether precession or obliquity controlled the timing of the most recent glacial-interglacial cycles. Some argue that post-EMPT deglaciations occurred every four or five precessional cycle while others argue it is every second or third obliquity cycle. We review these current theories and suggest that though phase-locking between orbital forcing and global ice volume may occur and seem to primarily driven by the timing of precession; the chaotic nature of the climate system response means the relationship is not consistent through the last 900,000 years.

  6. Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia

    PubMed Central

    Reich, David; Green, Richard E.; Kircher, Martin; Krause, Johannes; Patterson, Nick; Durand, Eric Y.; Viola, Bence; Briggs, Adrian W.; Stenzel, Udo; Johnson, Philip L. F.; Maricic, Tomislav; Good, Jeffrey M.; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Alkan, Can; Fu, Qiaomei; Mallick, Swapan; Li, Heng; Meyer, Matthias; Eichler, Evan E.; Stoneking, Mark; Richards, Michael; Talamo, Sahra; Shunkov, Michael V.; Derevianko, Anatoli P.; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Kelso, Janet; Slatkin, Montgomery; Pääbo, Svante

    2015-01-01

    Using DNA extracted from a finger bone found in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, we have sequenced the genome of an archaic hominin to about 1.9-fold coverage. This individual is from a group that shares a common origin with Neanderthals. This population was not involved in the putative gene flow from Neanderthals into Eurasians; however, the data suggest that it contributed 4–6% of its genetic material to the genomes of present-day Melanesians. We designate this hominin population ‘Denisovans’ and suggest that it may have been widespread in Asia during the Late Pleistocene epoch. A tooth found in Denisova Cave carries a mitochondrial genome highly similar to that of the finger bone. This tooth shares no derived morphological features with Neanderthals or modern humans, further indicating that Denisovans have an evolutionary history distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans. PMID:21179161

  7. Unexpectedly rapid evolution of mandibular shape in hominins.

    PubMed

    Raia, P; Boggioni, M; Carotenuto, F; Castiglione, S; Di Febbraro, M; Di Vincenzo, F; Melchionna, M; Mondanaro, A; Papini, A; Profico, A; Serio, C; Veneziano, A; Vero, V A; Rook, L; Meloro, C; Manzi, G

    2018-05-09

    Members of the hominins - namely the so-called 'australopiths' and the species of the genus Homo - are known to possess short and deep mandibles and relatively small incisors and canines. It is commonly assumed that this suite of traits evolved in early members of the clade in response to changing environmental conditions and increased consumption of though food items. With the emergence of Homo, the functional meaning of mandible shape variation is thought to have been weakened by technological advancements and (later) by the control over fire. In contrast to this expectation, we found that mandible shape evolution in hominins is exceptionally rapid as compared to any other primate clade, and that the direction and rate of shape change (from the ape ancestor) are no different between the australopiths and Homo. We deem several factors including the loss of honing complex, canine reduction, and the acquisition of different diets may have concurred in producing such surprisingly high evolutionary rates. This study reveals the evolution of mandibular shape in hominins has strong morpho-functional and ecological significance attached.

  8. Oldowan hominin behavior and ecology at Kanjera South,Kenya.

    PubMed

    Plummer, Thomas; Bishop, Laura

    2016-06-20

    The Early Stone Age archaeological record does not become persistent and widespread until approximately 2.0-1.7 million years ago, when Oldowan sites spread across Africa and ultimately into Eurasia. However, good records of hominin behavior from this important time interval are uncommon. Here we describe recent findings from the two million year old Oldowan site of Kanjera South, on the Homa Peninsula of southwestern Kenya. Kanjera South is the oldest Oldowan site with large assemblages of stone artifacts and well-preserved archaeological fauna. Our research indicates that hominin activities were situated in an open habitat within a grassland dominated ecosystem, the first documentation of an archaeological site in such an open setting. Hominins selectively collected and transported stone materials (30% of the lithic assemblage) over longer distances (at least 10 km) than is typical for the Oldowan, reflecting their preference for hard, easily-flaked lithologies unavailable on the northern half of the Homa Peninsula. They deployed different technological strategies to more intensively utilize these hard, non-local raw materials. Artifacts were used for a variety of tasks, including butchering small antelopes probably obtained by hunting, working wood, working soft plant material, and processing underground storage organs. These data suggest that the Kanjera hominins utilized a technological system that allowed them to extract nutrient dense animal and plant foods from their environment. This shift towards the acquisition of nutritious, hard-to-acquire foods in packets large enough to be shared may have facilitated brain and body size expansion in the genus Homo.

  9. Hominin reactions to herbivore distribution in the Lower Palaeolithic of the Southern Levant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Devès, Maud; Sturdy, Derek; Godet, Nan; King, Geoffrey C. P.; Bailey, Geoffrey N.

    2014-07-01

    We explore the relationship between the edaphic potential of soils and the mineral properties of the underlying geology as a means of mapping the differential productivity of different areas of the Pleistocene landscape for large herbivores. These factors strongly control the health of grazing animals irrespective of the particular types of vegetation growing on them, but they have generally been neglected in palaeoanthropological studies in favour of a more general emphasis on water and vegetation, which provide an incomplete picture. Taking the Carmel-Galilee-Golan region as an example, we show how an understanding of edaphic potential provides insight into how animals might have exploited the environment. In order to simplify the analysis, we concentrate on the Lower Palaeolithic period and the very large animals that dominate the archaeofaunal assemblages of this period. Topography and the ability of soils to retain water also contribute to the differential productivity and accessibility of different regions and to patterns of seasonal movements of the animals, which are essential to ensure a supply of healthy fodder throughout the year, especially for large animals such as elephants, which require substantial regions of good grazing and browsing. Other animals migrating in groups have similar needs. The complex topography of the Southern Levant with frequent sudden and severe changes in gradient, and a wide variety of landforms including rocky outcrops, cliffs, gorges, and ridges, places major limits on these patterns of seasonal movements. We develop methods of mapping these variables, based on the geology and our substantial field experience, in order to create a framework of landscape variation that can be compared with the locations and contents of archaeological sites to suggest ways in which early hominins used the variable features of the landscape to target animal prey, and extend the analysis to the consideration of smaller mammals that were exploited

  10. The Alleret Maar lacustrine sequence (French Massif Central): a 150 ka long early-middle Pleistocene continental paleoenvironmental record.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nomade, S.; Pastre, J.; Guillou, H.; Gauthier, A.; Scaillet, S.

    2008-12-01

    Lacustrine maar sequences of the French Massif Central are of great interest for paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions of mid-latitudes Quaternary continental environments. In particular, the western Velay region yields exceptional sequences spanning the last 450 ka (Reille et al., J. Quat. Sci. 2000). However, older sequences remain largely unknown despite the presence of interbedded alkaline tephras allowing precise absolute radiochronological control of many lacustrine squences. The Alleret maar is a 1500 m wide phreatomagmatic crater that provides a long lacustrine sequence (41 m). The upper part of this sequence (AL2 core, 14.6 m) was studied between 2005 and 2006 (Pastre et al., C. R. Acad Sci, 2007). A 39Ar/40Ar date (557 ± 5ka) obtained from an interbedded tephra layer located at 7m as well as the associated pollen data attribute the beginning of this sequence to the MIS 15. Thanks to the AL3 core recovered in 2005 (40.6 m, CNRS Meudon) several new tephra layers were discovered in the bottom part of this lacustrine sequence. Three new 39Ar/40Ar ages (single crystal analyses) from trachytic tephra layers were obtained at the LSCE Argon Laboratory (France). These layers are located at -30.2, -36.2 and -39.2m. Ages obtained relative to the ACR-2 flux standard (1,201Ma, Kuiper et al., Science, 2008) range from 692 ± 6 ka (MSWD: 2.3, n=18) for the youngest (-30.2m) to 726 ± 9Ka Ka (MSWD: 2.2, n=12) for the lowest tephra located at -39.2m. These new dates indicate a relatively homogeneous deposition rate of 3.5cm/ka and that the last 10 meters cover the MIS 17-MIS18 period. According to these current radiochronological data the complete lacustrine sequence last more than 150ka. Ongoing sedimentary and pollen studies will allow to extend the paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic records of the French Massif Central towards the beginning of the early middle Pleistocene.

  11. Brief communication: Lumbar lordosis in extinct hominins: implications of the pelvic incidence.

    PubMed

    Been, Ella; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Kramer, Patricia A

    2014-06-01

    Recently, interest has peaked regarding the posture of extinct hominins. Here, we present a new method of reconstructing lordosis angles of extinct hominin specimens based on pelvic morphology, more specifically the orientation of the sacrum in relation to the acetabulum (pelvic incidence). Two regression models based on the correlation between pelvic incidence and lordosis angle in living hominoids have been developed. The mean values of the calculated lordosis angles based on these models are 36°-45° for australopithecines, 45°-47° for Homo erectus, 27°-34° for the Neandertals and the Sima de los Huesos hominins, and 49°-51° for fossil H. sapiens. The newly calculated lordosis values are consistent with previously published values of extinct hominins (Been et al.: Am J Phys Anthropol 147 (2012) 64-77). If the mean values of the present nonhuman hominoids are representative of the pelvic and lumbar morphology of the last common ancestor between humans and nonhuman hominoids, then both pelvic incidence and lordosis angle dramatically increased during hominin evolution from 27° ± 5 to 22° ± 3 (respectively) in nonhuman hominoids to 54° ± 10 and 51° ± 11 in modern humans. This change to a more human-like configuration appeared early in the hominin evolution as the pelvis and spines of both australopithecines and H. erectus show a higher pelvic incidence and lordosis angle than nonhuman hominoids. The Sima de los Huesos hominins and Neandertals show a derived configuration with a low pelvic incidence and lordosis angle. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Ichnotaxonomy of the Laetoli trackways: The earliest hominin footprints

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meldrum, D. J.; Lockley, Martin G.; Lucas, Spencer G.; Musiba, Charles

    2011-04-01

    At 3.6 Ma, the Laetoli Pliocene hominin trackways are the earliest direct evidence of hominin bipedalism. Three decades since their discovery, not only is the question of their attribution still discussed, but marked differences in interpretation concerning the footprints' qualitative features and the inferred nature of the early hominin foot morphology remain. Here, we establish a novel ichnotaxon, Praehominipes laetoliensis, for these tracks and clarify the distinctions of these footprints from those of later hominins, especially modern humans. We also contrast hominin, human, and ape footprints to establish morphological features of these footprints correlated with a midtarsal break versus a stiff longitudinal arch. Original photos, including stereo photographs, and casts of footprints from the 1978 Laetoli excavation, confirm midtarsal flexibility, and repeatedly indicate an associated midfoot pressure ridge. In contrast, the modern human footprint reflects the derived arched-foot architecture, combined with a stiff-legged striding gait. Fossilized footprints of unshod modern human pedestrians in Hawaii and Nicaragua unambiguously illustrate these contrasts. Some points of comparisons with ape footprints are complicated by a variable hallucal position and the distinct manner of ape facultative bipedalism. In contrast to the comparatively rigid platform of the modern human foot, midtarsal flexibility is present in the chimpanzee foot. In ape locomotion, flexion at the transverse tarsal joint, referred to as the "midtarsal break," uncouples the respective functions of the prehensile forefoot and the propulsive hindfoot during grasp-climbing. At some point after the transition to habitual bipedalism, these grasp-climb adaptations, presumed to be present in the last common ancestor of apes and humans, were initially compromised by the loss of divergence of the hallux. An analogous trajectory is evident along an array of increasingly terrestrial extant ape species

  13. Mediterranean Outflow and surface water variability off southern Portugal during the early Pleistocene: A snapshot at Marine Isotope Stages 29 to 34 (1020-1135 ka)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voelker, Antje H. L.; Salgueiro, Emilia; Rodrigues, Teresa; Jimenez-Espejo, Francisco J.; Bahr, André; Alberto, Ana; Loureiro, Isabel; Padilha, Maria; Rebotim, Andreia; Röhl, Ursula

    2015-10-01

    Centennial-to-millennial scale records from IODP Site U1387, drilled during IODP Expedition 339 into the Faro Drift at 558 m water depth, now allow evaluating the climatic history of the upper core of the Mediterranean Outflow (MOW) and of the surface waters in the northern Gulf of Cadiz during the early Pleistocene. This study focuses on the period from Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 29 to 34, i.e. the interval surrounding extreme interglacial MIS 31. Conditions in the upper MOW reflect obliquity, precession and millennial-scale variations. The benthic δ18O signal follows obliquity with the exception of an additional, smaller δ18O peak that marks the MIS 32/31 transition. Insolation maxima (precession minima) led to poor ventilation and a sluggish upper MOW core, whereas insolation minima were associated with enhanced ventilation and often also increased bottom current velocity. Millennial-scale periods of colder sea-surface temperatures (SST) were associated with short-term maxima in flow velocity and better ventilation, reminiscent of conditions known from MIS 3. A prominent contourite layer, coinciding with insolation cycle 100, was formed during MIS 31 and represents one of the few contourites developing within an interglacial period. MIS 31 surface water conditions were characterized by an extended period (1065-1091 ka) of warm SST, but SST were not much warmer than during MIS 33. Interglacial to glacial transitions experienced 2 to 3 stadial/interstadial cycles, just like their mid-to-late Pleistocene counterparts. Glacial MIS 30 and 32 recorded periods of extremely cold (< 12 °C) SST that in their climatic impact were comparable with the Heinrich events of the mid and late Pleistocene. Glacial MIS 34, on the other hand, was a relative warm glacial period off southern Portugal. Overall, surface water and MOW conditions at Site U1387 show a strong congruence with Mediterranean climate, whereas millennial-scale variations are closely linked to North Atlantic

  14. Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe

    PubMed Central

    Fuss, Jochen; Spassov, Nikolai; Begun, David R.

    2017-01-01

    The split of our own clade from the Panini is undocumented in the fossil record. To fill this gap we investigated the dentognathic morphology of Graecopithecus freybergi from Pyrgos Vassilissis (Greece) and cf. Graecopithecus sp. from Azmaka (Bulgaria), using new μCT and 3D reconstructions of the two known specimens. Pyrgos Vassilissis and Azmaka are currently dated to the early Messinian at 7.175 Ma and 7.24 Ma. Mainly based on its external preservation and the previously vague dating, Graecopithecus is often referred to as nomen dubium. The examination of its previously unknown dental root and pulp canal morphology confirms the taxonomic distinction from the significantly older northern Greek hominine Ouranopithecus. Furthermore, it shows features that point to a possible phylogenetic affinity with hominins. G. freybergi uniquely shares p4 partial root fusion and a possible canine root reduction with this tribe and therefore, provides intriguing evidence of what could be the oldest known hominin. PMID:28531170

  15. The origin and disappearance of the late Pleistocene-early Holocene short-lived coastal wetlands along the Carmel coast, Israel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sivan, Dorit; Greenbaum, Noam; Cohen-Seffer, Ronit; Sisma-Ventura, Guy; Almogi-Labin, Ahuva

    The formation of short-lived backswamps along the Carmel coast of Israel coincides with the rapid global sea-level rise during the late Pleistocene-early Holocene transition. The current study shows that the wetland phenomena originated around 10,000 yr ago and dried up shortly before the local Pre-Pottery Neolithic humans settled on the wetland dark clay sediments 9430 cal yr BP. Palaeontological and stable-isotope data were used in this study to elucidate previously published sedimentological reconstruction obtained from a core drilled into the western trough of the Carmel coastal plain. The water body contained typical brackish calcareous fauna, with variable numerical abundance and low species richness of ostracods and foraminifera. The δ 18O and δ 13C of the ostracod Cyprideis torosa show close similarity to the present Pleistocene coastal aquifer isotopic values. This study therefore concludes that the wetlands were shallow-water bodies fed by groundwater, with no evidence of sea-water mixing. It seems that they developed as the result of high groundwater levels, transportation of sediments landward, and deposition of sand bars at the paleo-river mouths. It is still not fully understood why these wetlands deteriorated abruptly and disappeared within less than 1000 yr.

  16. Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene lake-level fluctuations in the Lahontan Basin, Nevada: Implications for the distribution of archaeological sites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adams, K.D.; Goebel, Thomas; Graf, K.; Smith, G.M.; Camp, A.J.; Briggs, R.W.; Rhode, D.

    2008-01-01

    The Great Basin of the western U.S. contains a rich record of late Pleistocene and Holocene lake-level fluctuations as well as an extensive record of human occupation during the same time frame. We compare spatial-temporal relationships between these records in the Lahontan basin to consider whether lake-level fluctuations across the Pleistocene-Holocene transition controlled distribution of archaeological sites. We use the reasonably well-dated archaeological record from caves and rockshelters as well as results from new pedestrian surveys to investigate this problem. Although lake levels probably reached maximum elevations of about 1230-1235 m in the different subbasins of Lahontan during the Younger Dryas (YD) period, the duration that the lakes occupied the highest levels was brief Paleoindian and early Archaic archaeological sites are concentrated on somewhat lower and slightly younger shorelines (???1220-1225 in) that also date from the Younger Dryas period. This study suggests that Paleoindians often concentrated their activities adjacent to large lakes and wetland resources soon after they first entered the Great Basin. ?? 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  17. N zooming into the Mediterranean outflow fossil moat during the 1.2-1.8 million years period (Early-Pleistocene) - An approach by radiogenic and stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebreiro, Susana M.; Antón, Laura; Reguera, M. Isabel; Fernández, Marta; Conde, Estefanía; Barrado, Ana I.; Yllera, Abel

    2015-12-01

    The fossil Alvarez Cabral erosive Moat contains hemipelagite, contourite and turbidite facies where oceanography changes in the Mediterranean outflow are archived over the 1.2-1.8 Myr time period. Here we used Pb and Sr radiogenic isotopes to trace water masses and sediment source changes, for the first time in twenty glacial-interglacial (G-I) cycles of the Early-Pleistocene interval, and the last Glacial Maximum through Holocene cycle (including the Younger Dryas and Heinrich Stadial-1). A mixing line of Pb isotopes gives reliable low radiogenic 208Pb/204Pb, 206Pb/204Pb, and 206Pb/207Pb typical of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) in one end-member and the signature of high radiogenic isotopes of Atlantic Waters (AW) towards the second end-member. The 87Sr/86Sr isotopes also display two end-members of the mixing line between eolian transport/dust source (0.71) and fluvial transport/weathering source (0.73) previously proposed in the Gulf of Cadiz. Combination of Pb and Sr radiogenic isotopes with O and C stable isotopes of planktonic and benthic foraminifera, and the response of foraminifera benthos over the Early-Pleistocene interval, reveals a direct link between water masses circulation and shifts in G-I. We found a persistent cyclic pattern of MOW circulation and fluvial deposition during glaciations and AW and aeolian influence during interglaciations. On site U1386B/C, the upper-MOW was less ventilated but productive and with high flux of organic flux matter during glacials, while Atlantic Waters were better ventilated, enriched in O, but less productive during interglacials. We infer that shifts in ocean and atmospheric processes in the Gulf of Cadiz were strongly controlled by Earth's obliquity (41 kyr-cycle) and 35°NH insolation during the Early-Pleistocene. We propose a correlation in changes in phase-relationship between precession and obliquity. In general terms, physical properties of fine sediments (glacials) show lower NGR, low reflectance and

  18. Locomotion and posture from the common hominoid ancestor to fully modern hominins, with special reference to the last common panin/hominin ancestor

    PubMed Central

    Crompton, R H; Vereecke, E E; Thorpe, S K S

    2008-01-01

    Based on our knowledge of locomotor biomechanics and ecology we predict the locomotion and posture of the last common ancestors of (a) great and lesser apes and their close fossil relatives (hominoids); (b) chimpanzees, bonobos and modern humans (hominines); and (c) modern humans and their fossil relatives (hominins). We evaluate our propositions against the fossil record in the context of a broader review of evolution of the locomotor system from the earliest hominoids of modern aspect (crown hominoids) to early modern Homo sapiens. While some early East African stem hominoids were pronograde, it appears that the adaptations which best characterize the crown hominoids are orthogrady and an ability to abduct the arm above the shoulder – rather than, as is often thought, manual suspension sensu stricto. At 7–9 Ma (not much earlier than the likely 4–8 Ma divergence date for panins and hominins, see Bradley, 2008) there were crown hominoids in southern Europe which were adapted to moving in an orthograde posture, supported primarily on the hindlimb, in an arboreal, and possibly for Oreopithecus, a terrestrial context. By 7 Ma, Sahelanthropus provides evidence of a Central African hominin, panin or possibly gorilline adapted to orthogrady, and both orthogrady and habitually highly extended postures of the hip are evident in the arboreal East African protohominin Orrorin at 6 Ma. If the traditional idea that hominins passed through a terrestrial ‘knuckle-walking’ phase is correct, not only does it have to be explained how a quadrupedal gait typified by flexed postures of the hindlimb could have preadapted the body for the hominin acquisition of straight-legged erect bipedality, but we would have to accept a transition from stem-hominoid pronogrady to crown hominoid orthogrady, back again to pronogrady in the African apes and then back to orthogrady in hominins. Hand-assisted arboreal bipedality, which is part of a continuum of orthograde behaviours, is used by

  19. ‘Captivity bias’ in animal tool use and its implications for the evolution of hominin technology

    PubMed Central

    Haslam, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Animals in captive or laboratory settings may outperform wild animals of the same species in both frequency and diversity of tool use, a phenomenon here termed ‘captivity bias’. Although speculative at this stage, a logical conclusion from this concept is that animals whose tool-use behaviour is observed solely under natural conditions may be judged cognitively or physically inferior than if they had also been tested or observed under controlled captive conditions. In turn, this situation creates a potential problem for studies of the behaviour of extinct members of the human family tree—the hominins—as hominin cognitive abilities are often judged on material evidence of tool-use behaviour left in the archaeological record. In this review, potential factors contributing to captivity bias in primates (including increased contact between individuals engaged in tool use, guidance or shaping of tool-use behaviour by other tool-users and increased free time and energy) are identified and assessed for their possible effects on the behaviour of the Late Pleistocene hominin Homo floresiensis. The captivity bias concept provides one way to uncouple hominin tool use from cognition, by considering hominins as subject to the same adaptive influences as other tool-using animals. PMID:24101629

  20. Early Pleistocene climate cycles in continental deposits of the Lesser Caucasus of Armenia inferred from palynology, magnetostratigraphy, and 40Ar/39Ar dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joannin, Sebastien; Cornée, Jean-Jacques; Münch, Philippe; Fornari, Michel; Krijgsman, Wout; Nahapetyan, Samuel; Gabrielyan, Ivan; Ollivier, Vincent; Roiron, Paul; Chataignier, Christine

    2010-05-01

    obliquity orbital parameter. The influence of precession could not be established from the Shamb data. Pollen and macroflora both indicate that glacial periods were cold and dry and that interglacials were warm with local humidity. The early Pleistocene climatic model for Western Asia is thus similar to the climatic model for the Mediterranean area. Bruch, A., Gabrielyan, I.G., 2002. Quantitative data of the Neogene climatic development in Armenia and Nakhichevan. Acta Universitatis Carolinae - Geologica 46, 41-48. Joannin, S., Cornée, J.J., Münch, P., Fornari, M., Vasiliev, J., Krijgsman, W., Nahapetyan, S., Gabrielyan, Y., Ollivier, V., Roiron, P., Chataignier, C. In press. Early Pleistocene climatic cycles in continental deposits of the Lesser Caucasus of Armenia inferred from palynology, magnetostratigraphy, and 40Ar/39Ar dating. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Mitchell, J., Westaway, R., 1999. Chronology of Neogene and Quaternary uplift and magmatism in the Caucasus: constraints from K-Ar dating of volcanism in Armenia. Tectonophysics 304, 157-186.

  1. Metric and geometric morphometric analysis of new hominin fossils from Maba (Guangdong, China).

    PubMed

    Xiao, Dongfang; Bae, Christopher J; Shen, Guanjun; Delson, Eric; Jin, Jennie J H; Webb, Nicole M; Qiu, Licheng

    2014-09-01

    We present an analysis of a set of previously unreported hominin fossils from Maba (Guangdong, China), a cave site that is best known for the presence of a partial hominin cranium currently assigned as mid-Pleistocene Homo and that has been traditionally dated to around the Middle-Late Pleistocene transition. A more recent set of Uranium series dates indicate that the Maba travertine may date to >237 ka (thousands of years ago), as opposed to the original U-series date, which placed Maba at 135-129 ka. The fossils under study include five upper first and second molars and a partial left mandible with a socketed m3, all recovered from different parts of the site than the cranium or the dated sediments. The results of our metric and 2D geometric morphometric ('GM') study suggest that the upper first molars are likely from modern humans, suggesting a more recent origin. The upper second molars align more closely with modern humans, though the minimum spanning tree from the 2D GM analysis also connects Maba to Homo neanderthalensis. The patterning in the M2s is not as clear as with the M1s. The m3 and partial mandible are morphometrically intermediate between Holocene modern humans and older Homo sapiens. However, a minimum spanning tree indicates that both the partial mandible and m3 align most closely with Holocene modern humans, and they also may be substantially younger than the cranium. Because questions exist regarding the context and the relationship of the dated travertine with the hominin fossils, we suggest caution is warranted in interpreting the Maba specimens. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Palaeohydrological corridors for hominin dispersals in the Middle East ∼250-70,000 years ago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Breeze, Paul S.; Groucutt, Huw S.; Drake, Nick A.; White, Tom S.; Jennings, Richard P.; Petraglia, Michael D.

    2016-07-01

    The timing and extent of palaeoenvironmental connections between northeast Africa, the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula during the Middle and Late Pleistocene are critical to debates surrounding dispersals of hominins, including movements of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Although there is evidence that synchronous episodes of climatic amelioration during the late Middle and Late Pleistocene may have allowed connections to form between northern Africa and western Asia, a number of palaeoclimate models indicate the continued existence of an arid barrier between northern Arabia and the Levant. Here we evaluate the palaeoenvironmental setting for hominin dispersals between, and within, northeast Africa and southwest Asia during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 7-5 using reconstructions of surface freshwater availability as an environmental proxy. We use remotely sensed data to map palaeohydrological features (lakes, wetlands and rivers) across the presently hyper-arid areas of northern Arabia and surrounding regions, integrating these results with palaeoclimate models, palaeoenvironmental proxy data and absolute dating to determine when these features were active. Our analyses suggest limited potential for dispersals during MIS 7 and 6, but indicate the formation of a palaeohydrological corridor (the 'Tabuk Corridor') between the Levant and the Arabian interior during the MIS 6-5e glacial-interglacial transition and during MIS 5e. A recurrence of this corridor, following a slightly different route, also occurred during MIS 5a. These palaeohydrological and terrestrial data can be used to establish when proposed routes for hominin dispersals became viable. Furthermore, the distribution of Arabian archaeological sites with affinities to Levantine assemblages, some of which are associated with Homo sapiens fossils, and the relative density of Middle Palaeolithic assemblages within the Tabuk Corridor, are consistent with it being utilised for dispersals at various times.

  3. Extant ape dental topography and its implications for reconstructing the emergence of early Homo.

    PubMed

    Berthaume, Michael A; Schroer, Kes

    2017-11-01

    Dental topography reflects diet accurately in several extant and extinct mammalian clades. However, dental topographic dietary reconstructions have high success rates only when closely related taxa are compared. Given the dietary breadth that exists among extant apes and likely existed among fossil hominins, dental topographic values from many species and subspecies of great apes are necessary for making dietary inferences about the hominin fossil record. Here, we present the results of one metric of dental topography, Dirichlet normal energy (DNE), for seven groups of great apes (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus, Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes troglodytes and schweinfurthii, Gorilla gorilla gorilla, Gorilla beringei graueri and beringei). Dirichlet normal energy was inadequate at differentiating folivores from frugivores, but was adequate at predicting which groups had more fibrous diets among sympatric African apes. Character displacement analyses confirmed there is substantial dental topographic and relative molar size (M 1 :M 2 ratio; length, width, and area) divergence in sympatric apes when compared to their allopatric counterparts, but character displacement is only present in relative molar size when DNE is also considered. Presence of character displacement is likely due to indirect competition over similar food resources. Assuming similar ecological conditions in the Plio-Pleistocene, the derived masticatory apparatuses of the robust australopiths and early Homo may be due to indirect competition over dietary resources between the taxa, causing dietary niche partitioning. Our results imply that dental topography cannot be used to predict dietary categories in fossil hominins without consideration of ecological factors, such as dietary and geographic overlap. In addition, our results may open new avenues for understanding the community compositions of early hominins and the formation of specific ecological niches among hominin taxa. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

  4. When felids and hominins ruled at Olduvai Gorge: A machine learning analysis of the skeletal profiles of the non-anthropogenic Bed I sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arriaza, Mari Carmen; Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel

    2016-05-01

    In the past twenty years, skeletal part profiles, which are prone to equifinality, have not occupied a prominent role in the interpretation of early Pleistocene sites on Africa. Alternatively, taphonomic studies on bone surface modifications and bone breakage patterns, have provided heuristic interpretations of some of the best preserved archaeological record of this period; namely, the Olduvai Bed I sites. The most recent and comprehensive taphonomic study of these sites (Domínguez-Rodrigo et al., 2007a) showed that FLK Zinj was an anthropogenic assemblage in which hominins acquired carcasses via primary access. That study also showed that the other sites were palimpsests with minimal or no intervention by hominins. The FLK N, FLK NN and DK sequence seemed to be dominated by single-agent (mostly, felid) or multiple-agent (mostly, felid-hyenid) processes. The present study re-analyzes the Bed I sites focusing on skeletal part profiles. Machine learning methods, which incorporate complex algorithms, are powerful predictive and classification methods and have the potential to better extract information from skeletal part representation than past approaches. Here, multiple algorithms (via decision trees, neural networks, random forests and support vector machines) are combined to produce a solid interpretation of bone accumulation agency at the Olduvai Bed I sites. This new approach virtually coincides with previous taphonomic interpretations on a site by site basis and shows that felids were dominant accumulating agents over hyenas during Bed I times. The recent discovery of possibly a modern lion-accumulated assemblage at Olduvai Gorge (Arriaza et al., submitted) provides a very timely analog for this interpretation.

  5. The evolutionary history of the hominin hand since the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo

    PubMed Central

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Jacofsky, Marc C; Marzke, Mary W

    2008-01-01

    Molecular evidence indicates that the last common ancestor of the genus Pan and the hominin clade existed between 8 and 4 million years ago (Ma). The current fossil record indicates the Pan-Homo last common ancestor existed at least 5 Ma and most likely between 6 and 7 Ma. Together, the molecular and fossil evidence has important consequences for interpreting the evolutionary history of the hand within the tribe Hominini (hominins). Firstly, parsimony supports the hypothesis that the hand of the last common ancestor most likely resembled that of an extant great ape overall (Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo), and that of an African ape in particular. Second, it provides a context for interpreting the derived changes to the hand that have evolved in various hominins. For example, the Australopithecus afarensis hand is likely derived in comparison with that of the Pan–Homo last common ancestor in having shorter fingers relative to thumb length and more proximo-distally oriented joints between its capitate, second metacarpal, and trapezium. This evidence suggests that these derived features evolved prior to the intensification of stone tool-related hominin behaviors beginning around 2.5 Ma. However, a majority of primitive features most likely present in the Pan-Homo last common ancestor are retained in the hands of Australopithecus, Paranthropus/early Homo, and Homo floresiensis. This evidence suggests that further derived changes to the hands of other hominins such as modern humans and Neandertals did not evolve until after 2.5 Ma and possibly even later than 1.5 Ma, which is currently the earliest evidence of Acheulian technology. The derived hands of modern humans and Neandertals may indicate a morphological commitment to tool-related manipulative behaviors beyond that observed in other hominins, including those (e.g. H. floresiensis) which may be descended from earlier tool-making species. PMID:18380869

  6. A 400,000-year-old mitochondrial genome questions phylogenetic relationships amongst archaic hominins: using the latest advances in ancient genomics, the mitochondrial genome sequence of a 400,000-year-old hominin has been deciphered.

    PubMed

    Orlando, Ludovic

    2014-06-01

    By combining state-of-the-art approaches in ancient genomics, Meyer and co-workers have reconstructed the mitochondrial sequence of an archaic hominin that lived at Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain about 400,000 years ago. This achievement follows recent advances in molecular anthropology that delivered the genome sequence of younger archaic hominins, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. Molecular phylogenetic reconstructions placed the Atapuercan as a sister group to Denisovans, although its morphology suggested closer affinities with Neanderthals. In addition to possibly challenging our interpretation of the fossil record, this study confirms that genomic information can be recovered from extremely damaged DNA molecules, even in the presence of significant levels of human contamination. Together with the recent characterization of a 700,000-year-old horse genome, this study opens the Middle Pleistocene to genomics, thereby extending the scope of ancient DNA to the last million years. © 2014 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Spinal cord evolution in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Marc R; Haeusler, Martin

    2015-11-01

    The discovery at Nariokotome of the Homo erectus skeleton KNM-WT 15000, with a narrow spinal canal, seemed to show that this relatively large-brained hominin retained the primitive spinal cord size of African apes and that brain size expansion preceded postcranial neurological evolution. Here we compare the size and shape of the KNM-WT 15000 spinal canal with modern and fossil taxa including H. erectus from Dmanisi, Homo antecessor, the European middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos, and Pan troglodytes. In terms of shape and absolute and relative size of the spinal canal, we find all of the Dmanisi and most of the vertebrae of KNM-WT 15000 are within the human range of variation except for the C7, T2, and T3 of KNM-WT 15000, which are constricted, suggesting spinal stenosis. While additional fossils might definitively indicate whether H. erectus had evolved a human-like enlarged spinal canal, the evidence from the Dmanisi spinal canal and the unaffected levels of KNM-WT 15000 show that unlike Australopithecus, H. erectus had a spinal canal size and shape equivalent to that of modern humans. Subadult status is unlikely to affect our results, as spinal canal growth is complete in both individuals. We contest the notion that vertebrae yield information about respiratory control or language evolution, but suggest that, like H. antecessor and European middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos, early Homo possessed a postcranial neurological endowment roughly commensurate to modern humans, with implications for neurological, structural, and vascular improvements over Pan and Australopithecus. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Cross-sectional properties of the lower limb long bones in the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos sample (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, Laura; Carretero, José Miguel; García-González, Rebeca; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2018-04-01

    The recovery to date of three complete and five partial femora, seven complete tibiae, and four complete fibulae from the Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos site provides an opportunity to analyze the biomechanical cross-sectional properties in this Middle Pleistocene population and to compare them with those of other fossil hominins and recent modern humans. We have performed direct comparisons of the cross-sectional geometric parameters and reduced major axis (RMA) regression lines among different samples. We have determined that Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos (SH) fossils have significantly thicker cortices than those of recent modern humans for the three leg bones at all diaphyseal levels, except that of the femur at 35% of biomechanical length. The SH bones are similar to those of Neandertals and Middle Pleistocene humans and different from Homo sapiens in their diaphyseal cross-sectional shape and strength parameters. When standardized by estimated body size, both the SH and Neandertal leg bones have in general greater strength than those of H. sapiens from the early modern (EMH), Upper Paleolithic (UP), and recent populations (RH). The Sima de los Huesos human leg bones have, in general terms, an ancestral pattern similar to that of Pleistocene humans and differing from H. sapiens. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Early Human Evolution in the Western Palaearctic: Ecological Scenarios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrión, José S.; Rose, James; Stringer, Chris

    2011-06-01

    This review presents the themes of a special issue dealing with environmental scenarios of human evolution during the Early Pleistocene (2.6-0.78 Ma; MIS 103-MIS 19) and early Middle Pleistocene (0.78-0.47 Ma; MIS 19-base of MIS 12) within the western Palaearctic. This period is one of dramatic changes in the climates and the distribution of Palaearctic biota. These changes have played their role in generating adaptive and phyletic patterns within the human ancestry, involving several species such as Homo habilis, "Homo georgicus", Homo erectus, Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis. In the archaeological record, these species include the Oldowan (Mode 1) and Acheulian (Mode 2) lithic technologies. Taphonomic considerations of palaeoecological research in hominin-bearing sites are provided and evaluated. Syntheses are provided for north Africa, western Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, Britain, and continental Europe. Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions based on multidisciplinary data are given for Ain Boucherit, Ain Hanech and El-Kherba in Algeria, Dmanisi in Georgia, Atapuerca, Cueva Negra, and the Orce Basin in Spain, Monte Poggiolo and Pirro Nord in Italy, Pont-de-Lavaud in France, and Mauer in Germany. The state of the art with the Out of Africa 1 dispersal model is reviewed. A source-sink dynamics model for Palaeolithic Europe is described to explain the morphological disparity of H. heidelbergensis (we will sometimes use the informal name "Heidelbergs") and early Neanderthals. Other aspects debated here are the selective value of habitat mosaics including reconstructions based on mammal and avian databases, and the role of geological instability combined with topographic complexity. This review is completed by addressing the question of whether the appearance of evolutionary trends within hominins is concentrated in regions of highest worldwide biological diversity (biodiversity hotspots). It is concluded that the keys for the activation of evolutionary

  10. Who were the Nataruk people? Mandibular morphology among late Pleistocene and early Holocene fisher-forager populations of West Turkana (Kenya).

    PubMed

    Mounier, Aurélien; Correia, Maria; Rivera, Frances; Crivellaro, Federica; Power, Ronika; Jeffery, Joe; Wilshaw, Alex; Foley, Robert A; Mirazón Lahr, Marta

    2018-05-29

    Africa is the birthplace of the species Homo sapiens, and Africans today are genetically more diverse than other populations of the world. However, the processes that underpinned the evolution of African populations remain largely obscure. Only a handful of late Pleistocene African fossils (∼50-12 Ka) are known, while the more numerous sites with human fossils of early Holocene age are patchily distributed. In particular, late Pleistocene and early Holocene human diversity in Eastern Africa remains little studied, precluding any analysis of the potential factors that shaped human diversity in the region, and more broadly throughout the continent. These periods include the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), a moment of extreme aridity in Africa that caused the fragmentation of population ranges and localised extinctions, as well as the 'African Humid Period', a moment of abrupt climate change and enhanced connectivity throughout Africa. East Africa, with its range of environments, may have acted as a refugium during the LGM, and may have played a critical biogeographic role during the heterogene`ous environmental recovery that followed. This environmental context raises a number of questions about the relationships among early Holocene African populations, and about the role played by East Africa in shaping late hunter-gatherer biological diversity. Here, we describe eight mandibles from Nataruk, an early Holocene site (∼10 Ka) in West Turkana, offering the opportunity of exploring population diversity in Africa at the height of the 'African Humid Period'. We use 3D geometric morphometric techniques to analyze the phenotypic variation of a large mandibular sample. Our results show that (i) the Nataruk mandibles are most similar to other African hunter-fisher-gatherer populations, especially to the fossils from Lothagam, another West Turkana locality, and to other early Holocene fossils from the Central Rift Valley (Kenya); and (ii) a phylogenetic connection may have

  11. Mid-Pliocene to Early Pleistocene land and sea surface temperature history of NW Australia based on organic geochemical proxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, R. A.; Castañeda, I. S.; Henderiks, J.; Christensen, B. A.; De Vleeschouwer, D.; Renema, W.; Groeneveld, J.; Bogus, K.; Gallagher, S. J.; Fulthorpe, C.; Expedition 356 Scientists, I.

    2017-12-01

    IODP Expedition 356 Site U1463 is located off the coast of NW Australia, and is sensitive to Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) variability. The ITF is a critical ocean gateway that affects global thermohaline circulation, and regulates the movement of water from the Pacific Ocean into the Indian Ocean. However, despite its importance to the global climate system, few SST reconstructions exist for this region that span the Plio-Pleistocene. Here we investigate both the land and sea-surface temperature (SST) history of NW Australia to constrain ITF variability across the Plio-Pleistocene interval. We apply multiple organic geochemical proxies to this site from 3.4-2.6 Ma, which includes the mid-Pliocene warm period, characterized by slightly higher (2-3°C) global temperatures and similar CO2 concentrations to modern values (e.g. Badger et al. 2013; Bartoli et al., 2011; Dowsett et al., 2009; Hönisch et al., 2009; Pagani et al. 2009; Raymo et al., 1996). SST was reconstructed using TEX86, based on isoprenoid glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (iGDGTs), and the long-chain diol index (LDI), based on the ratio of diols produced by marine diatoms (Rampen et al., 2012). The Uk'37 index, based on long-chain ketones, was analyzed but cannot be applied as a SST proxy at this site due to the influence of coastal alkenone producers. Additionally, a continental air temperature record was developed using the MBT'5ME proxy, based on branched GDGTs (De Jonge et al., 2014; Weijers et al., 2007). We find that TEX86, LDI and MBT'5Me exhibit similar trends and show relatively warm and stable temperatures from 3.5-2.4 Ma followed by a gradual cooling of 3-4°C from 2.4-1.5 Ma. This cooling corresponds with an arid interval previously identified on the same core by Christensen et al. (2017). Furthermore, we find that the TEX86 record agrees closely with the LR04 global benthic δ18O stack (Lisiecki and Raymo, 2005) and captures glacial/interglacial periods including Marine Isotope Stage

  12. Paleoenvironments and climatic changes in the Italian Peninsula during the Early Pleistocene: evidence from dental wear patterns of the ungulate community of Coste San Giacomo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strani, Flavia; DeMiguel, Daniel; Sardella, Raffaele; Bellucci, Luca

    2015-08-01

    Quaternary glacial/interglacial alternations, influenced by orbital obliquity cycles with a 41-ka long periodicity, started in the northern hemisphere around 2.6 Ma ago. Such alternations affected the terrestrial ecosystems, especially those of the Mediterranean region, with changes in the floristic communities and the dispersal and radiation of a number of large mammal open dwellers. Analyses of tooth wear patterns of ungulates from the Early Pleistocene site of Coste San Giacomo allow for a more objective reconstruction on the paleoenvironments and the climate in the Italian Peninsula during this epoch. Our results show that this area was composed by a mosaic of biomes, in particular by steppe and woodlands/wetlands. Evidence of such heterogeneity is provided by the wide spectrum of feeding behaviours found among the numerous ungulate herbivores here recorded, with cervids (Axis cf. lyra, Croizetoceros cf. ramosus and Eucladoceros sp.) exhibiting browser diets, most of the bovids (Gazella borbonica and Leptobos sp. and Gallogoral meneghinii) being intermediate feeders and the equid Equus stenonis showing a strict grazer behaviour. These results provide new insights for a timing of changing ecosystems in Southern Europe and reveal the environmental legacy of this global climatic shift, which is essential for understanding the early occupation of Homo in Europe. Thus, our data provide new evidence that such an environmental heterogeneity and a wide spectrum of available food resources could have been the main factors favouring the settlement of early species of Homo in this area.

  13. The early Pleistocene deciduous hominid molar FS-72 from the Sangiran Dome of Java, Indonesia: A taxonomic reappraisal based on its comparative endostructural characterization.

    PubMed

    Zanolli, Clément; Grine, Frederick E; Kullmer, Ottmar; Schrenk, Friedemann; Macchiarelli, Roberto

    2015-08-01

    Among the ten fossil hominid deciduous teeth reported so far from the Pleistocene sediments of the Sangiran Dome of Java are two isolated lower second molars: specimens PCG.2 from the Kabuh Formation and FS-72 from the Pucangan Formation. While PCG.2 appears to be certainly attributable to Homo erectus, FS-72 is somewhat more problematic, even though it is commonly listed within the Indonesian H. erectus hypodigm. Largely because of its large size, it was originally attributed to Meganthropus paleojavanicus. Subsequent study highlighted a set of metric and nonmetric crown features also found in Australopith and African early Homo (notably H. habilis) homologues. An additional problem with the taxonomic assignment of isolated teeth from the Pleistocene of Java is the presence of Pongo in these same deposits. To assess the taxonomic affinity of FS-72, we investigated its inner structure (tissue proportions and enamel-dentine junction morphology) by using techniques of 2-3D virtual imaging coupled with geometric morphometric analyses. The results show that FS-72 has thinner enamel compared to fossil and recent humans and that its topographic repartition more closely follows the pongine pattern. It also exhibits a Pongo-like elongated morphology of the enamel-dentine junction, with proportionally lower and mesiodistally spaced dentine horns. Given the morphological and metric similarities between fossil orangutan and H. erectus molars, we tested the hypothesis that its internal morphology more closely resembles the patterns evinced by PCG.2 and modern humans than Pongo. Accordingly, we consider that FS-72 more likely represents a dm2 of Pongo rather than Homo. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Equatorial Pacific peak in biological production regulated by nutrient and upwelling during the late Pliocene/early Pleistocene cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etourneau, J.; Robinson, R. S.; Martinez, P.; Schneider, R.

    2013-03-01

    The largest increase in export production in the eastern Pacific of the last 5.3 Myr (million years) occurred between 2.2 and 1.6 Myr, a time of major climatic and oceanographic reorganization in the region. Here, we investigate the causes of this event using reconstructions of export production, nutrient supply and oceanic conditions across the Pliocene-Pleistocene in the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) for the last 3.2 Myr. Our results indicate that the export production peak corresponds to a cold interval marked by high nutrient supply relative to consumption, as revealed by the low bulk sedimentary 15N/14N (δ15N) and alkenone-derived sea surface temperature (SST) values. This ~ 0.6 million years long episode of enhanced delivery of nutrients to the surface of the EEP was predominantly initiated through the upwelling of nutrient-enriched water sourced in high latitudes. In addition, this phenomenon was likely promoted by the regional intensification of upwelling in response to the development of intense Walker and Hadley atmospheric circulations. Increased nutrient consumption in the polar oceans and enhanced denitrification in the equatorial regions restrained nutrient supply and availability and terminated the high export production event.

  15. Equatorial Pacific peak in biological production regulated by nutrient and upwelling during the late Pliocene/early Pleistocene cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etourneau, J.; Robinson, R. S.; Martinez, P.; Schneider, R.

    2013-08-01

    The largest increase in export production in the eastern Pacific of the last 5.3 Myr (million years) occurred between 2.2 and 1.6 Myr, a time of major climatic and oceanographic reorganization in the region. Here, we investigate the causes of this event using reconstructions of export production, nutrient supply and oceanic conditions across the Pliocene-Pleistocene in the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) for the last 3.2 Myr. Our results indicate that the export production peak corresponds to a cold interval marked by high nutrient supply relative to consumption, as revealed by the low bulk sedimentary 15N/14N (δ15N) and alkenone-derived sea surface temperature (SST) values. This ∼0.6 million year long episode of enhanced delivery of nutrients to the surface of the EEP was predominantly initiated through the upwelling of nutrient-enriched water sourced in high latitudes. In addition, this phenomenon was likely promoted by the regional intensification of upwelling in response to the development of intense Walker and Hadley atmospheric circulations. Increased nutrient consumption in the polar oceans and enhanced denitrification in the equatorial regions restrained nutrient supply and availability and terminated the high export production event.

  16. Dinoflagellate cysts and the paleoenvironment of Late-Pliocene early-pleistocene deposits of Brittany, Northwest France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morzadec-Kerfourn, Marie Thérèse

    The marine Pliocene facies of the Redon clay is widely distributed in the western part of Brittany. the decrease in the abundance of Tertiary pollen towards the top of the deposits, coupled with the increase of pollen of boreal forest taxa and the development of Ericaceae and Poaceae indicates a Late-Pliocene age. The occurrence of the transgression maximum is recorded in calcareous beds which contain the highest concentration of microforaminiferal linings and dinoflagellate cysts. Hystrichokolpoma rigaudae and Melitasphaeridium choanophorum, along with Achomosphaera andalousiensis and Operculodinium israelianum make up these aseemblages. The presence of dinoflagellate cyst assemblages with estuarine and neritic affinities but with an occasional oceanic form, indicates sedimentation in coastal waters with a neritic influence. The paleotopography exerts a control on the altitudinal distribution of the Redon clays in the western part of Brittany to the west of the Rennes Basin. The Pliocene-Pleistocene dinoflagelate cyst assemblages of southern England and northwestern france show a remarkable degree of homogeneity in their composition, chiefly expressed in the apparent contradictory association of A. andalousensis and O. israelianum that suggest sedimentation in an unusual type of environment which arose in the context of climatic change and sea-level variations at that time.

  17. Plio-Pleistocene synsedimentary fault compartments, foundation for the eastern Olduvai Basin paleoenvironmental mosaic, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Stollhofen, Harald; Stanistreet, Ian G

    2012-08-01

    Normal faults displacing Upper Bed I and Lower Bed II strata of the Plio-Pleistocene Lake Olduvai were studied on the basis of facies and thickness changes as well as diversion of transport directions across them in order to establish criteria for their synsedimentary activity. Decompacted differential thicknesses across faults were then used to calculate average fault slip rates of 0.05-0.47 mm/yr for the Tuff IE/IF interval (Upper Bed I) and 0.01-0.13 mm/yr for the Tuff IF/IIA section (Lower Bed II). Considering fault recurrence intervals of ~1000 years, fault scarp heights potentially achieved average values of 0.05-0.47 m and a maximum value of 5.4 m during Upper Bed I, which dropped to average values of 0.01-0.13 m and a localized maximum of 0.72 m during Lower Bed II deposition. Synsedimentary faults were of importance to the form and paleoecology of landscapes utilized by early hominins, most traceably and provably Homo habilis as illustrated by the recurrent density and compositional pattern of Oldowan stone artifact assemblage variation across them. Two potential relationship factors are: (1) fault scarp topographies controlled sediment distribution, surface, and subsurface hydrology, and thus vegetation, so that a resulting mosaic of microenvironments and paleoecologies provided a variety of opportunities for omnivorous hominins; and (2) they ensured that the most voluminous and violent pyroclastic flows from the Mt. Olmoti volcano were dammed and conduited away from the Olduvai Basin depocenter, when otherwise a single or set of ignimbrite flows might have filled and devastated the topography that contained the central lake body. In addition, hydraulically active faults may have conduited groundwater, supporting freshwater springs and wetlands and favoring growth of trees. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Palaeoproteomic evidence identifies archaic hominins associated with the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne

    PubMed Central

    Welker, Frido; Hajdinjak, Mateja; Talamo, Sahra; Jaouen, Klervia; Dannemann, Michael; David, Francine; Julien, Michèle; Meyer, Matthias; Barnes, Ian; Brace, Selina; Kamminga, Pepijn; Fischer, Roman; Kessler, Benedikt M.; Stewart, John R.; Pääbo, Svante; Collins, Matthew J.; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2016-01-01

    In Western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition is associated with the disappearance of Neandertals and the spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). Current chronological, behavioral, and biological models of this transitional period hinge on the Châtelperronian technocomplex. At the site of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, morphological Neandertal specimens are not directly dated but are contextually associated with the Châtelperronian, which contains bone points and beads. The association between Neandertals and this “transitional” assemblage has been controversial because of the lack either of a direct hominin radiocarbon date or of molecular confirmation of the Neandertal affiliation. Here we provide further evidence for a Neandertal–Châtelperronian association at the Grotte du Renne through biomolecular and chronological analysis. We identified 28 additional hominin specimens through zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry (ZooMS) screening of morphologically uninformative bone specimens from Châtelperronian layers at the Grotte du Renne. Next, we obtain an ancient hominin bone proteome through liquid chromatography-MS/MS analysis and error-tolerant amino acid sequence analysis. Analysis of this palaeoproteome allows us to provide phylogenetic and physiological information on these ancient hominin specimens. We distinguish Late Pleistocene clades within the genus Homo based on ancient protein evidence through the identification of an archaic-derived amino acid sequence for the collagen type X, alpha-1 (COL10α1) protein. We support this by obtaining ancient mtDNA sequences, which indicate a Neandertal ancestry for these specimens. Direct accelerator mass spectometry radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modeling confirm that the hominin specimens date to the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne. PMID:27638212

  19. Palaeoproteomic evidence identifies archaic hominins associated with the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne.

    PubMed

    Welker, Frido; Hajdinjak, Mateja; Talamo, Sahra; Jaouen, Klervia; Dannemann, Michael; David, Francine; Julien, Michèle; Meyer, Matthias; Kelso, Janet; Barnes, Ian; Brace, Selina; Kamminga, Pepijn; Fischer, Roman; Kessler, Benedikt M; Stewart, John R; Pääbo, Svante; Collins, Matthew J; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2016-10-04

    In Western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition is associated with the disappearance of Neandertals and the spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). Current chronological, behavioral, and biological models of this transitional period hinge on the Châtelperronian technocomplex. At the site of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, morphological Neandertal specimens are not directly dated but are contextually associated with the Châtelperronian, which contains bone points and beads. The association between Neandertals and this "transitional" assemblage has been controversial because of the lack either of a direct hominin radiocarbon date or of molecular confirmation of the Neandertal affiliation. Here we provide further evidence for a Neandertal-Châtelperronian association at the Grotte du Renne through biomolecular and chronological analysis. We identified 28 additional hominin specimens through zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry (ZooMS) screening of morphologically uninformative bone specimens from Châtelperronian layers at the Grotte du Renne. Next, we obtain an ancient hominin bone proteome through liquid chromatography-MS/MS analysis and error-tolerant amino acid sequence analysis. Analysis of this palaeoproteome allows us to provide phylogenetic and physiological information on these ancient hominin specimens. We distinguish Late Pleistocene clades within the genus Homo based on ancient protein evidence through the identification of an archaic-derived amino acid sequence for the collagen type X, alpha-1 (COL10α1) protein. We support this by obtaining ancient mtDNA sequences, which indicate a Neandertal ancestry for these specimens. Direct accelerator mass spectometry radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modeling confirm that the hominin specimens date to the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne.

  20. The Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain): palaeoenvironment and habitats of Homo heidelbergensis during the Middle Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García, Nuria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2011-06-01

    Interpreting how environmental dynamics respond to global climate change and how this has affected human evolution and dispersal is an on-going topic of debate. During the early Middle Pleistocene (˜0.6-0.4 Ma), as compared to earlier, environmental conditions were relatively more stable, with longer climatic cycles alternating between open and forested landscapes. During this interval, humans spread successfully providing an important number of fossil sites where fossils or tools are reported. The Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain) site (Atapuerca-SH) is one of the earliest localities with hominin evidence in the European Middle Pleistocene, with the most important accumulation of Homo heidelbergensis so far. We have analyzed the abundant faunal record from Sima de los Huesos, which is mainly comprised of carnivores, in order to approach an interpretation of the palaeoenvironmental circumstances where these hominids inhabited within the Sierra. Other sites from Sierra de Atapuerca referred to the same Faunal Unit (FU 6), are roughly contemporaneous, and include important ungulates, which are here analyzed with Atapuerca-SH. Additional information provided by isotopic analysis helps elucidate the ancient ecology of taxa present in Sima de los Huesos allowing for an accurate portrayal of the setting in which humans lived. The timing of the spread of Homo heidelbergensis is dominated by a relative climatic and environmental stability and points to a landscape dominated by savannah-like open woodland.

  1. Fluvial dynamics of the Meuse-Rhine system at the SW-border of the Roer Valley Graben (Belgium-Netherlands) during the Early to Middle Pleistocene transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beerten, Koen; Westerhoff, Wim E.; Menkovic, Armin

    2015-04-01

    The evolution of the Meuse-Rhine confluence area during the late Early and early Middle Pleistocene is still poorly understood. The key in unravelling the complex history of the confluence area during the time period mentioned is located along a segment of the southwestern bounding faults of the Roer Valley Graben, where the elevated (uplifted) Campine Plateau borders the subsiding graben. Traditionally, the central and eastern part of the plateau is thought to have been occupied by the Meuse (Zutendaal Formation) during some stages of the Early-Middle Pleistocene, while clear evidence is found for the presence of supposedly time-equivalent Rhine deposits (Sterksel Formation) in the graben (Gullentops et al., 2001). However, the stratigraphical relationship between both formations is very unclear. Here, we present results of detailed investigations of borehole cores distributed along the southwestern border of the graben that allow to develop a framework for the fluvial evolution in the area. New grain size, sedimentary petrology (microgravel) and pollen analyses are presented, and incorporated in the results of detailed mapping of the area that is based on borehole data from the subsurface databases of Flanders and the Netherlands. The time window of this study is set by pollen and heavy mineral data. The almost complete absence of pollen from heather and warm loving trees suggests a post-Bavelian age, while the absence of volcanic augite (Gullentops et al., 2001) suggests a pre-Elsterian age for the Rhine sediments. This limits most of the sedimentary record in that area to the Cromerian. The results show that initially, the Rhine deposited coarse-grained (mostly gravelly sand) material over large parts of the graben area, while sedimentation of the Meuse was restricted to the region south of the graben. In the lower part of the here studied sequence a fine-grained flood plain facies of the Rhine is preserved in the tectonically deeper part of the SW graben area

  2. Middle Palaeolithic occupation in the Thar Desert during the Upper Pleistocene: the signature of a modern human exit out of Africa?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blinkhorn, James; Achyuthan, Hema; Petraglia, Michael; Ditchfield, Peter

    2013-10-01

    The Thar Desert marks the transition from the Saharo-Arabian deserts to the Oriental biogeographical zone and is therefore an important location in understanding hominin occupation and dispersal during the Upper Pleistocene. Here, we report the discovery of stratified Middle Palaeolithic assemblages at Katoati in the north-eastern Thar Desert, dating to Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 5 and the MIS 4-3 boundary, during periods of enhanced humidity. Hominins procured cobbles from gravels at the site as evidenced by early stages of stone tool reduction, with a component of more formalised point production. The MIS 5c assemblages at Katoati represent the earliest securely dated Middle Palaeolithic occupation of South Asia. Distinctive artefacts identified in both MIS 5 and MIS 4-3 boundary horizons match technological entities observed in Middle Palaeolithic assemblages in South Asia, Arabia and Middle Stone Age sites in the Sahara. The evidence from Katoati is consistent with arguments for the dispersal of Homo sapiens populations from Africa across southern Asia using Middle Palaeolithic technologies.

  3. Testing the applicability of a benthic foraminiferal-based transfer function for the reconstruction of paleowater depth changes in Rhodes (Greece) during the early Pleistocene.

    PubMed

    Milker, Yvonne; Weinkauf, Manuel F G; Titschack, Jürgen; Freiwald, Andre; Krüger, Stefan; Jorissen, Frans J; Schmiedl, Gerhard

    2017-01-01

    We present paleo-water depth reconstructions for the Pefka E section deposited on the island of Rhodes (Greece) during the early Pleistocene. For these reconstructions, a transfer function (TF) using modern benthic foraminifera surface samples from the Adriatic and Western Mediterranean Seas has been developed. The TF model gives an overall predictive accuracy of ~50 m over a water depth range of ~1200 m. Two separate TF models for shallower and deeper water depth ranges indicate a good predictive accuracy of 9 m for shallower water depths (0-200 m) but far less accuracy of 130 m for deeper water depths (200-1200 m) due to uneven sampling along the water depth gradient. To test the robustness of the TF, we randomly selected modern samples to develop random TFs, showing that the model is robust for water depths between 20 and 850 m while greater water depths are underestimated. We applied the TF to the Pefka E fossil data set. The goodness-of-fit statistics showed that most fossil samples have a poor to extremely poor fit to water depth. We interpret this as a consequence of a lack of modern analogues for the fossil samples and removed all samples with extremely poor fit. To test the robustness and significance of the reconstructions, we compared them to reconstructions from an alternative TF model based on the modern analogue technique and applied the randomization TF test. We found our estimates to be robust and significant at the 95% confidence level, but we also observed that our estimates are strongly overprinted by orbital, precession-driven changes in paleo-productivity and corrected our estimates by filtering out the precession-related component. We compared our corrected record to reconstructions based on a modified plankton/benthos (P/B) ratio, excluding infaunal species, and to stable oxygen isotope data from the same section, as well as to paleo-water depth estimates for the Lindos Bay Formation of other sediment sections of Rhodes. These comparisons

  4. Testing the applicability of a benthic foraminiferal-based transfer function for the reconstruction of paleowater depth changes in Rhodes (Greece) during the early Pleistocene

    PubMed Central

    Weinkauf, Manuel F. G.; Titschack, Jürgen; Freiwald, Andre; Krüger, Stefan; Jorissen, Frans J.; Schmiedl, Gerhard

    2017-01-01

    We present paleo-water depth reconstructions for the Pefka E section deposited on the island of Rhodes (Greece) during the early Pleistocene. For these reconstructions, a transfer function (TF) using modern benthic foraminifera surface samples from the Adriatic and Western Mediterranean Seas has been developed. The TF model gives an overall predictive accuracy of ~50 m over a water depth range of ~1200 m. Two separate TF models for shallower and deeper water depth ranges indicate a good predictive accuracy of 9 m for shallower water depths (0–200 m) but far less accuracy of 130 m for deeper water depths (200–1200 m) due to uneven sampling along the water depth gradient. To test the robustness of the TF, we randomly selected modern samples to develop random TFs, showing that the model is robust for water depths between 20 and 850 m while greater water depths are underestimated. We applied the TF to the Pefka E fossil data set. The goodness-of-fit statistics showed that most fossil samples have a poor to extremely poor fit to water depth. We interpret this as a consequence of a lack of modern analogues for the fossil samples and removed all samples with extremely poor fit. To test the robustness and significance of the reconstructions, we compared them to reconstructions from an alternative TF model based on the modern analogue technique and applied the randomization TF test. We found our estimates to be robust and significant at the 95% confidence level, but we also observed that our estimates are strongly overprinted by orbital, precession-driven changes in paleo-productivity and corrected our estimates by filtering out the precession-related component. We compared our corrected record to reconstructions based on a modified plankton/benthos (P/B) ratio, excluding infaunal species, and to stable oxygen isotope data from the same section, as well as to paleo-water depth estimates for the Lindos Bay Formation of other sediment sections of Rhodes. These comparisons

  5. Tool making, hand morphology and fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Marzke, Mary W.

    2013-01-01

    Was stone tool making a factor in the evolution of human hand morphology? Is it possible to find evidence in fossil hominin hands for this capability? These questions are being addressed with increasingly sophisticated studies that are testing two hypotheses; (i) that humans have unique patterns of grip and hand movement capabilities compatible with effective stone tool making and use of the tools and, if this is the case, (ii) that there exist unique patterns of morphology in human hands that are consistent with these capabilities. Comparative analyses of human stone tool behaviours and chimpanzee feeding behaviours have revealed a distinctive set of forceful pinch grips by humans that are effective in the control of stones by one hand during manufacture and use of the tools. Comparative dissections, kinematic analyses and biomechanical studies indicate that humans do have a unique pattern of muscle architecture and joint surface form and functions consistent with the derived capabilities. A major remaining challenge is to identify skeletal features that reflect the full morphological pattern, and therefore may serve as clues to fossil hominin manipulative capabilities. Hominin fossils are evaluated for evidence of patterns of derived human grip and stress-accommodation features. PMID:24101624

  6. Tool making, hand morphology and fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Marzke, Mary W

    2013-11-19

    Was stone tool making a factor in the evolution of human hand morphology? Is it possible to find evidence in fossil hominin hands for this capability? These questions are being addressed with increasingly sophisticated studies that are testing two hypotheses; (i) that humans have unique patterns of grip and hand movement capabilities compatible with effective stone tool making and use of the tools and, if this is the case, (ii) that there exist unique patterns of morphology in human hands that are consistent with these capabilities. Comparative analyses of human stone tool behaviours and chimpanzee feeding behaviours have revealed a distinctive set of forceful pinch grips by humans that are effective in the control of stones by one hand during manufacture and use of the tools. Comparative dissections, kinematic analyses and biomechanical studies indicate that humans do have a unique pattern of muscle architecture and joint surface form and functions consistent with the derived capabilities. A major remaining challenge is to identify skeletal features that reflect the full morphological pattern, and therefore may serve as clues to fossil hominin manipulative capabilities. Hominin fossils are evaluated for evidence of patterns of derived human grip and stress-accommodation features.

  7. Chimpanzee fauna isotopes provide new interpretations of fossil ape and hominin ecologies

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Sherry V.

    2013-01-01

    Carbon and oxygen stable isotopes within modern and fossil tooth enamel record the aspects of an animal's diet and habitat use. This investigation reports the first isotopic analyses of enamel from a large chimpanzee community and associated fauna, thus providing a means of comparing fossil ape and early hominin palaeoecologies with those of a modern ape. Within Kibale National Park forest, oxygen isotopes differentiate primate niches, allowing for the first isotopic reconstructions of degree of frugivory versus folivory as well as use of arboreal versus terrestrial resources. In a comparison of modern and fossil community isotopic profiles, results indicate that Sivapithecus, a Miocene ape from Pakistan, fed in the forest canopy, as do chimpanzees, but inhabited a forest with less continuous canopy or fed more on leaves. Ardipithecus, an early hominin from Ethiopia, fed both arboreally and terrestrially in a more open habitat than inhabited by chimpanzees. PMID:24197413

  8. Millennial-scale climate variations in western Mediterranean during late Pleistocene-early Holocene: multi-proxy analyses from Padul peatbog (southern Iberian Peninsula)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Camuera, Jon; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; José Ramos-Román, María; García-Alix, Antonio; Jiménez-Espejo, Francisco; Toney, Jaime L.; Anderson, R. Scott; Kaufman, Darrell; Bright, Jordon; Sachse, Dirk

    2017-04-01

    Padul peatbog, located in southern Iberian Peninsula (western Mediterranean region) is a unique area for palaeoenvironmental studies due to its location, between arid and temperate climates. Previous studies showed that the Padul peatbog contains a continuous record of the last ca. 0.8-1 Ma, so it is an extraordinary site to identify glacial-interglacial phases as well as Heinrich and D-O events, linked to orbital- and suborbital-scale variations. In 2015, a new 42 m long core was taken from this area, providing an excellent sediment record probably for the last ca. 300,000 years. This study is focused on the paleoenvironmental and climatic reconstruction of the late Pleistocene and the early Holocene (ca. from 50,000 to 9,500 cal. yrs BP), using AMS 14C and AAR dating, high-resolution pollen analysis, lithology, continuous XRF-scanning, X-ray diffraction, magnetic susceptibility and organic geochemistry. These different proxies provide information not only about the regional environment change but also about local changes in the conditions of the Padul lake/peatbog due to variations in water temperature, pH or nutrients.

  9. Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene

    PubMed Central

    Sala, Nohemi; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Pantoja-Pérez, Ana; Pablos, Adrián; Martínez, Ignacio; Quam, Rolf M.; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald

    2015-01-01

    Evidence of interpersonal violence has been documented previously in Pleistocene members of the genus Homo, but only very rarely has this been posited as the possible manner of death. Here we report the earliest evidence of lethal interpersonal violence in the hominin fossil record. Cranium 17 recovered from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site shows two clear perimortem depression fractures on the frontal bone, interpreted as being produced by two episodes of localized blunt force trauma. The type of injuries, their location, the strong similarity of the fractures in shape and size, and the different orientations and implied trajectories of the two fractures suggest they were produced with the same object in face-to-face interpersonal conflict. Given that either of the two traumatic events was likely lethal, the presence of multiple blows implies an intention to kill. This finding shows that the lethal interpersonal violence is an ancient human behavior and has important implications for the accumulation of bodies at the site, supporting an anthropic origin. PMID:26018668

  10. Lethal interpersonal violence in the Middle Pleistocene.

    PubMed

    Sala, Nohemi; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Pantoja-Pérez, Ana; Pablos, Adrián; Martínez, Ignacio; Quam, Rolf M; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald

    2015-01-01

    Evidence of interpersonal violence has been documented previously in Pleistocene members of the genus Homo, but only very rarely has this been posited as the possible manner of death. Here we report the earliest evidence of lethal interpersonal violence in the hominin fossil record. Cranium 17 recovered from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site shows two clear perimortem depression fractures on the frontal bone, interpreted as being produced by two episodes of localized blunt force trauma. The type of injuries, their location, the strong similarity of the fractures in shape and size, and the different orientations and implied trajectories of the two fractures suggest they were produced with the same object in face-to-face interpersonal conflict. Given that either of the two traumatic events was likely lethal, the presence of multiple blows implies an intention to kill. This finding shows that the lethal interpersonal violence is an ancient human behavior and has important implications for the accumulation of bodies at the site, supporting an anthropic origin.

  11. Orbital- to Sub-Orbital-Scale Cyclicity in Seismic Reflections and Sediment Character in Early to Middle Pleistocene Mudstone, Santa Barbara Basin, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, C. D.; Behl, R. J.; Nicholson, C.; Lisiecki, L. E.; Sorlien, C. C.

    2009-12-01

    High-resolution seismic reflection records and well logs from the Santa Barbara Channel suggest that large parts of the Pleistocene succession records climate variability on orbital to sub-orbital scales with remarkable sensitivity, much like the well-studied sediments of the last glacial cycle (ODP Site 893). Spectral analysis of seismic reflection data and gamma ray logs from stratigraphically similar Pleistocene sections finds similar cyclic character and shifts through the section. This correlation suggests that acoustic impedance and physical properties of sediment are linked by basin-scale, likely climatically-driven, oscillations in lithologic composition and fabric during deposition, and that seismic profiling can provide a method for remote identification and correlation of orbital- and sub-orbital-scale sedimentary cyclicity. Where it crops out along the northern shelf of the central Santa Barbara Channel, the early to middle Pleistocene succession (~1.8-1.2 Ma) is a bathyal hemipelagic mudstone with remarkably rhythmic planar bedding, finely laminated fabric, and well-preserved foraminifera, none of which have been significantly altered, or obscured by post-depositional diagenesis or tectonic deformation. Unlike the coarser, turbiditic successions in the central Ventura and Los Angeles basins, this sequence has the potential to record Quaternary global climate change at high resolution. Seismic reflection data (towed chirp) collected on the R/V Melville 2008 Cruise (MV08) penetrate 10's of meters below seafloor into a ~1 km-long sequence of south-dipping seismic reflectors. Sampling parallel to the seafloor permits acquisition of consistent signal amplitude for similar reflectors without spreading loss. Based on established age ranges for this section, sedimentation rates may range from 0.4 to 1.4 meters/kyr, therefore suggesting that the most powerful cycles are orbital- to sub-orbital-scale. Discrete sets of cycles with high power show an abrupt shift

  12. A reassessment of the Montmaurin-La Niche mandible (Haute Garonne, France) in the context of European Pleistocene human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Vialet, Amélie; Modesto-Mata, Mario; Martinón-Torres, María; Martínez de Pinillos, Marina

    2018-01-01

    We here present a comparative study of the Montmaurin-LN Middle Pleistocene mandible (Haute-Garonne, France). This mandible, of which its right and left molar series are preserved in situ, was found in La Niche cave (Montmaurin’s karst system) in 1949, and was first attributed to the ‘Mindel-Riss’ interglacial (= MIS 9 to 11) based on its geological context. Later studies based on geological and faunal evidence have attributed the Montmaurin-LN mandible to MIS 7. Following a detailed morphological and metric comparative study of the mandible in the 1970s, it was interpreted in the light of a still limited fossil record and the prevailing paradigm back then. Waiting for geochronological studies in the forthcoming years, here we review the main morphological and metrical features of this mandible and its molars, which have been reassessed in the framework of a remarkably enlarged Pleistocene fossil record since the mandible was first described, and our current, more in-depth understanding of human evolution in Europe. Using a selection of mandibular features with potential taxonomic signal we have found that the Montmaurin-LN mandible shares only a few derived traits with Neandertals. Our analyses reveal that this mandible is more closely related to the ancient specimens from the African and Eurasian Early and Middle Pleistocene, particularly due to the presence of primitive features of the Homo clade. In contrast, the external morphology of the molars is clearly similar to that of Neandertals. The results are assessed in the light of the present competing hypotheses used to explain the European hominin fossil record. PMID:29337994

  13. Hominin Dispersal into the Nefud Desert and Middle Palaeolithic Settlement along the Jubbah Palaeolake, Northern Arabia

    PubMed Central

    Petraglia, Michael D.; Alsharekh, Abdullah; Breeze, Paul; Clarkson, Chris; Crassard, Rémy; Drake, Nick A.; Groucutt, Huw S.; Jennings, Richard; Parker, Adrian G.; Parton, Ash; Roberts, Richard G.; Shipton, Ceri; Matheson, Carney; al-Omari, Abdulaziz; Veall, Margaret-Ashley

    2012-01-01

    The Arabian Peninsula is a key region for understanding hominin dispersals and the effect of climate change on prehistoric demography, although little information on these topics is presently available owing to the poor preservation of archaeological sites in this desert environment. Here, we describe the discovery of three stratified and buried archaeological sites in the Nefud Desert, which includes the oldest dated occupation for the region. The stone tool assemblages are identified as a Middle Palaeolithic industry that includes Levallois manufacturing methods and the production of tools on flakes. Hominin occupations correspond with humid periods, particularly Marine Isotope Stages 7 and 5 of the Late Pleistocene. The Middle Palaeolithic occupations were situated along the Jubbah palaeolake-shores, in a grassland setting with some trees. Populations procured different raw materials across the lake region to manufacture stone tools, using the implements to process plants and animals. To reach the Jubbah palaeolake, Middle Palaeolithic populations travelled into the ameliorated Nefud Desert interior, possibly gaining access from multiple directions, either using routes from the north and west (the Levant and the Sinai), the north (the Mesopotamian plains and the Euphrates basin), or the east (the Persian Gulf). The Jubbah stone tool assemblages have their own suite of technological characters, but have types reminiscent of both African Middle Stone Age and Levantine Middle Palaeolithic industries. Comparative inter-regional analysis of core technology indicates morphological similarities with the Levantine Tabun C assemblage, associated with human fossils controversially identified as either Neanderthals or Homo sapiens. PMID:23185454

  14. A geometric morphometric analysis of hominin upper premolars. Shape variation and morphological integration.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Prado-Simón, Leyre; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2011-12-01

    This paper continues the series of articles initiated in 2006 that analyse hominin dental crown morphology by means of geometric morphometric techniques. The detailed study of both upper premolar occlusal morphologies in a comprehensive sample of hominin fossils, including those coming from the Gran Dolina-TD6 and Sima de los Huesos sites from Atapuerca, Spain, complement previous works on lower first and second premolars and upper first molars. A morphological gradient consisting of the change from asymmetric to symmetric upper premolars and a marked reduction of the lingual cusp in recent Homo species has been observed in both premolars. Although percentages of correct classification based on upper premolar morphologies are not very high, significant morphological differences between Neanderthals (and European middle Pleistocene fossils) and modern humans have been identified, especially in upper second premolars. The study of morphological integration between premolar morphologies reveals significant correlations that are weaker between upper premolars than between lower ones and significant correlations between antagonists. These results have important implications for understanding the genetic and functional factors underlying dental phenotypic variation and covariation. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Carnivore activity in the Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca, Spain) hominin sample

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sala, Nohemi; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia-Téllez, Ana

    2014-08-01

    The Sima de los Huesos (SH) site is the largest accumulation of human remains from the Middle Pleistocene known to date. Studies in the last two decades have proposed different hypotheses to explain carnivore activity in the SH human sample. This study provides new data in order to test these different interpretations, and therefore to understand the role of the carnivores in site formation at SH. Carnivores are usually not the origin of large accumulations of hominin fossils in the Eurasian record. The results show that marks of carnivore activity in the SH sample appear very infrequently, which we interpret as indicating that carnivore activity was very sporadic at the site. This is in stark contrast with previous studies. The comparison of bone modification patterns at SH to actualistic carnivore data allows us to suggest that bears were likely to have been the carnivore responsible for the modification observed on both human and bear fossils.

  16. Middle Pleistocene vertebrate fossils from the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia: Implications for biogeography and palaeoecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stimpson, Christopher M.; Lister, Adrian; Parton, Ash; Clark-Balzan, Laine; Breeze, Paul S.; Drake, Nick A.; Groucutt, Huw S.; Jennings, Richard; Scerri, Eleanor M. L.; White, Tom S.; Zahir, Muhammad; Duval, Mathieu; Grün, Rainer; Al-Omari, Abdulaziz; Al Murayyi, Khalid Sultan M.; Zalmout, Iyaed S.; Mufarreh, Yahya A.; Memesh, Abdullah M.; Petraglia, Michael D.

    2016-07-01

    The current paucity of Pleistocene vertebrate records from the Arabian Peninsula - a landmass of over 3 million km2 - is a significant gap in our knowledge of the Quaternary. Such data are critical lines of contextual evidence for considering animal and hominin dispersals between Africa and Eurasia generally, and hominin palaeoecology in the Pleistocene landscapes of the Arabian interior specifically. Here, we describe an important contribution to the record and report stratigraphically-constrained fossils of mammals, birds and reptiles from recent excavations at Ti's al Ghadah in the southwestern Nefud Desert. Combined U-series and ESR analyses of Oryx sp. teeth indicate that the assemblage is Middle Pleistocene in age and dates to ca. 500 ka. The identified fauna is a biogeographical admixture that consists of likely endemics and taxa of African and Eurasian affinity and includes extinct and extant (or related Pleistocene forms of) mammals (Palaeoloxodon cf. recki, Panthera cf. gombaszogenis, Equus hemionus, cf. Crocuta crocuta, Vulpes sp., Canis anthus, Oryx sp.), the first Pleistocene records of birds from the Arabian Peninsula (Struthio sp., Neophron percnopterus, Milvus cf. migrans, Tachybaptus sp. Anas sp., Pterocles orientalis, Motacilla cf. alba) and reptiles (Varanidae/Uromastyx sp.). We infer that the assemblage reflects mortality in populations of herbivorous animals and their predators and scavengers that were attracted to freshwater and plant resources in the inter-dune basin. At present, there is no evidence to suggest hominin agency in the accumulation of the bone assemblages. The inferred ecological characteristics of the taxa recovered indicate the presence, at least periodically, of substantial water-bodies and open grassland habitats.

  17. Body mass estimates of hominin fossils and the evolution of human body size.

    PubMed

    Grabowski, Mark; Hatala, Kevin G; Jungers, William L; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-08-01

    Body size directly influences an animal's place in the natural world, including its energy requirements, home range size, relative brain size, locomotion, diet, life history, and behavior. Thus, an understanding of the biology of extinct organisms, including species in our own lineage, requires accurate estimates of body size. Since the last major review of hominin body size based on postcranial morphology over 20 years ago, new fossils have been discovered, species attributions have been clarified, and methods improved. Here, we present the most comprehensive and thoroughly vetted set of individual fossil hominin body mass predictions to date, and estimation equations based on a large (n = 220) sample of modern humans of known body masses. We also present species averages based exclusively on fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions, estimates of species averages by sex, and a metric for levels of sexual dimorphism. Finally, we identify individual traits that appear to be the most reliable for mass estimation for each fossil species, for use when only one measurement is available for a fossil. Our results show that many early hominins were generally smaller-bodied than previously thought, an outcome likely due to larger estimates in previous studies resulting from the use of large-bodied modern human reference samples. Current evidence indicates that modern human-like large size first appeared by at least 3-3.5 Ma in some Australopithecus afarensis individuals. Our results challenge an evolutionary model arguing that body size increased from Australopithecus to early Homo. Instead, we show that there is no reliable evidence that the body size of non-erectus early Homo differed from that of australopiths, and confirm that Homo erectus evolved larger average body size than earlier hominins. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Reevaluation of the Crooked Ridge River- Early Pleistocene (ca. 2 Ma) age and origin of the White Mesa Alluvium, northeastern Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hereford, Richard; Beard, Sue; Dickinson, William R.; Karlstrom, Karl E.; Heizler, Matthew T.; Crossey, Laura J.; Amoroso, Lee; House, P. Kyle; Pecha, Mark

    2016-01-01

    Essential features of the previously named and described Miocene Crooked Ridge River in northeastern Arizona (USA) are reexamined using new geologic and geochronologic data. Previously it was proposed that Cenozoic alluvium at Crooked Ridge and southern White Mesa was pre–early Miocene, the product of a large, vigorous late Paleogene river draining the 35–23 Ma San Juan Mountains volcanic field of southwestern Colorado. The paleoriver probably breeched the Kaibab uplift and was considered important in the early evolution of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. In this paper, we reexamine the character and age of these Cenozoic deposits. The alluvial record originally used to propose the hypothetical paleoriver is best exposed on White Mesa, providing the informal name White Mesa alluvium. The alluvium is 20–50 m thick and is in the bedrock-bound White Mesa paleovalley system, which comprises 5 tributary paleochannels. Gravel composition, detrital zircon data, and paleochannel orientation indicate that sediment originated mainly from local Cretaceous bedrock north, northeast, and south of White Mesa. Sedimentologic and fossil evidence imply alluviation in a low-energy suspended sediment fluvial system with abundant fine-grained overbank deposits, indicating a local channel system rather than a vigorous braided river with distant headwaters. The alluvium contains exotic gravel clasts of Proterozoic basement and rare Oligocene volcanic clasts as well as Oligocene–Miocene detrital sanidine related to multiple caldera eruptions of the San Juan Mountains and elsewhere. These exotic clasts and sanidine likely came from ancient rivers draining the San Juan Mountains. However, in this paper we show that the White Mesa alluvium is early Pleistocene (ca. 2 Ma) rather than pre–early Miocene. Combined 40Ar/39Ar dating of an interbedded tuff and detrital sanidine ages show that the basal White Mesa alluvium was deposited at 1.993 ± 0.002 Ma, consistent with a detrital

  19. Resource availability and competition intensity in the carnivore guild of the Early Pleistocene site of Venta Micena (Orce, Baza Basin, SE Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodríguez-Gómez, Guillermo; Palmqvist, Paul; Ros-Montoya, Sergio; Espigares, M. Patrocinio; Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido

    2017-05-01

    With an age of ∼1.6-1.5 Ma, the Early Pleistocene site of Venta Micena (Orce, Baza Basin, SE Spain) has provided the large mammals assemblage of Late Villafranchian age with higher preservational completeness in Western Europe and offers a unique opportunity to analyze the food webs of the mammalian paleocommunity before the first human arrival in this continent. Taphonomic analysis of the fossil assemblage has shown evidence of carnivore involvement, particularly hyenas, in the bone accumulating process. In this study we use a mathematical approach based on Leslie matrices to quantify the biomass of ungulates available to the members of the carnivore guild as well as the pattern of resource partitioning and competition intensity among them. The results obtained show that although the biomass of primary consumers available to the secondary consumers was lower than the value expected under optimal conditions, more than half the individuals and biomass of carnivores expected would be reached, which allowed a viable ecosystem in Venta Micena. In fact, the biomass available for the members of the carnivore guild is 25-30% greater than the estimates obtained for two nearby sites, Barranco León-D and Fuente Nueva-3, which are somewhat younger (∼1.4 Ma) and preserve the oldest evidence on human presence in this region. Given that the competition intensity estimated in the carnivore guild of Venta Micena was lower than in the latter sites, this suggests that the timing of the first human dispersal in Western Europe was probably not a matter of ecological opportunity.

  20. Early Pleistocene onset of Trough-Mouth Fan (TMF) growth on the NW Barents Sea margin: new results based on seismic reflection data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rebesco, Michele; Sverre Laberg, Jan; Pedrosa Gonzalez, Maria Teresa; Camerlenghi, Angelo; Giulia Lucchi, Renata

    2013-04-01

    Among the seismic reflection data acquired within the IPY NICE-STREAM activity (the Spanish SVAIS cruise on board BIO Hespérides in summer 2007 and the Italian EGLACOM cruise on board R/V OGS-Explora in summer 2008), a series of multi-channel profiles provides a nearly 400 km long continuous tie between Ocean Drilling Program Site 986 (offshore Svalbard) and the Kveithola Trough deposits (on the continental shelf just NW of the Bear Island). This tie crosses in strike direction (subparallel to the shelf edge) three TMFs: Bellsund, Hornsund and Storfjorden. Beyond their tie function, these profiles allow us to analyze the characteristics of these TMFs. The seismic units below reflector R4A are relatively uniform in thickness all along the profile, notwithstanding a general northward thinning trend. Conversely, thickening within TMFs is evident essentially only above this reflector. This suggests that for these TMFs the growth appears to have started after the formation of reflection R4A. Thus, the reflection (with an estimated age of about 1.3 Ma) lies in a stratigraphic interval that is recognized as pivotal for the glaciation of the area and the development of the margin. We suggest that it is the reflector that best correspond to the onset of the TMF growth and hence to the onset of the most significant phase of glacial development of the western Barents Sea continental margin. This inference is consistent with a recent finding that contourites produced by deposition of sediments suspended within alongslope bottom currents on the same margin start to develop in correspondence with the same reflector. The availability of suspended sediments for these contourites since Early Pleistocene is ascribed to originate from frequent episodes of small-scale mass-wasting events produced during TMS growth and resulting in more favourable depositional conditions for the Isfjorden and Bellsund contourite drifts.

  1. Facies associations, depositional environments and stratigraphic framework of the Early Miocene-Pleistocene successions of the Mukah-Balingian Area, Sarawak, Malaysia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murtaza, Muhammad; Rahman, Abdul Hadi Abdul; Sum, Chow Weng; Konjing, Zainey

    2018-02-01

    Thirty-five stratigraphic section exposed along the Mukah-Selangau road in the Mukah-Balingian area have been studied. Sedimentological and palynological data have been integrated to gain a better insight into the depositional architecture of the area. Broadly, the Mukah-Balingian area is dominated by fluvial, floodplain and estuarine related coal-bearing deposits. The Balingian, Begrih and Liang formations have been described and interpreted in terms of seven facies association. These are: FA1 - Fluvial-dominated channel facies association; FA2 - Tide-influenced channel facies association; FA3 - Tide-dominated channel facies association; FA4 - Floodplain facies association; FA5 - Estuarine central basin-mud flats facies association; FA6 - Tidal flat facies association and FA7 - Coastal swamps and marshes facies association. The Balingian Formation is characterised by the transgressive phase in the base, followed by a regressive phase in the upper part. On the basis of the occurrence of Florscheutzia trilobata with Florscheutzia levipoli, the Early to Middle Miocene age has been assigned to the Balingian Formation. The distinct facies pattern and foraminifera species found from the samples taken from the Begrih outcrop imply deposition in the intertidal flats having pronounced fluvio-tidal interactions along the paleo-margin. Foraminiferal data combined with the pronounced occurrence of Stenochlaena laurifolia suggest at least the Late Miocene age for the Begrih Formation. The internal stratigraphic architecture of the Liang Formation is a function of a combination of sea level, stable tectonic and autogenic control. Based on stratigraphic position, the Middle Pliocene to Pleistocene age for the Liang Formation is probable. The Balingian, Begrih and Liang formations display deposits of multiple regressive-transgressive cycles while the sediments were derived from the uplifted Penian high and Rajang group.

  2. Archeological insights into hominin cognitive evolution.

    PubMed

    Wynn, Thomas; Coolidge, Frederick L

    2016-07-01

    How did the human mind evolve? How and when did we come to think in the ways we do? The last thirty years have seen an explosion in research related to the brain and cognition. This research has encompassed a range of biological and social sciences, from epigenetics and cognitive neuroscience to social and developmental psychology. Following naturally on this efflorescence has been a heightened interest in the evolution of the brain and cognition. Evolutionary scholars, including paleoanthropologists, have deployed the standard array of evolutionary methods. Ethological and experimental evidence has added significantly to our understanding of nonhuman brains and cognition, especially those of nonhuman primates. Studies of fossil brains through endocasts and sophisticated imaging techniques have revealed evolutionary changes in gross neural anatomy. Psychologists have also gotten into the game through application of reverse engineering to experimentally based descriptions of cognitive functions. For hominin evolution, there is another rich source of evidence of cognition, the archeological record. Using the methods of Paleolithic archeology and the theories and models of cognitive science, evolutionary cognitive archeology documents developments in the hominin mind that would otherwise be inaccessible. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Transition from arid to hyper-arid environment in the southern Levant deserts as recorded by early Pleistocene cummulic Aridisols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amit, Rivka; Simhai, Ori; Ayalon, Avner; Enzel, Yehouda; Matmon, Ari; Crouvi, Onn; Porat, Naomi; McDonald, Eric

    2011-02-01

    The time at which deserts established their current arid or hyper-arid conditions remains a fundamental question regarding the history of Earth. Cosmogenic isotope exposure ages of desert pavement and welded, calcic-gypsic-salic Reg soils that developed on relatively flat alluvial surfaces ˜2 Ma ago in the Negev Desert indicate long geomorphic stability under extremely dry conditions. Over a short interval during their initial stage of development between 1-2 Ma, these cumulative soils are characterized by calcic soils reaching maximum stage III of carbonate morphology. This interval is the only period when calcic soil horizons formed on stable abandoned alluvial surfaces in the southern Negev Desert. Since ˜1 Ma pedogenesis changed toward more arid soil environment and the formation of gypsic-salic soil horizons that were later followed by dust accumulation. The dichotomy of only moderately-developed calcic soil (stages II-III) during a relatively long time interval (10 5-10 6 years) indicates an arid environment that does not support continuous development but only occasional calcic soil formation. The very low δ18O and relatively high δ13C values of these early pedogenic carbonates support soil formation under arid climatic conditions. Such an environment was probably characterized by rare and relatively longer duration rainstorms which occasionally allowed deeper infiltration of rainwater and longer retention of soil moisture. This, in turn enabled the growth of sparse vegetation that enhanced deposition of pedogenic carbonate. At ˜1 Ma these rare events of slightly wetter conditions ceased and less atmospheric moisture reached the southern Negev Desert leading to deposition of soluble salts and dust deposited in the soils. The combination of long-term hyperaridity, scarcity of vegetation and lack of bioturbation, salts cementation, dust accumulation and tight desert pavement cover, has protected the surfaces from erosion forming one of the most remarkably

  4. Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Migratory Behavior of Ungulates Using Isotopic Analysis of Tooth Enamel and Its Effects on Forager Mobility.

    PubMed

    Pilaar Birch, Suzanne E; Miracle, Preston T; Stevens, Rhiannon E; O'Connell, Tamsin C

    2016-01-01

    Zooarchaeological and paleoecological investigations have traditionally been unable to reconstruct the ethology of herd animals, which likely had a significant influence on the mobility and subsistence strategies of prehistoric humans. In this paper, we reconstruct the migratory behavior of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and caprids at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the northeastern Adriatic region using stable oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel. The data show a significant change in δ18O values from the Pleistocene into the Holocene, as well as isotopic variation between taxa, the case study sites, and through time. We then discuss the implications of seasonal faunal availability as determining factors in human mobility patterns.

  5. Paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic records through Marine Isotope Stage 19 at the Chiba composite section, central Japan: A key reference for the Early-Middle Pleistocene Subseries boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suganuma, Yusuke; Haneda, Yuki; Kameo, Koji; Kubota, Yoshimi; Hayashi, Hiroki; Itaki, Takuya; Okuda, Masaaki; Head, Martin, J.; Sugaya, Manami; Nakazato, Hiroomi; Igarashi, Atsuo; Shikoku, Kizuku; Hongo, Misao; Watanabe, Masami; Satoguchi, Yasufumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Nishida, Naohisa; Izumi, Kentaro; Kawamura, Kenji; Kawamata, Moto; Okuno, Jun'ichi; Yoshida, Takeshi; Ogitsu, Itaru; Yabusaki, Hisashi; Okada, Makoto

    2018-07-01

    ), establish the Chiba composite section as an exceptional climatic and chronological reference section for the Early-Middle Pleistocene boundary.

  6. The role of character displacement in the molarization of hominin mandibular premolars.

    PubMed

    Schroer, Kes; Wood, Bernard

    2015-06-01

    Closely related species are likely to experience resource competition in areas where their ranges overlap. Fossil evidence suggests that hominins in East Africa c. 2-1.5 million years ago may have lived synchronically and sympatrically, and that competition may have contributed to the different tooth sizes observed in Homo and Paranthropus. To assess the likelihood that these taxa overlapped, we applied a character displacement model to the postcanine tooth size of fossil hominins and validated this model in populations of living primates. Mandibular fourth premolar (P4 ) crown size was measured from fossil taxa and from living primate species where dietary overlap is established. Dimensions of the P4 crown were fitted to a character matrix and described as the response variables of a generalized linear model that took taxon and location as input variables. The model recovered significant divergence in samples of closely related, living primates. When applied to fossil hominins the same model detected strong indications of character displacement between early Homo and Paranthropus (P = 0.002) on the basis of their P4 crown size. Our study is an example of how ecologically informed morphologies measured in appropriate extant referents can provide a comparative context for assessing community and ecological evolution in the fossil record. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  7. Evolution of Early Pleistocene fluvial systems in central Poland prior to the first ice sheet advance - a case study from the Bełchatów lignite mine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goździk, Jan; Zieliński, Tomasz

    2017-06-01

    Deposits formed between the Neogene/Pleistocene transition and into the Early Pleistocene have been studied, mainly on the basis of drillings and at rare, small outcrops in the lowland part of Polish territory. At the Bełchatów lignite mine (Kleszczów Graben, central Poland), one of the largest opencast pits in Europe, strata of this age have long been exposed in extensive outcrops. The present paper is based on our field studies and laboratory analyses, as well as on research data presented by other authors. For that reason, it can be seen as an overview of current knowledge of lowermost Pleistocene deposits at Bełchatów, where exploitation of the Quaternary overburden has just been completed. The results of cartographic work, sedimentological, mineralogical and palynological analyses as well as assessment of sand grain morphology have been considered. All of these studies have allowed the distinction of three Lower Pleistocene series, i.e., the Łękińsko, Faustynów and Krzaki series. These were laid down in fluvial environments between the end of the Pliocene up to the advance of the first Scandinavian ice sheet on central Poland. The following environmental features have been interpreted: phases of river incision and aggradation, changes of river channel patterns, source sediments for alluvia, rates of aeolian supply to rivers and roles of fluvial systems in morphological and geological development of the area. The two older series studied, i.e., Łękińsko and Faustynów, share common characteristics. They were formed by sinuous rivers in boreal forest and open forest environments. The Neogene substratum was the source of the alluvium. The younger series (Krzaki) formed mainly in a braided river setting, under conditions of progressive climatic cooling. Over time, a gradual increase of aeolian supply to the fluvial system can be noted; initially, silt and sand were laid down, followed by sand only during cold desert conditions. These fluvio

  8. Tectonic uplift-influenced monsoonal changes promoted hominin occupation of the Luonan Basin: Insights from a loess-paleosol sequence, eastern Qinling Mountains, central China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fang, Qian; Hong, Hanlie; Zhao, Lulu; Furnes, Harald; Lu, Huayu; Han, Wen; Liu, Yao; Jia, Zhuoyue; Wang, Chaowen; Yin, Ke; Algeo, Thomas J.

    2017-08-01

    Quaternary soil deposits from northern and southern China are distinctly different, reflecting variability of the East Asian monsoon north and south of the Qinling Mountains. Coeval sediments from the transitional climatic zone of central China, which are little studied to date, have the potential to improve our understanding of Quaternary monsoon changes and associated influences on hominin occupation of this region. Here, we investigate in detail a well-preserved and continuous Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence (Shangbaichuan) from the Luonan Basin, using a variety of weathering indices including major and trace element ratios, clay mineralogy, and Fe-oxide mineralogy. The whole-rock samples display similar rare earth element patterns characterized by upper continental crustal ratios: (La/Yb)N ≈ 9.5 and Eu/Eu* ≈ 0.65. Elemental data such as (La/Yb)N, La/Th and Eu/Eu* ratios show a high degree of homogeneity, suggesting that dust in the source region may have been thoroughly mixed and recycled, resulting in all samples having a uniform initial composition. Indices for pedogenic weathering such as Na/K, Ba/Sr, Rb/Sr, CIA, CIW, CPA, PIA, kaolinite/illite, (kaolinite + smectite)/illite, and hematite/(hematite + goethite) exhibit similar secular trends and reveal a four-stage accumulation history. The indices also indicate that the climate was warmer and wetter during the most recent interglacial stage, compared with coeval environments of the Chinese Loess Plateau. Secular changes in weathering intensity can be related to stepwise uplift of the Qinling Mountains and variation in East Asian monsoon intensity, both of which played significant roles in controlling climate evolution in the Luonan Basin. Furthermore, intensified aridity and winter monsoon strength in dust source areas, as evidenced by mineralogic and geochemical changes, may have been due to the mid-Pleistocene climate transition. Based on temporal correlation of warmer and wetter climatic conditions

  9. Guatemalan forest synthesis after Pleistocene aridity

    PubMed Central

    Leyden, Barbara W.

    1984-01-01

    Sediments from two lakes in the Peten Department, Guatemala, provide palynological evidence from Central America of late Pleistocene aridity and subsequent synthesis of mesic forests. Late Glacial vegetation consisted of marsh, savanna, and juniper scrub. An early Holocene temperate forest preceded a mesic tropical forest with Brosimum (ramon). Thus “primeval” rain forests of Guatemala are no older than 10,000 to 11,000 years and are considerably younger in the Peten due to Mayan disturbances. Among dated Neotropical sites, the Peten has the most mesic vegetation yet shown to have supplanted xeric vegetation present during the Pleistocene. The arid late Glacial-humid early Holocene transition appears to have been pantropical in the lowlands. The Peten was not a Pleistocene refugium for mesophytic taxa, as has been suggested. Thus genesis of extant rain forests in northern Central America and southern Mexico remains unexplained. Images PMID:16593498

  10. Bone taphonomy of the Schöningen "Spear Horizon South" and its implications for site formation and hominin meat provisioning.

    PubMed

    Starkovich, Britt M; Conard, Nicholas J

    2015-12-01

    This paper presents the faunal remains from the new excavation area at the Lower Paleolithic site of Schöningen. The focus of the study is on the southern extension of the main find horizon (Spear Horizon South), which includes the layer that yielded the famous Schöningen spears (13 II-4). Taxonomic data corroborate previous studies, that hominins primarily hunted Equus mosbachensis, a large Pleistocene horse. Equid body part representation at the site suggests that the animals were hunted and butchered locally. There is no evidence for density-mediated attrition in the assemblage. Weathering damage is uncommon, though there is ample evidence that carnivores had access to the bone. Carnivore bite sizes were measured and compared to experimental data provided by previous authors. Based on relationships between bite size and carnivore behavior and body size, we conclude that the primary modifying agents were large carnivores (i.e., wolves or saber-toothed cats). Previous studies show that carnivores often had secondary access to the remains, after hominins. Cut marks are commonly arranged haphazardly on the bones. This may indicate that multiple hominins participated in the butchery of horse skeletons, or that they were butchered over the course of hours or days. Cut marks on axial elements are more "orderly," which probably reflects the physical logistics of orienting one's body in relation to a large carcass. These data differ from sites formed by Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominins, which might suggest that in later times, a system of organized meat provisioning was already in place. Taken together, the faunal evidence from the Spear Horizon South indicates that late Lower Paleolithic hominins using the site understood the behaviors of different prey species, hunted socially to take down large game, and successfully competed with large carnivores on the landscape for primary access to ungulate remains. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. The role of carnivores and their relationship to hominin settlements in the TD6-2 level from Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saladié, Palmira; Rodríguez-Hidalgo, Antonio; Huguet, Rosa; Cáceres, Isabel; Díez, Carlos; Vallverdú, Josep; Canals, Antoni; Soto, María; Santander, Boris; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carbonell, Eudald

    2014-06-01

    Pleistocene level TD6-2 of the Gran Dolina site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain) is the result of anthropogenic accumulation. Hominin groups occupied the cave as a home base, where they brought in, butchered and consumed the carcasses of ungulates and other hominins. In this paper, we reassess the role of carnivores in the formation and/or modification of the assemblage. We employed different methods to explore the scenario in which the TD6-2 assemblage was formed: (1) identifying the actor responsible for tooth marks; (2) determining the frequency of carnivore tooth marks and their distribution; (3) identifying the co-occurrence of modifications (butchering marks and carnivore tooth marks); (4) calculating the percentage of change and the epiphysis to shaft ratio. Carnivore tooth marks are scarce, as is the co-occurrence of hominin and carnivore modifications. However, not all tooth marks have been attributed to a particular agent due to the high equifinality between human and carnivore tooth marks. For these reasons, the frequency of tooth marks and the co-occurrence of modifications have been of little help in interpreting the role of carnivores. Axial skeletal remains and the epiphyses of the long bones are in large part missing. The percentage of change and the epiphysis to shaft ratio suggest moderate carnivore ravaging activity. Our data indicate that the role of carnivores in TD6-2 seems to have had an impact on the original assemblage after hominins had extracted a large amount of nutrients from the carcasses. Cannibalized hominin remains showed no carnivore tooth marks and have a greater presence of low survival bones compared to ungulate remains. These findings point to a different taphonomic history suggesting that TD6-2 represents a succession of settlements having different characteristics.

  12. Late Miocene to Early Pleistocene Paleo-Erosion Rates and Provenance Change in the NE Argentinian Andes: Apparent Coupling of Sediment Fluxes with 400-kyr Eccentricity Cycles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burch Fisher, G.; Amidon, William H.; Burbank, Douglas W.; Luna, Lisa V.

    2016-04-01

    Proposed linkages among climate, erosion, and tectonics provide an appealing framework for interpretation of the interplay among tectonic forcing, topographic form, climatic inputs, and rates of erosion. More rapid deformation is hypothesized to create higher and steeper topography that focuses precipitation, drives faster erosion, and enhances slip rates. But, a determination of cause and effect or synchrony in any proposed tectonic-climate-erosion coupling is commonly difficult to extract. Typically constraints on age and provenance are too loose, or records are too short, irregular, or sparse to permit nuanced interpretations. In fact, clear records in active orogens that reveal a persistent climatic imprint on erosion rates (such as ones scaled by Milankovich-type cyclicity) are rare, especially for pre-Quaternary intervals. Here, along the Rio Iruya on the eastern flank of the NE Argentinian Andes, we exploit a unique field setting in which a 100-m-deep canyon has been cut during the past century through a 6-km-thick tilted sequence of upper Cenozoic synorogenic strata. Sample ages in the Iruya gorge are provided by a high-quality magnetostratigraphy (~100-kyr resolution) that is calibrated with U-Pb zircon ages of interbedded tephra. Detrital zircon ages and quartz trace elements provide a provenance record for the sampled section. Here, we report 49 new detrital 10Be cosmogenic paleo-erosion rates spanning from the Late Miocene to Early Pleistocene (~5.8 to 1.8 Ma). Paired with each 10Be sample that is younger than ~3.3 Ma, 23 26Al samples provide a second proxy for paleo-erosion rates. 20th-century canyon cutting obviates the typical uncertainties associated with unconstrained Late Quaternary cosmogenic production due to exhumation prior to sampling. Three different erosion-rate regimes are apparent: from 1.8 to 2.3 Ma, rates are high with few oscillations; from 2.3 to 4.0 Ma, rates oscillate by a factor of 5 on a ~400-kyr timescale; and from 5.8 to 4.0 Ma

  13. Transitional changes in microfossil assemblages in the Japan Sea from the Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene related to global climatic and local tectonic events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Itaki, Takuya

    2016-12-01

    Many micropaleontological studies based on data from on-land sections, oil wells, and deep-sea drilling cores have provided important information about environmental changes in the Japan Sea that are related to the global climate and the local tectonics of the Japanese Islands. Here, major changes in the microfossil assemblages during the Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene are reviewed. Late Pliocene (3.5-2.7 Ma) surface-water assemblages were characterized mainly by cold-temperate planktonic flora and fauna (nannofossils, diatoms, radiolarians, and planktonic foraminifera), suggesting that nutrient-rich North Pacific surface waters entered the Japan Sea via northern straits. The common occurrence of Pacific-type deep-water radiolarians during this period also suggests that deep water from the North Pacific entered the Japan Sea via the northern straits, indicating a sill depth >500 m. A weak warm-water influence is recognized along the Japanese coast, suggesting a small inflow of warm water via a southern strait. Nannofossil and sublittoral ostracod assemblages record an abrupt cooling event at 2.75 Ma that correlates with the onset of the Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Subsequently, cold intermediate- and deep-water assemblages of ostracods and radiolarians increased in abundance, suggesting active ventilation and the formation of the Japan Sea Proper Water, associated with a strengthened winter monsoon. Pacific-type deep-water radiolarians also disappeared around 2.75 Ma, which is attributed to the intermittent occurrence of deep anoxic environments and limited migration from the North Pacific, resulting from the near-closure or shallowing of the northern strait by a eustatic fall in sea level and tectonic uplift of northeastern Japan. A notable reduction in primary productivity from 2.3 to 1.3 Ma also suggests that the nutrient supply from the North Pacific was restricted by the near-closure of the northern strait. An increase in the abundance of subtropical

  14. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project: inferring the environmental context of human evolution from eastern African rift lake deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, A.; Campisano, C.; Arrowsmith, R.; Asrat, A.; Behrensmeyer, A. K.; Deino, A.; Feibel, C.; Hill, A.; Johnson, R.; Kingston, J.; Lamb, H.; Lowenstein, T.; Noren, A.; Olago, D.; Owen, R. B.; Potts, R.; Reed, K.; Renaut, R.; Schäbitz, F.; Tiercelin, J.-J.; Trauth, M. H.; Wynn, J.; Ivory, S.; Brady, K.; O'Grady, R.; Rodysill, J.; Githiri, J.; Russell, J.; Foerster, V.; Dommain, R.; Rucina, S.; Deocampo, D.; Russell, J.; Billingsley, A.; Beck, C.; Dorenbeck, G.; Dullo, L.; Feary, D.; Garello, D.; Gromig, R.; Johnson, T.; Junginger, A.; Karanja, M.; Kimburi, E.; Mbuthia, A.; McCartney, T.; McNulty, E.; Muiruri, V.; Nambiro, E.; Negash, E. W.; Njagi, D.; Wilson, J. N.; Rabideaux, N.; Raub, T.; Sier, M. J.; Smith, P.; Urban, J.; Warren, M.; Yadeta, M.; Yost, C.; Zinaye, B.

    2016-02-01

    The role that climate and environmental history may have played in influencing human evolution has been the focus of considerable interest and controversy among paleoanthropologists for decades. Prior attempts to understand the environmental history side of this equation have centered around the study of outcrop sediments and fossils adjacent to where fossil hominins (ancestors or close relatives of modern humans) are found, or from the study of deep sea drill cores. However, outcrop sediments are often highly weathered and thus are unsuitable for some types of paleoclimatic records, and deep sea core records come from long distances away from the actual fossil and stone tool remains. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP) was developed to address these issues. The project has focused its efforts on the eastern African Rift Valley, where much of the evidence for early hominins has been recovered. We have collected about 2 km of sediment drill core from six basins in Kenya and Ethiopia, in lake deposits immediately adjacent to important fossil hominin and archaeological sites. Collectively these cores cover in time many of the key transitions and critical intervals in human evolutionary history over the last 4 Ma, such as the earliest stone tools, the origin of our own genus Homo, and the earliest anatomically modern Homo sapiens. Here we document the initial field, physical property, and core description results of the 2012-2014 HSPDP coring campaign.

  15. Evaluating morphometric body mass prediction equations with a juvenile human test sample: accuracy and applicability to small-bodied hominins.

    PubMed

    Walker, Christopher S; Yapuncich, Gabriel S; Sridhar, Shilpa; Cameron, Noël; Churchill, Steven E

    2018-02-01

    Body mass is an ecologically and biomechanically important variable in the study of hominin biology. Regression equations derived from recent human samples allow for the reasonable prediction of body mass of later, more human-like, and generally larger hominins from hip joint dimensions, but potential differences in hip biomechanics across hominin taxa render their use questionable with some earlier taxa (i.e., Australopithecus spp.). Morphometric prediction equations using stature and bi-iliac breadth avoid this problem, but their applicability to early hominins, some of which differ in both size and proportions from modern adult humans, has not been demonstrated. Here we use mean stature, bi-iliac breadth, and body mass from a global sample of human juveniles ranging in age from 6 to 12 years (n = 530 age- and sex-specific group annual means from 33 countries/regions) to evaluate the accuracy of several published morphometric prediction equations when applied to small humans. Though the body proportions of modern human juveniles likely differ from those of small-bodied early hominins, human juveniles (like fossil hominins) often differ in size and proportions from adult human reference samples and, accordingly, serve as a useful model for assessing the robustness of morphometric prediction equations. Morphometric equations based on adults systematically underpredict body mass in the youngest age groups and moderately overpredict body mass in the older groups, which fall in the body size range of adult Australopithecus (∼26-46 kg). Differences in body proportions, notably the ratio of lower limb length to stature, influence predictive accuracy. Ontogenetic changes in these body proportions likely influence the shift in prediction error (from under- to overprediction). However, because morphometric equations are reasonably accurate when applied to this juvenile test sample, we argue these equations may be used to predict body mass in small-bodied hominins

  16. Hominin expansion into Central Asia during the last interglacial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asmerom, Yemane; Polyak, Victor J.; Wagner, Jennifer D. M.; Jonathan Patchett, P.

    2018-07-01

    Central Asia was a likely gateway for hominin expansion. Obi-Rakhmat Grotto, northeastern Uzbekistan, has a deposit that contains the remains of a hominin child (OR-1) and more than 60,000 Paleolithic artifacts, making it one of the most important archaeological sites in Central Asia. Regionally, genetic data suggest hominin presence and human-Neanderthal interbreeding as far back as 100 ka, although, to date, absolute ages of hominin remains that old have not been known in the region. We present new uranium-series dates that constrain the age of the Obi-Rakhmat deposit to 98 ka towards the top and 109 ka for the layer containing OR-1, pushing hominin expansion into Central Asia minimally to 109 ± 2 ka, to a time, based on the genetic clock, of Neanderthal-modern human interbreeding. Our chronology establishes a minimum age of 98 ka for the well-developed lithic industry in Central Asia. The period covering the deposition of the sediments containing the artifacts and specimen OR-1 coincides with a warm and one of the most humid intervals of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 and last glacial period in the region, providing support for climate-driven hominin expansion.

  17. Inferences regarding the diet of extinct hominins: structural and functional trends in dental and mandibular morphology within the hominin clade

    PubMed Central

    Lucas, Peter W; Constantino, Paul J; Wood, Bernard A

    2008-01-01

    This contribution investigates the evolution of diet in the Pan–Homo and hominin clades. It does this by focusing on 12 variables (nine dental and three mandibular) for which data are available about extant chimpanzees, modern humans and most extinct hominins. Previous analyses of this type have approached the interpretation of dental and gnathic function by focusing on the identification of the food consumed (i.e. fruits, leaves, etc.) rather than on the physical properties (i.e. hardness, toughness, etc.) of those foods, and they have not specifically addressed the role that the physical properties of foods play in determining dental adaptations. We take the available evidence for the 12 variables, and set out what the expression of each of those variables is in extant chimpanzees, the earliest hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, and an inclusive grouping made up of transitional hominins and pre-modern Homo. We then present hypotheses about what the states of these variables would be in the last common ancestor of the Pan–Homo clade and in the stem hominin. We review the physical properties of food and suggest how these physical properties can be used to investigate the functional morphology of the dentition. We show what aspects of anterior tooth morphology are critical for food preparation (e.g. peeling fruit) prior to its ingestion, which features of the postcanine dentition (e.g. overall and relative size of the crowns) are related to the reduction in the particle size of food, and how information about the macrostructure (e.g. enamel thickness) and microstructure (e.g. extent and location of enamel prism decussation) of the enamel cap might be used to make predictions about the types of foods consumed by extinct hominins. Specifically, we show how thick enamel can protect against the generation and propagation of cracks in the enamel that begin at the enamel–dentine junction and move towards the outer enamel surface. PMID:18380867

  18. Brief communication: beyond the South African cave paradigm--Australopithecus africanus from Plio-Pleistocene paleosol deposits at Taung.

    PubMed

    Hopley, Philip J; Herries, Andy I R; Baker, Stephanie Edwards; Kuhn, Brian F; Menter, Colin G

    2013-06-01

    Following the discovery of the "Taung Child" (Australopithecus africanus) in 1924 in the Buxton-Norlim Limeworks near Taung, the fossil-bearing deposits associated with the Dart and Hrdlička pinnacles have been interpreted as the mined remnants of cave sediments that formed within the Plio-Pleistocene Thabaseek Tufa: either as a younger cave-fill or as contemporaneous carapace caves. When combined with the Plio-Pleistocene dolomitic cave deposits from the "Cradle of Humankind," a rather restricted view emerges that South African early hominins derived from cave deposits, whereas those of east and central Africa are derived from fluvio-lacustrine and paleosol deposits. We undertook a sedimentological and paleomagnetic analysis of the pink-colored deposit (PCS) from which the "Taung Child" is purported to have derived and demonstrate that it is a calcrete, a carbonate-rich pedogenic sediment, which formed on the paleo-land surface. The deposit extends 100 s of meters laterally beyond the Dart and Hrdlička Pinnacles where it is interbedded with the Thabaseek Tufa, indicating multiple episodes of calcrete development and tufa growth. The presence of in situ rhizoconcretions and insect trace fossils (Celliforma sp. and Coprinisphaera sp.) and the distinctive carbonate microfabric confirm that the pink deposit is a pedogenic calcrete, not a calcified cave sediment. Paleomagnetic and stratigraphic evidence indicates that a second, reversed polarity, fossil-bearing deposit (YRSS) is a younger fissure-fill formed within a solutional cavity of the normal polarity tufa and pink calcrete (PCS). These observations have implications for the dating, environment, and taphonomy of the site, and increase the likelihood of future fossil discoveries within the Buxton-Norlim Limeworks. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Insights on the first peopling of Europe from magnetostratigraphy of the Pleistocene lithic tool-bearing Kozarnika cave sediments, Bulgaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monesi, E.; Muttoni, G.; Sirakov, N.; Kent, D. V.; Guadelli, J. L.; Scardia, G.; Zerboni, A.; Ferrara, E.

    2017-12-01

    We present a new sedimentological profile and a magnetostratigraphy of the tool-bearing Kozarnika cave sediments from Bulgaria. Modal analysis of cave infilling sedimentary texture indicates that most of the layers are produced by reworked wind-blown sediment (loess). We found evidence for a relatively thick and well defined normal magnetic polarity in the upper-middle part of the section interpreted as a record of the Brunhes Chron, followed downsection by reverse polarity directions. The Brunhes-Matuyama boundary (0.78 Ma) is placed in the upper part of Layer 13 Lower. The lowermost levels with Lower Paleolithic tools are close to - or possibly straddling the - Brunhes-Matuyama boundary. Our results are in substantial agreement with the age of onset of loess deposition in the Danube valley, which occurred shortly before the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary. Moreover, our data fit well with the hypothesis that hominins first entered Europe across a Danube-Po migration conduit during the late Early Pleistocene.

  20. Astronomical forcing, insolation and millennial-scale climate variability: evidence from the North Atlantic Ocean (IODP Expedition 306, Site U1313) during the Early-Middle Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferretti, Patrizia; Crowhurst, Simon; Naafs, David; Barbante, Carlo

    2015-04-01

    site. Using a variety of time series analysis techniques, we evaluate the evolution of millennial climate variability in response to changing orbital boundary conditions during the early-middle Pleistocene. Suborbital variability in both surface- and deep-water records is mainly concentrated at a period of ˜11 kyr and, additionally, at ˜5.8 and ˜3.9 kyr in the deep ocean; these periods are equal to harmonics of precession band oscillations. The fact that the response at the 11 kyr period increased over the same interval during which the amplitude of the response to the precessional cycle increased supports the notion that most of the variance in the 11 kyr band in the sedimentary record is nonlinearly transferred from precession band oscillations. Considering that these periodicities are important features in the equatorial and intertropical insolation, these observations are in line with the view that the low-latitude regions play an important role in the response of the climate system to the astronomical forcing. We conclude that the effect of the orbitally induced insolation is of fundamental importance in regulating the timing and amplitude of millennial scale climate variability. Ferretti P., Crowhurst S.J., Naafs B.D.A., Barbante C., 2015. Quaternary Science Reviews 108, 95-110. Hays J.D., Imbrie J., Shackleton N.J., 1976. Science 194, 1121-1132. Loutre M.F., Berger A., 2000. Climatic Change 46, 61-90.

  1. Does Environmental Knowledge Inhibit Hominin Dispersal?

    PubMed

    Wren, Colin D; Costopoulos, Andre

    2015-07-01

    We investigated the relationship between the dispersal potential of a hominin population, its local-scale foraging strategies, and the characteristics of the resource environment using an agent-based modeling approach. In previous work we demonstrated that natural selection can favor a relatively low capacity for assessing and predicting the quality of the resource environment, especially when the distribution of resources is highly clustered. That work also suggested that the more knowledge foraging populations had about their environment, the less likely they were to abandon the landscape they know and disperse into novel territory. The present study gives agents new individual and social strategies for learning about their environment. For both individual and social learning, natural selection favors decreased levels of environmental knowledge, particularly in low-heterogeneity environments. Social acquisition of detailed environmental knowledge results in crowding of agents, which reduces available reproductive space and relative fitness. Agents with less environmental knowledge move away from resource clusters and into areas with more space available for reproduction. These results suggest that, rather than being a requirement for successful dispersal, environmental knowledge strengthens the ties to particular locations and significantly reduces the dispersal potential as a result. The evolved level of environmental knowledge in a population depends on the characteristics of the resource environment and affects the dispersal capacity of the population.

  2. The Valle di Manche section (Calabria, Southern Italy): A high resolution record of the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition (MIS 21-MIS 19) in the Central Mediterranean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Capraro, Luca; Ferretti, Patrizia; Macrì, Patrizia; Scarponi, Daniele; Tateo, Fabio; Fornaciari, Eliana; Bellini, Giulia; Dalan, Giorgia

    2017-06-01

    The on-land marine Valle di Manche section (Crotone Basin, Calabria, Southern Italy), one of the candidates to host the GSSP of the Middle Pleistocene (;Ionian;) Stage, preserves a manifold record of independent chronological, paleoclimatic and stratigraphic proxies that permit a straightforward correlation with marine and terrestrial reference records at the global scale. In particular, the section holds an excellent record of the Matuyama-Brunhes magnetic reversal, which occurs in the midst of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 19. We report on a complete revision of the section that improves dramatically the available dataset, especially in the stratigraphic interval straddling the Lower-Middle Pleistocene boundary. Our benthic δ18O record provides evidence that the Matuyama-Brunhes transition, the stratigraphic position of which is marked by a prominent tephra (the ;Pitagora ash;), occurred during full MIS 19, in agreement with many records worldwide. We obtained an age of 786.9 ± 5 ka for the Matuyama-Brunhes magnetic reversal and pinpointed the paleomagnetic transition of to a 3 cm-thick interval, indicating that the event was very fast. Since the section fulfills all the requirements to host the GSSP of the Ionian Stage, we propose that the boundary should be placed at the base of the ;Pitagora ash;, ca. 12.5 cm below the midpoint of the Matuyama-Brunhes reversal.

  3. Late Pleistocene dune activity in the central Great Plains, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mason, J.A.; Swinehart, J.B.; Hanson, P.R.; Loope, D.B.; Goble, R.J.; Miao, X.; Schmeisser, R.L.

    2011-01-01

    Stabilized dunes of the central Great Plains, especially the megabarchans and large barchanoid ridges of the Nebraska Sand Hills, provide dramatic evidence of late Quaternary environmental change. Episodic Holocene dune activity in this region is now well-documented, but Late Pleistocene dune mobility has remained poorly documented, despite early interpretations of the Sand Hills dunes as Pleistocene relicts. New optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages from drill cores and outcrops provide evidence of Late Pleistocene dune activity at sites distributed across the central Great Plains. In addition, Late Pleistocene eolian sands deposited at 20-25 ka are interbedded with loess south of the Sand Hills. Several of the large dunes sampled in the Sand Hills clearly contain a substantial core of Late Pleistocene sand; thus, they had developed by the Late Pleistocene and were fully mobile at that time, although substantial sand deposition and extensive longitudinal dune construction occurred during the Holocene. Many of the Late Pleistocene OSL ages fall between 17 and 14 ka, but it is likely that these ages represent only the later part of a longer period of dune construction and migration. At several sites, significant Late Pleistocene or Holocene large-dune migration also probably occurred after the time represented by the Pleistocene OSL ages. Sedimentary structures in Late Pleistocene eolian sand and the forms of large dunes potentially constructed in the Late Pleistocene both indicate sand transport dominated by northerly to westerly winds, consistent with Late Pleistocene loess transport directions. Numerical modeling of the climate of the Last Glacial Maximum has often yielded mean monthly surface winds southwest of the Laurentide Ice Sheet that are consistent with this geologic evidence, despite strengthened anticyclonic circulation over the ice sheet. Mobility of large dunes during the Late Pleistocene on the central Great Plains may have been the result of

  4. Kinematics of the anthropoid os centrale and the functional consequences of scaphoid-centrale fusion in African apes and hominins.

    PubMed

    Orr, Caley M

    2018-01-01

    In most primates, the os centrale is interposed between the scaphoid, trapezoid, trapezium, and head of the capitate, thus constituting a component of the wrist's midcarpal complex. Scaphoid-centrale fusion is among the clearest morphological synapomorphies of African apes and hominins. Although it might facilitate knuckle-walking by increasing the rigidity and stability of the radial side of the wrist, the exact functional significance of scaphoid-centrale fusion is unclear. If fusion acts to produce a more rigid radial wrist that stabilizes the hand and limits shearing stresses, then in taxa with a free centrale, it should anchor ligaments that check extension and radial deviation, but exhibit motion independent of the scaphoid. Moreover, because the centrale sits between the scaphoid and capitate (a major stabilizing articulation), scaphoid-centrale mobility should correlate with scaphocapitate mobility in extension and radial deviation. To test these hypotheses, the centrale's ligamentous binding was investigated via dissection in Pongo and Papio, and the kinematics of the centrale were quantified in a cadaveric sample of anthropoids (Pongo sp., Ateles geoffroyi, Colobus guereza, Macaca mulatta, and Papio anubis) using a computed-tomography-based method to track wrist-bone motion. Results indicate that the centrale rotates freely relative to the scaphoid in all taxa. However, centrale mobility is only correlated with scaphocapitate mobility during extension in Pongo-possibly due to differences in overall wrist configuration between apes and monkeys. If an extant ape-like wrist characterized early ancestors of African apes and hominins, then scaphoid-centrale fusion would have increased midcarpal rigidity in extension relative to the primitive condition. Although biomechanically consistent with a knuckle-walking hominin ancestor, this assumes that the trait evolved specifically for that biological role, which must be squared with contradictory interpretations of

  5. Paleo-environments of Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene Foreland-Basin Deposits in the Western Foothills of South-Central Taiwan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chiu, Tzu-Hsuan; Tien-Shun Lin, Andrew; Chi, Wen-Rong; Wang, Shih-Wei

    2017-04-01

    Lithofacies and paleo-environmental analyses of the Pliocene-Pleistocene deposits of Taiwan provide a framework to understand the stratigraphic development of foreland basin to the west of the orogenic belt. In this study, we performed lithofacies analyses and biostratigraphic studies on calcareous nannofossils in two areas in south-central Taiwan, the Jhuoshuei River, and the Hushan Reservoir, respectively. The studied lithostratigraphic units are the Chinshui Shale, the Cholan Formation, and the Toukoshan Formation, in an ascending order, with a total stratigraphic thickness more than 3500 m in central Taiwan. Sixteen lithofacies and four lithofacies associations are identified, pertaining to tide-dominated deltaic systems bordering a shallow marine setting in the foreland basin. A few wide-spread layers of thickly-bedded sandstones featuring ball-and-pillow structures are interpreted as resulting from earthquake shaking (i.e., seismites). In addition, the vertical facies change shows a coarsening and shallowing-upward succession, indicating the gradually filling up of the foreland basin by sediment progradation. The progradation is interpreted to result from westward migrating orogenic belt and an increase in sediment supply. The top 2000-m thick foreland succession (i.e., the uppermost part of the Cholan Formation, and the Toukoshan Formation) is dominantly fluvial deposits with occasional intercalations of shoreface sediments, indicating an extremely rapid and balanced rate of basin subsidence and sediment supply for the past 1.5 Ma. Vertebrate fossils of deer and elephants are identified in the upper Cholan Formation deposited in coastal to fluvial settings. Keywords: Pliocene-Pleistocene Epoch, lithofacies, foreland basin, Taiwan

  6. Testing Dietary Hypotheses of East African Hominines Using Buccal Dental Microwear Data

    PubMed Central

    Martínez, Laura Mónica; Estebaranz-Sánchez, Ferran; Galbany, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    There is much debate on the dietary adaptations of the robust hominin lineages during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition. It has been argued that the shift from C3 to C4 ecosystems in Africa was the main factor responsible for the robust dental and facial anatomical adaptations of Paranthropus taxa, which might be indicative of the consumption of fibrous, abrasive plant foods in open environments. However, occlusal dental microwear data fail to provide evidence of such dietary adaptations and are not consistent with isotopic evidence that supports greater C4 food intake for the robust clades than for the gracile australopithecines. We provide evidence from buccal dental microwear data that supports softer dietary habits than expected for P. aethiopicus and P. boisei based both on masticatory apomorphies and isotopic analyses. On one hand, striation densities on the buccal enamel surfaces of paranthropines teeth are low, resembling those of H. habilis and clearly differing from those observed on H. ergaster, which display higher scratch densities indicative of the consumption of a wide assortment of highly abrasive foodstuffs. Buccal dental microwear patterns are consistent with those previously described for occlusal enamel surfaces, suggesting that Paranthropus consumed much softer diets than previously presumed and thus calling into question a strict interpretation of isotopic evidence. On the other hand, the significantly high buccal scratch densities observed in the H. ergaster specimens are not consistent with a highly specialized, mostly carnivorous diet; instead, they support the consumption of a wide range of highly abrasive food items. PMID:27851745

  7. Manual Loading Distribution During Carrying Behaviors: Implications for the Evolution of the Hominin Hand

    PubMed Central

    Key, Alastair J. M.

    2016-01-01

    The human hand is unparalleled amongst primates in its ability to manipulate objects forcefully and dexterously. Previous research has predominantly sought to explain the evolution of these capabilities through an adaptive relationship between more modern human-like anatomical features in the upper limb and increased stone tool production and use proficiency. To date, however, we know little about the influence that other manipulatively demanding behaviors may have had upon the evolution of the human hand. The present study addresses one aspect of this deficiency by examining the recruitment of the distal phalanges during a range of manual transportation (i.e., carrying) events related to hominin behavioral repertoires during the Plio-Pleistocene. Specifically, forces on the volar pad of each digit are recorded during the transportation of stones and wooden branches that vary in weight and size. Results indicate that in most instances, the index and middle fingers are recruited to a significantly greater extent than the other three digits during carrying events. Relative force differences between digits were, however, dependent upon the size and weight of the object transported. Carrying behaviors therefore appear unlikely to have contributed to the evolution of the robust thumb anatomy observed in the human hand. Rather, results suggest that the manual transportation of objects may plausibly have influenced the evolution of the human gripping capabilities and the 3rd metacarpal styloid process. PMID:27695044

  8. A spring forward for hominin evolution in East Africa.

    PubMed

    Cuthbert, Mark O; Ashley, Gail M

    2014-01-01

    Groundwater is essential to modern human survival during drought periods. There is also growing geological evidence of springs associated with stone tools and hominin fossils in the East African Rift System (EARS) during a critical period for hominin evolution (from 1.8 Ma). However it is not known how vulnerable these springs may have been to climate variability and whether groundwater availability may have played a part in human evolution. Recent interdisciplinary research at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, has documented climate fluctuations attributable to astronomic forcing and the presence of paleosprings directly associated with archaeological sites. Using palaeogeological reconstruction and groundwater modelling of the Olduvai Gorge paleo-catchment, we show how spring discharge was likely linked to East African climate variability of annual to Milankovitch cycle timescales. Under decadal to centennial timescales, spring flow would have been relatively invariant providing good water resource resilience through long droughts. For multi-millennial periods, modelled spring flows lag groundwater recharge by 100 s to 1000 years. The lag creates long buffer periods allowing hominins to adapt to new habitats as potable surface water from rivers or lakes became increasingly scarce. Localised groundwater systems are likely to have been widespread within the EARS providing refugia and intense competition during dry periods, thus being an important factor in natural selection and evolution, as well as a vital resource during hominin dispersal within and out of Africa.

  9. Interpreting sulci on hominin endocasts: old hypotheses and new findings

    PubMed Central

    Falk, Dean

    2014-01-01

    Paleoneurologists analyze internal casts (endocasts) of fossilized braincases, which provide information about the size, shape and, to a limited degree, sulcal patterns reproduced from impressions left by the surface of the brain. When interpreted in light of comparative data from the brains of living apes and humans, sulcal patterns reproduced on hominin endocasts provide important information for studying the evolution of the cerebral cortex and cognition in human ancestors. Here, new evidence is discussed for the evolution of sulcal patterns associated with cortical reorganization in three parts of the hominin brain: (1) the parietotemporo-occipital association cortex, (2) Broca's speech area, and (3) dorsolateral prefrontal association cortex. Of the three regions, the evidence regarding the last is the clearest. Compared to great apes, Australopithecus endocasts reproduce a clear middle frontal sulcus in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that is derived toward the human condition. This finding is consistent with data from comparative cytoarchitectural studies of ape and human brains as well as shape analyses of australopithecine endocasts. The comparative and direct evidence for all three regions suggests that hominin brain reorganization was underway by at least the time of Australopithecus africanus (~2.5 to 3.0 mya), despite the ape-sized brains of these hominins, and that it entailed expansion of both rostral and caudal association cortices. PMID:24822043

  10. Possible paleohydrologic and paleoclimatic effects on hominin migration and occupation of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic.

    PubMed

    Frumkin, Amos; Bar-Yosef, Ofer; Schwarcz, Henry P

    2011-04-01

    This paper explores the impact of major glacial/interglacial paleohydrologic variations in the Middle-Paleolithic Levant on hominin migration and occupation. The climatic reconstruction is based primarily on the most straight-forward paleohydrologic records recently published. These terrestrial proxies convey direct paleoenvironmental signals of effective precipitation and aquifer recharge. The two main proxies are temporal changes of terminal lake levels in the Dead Sea basin and periods of deposition or non-deposition of speleothems. Other records, such as stable isotopes, if interpreted correctly, correspond well with these two direct proxies. All the records consistently indicate that the last two glacial periods in the central Levant were generally wet and cool, while the last two interglacials were dry and warm, so more water was available for the ecosystem and thus hominins during glacial periods than during interglacials. Some proxies indicate that the higher precipitation/evaporation ratio during glacial periods involved higher precipitation rather than only reduced evaporation. Beyond the general mean glacial/interglacial climate suggested here, variations occurred at all temporal scales throughout glacial or interglacial periods. In the Sahara-Negev arid barrier, moister conditions occurred during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6a-5e, when Anatomically Modern Humans apparently migrated out of Africa. We suggest that this migration, as well as the later Neanderthal expansion from Southeast Europe or the Anatolian plateau into the Levant during early MIS 4, could be facilitated by the observed major climatic variations. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Extent of Pleistocene lakes in the western Great Basin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reheis, Marith C.

    1999-01-01

    During the Pliocene to middle Pleistocene, pluvial lakes in the western Great Basin repeatedly rose to levels much higher than those of the well-documented late Pleistocene pluvial lakes, and some presently isolated basins were connected. Sedimentologic, geomorphic, and chronologic evidence at sites shown on the map indicates that Lakes Lahontan and Columbus-Rennie were as much as 70 m higher in the early-middle Pleistocene than during their late Pleistocene high stands. Lake Lahontan at its 1400-m shoreline level would submerge present-day Reno, Carson City, and Battle Mountain, and would flood other now-dry basins. To the east, Lakes Jonathan (new name), Diamond, Newark, and Hubbs also reached high stands during the early-middle(?) Pleistocene that were 25-40 m above their late Pleistocene shorelines; at these very high levels, the lakes became temporarily or permanently tributary to the Humboldt River and hence to Lake Lahontan. Such a temporary connection could have permitted fish to migrate from the Humboldt River southward into the presently isolated Newark Valley and from Lake Lahontan into Fairview Valley. The timing of drainage integration also provides suggested maximum ages for fish to populate the basins of Lake Diamond and Lake Jonathan. Reconstructing and dating these lake levels also has important implications for paleoclimate, tectonics, and drainage evolution in the western Great Basin. For example, shorelines in several basins form a stair-step sequence downward with time from the highest levels, thought to have formed at about 650 ka, to the lowest, formed during the late Pleistocene. This descending sequence indicates progressive drying of pluvial periods, possibly caused by uplift of the Sierra Nevada and other western ranges relative to the western Great Basin. However, these effects cannot account for the extremely high lake levels during the early middle Pleistocene; rather, these high levels were probably due to a combination of increased

  12. Stratigraphy, U-Th chronology, and paleoenvironments at Gladysvale Cave: insights into the climatic control of South African hominin-bearing cave deposits.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Robyn; Hancox, Phillip J; Lee-Thorp, Julia A; Grün, Rainer; Mortimer, Graham E; McCulloch, Malcolm; Berger, Lee R

    2007-11-01

    Gladysvale Cave is one of the few Plio-Pleistocene hominin-bearing cave sites in South Africa that contains a well-stratified cave fill with clastic sediments interspersed with flowstones. The clastic sediments can be divided into units based on the presence of intercalated flowstones, forming flowstone bounded units (FBU). Ten MC-ICP-MS uranium-series dates on several flowstone horizons in the Gladysvale Internal Deposit fan indicate deposition from the late mid-Pleistocene ( approximately 570 ka) to Holocene ( approximately 7 ka) during limited periods of higher effective moisture. Clastic sedimentation occurred during the interceding, presumably more arid, periods. This sequence is not consistent with earlier models for South African caves that simply assumed interglacial sedimentation and glacial erosion. (13)C/(12)C data suggest that flowstone tended to form during periods with higher proportions of C(3) plants in the local vegetation, while clastic sediments reflect higher proportions of C(4) grasses, although this is not always the case. We argue that flowstones are precipitated during periods of higher effective precipitation and restricted cave entrances, while clastic sediments accumulated during periods with more open vegetation. The sedimentary fill of the fossiliferous deposits are, therefore, highly episodic in nature, with large periods of time unlikely to be represented. This has serious implications for the other hominin-bearing caves close by, as these deposits are likely to be similarly episodic. This is especially pertinent when addressing extinction events and reconstructions of paleoenvironments, as large periods of time may be unrecorded. The Gladysvale Cave fill sediments may serve as a climatically forced chronostratigraphic model for these less well-stratified and well-dated Plio-Pleistocene sites.

  13. Rethinking stratigraphy and site formation of the Pleistocene deposit at Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar (Caravaca de la Cruz, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angelucci, Diego E.; Anesin, Daniela; López Martínez, Mariano; Haber Uriarte, María; Rodríguez Estrella, Tomás; Walker, Michael J.

    2013-11-01

    Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar (Caravaca de la Cruz, Murcia, Spain), hereinafter Cueva Negra, is a key-site for understanding the early peopling of Europe. Since 1990, systematic excavation has revealed an intriguing assemblage of lithic and faunal remains, and hominin teeth. It was deposited 0.99-0.78 Ma according to palaeomagnetic and biostratigraphical data; pollen data indicate warm moist conditions. Recently, possible evidence of thermal alteration was detected in a deep part of the deposit. We report here on our revision of the Cueva Negra stratigraphy, and offer information on site formation processes, based on new field observations and preliminary data from soil micromorphology. The Cueva Negra succession comprises three main stratigraphical complexes. Complex 1 is late Holocene. Complexes 2 and 3 are Pleistocene and are formed mainly of alluvial sediment, with subordinate inputs from the cave walls. Complexes 2 and 3 were accumulated almost without interruption, being separated by an erosive surface truncating a thin alluvial soil developed at the top of Complex 3. Our initial micromorphological findings indicate that anthropic inputs are mostly in derived positions, very likely having undergone inward displacement from the mouth of the rock-shelter.

  14. Determining Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene deglaciation of the Baltic Ice Lake through sedimentological core sample analysis of IODP Site M0064

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelly, A. L.; Passchier, S.

    2016-12-01

    This study investigates the deglaciation history of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet (SIS) within the Baltic Sea's Hanö Bay from the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene using samples from International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Site M0064. The research aims to understand how the speed of deglaciation influences Baltic Ice Lake (BIL) drainage patterns and relative sea level changes on a high-resolution timescale. Glacial history of the SIS has been studied through glacial till analysis, surface exposure dating, and modeling, encompassing its most recent deglaciation 20-14ka BP, and suggests ice retreated from the project site 16.7ka BP. Between 17 and 14ka BP global sea level rose 4 meters per century, accompanied by a dramatic increase in atmospheric carbon. This period of rapid sea level rise and global warming is a valuable analog for understanding the Earth's current and projected climate. This project uses particle size analysis to better understand the late-glacial depositional environment in Hanö Bay, and ICP-OES geochemical analysis for evidence pertaining to changing sediment provenance and bottom water oxygenation in the BIL. Diamicton is present between 47 and 9 mbsf in Hole M0064D. At 8 mbsf, the sediment exhibits a prominent upward transition from well-laminated cm-scale grey to more thinly laminated reddish brown rhythmites. With calculated Al/Ti ratios, we find that there is not much provenance change in the sequence, however we see fluctuations in Mn/Al ratios, implying shifts in sediment color may be chemical, possibly indicating redox changes in the water column during sediment deposition. Although we find that particle size in the varve sequence does not change, this factor may be driving chemical fluctuations in the diamicton. These results increase the understanding of ice retreat, paleocirculation and relative sea level changes in the Baltic Sea at the onset of the last deglaciation.

  15. Plio-Pleistocene history and phylogeography of Acacia senegal in dry woodlands and savannahs of sub-Saharan tropical Africa: evidence of early colonisation and recent range expansion

    PubMed Central

    Odee, D W; Telford, A; Wilson, J; Gaye, A; Cavers, S

    2012-01-01

    Drylands are extensive across sub-Saharan Africa, socio-economically and ecologically important yet highly sensitive to environmental changes. Evolutionary history, as revealed by contemporary intraspecific genetic variation, can provide valuable insight into how species have responded to past environmental and population changes and guide strategies to promote resilience to future changes. The gum arabic tree (Acacia senegal) is an arid-adapted, morphologically diverse species native to the sub-Saharan drylands. We used variation in nuclear sequences (internal transcribed spacer (ITS)) and two types of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) markers (PCR-RFLP, cpSSR) to study the phylogeography of the species with 293 individuals from 66 populations sampled across its natural range. cpDNA data showed high regional and rangewide haplotypic diversity (hT(cpSSR)=0.903–0.948) and population differentiation (GST(RFLP)=0.700–0.782) with a phylogeographic pattern that indicated extensive historical gene flow via seed dispersal. Haplotypes were not restricted to any of the four varieties, but showed significant geographic structure (GST(cpSSR)=0.392; RST=0.673; RST>RST (permuted)), with the major division separating East and Southern Africa populations from those in West and Central Africa. Phylogenetic analysis of ITS data indicated a more recent origin for the clade including West and Central African haplotypes, suggesting range expansion in this region, possibly during the Holocene humid period. In conjunction with paleobotanical evidence, our data suggest dispersal to West Africa, and across to the Arabian Peninsula and Indian subcontinent, from source populations located in the East African region during climate oscillations of the Plio-Pleistocene. PMID:22929152

  16. Extreme mobility in the Late Pleistocene? Comparing limb biomechanics among fossil Homo, varsity athletes and Holocene foragers.

    PubMed

    Shaw, Colin N; Stock, Jay T

    2013-04-01

    Descriptions of Pleistocene activity patterns often derive from comparisons of long bone diaphyseal robusticity across contemporaneous fossilized hominins. The purpose of this study is to augment existing understanding of Pleistocene hominin mobility patterns by interpreting fossil variation through comparisons with a) living human athletes with known activity patterns, and b) Holocene foragers where descriptions of group-level activity patterns are available. Relative tibial rigidity (midshaft tibial rigidity (J)/midshaft humeral rigidity (J)) was compared amongst Levantine and European Neandertals, Levantine and Upper Palaeolithic Homo sapiens, Holocene foragers and living human athletes and controls. Cross-country runners exhibit significantly (p<0.05) greater relative tibial rigidity compared with swimmers, and higher values compared with controls. In contrast, swimmers displayed significantly (p<0.05) lower relative tibial rigidity than both runners and controls. While variation exists among all Holocene H. sapiens, highly terrestrially mobile Later Stone Age (LSA) southern Africans and cross-country runners display the highest relative tibial rigidity, while maritime Andaman Islanders and swimmers display the lowest, with controls falling between. All fossil hominins displayed relative tibial rigidity that exceeded, or was similar to, the highly terrestrially mobile Later Stone Age southern Africans and modern human cross-country runners. The more extreme skeletal structure of most Neandertals and Levantine H. sapiens, as well as the odd Upper Palaeolithic individual, appears to reflect adaptation to intense and/or highly repetitive lower limb (relative to upper limb) loading. This loading may have been associated with bipedal travel, and appears to have been more strenuous than that encountered by even university varsity runners, and Holocene foragers with hunting grounds 2000-3000 square miles in size. Skeletal variation among the athletes and foraging

  17. Reconstructing Mid-Pleistocene paleovegetation and paleoclimate in the Golan Heights using the δ(13)C values of modern vegetation and soil organic carbon of paleosols.

    PubMed

    Hartman, Gideon

    2011-04-01

    The Golan Heights borders the Upper Jordan Valley on its eastern side and likely served as a prime foraging area for hominin groups that inhabited the Upper Jordan Valley during the Mid-Pleistocene. This study tests the hypothesis that Mid-Pleistocene climate in the Golan region was similar to that of the present day. Carbon isotope composition of present day plant communities and soil organic carbon from the Golan were compared to those of paleosols from Nahal Orvim to reconstruct Mid-Pleistocene paleoclimatic conditions. After correcting the paleosol values for recent changes in atmospheric carbon isotope values and potential biodegradation, the isotopic results show a strong similarity to those of present day local plants and soils. These results indicate that during the Mid-Pleistocene, the Golan was dominated by C(3) vegetation, shared similar climatic conditions with the present day, and displayed long-term environmental stability. The span of time of paleosol formation is unknown and might cover multiple climatic episodes; thus, although short climatic fluctuations may have occurred, their impact was not substantial enough to be detected in the Nahal Orvim paleosols. This study concludes that the Golan slopes provided hominins and large grazers with a reliable and highly nutritious foraging area that complemented the Jordan Valley riparian ecosystem. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Early evidence of Acheulean settlement in northwestern Europe--la Noira site, a 700,000 year-old occupation in the center of France.

    PubMed

    Moncel, Marie-Hélène; Despriée, Jackie; Voinchet, Pierre; Tissoux, Hélène; Moreno, Davinia; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Courcimault, Gilles; Falguères, Christophe

    2013-01-01

    The human settlement of Europe during Pleistocene times was sporadic and several stages have been recognized, both from paleaoanthropological and archaeological records. If the first phase of hominin occupation (as early as 1.4 Ma) seems mainly restricted to the southern part of the continent, the second phase, characterized by specific lithic tools (handaxes), is linked to Acheulean settlements and to the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis, the ancestor of Neanderthals. This phase reached northwestern Europe and is documented in numerous sites in Germany, Great Britain and northern France, generally after 600 ka. At la Noira (Brinay, Central France), the Middle Pleistocene alluvial formation of the Cher River covers an archaeological level associated with a slope deposit (diamicton). The lithic assemblage from this level includes Large Cutting Tools (LCTs), flakes and cores, associated with numerous millstone slabs. The lithic series is classified as Acheulean on the basis of both technological and typological analyses. Cryoturbation features indicate that the slope deposits and associated archaeological level were strongly frozen and disturbed after hominin occupation and before fluvial deposition. Eight sediment samples were dated by the electron spin resonance (ESR) method and the weighted average age obtained for the fluvial sands overlying the slope deposits is 665±55 ka. This age is older than previous chronological data placing the first European Acheulean assemblages north of 45(th) parallel north at around 500 ka and modifies our current vision of the initial peopling of northern Europe. Acheulean settlements are older than previously assumed and the oldest evidences are not only located in southern Europe. La Noira is the oldest evidence of Acheulean presence in north-western Europe and attests to the possibility of pioneering phases of Acheulean settlement which would have taken place on a Mode 1-type substratum as early as 700 ka. The lithic assemblage

  19. Early Evidence of Acheulean Settlement in Northwestern Europe - La Noira Site, a 700 000 Year-Old Occupation in the Center of France

    PubMed Central

    Moncel, Marie-Hélène; Despriée, Jackie; Voinchet, Pierre; Tissoux, Hélène; Moreno, Davinia; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Courcimault, Gilles; Falguères, Christophe

    2013-01-01

    The human settlement of Europe during Pleistocene times was sporadic and several stages have been recognized, both from paleaoanthropological and archaeological records. If the first phase of hominin occupation (as early as 1.4 Ma) seems mainly restricted to the southern part of the continent, the second phase, characterized by specific lithic tools (handaxes), is linked to Acheulean settlements and to the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis, the ancestor of Neanderthals. This phase reached northwestern Europe and is documented in numerous sites in Germany, Great Britain and northern France, generally after 600 ka. At la Noira (Brinay, Central France), the Middle Pleistocene alluvial formation of the Cher River covers an archaeological level associated with a slope deposit (diamicton). The lithic assemblage from this level includes Large Cutting Tools (LCTs), flakes and cores, associated with numerous millstone slabs. The lithic series is classified as Acheulean on the basis of both technological and typological analyses. Cryoturbation features indicate that the slope deposits and associated archaeological level were strongly frozen and disturbed after hominin occupation and before fluvial deposition. Eight sediment samples were dated by the electron spin resonance (ESR) method and the weighted average age obtained for the fluvial sands overlying the slope deposits is 665±55 ka. This age is older than previous chronological data placing the first European Acheulean assemblages north of 45th parallel north at around 500 ka and modifies our current vision of the initial peopling of northern Europe. Acheulean settlements are older than previously assumed and the oldest evidences are not only located in southern Europe. La Noira is the oldest evidence of Acheulean presence in north-western Europe and attests to the possibility of pioneering phases of Acheulean settlement which would have taken place on a Mode 1-type substratum as early as 700 ka. The lithic assemblage

  20. First Pleistocene faunas from the Arabian Peninsula: An Nafud desert, Saudi Arabia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, Herbert; Geraads, Denis; Vaslet, Denis; Memesh, Abdallah; Billiou, Daniel; Bocherens, Hervé; Dobigny, Gauthier; Eisenmann, Véra; Gayet, Mireille; France de Lapparent de Broin; Petter, Germaine; Halawani, Mohammed

    1998-01-01

    Three Pleistocene vertebrate localities in lacustrine deposits which accumulated in interdune depressions were discovered in the south-western part of the An Nafud sand sea (northern Saudi Arabia). Although the fossil vertebrate fauna is restricted in diversity, its composition and stage of evolution suggest an Early Pleistocene age in contrast with the recent Pleistocene or Holocene lake beds occurring in several other interdune depressions in central and southern An Nafud. The Nafud fauna has clear African affinities whereas faunas from the Levant, dating from the Middle Pleistocene onwards, contain typically European elements.

  1. Complex Tasks Force Hand Laterality and Technological Behaviour in Naturalistically Housed Chimpanzees: Inferences in Hominin Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Mosquera, M.; Geribàs, N.; Bargalló, A.; Llorente, M.; Riba, D.

    2012-01-01

    Clear hand laterality patterns in humans are widely accepted. However, humans only elicit a significant hand laterality pattern when performing complementary role differentiation (CRD) tasks. Meanwhile, hand laterality in chimpanzees is weaker and controversial. Here we have reevaluated our results on hand laterality in chimpanzees housed in naturalistic environments at Fundació Mona (Spain) and Chimfunshi Wild Orphanage (Zambia). Our results show that the difference between hand laterality in humans and chimpanzees is not as great as once thought. Furthermore, we found a link between hand laterality and task complexity and also an even more interesting connection: CRD tasks elicited not only the hand laterality but also the use of tools. This paper aims to turn attention to the importance of this threefold connection in human evolution: the link between CRD tasks, hand laterality, and tool use, which has important evolutionary implications that may explain the development of complex behaviour in early hominins. PMID:22550466

  2. Complex tasks force hand laterality and technological behaviour in naturalistically housed chimpanzees: inferences in hominin evolution.

    PubMed

    Mosquera, M; Geribàs, N; Bargalló, A; Llorente, M; Riba, D

    2012-01-01

    Clear hand laterality patterns in humans are widely accepted. However, humans only elicit a significant hand laterality pattern when performing complementary role differentiation (CRD) tasks. Meanwhile, hand laterality in chimpanzees is weaker and controversial. Here we have reevaluated our results on hand laterality in chimpanzees housed in naturalistic environments at Fundació Mona (Spain) and Chimfunshi Wild Orphanage (Zambia). Our results show that the difference between hand laterality in humans and chimpanzees is not as great as once thought. Furthermore, we found a link between hand laterality and task complexity and also an even more interesting connection: CRD tasks elicited not only the hand laterality but also the use of tools. This paper aims to turn attention to the importance of this threefold connection in human evolution: the link between CRD tasks, hand laterality, and tool use, which has important evolutionary implications that may explain the development of complex behaviour in early hominins.

  3. Pleistocene vertebrates of the Yukon Territory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harington, C. R.

    2011-08-01

    Unglaciated parts of the Yukon constitute one of the most important areas in North America for yielding Pleistocene vertebrate fossils. Nearly 30 vertebrate faunal localities are reviewed spanning a period of about 1.6 Ma (million years ago) to the close of the Pleistocene some 10 000 BP (radiocarbon years before present, taken as 1950). The vertebrate fossils represent at least 8 species of fishes, 1 amphibian, 41 species of birds and 83 species of mammals. Dominant among the large mammals are: steppe bison ( Bison priscus), horse ( Equus sp.), woolly mammoth ( Mammuthus primigenius), and caribou ( Rangifer tarandus) - signature species of the Mammoth Steppe fauna ( Fig. 1), which was widespread from the British Isles, through northern Europe, and Siberia to Alaska, Yukon and adjacent Northwest Territories. The Yukon faunas extend from Herschel Island in the north to Revenue Creek in the south and from the Alaskan border in the west to Ketza River in the east. The Yukon holds evidence of the earliest-known people in North America. Artifacts made from bison, mammoth and caribou bones from Bluefish Caves, Old Crow Basin and Dawson City areas show that people had a substantial knowledge of making and using bone tools at least by 25 000 BP, and possibly as early as 40 000 BP. A suggested chronological sequence of Yukon Pleistocene vertebrates ( Table 1) facilitates comparison of selected faunas and indicates the known duration of various taxa.

  4. Paleobiology of Pleistocene Proboscideans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisher, Daniel C.

    2018-05-01

    The paleobiology of Pleistocene proboscideans plays a pivotal role in understanding their history and in answering fundamental questions involving their interactions with other taxa, including humans. Much of our view of proboscidean paleobiology is influenced by analogies with extant elephants. However, a wealth of information is available for reconstructing the paleobiology of ancient proboscideans using data from fossil specimens and preservational settings. Remarkable opportunities include permafrost-derived specimens with preserved soft tissue, intestinal contents with direct evidence of diet, and compositional and structural profiles with subannual temporal resolution archived in appositional systems such as proboscidean tusks. New information on diets and local climates puts our understanding of proboscidean paleoecology on a firmer foundation, but the greatest prospects for new insight spring from life history data now being retrieved from accelerator mass spectrometry–dated fossil material. Interaction between humans and proboscideans has been a critical factor in the history of both groups.

  5. Using Isotopes to Reconstruct Mammalian Diet, Migration and Paleoenvironment for Hominin Sites in Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wershow, H.; Janssen, R.; Vonhof, H.; Lubbe, J. V. D.; Joordens, J. J.; Koutamanis, D. S.; Puspaningrum, M. R.; de Vos, J.; Reijmer, J.

    2015-12-01

    Climate plays a prominent role in ecosystem development in the biodiversity hotspot Sundaland (Malaysia and western Indonesia) throughout the Quaternary. Recurrent isolation and connection of the islands to mainland Asia due to sea level fluctuations has enabled repeated biotic migrations and encouraged genetic speciation. These migration waves also brought Homo erectus to Java. Together with extensive and well-documented collections of other terrestrial species, these hominin fossils form faunal assemblages of which the paleoenvironmental and paleogeographical background is poorly known. Using carbon, oxygen and strontium isotopes, we have reconstructed the paleoenvironmental and paleoecological conditions of several Holocene and Pleistocene fossil sites on Sumatra and Java, Indonesia. Carbon (∂13C) and oxygen (∂18O) isotope analysis of well-preserved herbivore teeth enamel reveals a marked contrast between C3-dominated diets in warmer periods, and C4-dominated diets in cooler periods, reflecting the distinct changes in Sundaland vegetation cover between glacials and interglacials. These isotope patterns allow us to assign the appropriate climatic background to some of the older fossil assemblages from Java, for which dating uncertainty does not allow direct assignment to glacial or interglacial conditions. The stable isotope signatures of herbivores from Trinil and Sangiran, sites well-known for the fossil occurrence of Homo erectus, indicate glacial conditions. The isotope data of several H. erectus fossils from these sites seem to be in line with such an interpretation. Furthermore, we applied strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotope analyses to a sample subset. The preliminary data show distinct Sr-isotope ratios for different sites, providing clues for the applicability of this isotope technique in detecting climate-related mobility of Sundaland fossil faunas.

  6. Mosaic evolution and the pattern of transitions in the hominin lineage

    PubMed Central

    Foley, Robert A.

    2016-01-01

    Humans are uniquely unique, in terms of the extreme differences between them and other living organisms, and the impact they are having on the biosphere. The evolution of humans can be seen, as has been proposed, as one of the major transitions in evolution, on a par with the origins of multicellular organisms or the eukaryotic cell (Maynard Smith & Szathmáry 1997 Major transitions in evolution). Major transitions require the evolution of greater complexity and the emergence of new evolutionary levels or processes. Does human evolution meet these conditions? I explore the diversity of evidence on the nature of transitions in human evolution. Four levels of transition are proposed—baseline, novel taxa, novel adaptive zones and major transitions—and the pattern of human evolution considered in the light of these. The primary conclusions are that changes in human evolution occur continuously and cumulatively; that novel taxa and the appearance of new adaptations are not clustered very tightly in particular periods, although there are three broad transitional phases (Pliocene, Plio-Pleistocene and later Quaternary). Each phase is distinctive, with the first based on ranging and energetics, the second on technology and niche expansion, and the third on cognition and cultural processes. I discuss whether this constitutes a ‘major transition’ in the context of the evolutionary processes more broadly; the role of behaviour in evolution; and the opportunity provided by the rich genetic, phenotypic (fossil morphology) and behavioural (archaeological) record to examine in detail major transitions and the microevolutionary patterns underlying macroevolutionary change. It is suggested that the evolution of the hominin lineage is consistent with a mosaic pattern of change. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298474

  7. Mosaic evolution and the pattern of transitions in the hominin lineage.

    PubMed

    Foley, Robert A

    2016-07-05

    Humans are uniquely unique, in terms of the extreme differences between them and other living organisms, and the impact they are having on the biosphere. The evolution of humans can be seen, as has been proposed, as one of the major transitions in evolution, on a par with the origins of multicellular organisms or the eukaryotic cell (Maynard Smith & Szathmáry 1997 Major transitions in evolution). Major transitions require the evolution of greater complexity and the emergence of new evolutionary levels or processes. Does human evolution meet these conditions? I explore the diversity of evidence on the nature of transitions in human evolution. Four levels of transition are proposed-baseline, novel taxa, novel adaptive zones and major transitions-and the pattern of human evolution considered in the light of these. The primary conclusions are that changes in human evolution occur continuously and cumulatively; that novel taxa and the appearance of new adaptations are not clustered very tightly in particular periods, although there are three broad transitional phases (Pliocene, Plio-Pleistocene and later Quaternary). Each phase is distinctive, with the first based on ranging and energetics, the second on technology and niche expansion, and the third on cognition and cultural processes. I discuss whether this constitutes a 'major transition' in the context of the evolutionary processes more broadly; the role of behaviour in evolution; and the opportunity provided by the rich genetic, phenotypic (fossil morphology) and behavioural (archaeological) record to examine in detail major transitions and the microevolutionary patterns underlying macroevolutionary change. It is suggested that the evolution of the hominin lineage is consistent with a mosaic pattern of change.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  8. Bovid ecomorphology and hominin paleoenvironments of the Shungura Formation, lower Omo River Valley, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Plummer, Thomas W; Ferraro, Joseph V; Louys, Julien; Hertel, Fritz; Alemseged, Zeresenay; Bobe, René; Bishop, L C

    2015-11-01

    The Shungura Formation in the lower Omo River Valley, southern Ethiopia, has yielded an important paleontological and archeological record from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of eastern Africa. Fossils are common throughout the sequence and provide evidence of paleoenvironments and environmental change through time. This study developed discriminant function ecomorphology models that linked astragalus morphology to broadly defined habitat categories (open, light cover, heavy cover, forest, and wetlands) using modern bovids of known ecology. These models used seven variables suitable for use on fragmentary fossils and had overall classification success rates of >82%. Four hundred and one fossils were analyzed from Shungura Formation members B through G (3.4-1.9 million years ago). Analysis by member documented the full range of ecomorph categories, demonstrating that a wide range of habitats existed along the axis of the paleo-Omo River. Heavy cover ecomorphs, reflecting habitats such as woodland and heavy bushland, were the most common in the fossil sample. The trend of increasing open cover habitats from Members C through F suggested by other paleoenvironmental proxies was documented by the increase in open habitat ecomorphs during this interval. However, finer grained analysis demonstrated considerable variability in ecomorph frequencies over time, suggesting that substantial short-term variability is masked when grouping samples by member. The hominin genera Australopithecus, Homo, and Paranthropus are associated with a range of ecomorphs, indicating that all three genera were living in temporally variable and heterogeneous landscapes. Australopithecus finds were predominantly associated with lower frequencies of open habitat ecomorphs, and high frequencies of heavy cover ecomorphs, perhaps indicating a more woodland focus for this genus. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Age-erosion constraints on an Early Pleistocene paleosol in Yukon, Canada, with profiles of 10Be and 26Al: Evidence for a significant loess cover effect on cosmogenic nuclide production rates

    DOE PAGES

    Hidy, Alan J.; Gosse, John C.; Sanborn, Paul; ...

    2018-02-16

    We report that Wounded Moose type paleosols developed on remnant deposits of Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene [pre-Reid] Cordilleran Ice Sheet [CIS] glaciations in central Yukon, Canada. It is an important regional soil-geomorphic marker at the boundary between early CIS advances and the non-glaciated regions of Yukon and Alaska. Yet, at present, its age is poorly constrained between the Reid [0.2 Ma] and earliest [2.84 Ma] CIS advances. Here, we apply depth profiles of in situ-produced cosmogenic 26Al and 10Be to obtain both a minimum exposure age [1.12 +0.44/ -0.36 Ma, 2σ] and maximum erosion rate [1.1 +0.9/ -0.5 mmore » Myr -1] for the Wounded Moose paleosol. Here, our results show that this soil formed under exceptionally stable conditions [max erosion rate similar to polar bedrock erosion rates] and that it pre-dates the emergence of the 100 ka [eccentricity] climate cycle. Contrasting our results from single- and joint-nuclide depth profile models reveals a significant discrepancy between calculated and effective 10Be and 26Al production rates [40–65% of expected values]. We interpret this discrepancy as the result of intermittent loess cover—with a time-averaged depth between 60 and 110 cm—which significantly reduced apparent exposure ages obtained from the single–nuclide model. The observation of such a significant loess-cover effect on cosmogenic nuclide production has implications for exposure dating in glacial and periglacial environments; a multi-nuclide sampling strategy is required to quantify this effect.« less

  10. Age-erosion constraints on an Early Pleistocene paleosol in Yukon, Canada, with profiles of 10Be and 26Al: Evidence for a significant loess cover effect on cosmogenic nuclide production rates

    SciTech Connect

    Hidy, Alan J.; Gosse, John C.; Sanborn, Paul

    We report that Wounded Moose type paleosols developed on remnant deposits of Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene [pre-Reid] Cordilleran Ice Sheet [CIS] glaciations in central Yukon, Canada. It is an important regional soil-geomorphic marker at the boundary between early CIS advances and the non-glaciated regions of Yukon and Alaska. Yet, at present, its age is poorly constrained between the Reid [0.2 Ma] and earliest [2.84 Ma] CIS advances. Here, we apply depth profiles of in situ-produced cosmogenic 26Al and 10Be to obtain both a minimum exposure age [1.12 +0.44/ -0.36 Ma, 2σ] and maximum erosion rate [1.1 +0.9/ -0.5 mmore » Myr -1] for the Wounded Moose paleosol. Here, our results show that this soil formed under exceptionally stable conditions [max erosion rate similar to polar bedrock erosion rates] and that it pre-dates the emergence of the 100 ka [eccentricity] climate cycle. Contrasting our results from single- and joint-nuclide depth profile models reveals a significant discrepancy between calculated and effective 10Be and 26Al production rates [40–65% of expected values]. We interpret this discrepancy as the result of intermittent loess cover—with a time-averaged depth between 60 and 110 cm—which significantly reduced apparent exposure ages obtained from the single–nuclide model. The observation of such a significant loess-cover effect on cosmogenic nuclide production has implications for exposure dating in glacial and periglacial environments; a multi-nuclide sampling strategy is required to quantify this effect.« less

  11. Geoarchaeological approaches to Palaeolithic surface artefact distributions and hominin landscape use in SW Saudi Arabia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inglis, Robyn; Sinclair, Anthony; Fanning, Patricia; Alsharekh, Abdullah; Bailey, Geoff

    2017-04-01

    The vast majority of Palaeolithic archaeological material in arid and semi-arid regions exists in the form of scatters of stone tools across the surface of present-day landscapes. This is particularly the case in the Saharo-Arabian desert belt, a region vital to understanding the global dispersal of hominins from Africa. These surface artefacts possess little stratigraphic context, but comprise the only record we possess to examine spatial behavioural patterning and landscape use by hominin populations. Interpretation of the observed spatial distribution of artefacts is far from straightforward. Surface artefact distributions result from a complex interplay of varying human behaviours over time. Also, geomorphological processes affect the preservation, exposure and visibility of the artefacts, as well as alter the presence and location of attractive resources. The SURFACE project employs an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the distribution of Palaeolithic artefacts in SW Saudi Arabia. By combining remote sensing, geomorphological fieldwork, archaeological survey and GIS analyses, the project is developing a geomorphological context for the artefacts that guides survey to areas of high archaeological potential, as well as allowing the robust interpretation of the observed artefact distribution in a dynamic landscape in terms of past landscape use. This paper will present the ongoing multi-scalar approaches employed by the project to Palaeolithic landscapes, particularly focussing on the site of Wadi Dabsa, Asir Province, where Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts have been found in association with extensive tufa deposits. Investigation in early 2017 at the site will apply SURFACE's methods to understand the present-day artefact distributions at the exposure, and their relationship to the tufa deposition, as well as their potential to inform on Palaeolithic activity and landscape use at the site.

  12. An ecological and behavioural approach to hominin evolution during the Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macho, Gabriele A.

    2014-07-01

    The study considers the turnover in hominins, together with carnivorans and other primates, at 3.5 Ma against an environmental backdrop. Communalities are identified between evolving guilds that may directly inform hominin evolution. These are the evolution of (a) dietary generalists and (b) evidence for sociality in carnivores, baboons and hominins. Sociality and behavioural flexibility are regarded advantageous for the procurement of resources while, at the same time, reducing intraspecific competition; in primates it may initially also have served to reduce predation risk. Behavioural flexibility explains the evolutionary success of Panthera leo, Papio and Homo. Viewed within a wider palaeoecological and environmental context, it is possible that sociality in hominins, including allocare, were triggered by abiotic changes at about 3.5 Ma. If confirmed in future studies, this would mark the beginning of hominin life history evolution.

  13. Intra-individual metameric variation expressed at the enamel-dentine junction of lower post-canine dentition of South African fossil hominins and modern humans.

    PubMed

    Pan, Lei; Thackeray, John Francis; Dumoncel, Jean; Zanolli, Clément; Oettlé, Anna; de Beer, Frikkie; Hoffman, Jakobus; Duployer, Benjamin; Tenailleau, Christophe; Braga, José

    2017-08-01

    The aim of this study is to compare the degree and patterning of inter- and intra-individual metameric variation in South African australopiths, early Homo and modern humans. Metameric variation likely reflects developmental and taxonomical issues, and could also be used to infer ecological and functional adaptations. However, its patterning along the early hominin postcanine dentition, particularly among South African fossil hominins, remains unexplored. Using microfocus X-ray computed tomography (µXCT) and geometric morphometric tools, we studied the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) morphology and we investigated the intra- and inter-individual EDJ metameric variation among eight australopiths and two early Homo specimens from South Africa, as well as 32 modern humans. Along post-canine dentition, shape changes between metameres represented by relative positions and height of dentine horns, outlines of the EDJ occlusal table are reported in modern and fossil taxa. Comparisons of EDJ mean shapes and multivariate analyses reveal substantial variation in the direction and magnitude of metameric shape changes among taxa, but some common trends can be found. In modern humans, both the direction and magnitude of metameric shape change show increased variability in M 2 -M 3 compared to M 1 -M 2 . Fossil specimens are clustered together showing similar magnitudes of shape change. Along M 2 -M 3 , the lengths of their metameric vectors are not as variable as those of modern humans, but they display considerable variability in the direction of shape change. The distalward increase of metameric variation along the modern human molar row is consistent with the odontogenetic models of molar row structure (inhibitory cascade model). Though much remains to be tested, the variable trends and magnitudes in metamerism in fossil hominins reported here, together with differences in the scale of shape change between modern humans and fossil hominins may provide valuable information

  14. The Response of Eastern African Terrestrial Environments to the Mid-Pleistocene Climate Transition: Paleosol Isotopic Evidence from the Turkana Basin, Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinn, R.; Lepre, C. J.

    2017-12-01

    Heightened aridity and C4 grass expansion are recorded in Africa during the Mid-Pleistocene Climate Transition (MPCT, 1.3-0.7 Ma), potentially as consequences of decreasing atmospheric CO2. Whether all of Africa responded to the MPCT in the same manner is unclear. Recent studies of a Malawi Basin lake core and paleosols show abundant C3 flora across the MPCT. African climate change is often suggested as a primary cause of hominin speciation, extinction, and technological innovations. Competing environmental-based evolutionary hypotheses propose increased aridity, humidity pulses, and climatic variability as influences of water availability and vegetation structure in Plio-Pleistocene hominin habitats. The Turkana Basin in northern Kenya preserves a rich fossil record of hominins from 4.3-0.7 Ma and offers high-resolution age control via paleomagnetic stratigraphy, isotopic geochronology, and tephrostratigraphy. Turkana's large paleosol isotopic database demonstrates a gradual increase in C4 grass abundance and aridity from 4-1 Ma. Faunal evidence for increasing abundances of C4 grazers corroborates the spread of C4 grasslands from 2-1 Ma. However, there is a dearth of terrestrial environmental records after 1.5 Ma and through the MPCT at Turkana, during which time eastern Africa witnessed the extinction of Paranthropus and the disperal of genus Homo. Here we report a stable isotopic (δ13C, δ18O) record of paleosol carbonates from the Turkana Basin from 1.4 to 0.7 Ma. Based on our findings and comparisons with comparable datasets from other hominin locales, we suggest that eastern African environments responded to the MPCT in a phased shift from south to north, possibly as a consequence of the compression of the ITCZ during glacial maxima and/or to changes to the Indian Ocean Dipole.

  15. Direct U-series analysis of the Lezetxiki humerus reveals a Middle Pleistocene age for human remains in the Basque Country (northern Iberia).

    PubMed

    de-la-Rúa, Concepción; Altuna, Jesús; Hervella, Monserrat; Kinsley, Leslie; Grün, Rainer

    2016-04-01

    In 1964, a human humerus was found in a sedimentary deposit in Lezetxiki Cave (Basque Country, northern Iberia). The first studies on the stratigraphy, associated mammal faunal remains and lithic implements placed the deposits containing the humerus into the Riss glacial stage. Direct chronometric evidence has so far been missing, and the previous chronostratigraphic framework and faunal dating gave inconsistent results. Here we report laser ablation U-series analyses on the humerus yielding a minimum age of 164 ± 9 ka, corresponding to MIS 6. This is the only direct dating analysis of the Lezetxiki humerus and confirms a Middle Pleistocene age for this hominin fossil. Morphometric analyses suggest that the Lezetxiki humerus has close affinities to other Middle Pleistocene archaic hominins, such as those from La Sima de los Huesos at Atapuerca. This emphasizes the significance of the Lezetxiki fossil within the populations that predate the Neanderthals in south-western Europe. It is thus an important key fossil for the understanding of human evolution in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, a time period when a great morphological diversity is observed but whose phylogenetic meaning is not yet fully understood. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Pleistocene survival of an archaic dwarf baleen whale (Mysticeti: Cetotheriidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boessenecker, Robert W.

    2013-04-01

    Pliocene baleen whale assemblages are characterized by a mix of early records of extant mysticetes, extinct genera within modern families, and late surviving members of the extinct family Cetotheriidae. Although Pleistocene baleen whales are poorly known, thus far they include only fossils of extant genera, indicating Late Pliocene extinctions of numerous mysticetes alongside other marine mammals. Here a new fossil of the Late Neogene cetotheriid mysticete Herpetocetus is reported from the Lower to Middle Pleistocene Falor Formation of Northern California. This find demonstrates that at least one archaic mysticete survived well into the Quaternary Period, indicating a recent loss of a unique niche and a more complex pattern of Plio-Pleistocene faunal overturn for marine mammals than has been previously acknowledged. This discovery also lends indirect support to the hypothesis that the pygmy right whale ( Caperea marginata) is an extant cetotheriid, as it documents another cetotheriid nearly surviving to modern times.

  17. Reading the landscape: Legible environments and hominin dispersals.

    PubMed

    Guiducci, Dario; Burke, Ariane

    2016-05-06

    Wayfinding, or the ability to plan and navigate a course over the landscape, is a subject of investigation in geography, neurophysiology, psychology, urban planning, and landscape design. With the prevalence of GPS-assisted navigation systems, or "wayfinders," computer scientists are also increasingly interested in understanding how people plan their movements and guide others. However, the importance of wayfinding as a process that regulates human mobility has only recently been incorporated into archeological research design. Hominin groups were able to disperse widely during the course of prehistory. The scope of these dispersals speaks to the innate navigation abilities of hominins. Their long-term success must have depended on an ability to communicate spatial information effectively. Here, we consider the extent to which some landscapes may have been more conducive to wayfinding than others. We also describe a tool we have created for quantifying landscape legibility (sensu Gollege), a complex and under-explored concept in archeology, with a view to investigating the impact of landscape structure on human wayfinding and thus, patterns of dispersal during prehistory. To this end, we have developed a method for quantifying legibility using a Geographic Information System (GIS) and apply it to a test case in prehistoric Iberia. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Taphonomic analysis of the hominin remains from Swabian Jura and their implications for the mortuary practices during the Upper Paleolithic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sala, Nohemi; Conard, Nicholas

    2016-10-01

    The symbolic behavior of human beings usually is manifested in different ways such as figurative art, musical traditions, spoken language or complex funerary behavior. The Paleolithic sites of the Swabian Jura contain a rich archaeological record including the oldest evidence of musical instruments and figurative art which indicates complex cognitive abilities of the Paleolithic Homo sapiens that colonized Europe. Nevertheless, there is no evidence for burials in the Swabian caves during the Paleolithic. This raises questions regarding the kind of mortuary practices that existed in this region during the Paleolithic. In this paper, we address these questions from a taphonomic perspective by analyzing the hominin remains recovered in caves of the Swabian Jura. Whatever the funerary behavior was during the Early and Middle Upper Paleolithic, we have no evidence to document these practices. The Magdalenian hominin remains from Brillenhöhle, however, display anthropic modifications that have been hotly debated in the past. Our taphonomic analysis indicates that the assemblage displays traces of butchery similar to those recorded in the faunal remains. In addition to the cut marks, we have documented intentional breakage and human tooth marks, suggesting that the consumption of human corpses took place during the Magdalenian at Brillenhöhle. Similar anthropic modifications have also been documented in Magdalenian horizon at Hohle Fels. This suggests that the cannibalism practices during the Magdalenian were more common than previously expected during the Magdalenian in the Swabian Jura.

  19. Discovering Hominins - Application of Medical Computed Tomography (CT) to Fossil-Bearing Rocks from the Site of Malapa, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Smilg, Jacqueline S.; Berger, Lee R.

    2015-01-01

    In the South African context, computed tomography (CT) has been used applied to individually prepared fossils and small rocks containing fossils, but has not been utilized on large breccia blocks as a means of discovering fossils, and particularly fossil hominins. Previous attempts at CT imaging of rocks from other South African sites for this purpose yielded disappointing results. For this study, 109 fossil- bearing rocks from the site of Malapa, South Africa were scanned with medical CT prior to manual preparation. The resultant images were assessed for accuracy of fossil identification and characterization against the standard of manual preparation. The accurate identification of fossils, including those of early hominins, that were not visible on the surface of individual blocks, is shown to be possible. The discovery of unexpected fossils is reduced, thus lowering the potential that fossils could be damaged through accidental encounter during routine preparation, or even entirely missed. This study should significantly change the way fossil discovery, recovery and preparation is done in the South African context and has potential for application in other palaeontological situations. Medical CT imaging is shown to be reliable, readily available, cost effective and accurate in finding fossils within matrix conglomerates. Improvements in CT equipment and in CT image quality are such that medical CT is now a viable imaging modality for this palaeontological application. PMID:26684299

  20. Discovering Hominins - Application of Medical Computed Tomography (CT) to Fossil-Bearing Rocks from the Site of Malapa, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Smilg, Jacqueline S; Berger, Lee R

    2015-01-01

    In the South African context, computed tomography (CT) has been used applied to individually prepared fossils and small rocks containing fossils, but has not been utilized on large breccia blocks as a means of discovering fossils, and particularly fossil hominins. Previous attempts at CT imaging of rocks from other South African sites for this purpose yielded disappointing results. For this study, 109 fossil- bearing rocks from the site of Malapa, South Africa were scanned with medical CT prior to manual preparation. The resultant images were assessed for accuracy of fossil identification and characterization against the standard of manual preparation. The accurate identification of fossils, including those of early hominins, that were not visible on the surface of individual blocks, is shown to be possible. The discovery of unexpected fossils is reduced, thus lowering the potential that fossils could be damaged through accidental encounter during routine preparation, or even entirely missed. This study should significantly change the way fossil discovery, recovery and preparation is done in the South African context and has potential for application in other palaeontological situations. Medical CT imaging is shown to be reliable, readily available, cost effective and accurate in finding fossils within matrix conglomerates. Improvements in CT equipment and in CT image quality are such that medical CT is now a viable imaging modality for this palaeontological application.

  1. Periglacial process and Pleistocene environment in northern China

    SciTech Connect

    Guo Xudong; Liu Dongsheng; Yan Fuhua

    1991-03-01

    In the present time, five kinds of periglacial phenomena have been defined: ice wedges, periglacial involutions, congelifolds, congeliturbations, and loess dunes. From the stratigraphical and geochronological data, the periglacial process is divided into six stages. (1) Guanting periglacial stage, characterized by the congeliturbative deposits that have developed in early Pleistocene Guanting loess-like formation. Paleomagnetic dating gives 2.43 Ma B.P. (2) Yanchi periglacial stage, characterized by the congelifold that has developed in middle Pleistocene Yanchi Lishi loess formation. Paleomagnetic dating gives 0.50 Ma B.P. (3) Zhaitang periglacial stage (II), characterized by the periglacial involutions that have developed in lower middle Pleistocenemore » Lishi loess formation. Paleomagnetic dating gives 0.30 Ma B.P. (4) Zhaitang periglacial state (I), characterized by the ice (soil) wedge that has developed in upper-middle Pleistocene Lishi loess formation. Paleomagnetic dating gives 0.20 Ma B.P. (5) Qiansangyu periglacial stage (II), characterized by the ice (sand) wedges that has developed in late Pleistocene Malan loess formation. Paleomagnetic dating gives 0.13 Ma B.P. (6) Qiansangyu periglacial stage (I), characterized by the ice (soil) wedge that has developed in late Pleistocene Malan loess-like formation. Thermoluminescent dating gives 0.018 Ma B.P. Spore-pollen composition analysis shows that the savannah steppe environment prevailed in northern China during Pleistocene periglacial periods. These fossilized periglacial phenomena indicate a rather arid and windy periglacial environment with a mean annual temperature estimated some 12-15C colder than that in the present.« less

  2. Multi-level human evolution: ecological patterns in hominin phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Parravicini, Andrea; Pievani, Telmo

    2016-06-20

    Evolution is a process that occurs at many different levels, from genes to ecosystems. Genetic variations and ecological pressures are hence two sides of the same coin; but due both to fragmentary evidence and to the influence of a gene-centered and gradualistic approach to evolutionary phenomena, the field of paleoanthropology has been slow to take the role of macro-evolutionary patterns (i.e. ecological and biogeographical at large scale) seriously. However, several very recent findings in paleoanthropology stress both climate instability and ecological disturbance as key factors affecting the highly branching hominin phylogeny, from the earliest hominins to the appearance of cognitively modern humans. Allopatric speciation due to geographic displacement, turnover-pulses of species, adaptive radiation, mosaic evolution of traits in several coeval species, bursts of behavioral innovation, serial dispersals out of Africa, are just some of the macro-evolutionary patterns emerging from the field. The multilevel approach to evolution proposed by paleontologist Niles Eldredge is adopted here as interpretative tool, and has yielded a larger picture of human evolution that integrates different levels of evolutionary change, from local adaptations in limited ecological niches to dispersal phenotypes able to colonize an unprecedented range of ecosystems. Changes in global climate and Earth's surface most greatly affected human evolution. Precisely because it is cognitively hard for us to appreciate the long-term common destiny we share with the whole biosphere, it is particularly valuable to highlight the accumulating evidence that human evolution has been deeply affected by global ecological changes that transformed our African continent of origin.

  3. Modelling the role of groundwater hydro-refugia in East African hominin evolution and dispersal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cuthbert, M. O.; Gleeson, T.; Reynolds, S. C.; Bennett, M. R.; Newton, A. C.; McCormack, C. J.; Ashley, G. M.

    2017-05-01

    Water is a fundamental resource, yet its spatiotemporal availability in East Africa is poorly understood. This is the area where most hominin first occurrences are located, and consequently the potential role of water in hominin evolution and dispersal remains unresolved. Here, we show that hundreds of springs currently distributed across East Africa could function as persistent groundwater hydro-refugia through orbital-scale climate cycles. Groundwater buffers climate variability according to spatially variable groundwater response times determined by geology and topography. Using an agent-based model, grounded on the present day landscape, we show that groundwater availability would have been critical to supporting isolated networks of hydro-refugia during dry periods when potable surface water was scarce. This may have facilitated unexpected variations in isolation and dispersal of hominin populations in the past. Our results therefore provide a new environmental framework in which to understand how patterns of taxonomic diversity in hominins may have developed.

  4. Modelling the role of groundwater hydro-refugia in East African hominin evolution and dispersal

    PubMed Central

    Cuthbert, M. O.; Gleeson, T.; Reynolds, S. C.; Bennett, M. R.; Newton, A. C.; McCormack, C. J.; Ashley, G. M.

    2017-01-01

    Water is a fundamental resource, yet its spatiotemporal availability in East Africa is poorly understood. This is the area where most hominin first occurrences are located, and consequently the potential role of water in hominin evolution and dispersal remains unresolved. Here, we show that hundreds of springs currently distributed across East Africa could function as persistent groundwater hydro-refugia through orbital-scale climate cycles. Groundwater buffers climate variability according to spatially variable groundwater response times determined by geology and topography. Using an agent-based model, grounded on the present day landscape, we show that groundwater availability would have been critical to supporting isolated networks of hydro-refugia during dry periods when potable surface water was scarce. This may have facilitated unexpected variations in isolation and dispersal of hominin populations in the past. Our results therefore provide a new environmental framework in which to understand how patterns of taxonomic diversity in hominins may have developed. PMID:28556825

  5. Tectonics and soil edaphics as controls on animal migrations and early human inhabitance in the Kenya Rift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kübler, Simon; Rucina, Stephen; Reynolds, Sally; Fürgut, Felix; Bailey, Geoffrey; King, Geoffrey

    2017-04-01

    . This is supported by our soil analysis. With a lake in the past the Olorgesailie site represents an key example of how early hominins may have used the landscape for their strategic advantage. At Kariandusi site we investigated the tectonic and volcanic history of the region, and the system of lakes that have undergone periodic expansion and contraction during the Pleistocene in response to climatic and tectonic controls. We used this information to reconstruct topographic features as they would have existed at different periods of the past and their likely influence on patterns of large-mammal movements, and linked this with information from soil analysis. Our results show that Kariandusi occupied a unique window of opportunity in place and time for trapping mammals constrained to move through a narrowly defined topographic bottleneck between edaphically-rich areas during the lake highstand 1 Ma BP. Results of our study suggests that both Olorgesailie and Kariandusi sites were used for a simple form of ambush hunting.

  6. Pleistocene plants from North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berry, Edward Wilber

    1926-01-01

    The field work upon which this report is based was done in 1906 and 1907 as a part of the cooperative study of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, under the direction of the late William Bullock Clark. Associated with the writer in this work were L. W. Stephenson, B. L. Miller, Jr., and J. E. Pogue. Preliminary accounts of the plants collected were published in 1907 and 1909. As has been frequently emphasized, the study of the Pleistocene floras in this country is in an exceedingly backward state as measured by the volume and precision of our knowledge of Pleistocene floras in Europe. Researches in Pleistocene geology in North America have been confined almost entirely to glaciology, and the problem of the correlation of the glacial deposits with those outside the glaciated area has not been solved, nor is there any general agreement regarding the genesis of the Pleistocene deposits south of the terminal moraines. The present account of what is known of the Pleistocene flora of North Carolina and the conclusions that may be legitimately derived from it is offered in the hope that it may stimulate an interest in a neglected field of research and form a small part of the evidence upon which to base future more comprehensive conclusions and generalizations. A word of explanation regarding the illustrations is required. Nearly all of them have been made from leaves preserved as carbonaceous films in the peaty clays. These specimens were carefully washed out, and blue prints were made directly from them. Outlines and as much of the venation as could be seen were inked on the blue prints, which were then bleached. This procedure made it possible to handle a much larger amount of material and prevented any possible damage to the exceedingly fragile specimens, which were mounted on cards or between glass. The accompanying drawings were made from tracings of the original nature prints.

  7. Pleistocene environments and glacial history of the northern North Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reinardy, Benedict; Hjelstuen, Berit; Petter Sejrup, Hans; Augedal, Hans; Jørstad, Arild

    2017-04-01

    Based on new geochronological and lithological data combined with analyses of 3D seismic data, the Pliocene-Pleistocene development of the central northern North Sea has been investigated. At the start of the Plio-Pleistocene Transition the study area was dominated by a deltaic, shallow marine or tidal depositional environment with sediments mainly sourced from the west with a local provenance. Directly above the base Quaternary a 60 m thick layer of mud-rich sediments of glacimarine origin were deposited at a rate of 12 cm/ka between 2-1.5 Ma and up to 80 cm/ka between 1.5 - 1.2 Ma possibly reflecting glacial ice advancing to the Norwegian coastline. The high rate of deposition in the Early Pleistocene occurred immediately before the initiation of the Norwegian Channel Ice Stream at 1.1 Ma. Following this, a large part of the sediment input from Fennoscandia seems to have been directed away from the study area to the shelf break. At the start of the Mid Pleistocene Transition (MPT), subaerial conditions allowed the formation of a >50 km long fluvial channel across the study area draining water from the east to the south west. The earliest evidence of grounded ice in the investigated area comes from mega scale glacial lineations formed during the MPT, at or just after 1.2 Ma. Following this, a regional unconformity was formed by one or more grounded ice advances across the study area possibly during or directly after the MPT and likely marks the boundary between the Early and Mid Pleistocene glacimarine sediments. The Mid to Late Pleistocene stratigraphy is dominated by glacimarine sediments and tills and is associated with multiple generations of tunnel valleys observed within the seismic data. A high shear strength till containing chalk clasts transported from the west and/or south of the study area was likely deposited during MIS6 and may have been more conducive to tunnel valley formation in comparison to lower shear strength tills deposited by later ice

  8. Speciation of Iberian diving beetles in Pleistocene refugia (Coleoptera, Dytiscidae).

    PubMed

    Ribera, Ignacio; Vogler, Alfried P

    2004-01-01

    The Mediterranean basin is an area of high diversity and endemicity, but the age and origin of its fauna are still largely unknown. Here we use species-level phylogenies based on approximately 1300 base pairs of the genes 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase I to establish the relationships of 27 of the 34 endemic Iberian species of diving beetles in the family Dytiscidae, and to investigate their level of divergence. Using a molecular clock approach, 18-19 of these species were estimated to be of Pleistocene origin, with four to six of them from the Late Pleistocene ( approximately 100 000 years). A second, lower speciation frequency peak was assigned to Late Miocene or Early Pliocene. Analysis of the distributional ranges showed that endemic species placed in the tip nodes of the trees are significantly more likely to be allopatric with their sisters than endemic species at lower node levels. Allopatric sister species are also significantly younger than sympatric clades, in agreement with an allopatric mode of speciation and limited subsequent range movement. These results strongly suggest that for some taxa Iberian populations were isolated during the Pleistocene long enough to speciate, and apparently did not expand their ranges to recolonize areas north of the Pyrenees. This is in contradiction to observations from fossil beetles in areas further north, which document large range movements associated with the Pleistocene glacial cycles hypothesized to suppress population isolation and allopatric speciation.

  9. Mechanisms and causes of wear in tooth enamel: implications for hominin diets

    PubMed Central

    Lucas, Peter W.; Omar, Ridwaan; Al-Fadhalah, Khaled; Almusallam, Abdulwahab S.; Henry, Amanda G.; Michael, Shaji; Thai, Lidia Arockia; Watzke, Jörg; Strait, David S.; Atkins, Anthony G.

    2013-01-01

    The wear of teeth is a major factor limiting mammalian lifespans in the wild. One method of describing worn surfaces, dental microwear texture analysis, has proved powerful for reconstructing the diets of extinct vertebrates, but has yielded unexpected results in early hominins. In particular, although australopiths exhibit derived craniodental features interpreted as adaptations for eating hard foods, most do not exhibit microwear signals indicative of this diet. However, no experiments have yet demonstrated the fundamental mechanisms and causes of this wear. Here, we report nanowear experiments where individual dust particles, phytoliths and enamel chips were slid across a flat enamel surface. Microwear features produced were influenced strongly by interacting mechanical properties and particle geometry. Quartz dust was a rigid abrasive, capable of fracturing and removing enamel pieces. By contrast, phytoliths and enamel chips deformed during sliding, forming U-shaped grooves or flat troughs in enamel, without tissue loss. Other plant tissues seem too soft to mark enamel, acting as particle transporters. We conclude that dust has overwhelming importance as a wear agent and that dietary signals preserved in dental microwear are indirect. Nanowear studies should resolve controversies over adaptive trends in mammals like enamel thickening or hypsodonty that delay functional dental loss. PMID:23303220

  10. Embodied niche construction in the hominin lineage: semiotic structure and sustained attention in human embodied cognition

    PubMed Central

    Stutz, Aaron J.

    2014-01-01

    Human evolution unfolded through a rather distinctive, dynamically constructed ecological niche. The human niche is not only generally terrestrial in habitat, while being flexibly and extensively heterotrophic in food-web connections. It is also defined by semiotically structured and structuring embodied cognitive interfaces, connecting the individual organism with the wider environment. The embodied dimensions of niche-population co-evolution have long involved semiotic system construction, which I hypothesize to be an evolutionarily primitive aspect of learning and higher-level cognitive integration and attention in the great apes and humans alike. A clearly pre-linguistic form of semiotic cognitive structuration is suggested to involve recursively learned and constructed object icons. Higher-level cognitive iconic representation of visually, auditorily, or haptically perceived extrasomatic objects would be learned and evoked through indexical connections to proprioceptive and affective somatic states. Thus, private cognitive signs would be defined, not only by their learned and perceived extrasomatic referents, but also by their associations to iconically represented somatic states. This evolutionary modification of animal associative learning is suggested to be adaptive in ecological niches occupied by long-lived, large-bodied ape species, facilitating memory construction and recall in highly varied foraging and social contexts, while sustaining selective attention during goal-directed behavioral sequences. The embodied niche construction (ENC) hypothesis of human evolution posits that in the early hominin lineage, natural selection further modified the ancestral ape semiotic adaptations, favoring the recursive structuration of concise iconic narratives of embodied interaction with the environment. PMID:25136323

  11. Mechanisms and causes of wear in tooth enamel: implications for hominin diets.

    PubMed

    Lucas, Peter W; Omar, Ridwaan; Al-Fadhalah, Khaled; Almusallam, Abdulwahab S; Henry, Amanda G; Michael, Shaji; Thai, Lidia Arockia; Watzke, Jörg; Strait, David S; Atkins, Anthony G

    2013-03-06

    The wear of teeth is a major factor limiting mammalian lifespans in the wild. One method of describing worn surfaces, dental microwear texture analysis, has proved powerful for reconstructing the diets of extinct vertebrates, but has yielded unexpected results in early hominins. In particular, although australopiths exhibit derived craniodental features interpreted as adaptations for eating hard foods, most do not exhibit microwear signals indicative of this diet. However, no experiments have yet demonstrated the fundamental mechanisms and causes of this wear. Here, we report nanowear experiments where individual dust particles, phytoliths and enamel chips were slid across a flat enamel surface. Microwear features produced were influenced strongly by interacting mechanical properties and particle geometry. Quartz dust was a rigid abrasive, capable of fracturing and removing enamel pieces. By contrast, phytoliths and enamel chips deformed during sliding, forming U-shaped grooves or flat troughs in enamel, without tissue loss. Other plant tissues seem too soft to mark enamel, acting as particle transporters. We conclude that dust has overwhelming importance as a wear agent and that dietary signals preserved in dental microwear are indirect. Nanowear studies should resolve controversies over adaptive trends in mammals like enamel thickening or hypsodonty that delay functional dental loss.

  12. Embodied niche construction in the hominin lineage: semiotic structure and sustained attention in human embodied cognition.

    PubMed

    Stutz, Aaron J

    2014-01-01

    Human evolution unfolded through a rather distinctive, dynamically constructed ecological niche. The human niche is not only generally terrestrial in habitat, while being flexibly and extensively heterotrophic in food-web connections. It is also defined by semiotically structured and structuring embodied cognitive interfaces, connecting the individual organism with the wider environment. The embodied dimensions of niche-population co-evolution have long involved semiotic system construction, which I hypothesize to be an evolutionarily primitive aspect of learning and higher-level cognitive integration and attention in the great apes and humans alike. A clearly pre-linguistic form of semiotic cognitive structuration is suggested to involve recursively learned and constructed object icons. Higher-level cognitive iconic representation of visually, auditorily, or haptically perceived extrasomatic objects would be learned and evoked through indexical connections to proprioceptive and affective somatic states. Thus, private cognitive signs would be defined, not only by their learned and perceived extrasomatic referents, but also by their associations to iconically represented somatic states. This evolutionary modification of animal associative learning is suggested to be adaptive in ecological niches occupied by long-lived, large-bodied ape species, facilitating memory construction and recall in highly varied foraging and social contexts, while sustaining selective attention during goal-directed behavioral sequences. The embodied niche construction (ENC) hypothesis of human evolution posits that in the early hominin lineage, natural selection further modified the ancestral ape semiotic adaptations, favoring the recursive structuration of concise iconic narratives of embodied interaction with the environment.

  13. Hypothesis: brain size and skull shape as criteria for a new hominin family tree.

    PubMed

    Chardin, Pierre

    2014-10-01

    Today, gorillas and chimpanzees live in tropical forests, where acid soils do not favor fossilization. It is thus widely believed that there are no fossils of chimpanzees or gorillas. However, four teeth of a 0.5-million-year (Ma)-old chimpanzee were discovered in the rift valley of Kenya (McBrearty and Jablonski, 2005), and a handful of teeth of a 10-Ma-old gorilla-like creature were found in Ethiopia (Suwa et al., 2007), close to the major sites of Homo discoveries. These discoveries indicate that chimpanzees and gorillas once shared their range with early Homo. However, the thousands of hominin fossils discovered in the past century have all been attributed to the Homo line. Thus far, our family tree looks like a bush with many dead-branches. If one admits the possibility that the australopithecines can also be the ancestors of African great apes, one can place Paranthropus on the side of gorilla ancestors and divide the remaining Australopithecus based on the brain size into the two main lines of humans and chimpanzees, thereby resulting in a coherent family tree. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  14. ESR analyses for herbivore teeth and molluscs from Kharga, Dakhleh, and Bir Tarfawi Oases: Constraining water availability and hominin paleolithic activity in the Western Desert, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blackwell, B. A. B.; Skinner, A. R.; Smith, J. R.; Hill, C. L.; Churcher, C. S.; Kieniewicz, J. M.; Adelsberger, K. A.; Blickstein, J. I. B.; Florentin, J. A.; Deely, A. E.; Spillar, K. V.

    2017-12-01

    Today, Bir Tarfawi, Kharga and Dakhleh Oases all sit in Egypt's hyperarid Western Desert. A dearth of naturally occurring surface water coupled with ≤ 0.1 mm/y of precipitation, and evaporation rates > 2 m/y make Bir Tarfawi uninhabitable today, while Dakhleh and Kharga depend on borehole water to support human inhabitation. Yet in scattered locations dotting the Quaternary surfaces and deposits near each oasis, Paleolithic artefacts, fossil ungulate teeth, and snails record times when surface water did exist in wetlands, small ponds, and even large lakes. At Bir Tarfawi in Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 5, 7, and 13, wetlands or small lakes supported freshwater snails, large herbivores, and hominins. Dakhleh Oasis hosted a large lake in MIS 6 that provided a deep reliable water supply for many millennia subsequently. ESR dates on fossils and tufa dates show thriving lacustrine and terrestrial ecosystems at Dakhleh during MIS 5, 7, 9, 11, and 17, and in shorter episodes in MIS 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12. At Kharga Oasis, springs discharged along the Libyan Escarpment edge, but the water was ponded in small basins dammed within tufa deposits. These dated deposits and fossils attest that water existed there in MIS 2-11, and one spot dating to ∼ 2.3 Ma. This proxy evidence suggest that, thanks to higher rainfall and/or groundwater tables, sufficient water persisted for much of the Pleistocene, supporting food resources, like large herbivores and molluscs, to thrive and enabling hominin habitation. and activity in the Western Desert.

  15. Evolution of Siglec-11 and Siglec-16 Genes in Hominins

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiaoxia; Mitra, Nivedita; Cruz, Pedro; Deng, Liwen; Varki, Nissi; Angata, Takashi; Green, Eric D.; Mullikin, Jim; Hayakawa, Toshiyuki; Varki, Ajit

    2012-01-01

    We previously reported a human-specific gene conversion of SIGLEC11 by an adjacent paralogous pseudogene (SIGLEC16P), generating a uniquely human form of the Siglec-11 protein, which is expressed in the human brain. Here, we show that Siglec-11 is expressed exclusively in microglia in all human brains studied—a finding of potential relevance to brain evolution, as microglia modulate neuronal survival, and Siglec-11 recruits SHP-1, a tyrosine phosphatase that modulates microglial biology. Following the recent finding of a functional SIGLEC16 allele in human populations, further analysis of the human SIGLEC11 and SIGLEC16/P sequences revealed an unusual series of gene conversion events between two loci. Two tandem and likely simultaneous gene conversions occurred from SIGLEC16P to SIGLEC11 with a potentially deleterious intervening short segment happening to be excluded. One of the conversion events also changed the 5′ untranslated sequence, altering predicted transcription factor binding sites. Both of the gene conversions have been dated to ∼1–1.2 Ma, after the emergence of the genus Homo, but prior to the emergence of the common ancestor of Denisovans and modern humans about 800,000 years ago, thus suggesting involvement in later stages of hominin brain evolution. In keeping with this, recombinant soluble Siglec-11 binds ligands in the human brain. We also address a second-round more recent gene conversion from SIGLEC11 to SIGLEC16, with the latter showing an allele frequency of ∼0.1–0.3 in a worldwide population study. Initial pseudogenization of SIGLEC16 was estimated to occur at least 3 Ma, which thus preceded the gene conversion of SIGLEC11 by SIGLEC16P. As gene conversion usually disrupts the converted gene, the fact that ORFs of hSIGLEC11 and hSIGLEC16 have been maintained after an unusual series of very complex gene conversion events suggests that these events may have been subject to hominin-specific selection forces. PMID:22383531

  16. The waiting time problem in a model hominin population.

    PubMed

    Sanford, John; Brewer, Wesley; Smith, Franzine; Baumgardner, John

    2015-09-17

    Functional information is normally communicated using specific, context-dependent strings of symbolic characters. This is true within the human realm (texts and computer programs), and also within the biological realm (nucleic acids and proteins). In biology, strings of nucleotides encode much of the information within living cells. How do such information-bearing nucleotide strings arise and become established? This paper uses comprehensive numerical simulation to understand what types of nucleotide strings can realistically be established via the mutation/selection process, given a reasonable timeframe. The program Mendel's Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process, and was modified so that a starting string of nucleotides could be specified, and a corresponding target string of nucleotides could be specified. We simulated a classic pre-human hominin population of at least 10,000 individuals, with a generation time of 20 years, and with very strong selection (50% selective elimination). Random point mutations were generated within the starting string. Whenever an instance of the target string arose, all individuals carrying the target string were assigned a specified reproductive advantage. When natural selection had successfully amplified an instance of the target string to the point of fixation, the experiment was halted, and the waiting time statistics were tabulated. Using this methodology we tested the effect of mutation rate, string length, fitness benefit, and population size on waiting time to fixation. Biologically realistic numerical simulations revealed that a population of this type required inordinately long waiting times to establish even the shortest nucleotide strings. To establish a string of two nucleotides required on average 84 million years. To establish a string of five nucleotides required on average 2 billion years. We found that waiting times were reduced by higher mutation rates, stronger fitness benefits, and

  17. The Evolution and Functional Impact of Human Deletion Variants Shared with Archaic Hominin Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Yen-Lung; Pavlidis, Pavlos; Karakoc, Emre; Ajay, Jerry; Gokcumen, Omer

    2015-01-01

    Allele sharing between modern and archaic hominin genomes has been variously interpreted to have originated from ancestral genetic structure or through non-African introgression from archaic hominins. However, evolution of polymorphic human deletions that are shared with archaic hominin genomes has yet to be studied. We identified 427 polymorphic human deletions that are shared with archaic hominin genomes, approximately 87% of which originated before the Human–Neandertal divergence (ancient) and only approximately 9% of which have been introgressed from Neandertals (introgressed). Recurrence, incomplete lineage sorting between human and chimp lineages, and hominid-specific insertions constitute the remaining approximately 4% of allele sharing between humans and archaic hominins. We observed that ancient deletions correspond to more than 13% of all common (>5% allele frequency) deletion variation among modern humans. Our analyses indicate that the genomic landscapes of both ancient and introgressed deletion variants were primarily shaped by purifying selection, eliminating large and exonic variants. We found 17 exonic deletions that are shared with archaic hominin genomes, including those leading to three fusion transcripts. The affected genes are involved in metabolism of external and internal compounds, growth and sperm formation, as well as susceptibility to psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. Our analyses suggest that these “exonic” deletion variants have evolved through different adaptive forces, including balancing and population-specific positive selection. Our findings reveal that genomic structural variants that are shared between humans and archaic hominin genomes are common among modern humans and can influence biomedically and evolutionarily important phenotypes. PMID:25556237

  18. Hominin track assemblages from Okote Member deposits near Ileret, Kenya, and their implications for understanding fossil hominin paleobiology at 1.5 Ma.

    PubMed

    Hatala, Kevin G; Roach, Neil T; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Wunderlich, Roshna E; Dingwall, Heather L; Villmoare, Brian A; Green, David J; Braun, David R; Harris, John W K; Behrensmeyer, Anna K; Richmond, Brian G

    2017-11-01

    Tracks can provide unique, direct records of behaviors of fossil organisms moving across their landscapes millions of years ago. While track discoveries have been rare in the human fossil record, over the last decade our team has uncovered multiple sediment surfaces within the Okote Member of the Koobi Fora Formation near Ileret, Kenya that contain large assemblages of ∼1.5 Ma fossil hominin tracks. Here, we provide detailed information on the context and nature of each of these discoveries, and we outline the specific data that are preserved on the Ileret hominin track surfaces. We analyze previously unpublished data to refine and expand upon earlier hypotheses regarding implications for hominin anatomy and social behavior. While each of the track surfaces discovered at Ileret preserves a different amount of data that must be handled in particular ways, general patterns are evident. Overall, the analyses presented here support earlier interpretations of the ∼1.5 Ma Ileret track assemblages, providing further evidence of large, human-like body sizes and possibly evidence of a group composition that could support the emergence of certain human-like patterns of social behavior. These data, used in concert with other forms of paleontological and archaeological evidence that are deposited on different temporal scales, offer unique windows through which we can broaden our understanding of the paleobiology of hominins living in East Africa at ∼1.5 Ma. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Exploring the Middle Pleistocene Lake Suguta Sr-isotope Stratigraphic record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vonhof, Hubert; Junginger, Annett; Agmon, Nadav; Trauth, Martin

    2017-04-01

    Several studies into the Quaternary stratigraphic record of the Sr-isotope composition of paleolake Turkana in the East African Rift System (EARS) show how variation of climate left a signal of changing lacustrine Sr isotope values. This Sr isotope signal was captured in the lacustrine fossil record of the Turkana Basin, and can be a useful chemostratigraphic tool (e.g. Joordens et al., 2011; van der Lubbe et al., submitted). Such lacustrine Sr-isotope changes are believed to be paced by orbital-forced insolation cyclicity, and interpreted to be the result of changing contribution of run-off from different sub-catchments of lake Turkana, as climate change shifted regional rainfall patterns. Here, we present a first set of data from a middle Pleistocene stratigraphical sequence in the Suguta Valley, South of the Turkana Basin in the EARS. This sequence spans a couple of sedimentological cycles that potentially represent precession-forced lake level variation. In this setting, the Sr-isotope data do not vary in phase with these sedimentological cycles, but demonstrate a long trend of Sr isotope change. This may suggest that the catchment configuration of the Suguta Valley in the Mid Pleistocene was less suitable to record precession-forced hydroclimate change in Lacustrine Sr isotope ratios. This may have implications for the Turkana Basin Sr isotope record as well, because the two basins are believed to have been hydrologically connected in the Middle Pleistocene. references: 1)Joordens, J.C.A. et al., 2011. An astronomically-tuned climate framework for hominins in the Turkana Basin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307, 1-8. 2)van der Lubbe et al., submitted. Gradual or abrupt? Changes in water source of Lake Turkana (Kenya) during the African Humid Period inferred from Sr isotope ratios

  20. Landscapes of human evolution: models and methods of tectonic geomorphology and the reconstruction of hominin landscapes.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Geoffrey N; Reynolds, Sally C; King, Geoffrey C P

    2011-03-01

    This paper examines the relationship between complex and tectonically active landscapes and patterns of human evolution. We show how active tectonics can produce dynamic landscapes with geomorphological and topographic features that may be critical to long-term patterns of hominin land use, but which are not typically addressed in landscape reconstructions based on existing geological and paleoenvironmental principles. We describe methods of representing topography at a range of scales using measures of roughness based on digital elevation data, and combine the resulting maps with satellite imagery and ground observations to reconstruct features of the wider landscape as they existed at the time of hominin occupation and activity. We apply these methods to sites in South Africa, where relatively stable topography facilitates reconstruction. We demonstrate the presence of previously unrecognized tectonic effects and their implications for the interpretation of hominin habitats and land use. In parts of the East African Rift, reconstruction is more difficult because of dramatic changes since the time of hominin occupation, while fossils are often found in places where activity has now almost ceased. However, we show that original, dynamic landscape features can be assessed by analogy with parts of the Rift that are currently active and indicate how this approach can complement other sources of information to add new insights and pose new questions for future investigation of hominin land use and habitats. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Brain enlargement and dental reduction were not linked in hominin evolution

    PubMed Central

    Smaers, Jeroen B.; Holloway, Ralph L.

    2017-01-01

    The large brain and small postcanine teeth of modern humans are among our most distinctive features, and trends in their evolution are well studied within the hominin clade. Classic accounts hypothesize that larger brains and smaller teeth coevolved because behavioral changes associated with increased brain size allowed a subsequent dental reduction. However, recent studies have found mismatches between trends in brain enlargement and posterior tooth size reduction in some hominin species. We use a multiple-variance Brownian motion approach in association with evolutionary simulations to measure the tempo and mode of the evolution of endocranial and dental size and shape within the hominin clade. We show that hominin postcanine teeth have evolved at a relatively consistent neutral rate, whereas brain size evolved at comparatively more heterogeneous rates that cannot be explained by a neutral model, with rapid pulses in the branches leading to later Homo species. Brain reorganization shows evidence of elevated rates only much later in hominin evolution, suggesting that fast-evolving traits such as the acquisition of a globular shape may be the result of direct or indirect selection for functional or structural traits typical of modern humans. PMID:28049819

  2. Fragilariopsis diatom evolution in Pliocene and Pleistocene Antarctic shelf sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sjunneskog, Charlotte; Riesselman, Christina; Winter, Diane; Scherer, Reed

    2012-01-01

    The late Pliocene – early Pleistocene sediment record in the AND-1B core from the McMurdo Sound, Ross Sea, Antarctica, displays a rich diversity and high abundance of diatoms, including several new morphologies within the genus Fragilariopsis. These new morphologies exhibit similarities to the extinct late Miocene/early Pliocene species Fragilariopsis aurica Gersonde and Fragilariopsis praecurta Gersonde, as well as to the modern sea ice-associated species Fragilariopsis ritscheri Hustedt and Fragilariopsis obliquecostata van Heurck. From the diverse morphologies present, we use light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to identify and describe the characteristics of three new taxa, Fragilariopsis laqueata Riesselman, Fragilariopsis bohatyi Sjunneskog et Riesselman, and Fragilariopsis robusta Sjunneskog, which are common in the diatom-bearing intervals from ~3.2 to 1.95 Ma. Comparisons with extant and extinct species are made to assess possible environmental affinities, evolutionary relationships, and potential for future biostratigraphic utility. This complex of newmorphologies diversified as conditions cooled during the Pliocene, then went into decline as heavy sea ice conditions of the Pleistocene were established. Only the lineage of F. robusta appears to continue into the late Pleistocene, where it is interpreted to have evolved into F. obliquecostata.

  3. Recurring middle Pleistocene outburst floods in east-central Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Froese, D.G.; Smith, D.G.; Westgate, J.A.; Ager, T.A.; Preece, S.J.; Sandhu, A.; Enkin, R.J.; Weber, F.

    2003-01-01

    Recurring glacial outburst floods from the Yukon-Tanana Upland are inferred from sediments exposed along the Yukon River near the mouth of Charley River in east-central Alaska. Deposits range from imbricate gravel and granules indicating flow locally extending up the Yukon valley, to more distal sediments consisting of at least 10 couplets of planar sands, granules, and climbing ripples with up-valley paleocurrent indicators overlain by massive silt. An interglacial organic silt, occurring within the sequence, indicates at least two flood events are associated with an earlier glaciation, and at least three flood events are associated with a later glaciation which postdates the organic silt. A minimum age for the floods is provided by a glass fission track age of 560,000 ?? 80,000 yr on the GI tephra, which occurs 8 m above the flood beds. A maximum age of 780,000 yr for the floods is based on normal magnetic polarity of the sediments. These age constraints allow us to correlate the flood events to the early-middle Pleistocene. And further, the outburst floods indicate extensive glaciation of the Yukon-Tanana Upland during the early-middle Pleistocene, likely representing the most extensive Pleistocene glaciation of the area. ?? 2003 University of Washington. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Pleistocene lake level changes in Western Mongolia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borodavko, P. S.

    2009-04-01

    Global cooling in the Early Pleistocene caused extensive continental glaciation in the northern hemisphere including the arid areas of Central Asia. The reduction of temperatures (particularly summer temperatures) reduced evaporation and strengthened the importance of precipitation. The simultaneity of "lakes periods" (pluvials) and stages of glaciation is established experience confirmed by investigations in the west of North America and Russia. In the Mongolian Great Lakes Depression new evidence for similar conditions is found. The Great Lakes Depression is one of the largest in Central Asia, and is divided into 2 main Lakes basins: Hyargas Lake Basin and Uvs Lake Basin. The basin is 600-650 km in length with a width of 200-250 km in the north and 60-100 km in the south. Total catchment area is about 186600 km2. The elevation of the basin floor is from 1700 m a.s.l. to 760 m a.s.l., decreasing to the north and south-east. The depression extends south-north and is bounded by mountains: Tannu-Ola to the north, Hangai to the east; Gobi Altai to the south and Mongolian Altay to the west. The maximum elevation of the mountains is 4000 m a.s.l. There are some mountains with an elevation between 2000 and 3000 m a.s.l in the lake catchment. These mountains are not glaciated today. The geological record [1] suggests the Great Lakes Depression already existed in the Mesozoic, but assumed its modern form only during the Pliocene-Quaternary when tectonic movements caused the uplift of the surrounding mountains. A phase of tectonic stability occurred during the Late Quaternary. The depression is filled by Quaternary fluvial, aeolian and lacustrine deposits (e.g. sand, pebbles). The Neogene deposits are represented by coloured clay, marl, sand and sandstone [1]. Hyargas Lake is the end base level of erosion of the lake group consisting of the Hara-Us Nur, Dorgon, Hara Nur and Airag lakes. Hyargas is one of the largest lakes in Mongolia, with a water surface of 1,407 km2. The

  5. Two contemporaneous mitogenomes from terminal Pleistocene burials in eastern Beringia

    PubMed Central

    Tackney, Justin C.; Potter, Ben A.; Raff, Jennifer; Powers, Michael; Watkins, W. Scott; Warner, Derek; Reuther, Joshua D.; Irish, Joel D.; O’Rourke, Dennis H.

    2015-01-01

    Pleistocene residential sites with multiple contemporaneous human burials are extremely rare in the Americas. We report mitochondrial genomic variation in the first multiple mitochondrial genomes from a single prehistoric population: two infant burials (USR1 and USR2) from a common interment at the Upward Sun River Site in central Alaska dating to ∼11,500 cal B.P. Using a targeted capture method and next-generation sequencing, we determined that the USR1 infant possessed variants that define mitochondrial lineage C1b, whereas the USR2 genome falls at the root of lineage B2, allowing us to refine younger coalescence age estimates for these two clades. C1b and B2 are rare to absent in modern populations of northern North America. Documentation of these lineages at this location in the Late Pleistocene provides evidence for the extent of mitochondrial diversity in early Beringian populations, which supports the expectations of the Beringian Standstill Model. PMID:26504230

  6. The femur of Orrorin tugenensis exhibits morphometric affinities with both Miocene apes and later hominins.

    PubMed

    Almécija, Sergio; Tallman, Melissa; Alba, David M; Pina, Marta; Moyà-Solà, Salvador; Jungers, William L

    2013-01-01

    Orrorin tugenensis (Kenya, ca. 6 Ma) is one of the earliest putative hominins. Its proximal femur, BAR 1002'00, was originally described as being very human-like, although later multivariate analyses showed an australopith pattern. However, some of its traits (for example, laterally protruding greater trochanter, medially oriented lesser trochanter and presence of third trochanter) are also present in earlier Miocene apes. Here, we use geometric morphometrics to reassess the morphological affinities of BAR 1002'00 within a large sample of anthropoids (including fossil apes and hominins) and reconstruct hominoid proximal femur evolution using squared-change parsimony. Our results indicate that both hominin and modern great ape femora evolved in different directions from a primitive morphology represented by some fossil apes. Orrorin appears intermediate between Miocene apes and australopiths in shape space. This evidence is consistent with femoral shape similarities in extant great apes being derived and homoplastic and has profound implications for understanding the origins of human bipedalism.

  7. Preserving the Impossible: Conservation of Soft-Sediment Hominin Footprint Sites and Strategies for Three-Dimensional Digital Data Capture

    PubMed Central

    Bennett, Matthew R.; Falkingham, Peter; Morse, Sarita A.; Bates, Karl; Crompton, Robin H.

    2013-01-01

    Human footprints provide some of the most publically emotive and tangible evidence of our ancestors. To the scientific community they provide evidence of stature, presence, behaviour and in the case of early hominins potential evidence with respect to the evolution of gait. While rare in the geological record the number of footprint sites has increased in recent years along with the analytical tools available for their study. Many of these sites are at risk from rapid erosion, including the Ileret footprints in northern Kenya which are second only in age to those at Laetoli (Tanzania). Unlithified, soft-sediment footprint sites such these pose a significant geoconservation challenge. In the first part of this paper conservation and preservation options are explored leading to the conclusion that to ‘record and digitally rescue’ provides the only viable approach. Key to such strategies is the increasing availability of three-dimensional data capture either via optical laser scanning and/or digital photogrammetry. Within the discipline there is a developing schism between those that favour one approach over the other and a requirement from geoconservationists and the scientific community for some form of objective appraisal of these alternatives is necessary. Consequently in the second part of this paper we evaluate these alternative approaches and the role they can play in a ‘record and digitally rescue’ conservation strategy. Using modern footprint data, digital models created via optical laser scanning are compared to those generated by state-of-the-art photogrammetry. Both methods give comparable although subtly different results. This data is evaluated alongside a review of field deployment issues to provide guidance to the community with respect to the factors which need to be considered in digital conservation of human/hominin footprints. PMID:23613743

  8. Size variation in Middle Pleistocene humans.

    PubMed

    Arsuaga, J L; Carretero, J M; Lorenzo, C; Gracia, A; Martínez, I; Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Carbonell, E

    1997-08-22

    It has been suggested that European Middle Pleistocene humans, Neandertals, and prehistoric modern humans had a greater sexual dimorphism than modern humans. Analysis of body size variation and cranial capacity variation in the large sample from the Sima de los Huesos site in Spain showed instead that the sexual dimorphism is comparable in Middle Pleistocene and modern populations.

  9. Spatial and temporal variation of body size among early Homo.

    PubMed

    Will, Manuel; Stock, Jay T

    2015-05-01

    The estimation of body size among the earliest members of the genus Homo (2.4-1.5Myr [millions of years ago]) is central to interpretations of their biology. It is widely accepted that Homo ergaster possessed increased body size compared with Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, and that this may have been a factor involved with the dispersal of Homo out of Africa. The study of taxonomic differences in body size, however, is problematic. Postcranial remains are rarely associated with craniodental fossils, and taxonomic attributions frequently rest upon the size of skeletal elements. Previous body size estimates have been based upon well-preserved specimens with a more reliable species assessment. Since these samples are small (n < 5) and disparate in space and time, little is known about geographical and chronological variation in body size within early Homo. We investigate temporal and spatial variation in body size among fossils of early Homo using a 'taxon-free' approach, considering evidence for size variation from isolated and fragmentary postcranial remains (n = 39). To render the size of disparate fossil elements comparable, we derived new regression equations for common parameters of body size from a globally representative sample of hunter-gatherers and applied them to available postcranial measurements from the fossils. The results demonstrate chronological and spatial variation but no simple temporal or geographical trends for the evolution of body size among early Homo. Pronounced body size increases within Africa take place only after hominin populations were established at Dmanisi, suggesting that migrations into Eurasia were not contingent on larger body sizes. The primary evidence for these marked changes among early Homo is based upon material from Koobi Fora after 1.7Myr, indicating regional size variation. The significant body size differences between specimens from Koobi Fora and Olduvai support the cranial evidence for at least two co

  10. Pleistocene and Holocene geomorphological development in the Algarve, southern Portugal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chester, David K.

    2012-06-01

    A detailed chronological framework for Pleistocene and Holocene geomorphology and landscape evolution in the Algarve is proposed. With regards to the Pleistocene, attention has focused on the origin, dating and stratigraphy of the Ludo Formation. Subsuming the classifications of earlier writers, it is now proposed that during the Pliocene a marine transgression occurred across a tectonically controlled basin that was constrained by the mountains of the Algarve interior to the north. Fluvial sands were then deposited in a regressive phase during the late Pliocene/early Pleistocene, while braided streams operating under semi-arid conditions subsequently laid down sands and gravels in the middle and upper Pleistocene. Lying unconformably over the Ludo Formation is an alluvial deposit (Odiáxere gravels and Loulé sands) of late Pleistocene/early Holocene date that is found within the river valleys of the Algarve. In the early-Holocene (ca.10, 000-ca.7000 BP) and early late-Holocene (ca.5000-ca.3000 BP), the situation in the Algarve was one of climatic amelioration (i.e., warmer and wetter conditions), rising sea levels, vegetation colonization, soil development and towards the end of this period trenching of the Odiáxere gravels and Loulé sands. From ca.3000 BP evidence is abundant that humans became important geomorphological agents either acting on their own or in combination with climatic factors. From around 5000 BP, conditions became dryer and, between ca.3000 BP and ca.700 BP, clearance of land by pre-Roman, Roman, and especially Islamic agricultural settlers caused widespread erosion and the deposition of extensive spreads of topsoil dominated sediment within river valleys (i.e., the Holocene terrace) and in coastal estuaries. A period followed up to 1900 CE when agricultural practices were less damaging to the soil, erosion was reduced and the Holocene terrace - together with coastal and estuarine deposits - was incised. In the past century and under

  11. Divergent Ah Receptor Ligand Selectivity during Hominin Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hubbard, Troy D.; Murray, Iain A.; Bisson, William H.; Sullivan, Alexis P.; Sebastian, Aswathy; Perry, George H.; Jablonski, Nina G.; Perdew, Gary H.

    2016-01-01

    We have identified a fixed nonsynonymous sequence difference between humans (Val381; derived variant) and Neandertals (Ala381; ancestral variant) in the ligand-binding domain of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) gene. In an exome sequence analysis of four Neandertal and Denisovan individuals compared with nine modern humans, there are only 90 total nucleotide sites genome-wide for which archaic hominins are fixed for the ancestral nonsynonymous variant and the modern humans are fixed for the derived variant. Of those sites, only 27, including Val381 in the AHR, also have no reported variability in the human dbSNP database, further suggesting that this highly conserved functional variant is a rare event. Functional analysis of the amino acid variant Ala381 within the AHR carried by Neandertals and nonhuman primates indicate enhanced polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) binding, DNA binding capacity, and AHR mediated transcriptional activity compared with the human AHR. Also relative to human AHR, the Neandertal AHR exhibited 150–1000 times greater sensitivity to induction of Cyp1a1 and Cyp1b1 expression by PAHs (e.g., benzo(a)pyrene). The resulting CYP1A1/CYP1B1 enzymes are responsible for PAH first pass metabolism, which can result in the generation of toxic intermediates and perhaps AHR-associated toxicities. In contrast, the human AHR retains the ancestral sensitivity observed in primates to nontoxic endogenous AHR ligands (e.g., indole, indoxyl sulfate). Our findings reveal that a functionally significant change in the AHR occurred uniquely in humans, relative to other primates, that would attenuate the response to many environmental pollutants, including chemicals present in smoke from fire use during cooking. PMID:27486223

  12. Brief communication: Plio-Pleistocene eagle predation on fossil cercopithecids from the Humpata Plateau, southern Angola.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; McGraw, W Scott; Delson, Eric

    2009-07-01

    Recent studies suggest a large raptor such as the crowned eagle (Stephanaoetus coronatus) was responsible for collecting at least a portion of the primate fauna from the South African fossil site of Taung, including its lone hominin specimen. This taphonomic signature at Taung is currently regarded as a unique and, most likely, isolated case in primate and human evolution. However, the activities of large, carnivorous birds should also be detectable at other primate fossil localities in Africa if raptors have been a strong selective force throughout primate evolution. Over the last 60 years, a collection of extinct cercopithecids has been assembled from several cave breccias on the Humpata Plateau in southern Angola. The material, dated near the Plio-Pleistocene boundary, includes an assortment of craniodental and postcranial remains variably assigned to Papio (Dinopithecus) cf. quadratirostris, Parapapio, Cercopithecoides, and Theropithecus. We compare the Angolan and Taung material to remains of extant primates killed by crowned eagles in the Ivory Coast's Tai National Park. Our analysis indicates that the size distribution and composition of fauna from the localities is quite similar and that there are striking consistencies in damage to the crania from each site. The absence of large bodied (>20 kg) primates and other mammalian taxa at the Taung hominin locality and Tai, and their rarity in Angola, combined with the strong likelihood that raptor nests were positioned near fissure openings at both fossil localities, provides additional support for eagle involvement. On the basis of this evidence, we conclude that at least some of the Angolan cercopithecids were most likely raptor prey and hypothesize that raptor predation has been a strong and perhaps underappreciated selective force during the course of primate evolution.

  13. Fluvial deposits as an archive of early human activity: Progress during the 20 years of the Fluvial Archives Group

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chauhan, Parth R.; Bridgland, David R.; Moncel, Marie-Hélène; Antoine, Pierre; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Briant, Rebecca; Cunha, Pedro P.; Despriée, Jackie; Limondin-Lozouet, Nicole; Locht, Jean-Luc; Martins, Antonio A.; Schreve, Danielle C.; Shaw, Andrew D.; Voinchet, Pierre; Westaway, Rob; White, Mark J.; White, Tom S.

    2017-06-01

    Fluvial sedimentary archives are important repositories for Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts throughout the 'Old World', especially in Europe, where the beginning of their study coincided with the realisation that early humans were of great antiquity. Now that many river terrace sequences can be reliably dated and correlated with the globally valid marine isotope record, potentially useful patterns can be recognized in the distribution of the find-spots of the artefacts that constitute the large collections that were assembled during the years of manual gravel extraction. This paper reviews the advances during the past two decades in knowledge of hominin occupation based on artefact occurrences in fluvial contexts, in Europe, Asia and Africa. As such it is an update of a comparable review in 2007, at the end of IGCP Project no. 449, which had instigated the compilation of fluvial records from around the world during 2000-2004, under the auspices of the Fluvial Archives Group. An overarching finding is the confirmation of the well-established view that in Europe there is a demarcation between handaxe making in the west and flake-core industries in the east, although on a wider scale that pattern is undermined by the increased numbers of Lower Palaeolithic bifaces now recognized in East Asia. It is also apparent that, although it seems to have appeared at different places and at different times in the later Lower Palaeolithic, the arrival of Levallois technology as a global phenomenon was similarly timed across the area occupied by Middle Pleistocene hominins, at around 0.3 Ma.

  14. The Mystery of the Skulls: What Can Old Bones Tell Us about Hominin Evolution?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yerky, Mike Darwin; Wilczynski, Carolyn J.

    2014-01-01

    In this activity, students examine nine hominin skulls for specialized features and take measurements that will enable them to determine the relatedness of these species. They will ultimately place each specimen on a basic phylogenetic tree that also reveals the geological time frame in which each species lived. On the basis of their data, and…

  15. Pleistocene cave art from Sulawesi, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Aubert, M; Brumm, A; Ramli, M; Sutikna, T; Saptomo, E W; Hakim, B; Morwood, M J; van den Bergh, G D; Kinsley, L; Dosseto, A

    2014-10-09

    Archaeologists have long been puzzled by the appearance in Europe ∼40-35 thousand years (kyr) ago of a rich corpus of sophisticated artworks, including parietal art (that is, paintings, drawings and engravings on immobile rock surfaces) and portable art (for example, carved figurines), and the absence or scarcity of equivalent, well-dated evidence elsewhere, especially along early human migration routes in South Asia and the Far East, including Wallacea and Australia, where modern humans (Homo sapiens) were established by 50 kyr ago. Here, using uranium-series dating of coralloid speleothems directly associated with 12 human hand stencils and two figurative animal depictions from seven cave sites in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, we show that rock art traditions on this Indonesian island are at least compatible in age with the oldest European art. The earliest dated image from Maros, with a minimum age of 39.9 kyr, is now the oldest known hand stencil in the world. In addition, a painting of a babirusa ('pig-deer') made at least 35.4 kyr ago is among the earliest dated figurative depictions worldwide, if not the earliest one. Among the implications, it can now be demonstrated that humans were producing rock art by ∼40 kyr ago at opposite ends of the Pleistocene Eurasian world.

  16. Pleistocene and Holocene Iberian flora: a complete picture and review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González Sampériz, Penélope

    2010-05-01

    A detailed analysis of the location and composition of Iberian vegetation types during the whole Pleistocene and Holocene periods shows a complex patched landscape with persistence of different types of ecosystems, even during glacial times. In addition, recent, high-resolution palaeoecological records are changing the traditional picture of post-glacial vegetation succession in the Iberian Peninsula. The main available charcoal and pollen sequences include, coniferous and deciduous forest, steppes, shrublands, savannahs and glacial refugia during the Pleistocene for Meso-thermophytes (phytodiversity reservoirs), in different proportions. This panorama suggests an environmental complexity that relates biotic responses to climate changes forced by Milankovitch cycles, suborbital forcings and by the latitudinal and physiographic particularities of the Iberian Peninsula. Thus, many factors are critical in the course of vegetational developments and strong regional differences are observed since the Early Pleistocene. Currently, the flora of Iberia is located in two biogeographical/climatic regions: the Eurosiberian and the Mediterranean. The first one includes northern and northwestern areas of the peninsula, where post-glacial responses of vegetation are very similar to Central Europe, although with some particularities due to its proximity to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean region. The second one comprises the main territory of Iberia and shows more complex patterns and singularities, now and in the past. Steppe landscapes dominated extensive areas over all the territory during the cold spells of the Quaternary, especially during the Late Pleistocene up to the Last Glacial Maximum, but differences in composition of the dominant taxa (Compositae versus Artemisia) are observed since the Early Pleistocene, probably related to moisture regional gradients. Coastal shelves and intramountainous valleys, even in continental areas, are spots of floristic

  17. Human calcanei from the Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).

    PubMed

    Pablos, Adrián; Martínez, Ignacio; Lorenzo, Carlos; Sala, Nohemi; Gracia-Téllez, Ana; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2014-11-01

    The existence of calcanei in the fossil record prior to modern humans and Neandertals is very scarce. This skeletal element is fundamental to understanding the evolution of the morphology of the foot in human evolution. Here we present and metrically and comparatively describe 29 calcaneus remains from the Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos (SH) (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain). These calcanei belong to 15 individuals (nine adults, two adolescents and four immature individuals). The metric and morphological differences in the calcanei among Middle and Late Pleistocene hominins tend to be subtle. However, the calcanei from SH are broad and robust with large articular surfaces and most significantly, exhibit a very projected sustentaculum tali. A biomechanical and phylogenetic interpretation is proffered to explain the observed morphology of these calcanei. It has been possible to propose tentative sex assignments for the SH calcanei based on size, using methods similar to those used to establish sex from the talus bones from SH. The estimation of stature based on the calcaneus provides a mean of 175.3 cm for males and 160.6 for females, which is similar to that obtained using other skeletal parts from the site. In sum, the SH calcanei are robust with a proportionally long tubercle and a projected sustentaculum tali, which are traits shared by Neandertals. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Upper third molar internal structural organization and semicircular canal morphology in Plio-Pleistocene South African cercopithecoids.

    PubMed

    Beaudet, Amélie; Dumoncel, Jean; Thackeray, John Francis; Bruxelles, Laurent; Duployer, Benjamin; Tenailleau, Christophe; Bam, Lunga; Hoffman, Jakobus; de Beer, Frikkie; Braga, José

    2016-06-01

    Despite the abundance of cercopithecoids in the fossil record, especially in South Africa, and the recent development of morphometric approaches, uncertainties regarding the taxonomic identification of isolated cranio-dental specimens remain. Because cercopithecoids, nearly always found in stratigraphic association with hominin remains in Plio-Pleistocene deposits, are considered as sensitive ecological and chronological biomarkers, a significant effort should be made to clarify their palaeobiodiversity by assessing additional reliable morphological diagnostic criteria. Here we test the relevance of both molar crown internal structure and bony labyrinth morphology for discrimination of fossil cercopithecoid species. We use microtomographic-based 3D virtual imaging and quantitative analyses to investigate tooth endostructural organization and inner ear shape in 29 craniodental specimens from the South African sites of Kromdraai, Makapansgat, Sterkfontein and Swartkrans and provide the first detailed description of the internal structural condition characterizing this Plio-Pleistocene primate assemblage. Our preliminary results show that enamel-dentine junction morphology could be informative for discriminating highly autapomorphic taxa such as Theropithecus, while semicircular canal shape is tentatively proposed as an efficient criterion for diagnosing Dinopithecus ingens. Further research in virtual paleoprimatology may contribute to the identification of unassigned isolated fossil remains and shed new light on the internal craniodental morphology of extinct primate taxa. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. The southernmost record of a large erethizontid rodent (Hystricomorpha: Erethizontoidea) in the Pleistocene of South America: Biogeographic and paleoenvironmental implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vezzosi, Raúl I.; Kerber, Leonardo

    2018-03-01

    The South American porcupines (Erethizontidae) are included in two genera: Chaetomys and Coendou. The latter is a very speciose taxon, with about 13 living species. During at least the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, erethizontids immigrated to Central and North America during the Great American Biotic Interchange. Although some Pleistocene fossils have been reported, the Quaternary history of this clade is still understudied. The only known extinct species is Coendou magnus. In this work, a fossil of a porcupine is reported from an Upper Pleistocene fluvial sedimentary sequence cropping out in the Northern Pampa geomorphological region, Santa Fe Province, Argentina. Despite this group having different living forms widely distributed in South American Neotropical woodland habitats, the Pleistocene occurrences of Erethizontidae are scarce and limited to Upper Pleistocene deposits from Bolivia, Brazil, and Uruguay. Currently, the specimen here reported represents the only Pleistocene porcupine from Argentina with a stratigraphical context. The morphological characters as well as the dimensions indicate that it is close to the Pleistocene erethizontid Coendou magnus. In this context, the presence of this erethizontid in such a southern locality, together with other taxa recorded from this site and the associated geological and paleoenvironmental evidence, indicates subtropical conditions, compared with the current conditions, which may have allowed a southern displacement of taxa more related to woodlands and xeric subtropical environments.

  20. The Pleistocene rivers of the English Channel region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antoine, Pierre; Coutard, Jean-Pierre; Gibbard, Philip; Hallegouet, Bernard; Lautridou, Jean-Pierre; Ozouf, Jean-Claude

    2003-02-01

    The Pleistocene history of river systems that enter the English Channel from northern France and southern England is reviewed. During periods of low sea-level (cold stages) these streams were tributaries of the Channel River. In southern England the largest, the River Solent, is an axial stream that has drained the Hampshire Basin from the Early Pleistocene or late Pliocene. Other streams of southern England may be of similar antiquity but their records are generally short and their sedimentary history have been destroyed, as in northern Brittany, by coastal erosion and valley deepening as a consequence of tectonic uplift. In northern France, the Seine and Somme rivers have very well developed terrace systems recording incision that began at around 1 Ma. The uplift rate, deduced from the study of these terrace systems, is of 55 to 60 m myr-1 since the end of the Early Pleistocene. Generally the facies and sedimentary structures indicate that the bulk of the deposits in these rivers accumulated in braided river environments under periglacial climates in all the area around the Channel. Evolution of the rivers reflects their responses to climatic change, local geological structure and long-term tectonic activity. In this context the Middle Somme valley is characterised by a regular pattern in which incision occurs at the beginning of each glacial period within a general background of uplift. Nevertheless the response of the different rivers to climatic variations, uplift and sea-level changes is complex and variable according to the different parts of the river courses.

  1. Late Miocene to Pleistocene Mineralogy of ODP Site 1146

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arnold, E. M.

    2001-12-01

    ODP Site 1146 (19° 27.40'N, 116° 16.37'E, 2092 m depth) was drilled on the continental slope of the South China Sea. A composite section, comprised of three stratigraphic units, extends down to 640 mcd. Unit 1 is late Pliocene to Pleistocene nannofossil clay (0 - 243 mcd); Unit 2, middle Miocene to Late Pliocene foraminifera - nannofossil - clay mixed sediment (243 - 553 mcd); Unit 3, early to middle Miocene nannofossil clay (553 - 642 mcd). This study reports the < 2 μ m mineralogy from the late Miocene through early Pleistocene. Samples were analyzed at approximately 1.5 m intervals from 150 to 225 mcd, and 1 m intervals from 225 to 440 mcd, with an age resolution of ~25 ka and ~35 ka, respectively. Illite, chlorite, quartz and plagioclase concentrations decrease with increasing depth through Unit 1. Kaolinite and calcite concentrations increase with depth, while smectite values are constant in this unit. Illite, quartz and plagioclase show high variability in Unit 1 compared with the underlying Unit 2. Unit 2 has more uniform sediment composition, with constant illite, chlorite, and quartz concentrations. Kaolinite concentration increases with depth, following a drop in concentration across the Unit 1/2 boundary. Plagioclase concentration shows a small, steady decrease throughout this unit. Smectite concentration does not change across the Unit 1/2 boundary, decreases to a steady low value from 310 - 400 mcd, and increases again towards the bottom. The mineralogy of sediments recovered at Site 1146 suggest a classic pattern of source region aridification from the middle Pliocene through the Pleistocene, indicated in Unit 1 mineralogy as a decrease in kaolinite with decreasing depth, concomitant with an increase in quartz, plagioclase, illite and chlorite. The mineral variability in this interval suggests glacial - interglacial control of the terrigenous sedimentation. The sediment sources and source area weathering regimes were relatively constant throughout

  2. Comparative morphology of the hominin and African ape hyoid bone, a possible marker of the evolution of speech.

    PubMed

    Steele, James; Clegg, Margaret; Martelli, Sandra

    2013-10-01

    This study examines the morphology of the hyoid in three closely related species, Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, and Gorilla gorilla. Differences and similarities between the hyoids of these species are characterized and used to interpret the morphology and affi nities of the Dikika A. afarensis, Kebara 2 Neanderthal, and other fossil hominin hyoid bones. Humans and African apes are found to have distinct hyoid morphologies. In humans the maximum width across the distal tips of the articulated greater horns is usually slightly greater than the maximum length (distal greater horn tip to most anterior point of the hyoid body in the midline). A different pattern is usually found in the African ape hyoids, which have much greater maximum lengths. In humans, the hyoid body is also much more anteroposteriorly shallow in proportion to its height and width, and this is true for all age classes. The Dikika australopithecine hyoid body proportions are chimpanzeelike. A discriminant function analysis, using a larger subadult sample from the three extant species than that reported by Alemseged et al. (2006), confirms this finding. The Kebara hyoid dimensions (body alone, and articulated body and greater horns) are almost all within the observed range for human hyoids. Discriminant functions clearly distinguish human from African ape hyoids and classify the Kebara 2 hyoid as human (confirming the finding of Arensburg et al. 1989). Our virtual dissection of a chimpanzee air sac system shows its subhyoid extension into the dorsal hyoid body. Following Alemseged et al. (2006), the expanded bulla characteristic of the African ape and australopithecine hyoid body is therefore interpreted as refl ecting the presence of such a laryngeal air sac extension. Its absence in the human, Neanderthal, and H. heidelbergensis (Atapuerca SH) hyoids implicates the loss of the laryngeal air sacs as a derived Neanderthal and modern human trait, which evolved no later than the middle Pleistocene. If

  3. Dating Trinil: towards establishing an age framework for the hominin-bearing deposits at the Homo erectus site Trinil (Indonesia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joordens, Josephine; Adhityatama, Shinatria; Yurnaldi, Dida; Reimann, Tony; Rahayu Ekowati, Dian; Huffman, Frank; Barianto, Didit; Sutisna, Indra; Pop, Eduard; Alink, Gerrit; Kuiper, Klaudia; Priyatno, Hadi; Simanjuntak, Truman; Verpoorte, Alexander

    2017-04-01

    In the 1890s, the anatomist Eugène Dubois found the first fossils of our extinct relative Homo erectus at Trinil on Java (Indonesia). Since then, one of the major questions of humankind has been to find out "what made us human". H. erectus was morphologically in many ways like us, and the first hominin species to spread, from about 1.8 Ma onwards, over Africa, Eurasia and Southeast Asia. However, it is still unknown what behavioural and lifestyle characteristics allowed H. erectus to achieve this cosmopolitan distribution, and reach the island of Java at 1.5 Ma. Dating of Javanese hominin sites is notoriously difficult, yet crucial to resolve the climatic-environmental backdrop and biogeography of hominin species in the region. At present, there is still a lack of well-constrained ages for the important hominin-bearing Hauptknochenschicht (HK) at Trinil. Moreover, the fossiliferous layers above the HK have not been dated at all. Also, there is a paucity of climatic-environmental data on the HK and overlying layers. This hampers the reconstruction of a climatic-environmental framework with temporal correlations to hominin fossils from Trinil, and placement Trinil layers in the context of Asian hominin biogeography. Here, we report on our pilot fieldwork at Trinil in August 2016, as part of an ongoing collaborative project of the ARKENAS Jakarta (Indonesia) and the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University (The Netherlands). We have collected geochronological sediment samples from a number of carefully measured and described stratigraphic sections covering the HK and overlying layers, for the application of three dating methods (OSL, Ar/Ar, paleomagnetism). The aim is to provide a first reliable age model for the hominin-bearing and other fossiliferous layers at Trinil. We will present preliminary fieldwork results and discuss the implications for dispersal of fauna (including hominins).

  4. Evidence against a Pleistocene desert refugium in the Lower Colorado River Basin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holmgren, Camille A.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Peñalba, M. Cristina; Delgadillo, José; Zuravnsky, Kristin; Hunter, Kimberly L.; Rylander, Kate A.; Weiss, Jeremy L.

    2014-01-01

    Main conclusions The assemblage of chaparral, woodland and select desert elements refutes the hypothesis that the Lower Colorado River Basin served as a late Pleistocene refugium for Sonoran Desert flora. The rapid arrival of most missing desert species by the early Holocene suggests they did not have far to migrate. They probably survived the last glacial period as smaller, disparate populations in dry microsites within chaparral and pinyon–juniper–oak woodlands. Diploid and tetraploid races of Larrea tridentata were present during the Pleistocene, but hexaploids did not appear until the mid-Holocene. This demonstrates that individualistic responses to climate involved genetic variants, in this case cytotypes, and not just species.

  5. Pleistocene Indian Monsoon Rainfall Variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yirgaw, D. G.; Hathorne, E. C.; Giosan, L.; Collett, T. S.; Sijingeo, A. V.; Nath, B. N.; Frank, M.

    2014-12-01

    The past variability of the Indian Monsoon is mostly known from records of wind strength over the Arabian Sea. Here we investigate proxies for fresh water input and runoff in a region of strong monsoon precipitation that is a major moisture source for the east Asian Monsoon. A sediment core obtained by the IODP vessel JOIDES Resolution and a gravity core from the Alcock Seamount complex in the Andaman Sea are used to examine the past monsoon variability on the Indian sub-continent and directly over the ocean. The current dataset covers the last glacial and deglacial but will eventually provide a Pleistocene record. We utilise the ecological habitats of G. sacculifer and N. dutertrei to investigate the freshwater-induced stratification with paired Mg/Ca and δ18O analyses to estimate seawater δ18O (δ18Osw). During the last 60 kyrs, Ba/Ca ratios and δ18Osw values generally agree well between the two cores and suggest the weakest surface runoff and monsoon during the LGM and strongest monsoon during the Holocene. The difference in δ18O between the species, interpreted as a proxy for upper ocean stratification, implies stratification developed around 37 ka and remained relatively constant during the LGM, deglacial and Holocene. To investigate monsoon variability for intervals in the past, single shell Mg/Ca and δ18O analyses have been conducted. Mg/Ca ratios from individual shells of N. dutertrei suggest relatively small changes in temperature. However, individual N. dutertrei δ18O differ greatly between the mid-Holocene and samples from the LGM and a nearby core top. The mid-Holocene individuals have a greater range and large skew towards negative values indicating greater fresh water influence.

  6. Transient nature of late Pleistocene climate variability.

    PubMed

    Crowley, Thomas J; Hyde, William T

    2008-11-13

    Climate in the early Pleistocene varied with a period of 41 kyr and was related to variations in Earth's obliquity. About 900 kyr ago, variability increased and oscillated primarily at a period of approximately 100 kyr, suggesting that the link was then with the eccentricity of Earth's orbit. This transition has often been attributed to a nonlinear response to small changes in external boundary conditions. Here we propose that increasing variablility within the past million years may indicate that the climate system was approaching a second climate bifurcation point, after which it would transition again to a new stable state characterized by permanent mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere glaciation. From this perspective the past million years can be viewed as a transient interval in the evolution of Earth's climate. We support our hypothesis using a coupled energy-balance/ice-sheet model, which furthermore predicts that the future transition would involve a large expansion of the Eurasian ice sheet. The process responsible for the abrupt change seems to be the albedo discontinuity at the snow-ice edge. The best-fit model run, which explains almost 60% of the variance in global ice volume during the past 400 kyr, predicts a rapid transition in the geologically near future to the proposed glacial state. Should it be attained, this state would be more 'symmetric' than the present climate, with comparable areas of ice/sea-ice cover in each hemisphere, and would represent the culmination of 50 million years of evolution from bipolar nonglacial climates to bipolar glacial climates.

  7. Comparative morphological and morphometric description of the hominin calvaria from Bukuran (Sangiran, Central Java, Indonesia).

    PubMed

    Grimaud-Hervé, Dominique; Widianto, Harry; Détroit, Florent; Sémah, François

    2012-11-01

    We describe the hominin skull (called here "Bukuran") discovered in the lower Kabuh (or "Bapang") series near Sendangbusik, from the Bukuran area in the Sangiran dome. The fossil, heavily mineralized, consists of the parieto-occipital and the left temporal, and the frontal bones. When combined, those two cranial parts represent a rather complete and well-preserved calvaria. Its stratigraphic position was established after the discovery. A detailed description is presented of the morphological and metric features of the Bukuran calvaria, and comparisons are made with Asian Homo erectus from Indonesia and China. The estimated cranial capacity of Bukuran, the general shape of its cranial vault, its ectocranial structures, and its morphological and metrical characters are in the range of Asian Homo erectus, and show clear affinities with other Indonesian members of the species. We discuss the evolutionary status of the Bukuran calvaria and its implication for hominin history on Java. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Early Homo and the role of the genus in paleoanthropology.

    PubMed

    Villmoare, Brian

    2018-01-01

    The history of the discovery of early fossils attributed to the genus Homo has been contentious, with scholars disagreeing over the generic assignment of fossils proposed as members of our genus. In this manuscript I review the history of discovery and debate over early Homo and evaluate the various taxonomic hypotheses for the genus. To get a sense of how hominin taxonomy compares to taxonomic practice outside paleoanthropology, I compare the diversity of Homo to genera in other vertebrate clades. Finally, I propose a taxonomic model that hews closely to current models for hominin phylogeny and is consistent with taxonomic practice across evolutionary biology. © 2018 American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

  9. Current research on the late Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits north of Homa Mountain, southwestern Kenya.

    PubMed

    Ditchfield, P; Hicks, J; Plummer, T; Bishop, L C; Potts, R

    1999-02-01

    The late Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments of the Homa Peninsula in southwestern Kenya are richly fossiliferous, preserve Early Stone Age archaeological traces and provide one of the few paleoanthropological data sets for the region between the branches of the East African Rift Valley. This paper presents preliminary results of our ongoing investigation of late Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits at the localities of Rawi, Kanam East, Kanam Central and Kanjera. While fossils have been collected from the peninsula since 1911, little systematic effort has been made to place them into a broader litho-and chronostratigraphic framework. This project has conclusively demonstrated that fossils occur in good stratigraphic context at all of the study localities and that claims of sediment slumping (Boswell, 1935) have been greatly overstated (Behrensmeyer et al., 1995; Plummer & Potts, 1989). A provisional chronostratigraphic framework based on magneto- and biostratigraphy is presented here. We have revised the Plio-Pleistocene stratigraphy of the Rawi and Kanam gullies to include three formations: the Rawi, Abundu and Kasibos Formations. Based on magneto- and biostratigraphy, these formations are dated between approximately three and one m.y.a. (Gauss Chron-Jaramillo Subchron) (Cande & Kent, 1995). The Apoko Formation unconformably overlies the others and may be middle to late Pleistocene in age. All formations contain rich patches of fossils, and Acheulean artifacts have been surface collected from the Abundu and Kasibos Formations. Deposition of the fossil- and artefact-bearing sediments at Kanjera North began in the early Pleistocene and continued into the middle Pleistocene. Deposition at Kanjera South began over one million years earlier than previously thought, at approximately 2.2 m.y.a., and continued into the Olduvai Subchron (1.770-1.950 m.y.a.; Cande & Kent, 1995). Excavations have recovered Oldowan artefacts in association with well-preserved fossil fauna near

  10. Could plant extracts have enabled hominins to acquire honey before the control of fire?

    PubMed

    Kraft, Thomas S; Venkataraman, Vivek V

    2015-08-01

    Honey is increasingly recognized as an important food item in human evolution, but it remains unclear whether extinct hominins could have overcome the formidable collective stinging defenses of honey bees during honey acquisition. The utility of smoke for this purpose is widely recognized, but little research has explored alternative methods of sting deterrence such as the use of plant secondary compounds. To consider whether hominins could have used plant extracts as a precursor or alternative to smoke, we review the ethnographic, ethnobotanical, and plant chemical ecology literature to examine how humans use plants in combination with, and independently of, smoke during honey collection. Plant secondary compounds are diverse in their physiological and behavioral effects on bees and differ fundamentally from those of smoke. Plants containing these chemicals are widespread and prove to be remarkably effective in facilitating honey collection by honey hunters and beekeepers worldwide. While smoke may be superior as a deterrent to bees, plant extracts represent a plausible precursor or alternative to the use of smoke during honey collection by hominins. Smoke is a sufficient but not necessary condition for acquiring honey in amounts exceeding those typically obtained by chimpanzees, suggesting that significant honey consumption could have predated the control of fire. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Re-appraisal of the stratigraphy and determination of new U-Pb dates for the Sterkfontein hominin site, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Robyn; Kramers, Jan D

    2010-07-01

    Sterkfontein Caves is the single richest early hominin site in the world with deposits yielding one or more species of Australopithecus and possible early Homo, as well as an extensive faunal collection. The inability to date the southern African cave sites accurately or precisely has hindered attempts to integrate the hominin fossil evidence into pan-African scenarios about human evolutionary history, and especially hominin biogeography. We have used U-Pb and U-Th techniques to date sheets of calcium carbonate flowstone inter-bedded between the fossiliferous sediments. For the first time, absolute age ranges can be assigned to the fossil-bearing deposits: Member 2 is between 2.8 +/- 0.28 and 2.6 +/- 0.30 Ma and Member 4 between 2.65 +/- 0.30 and 2.01 +/- 0.05 Ma. The age of 2.01 +/- 0.05 Ma for the top of Member 4 constrains the last appearance of Australopithecus africanus to 2 Ma. In the Silberberg Grotto we have reproduced the U-Pb age of approximately 2.2 Ma of for the flowstones associated with StW573. We believe that these deposits, including the fossil and the flowstones, accumulated rapidly around 2.2 Ma. The stratigraphy of the site is complex as sediments are exposed both in the underground chambers and at surface. We present a new interpretation of the stratigraphy based on surface mapping, boreholes logs and U-Pb ages. Every effort was made to retain the Member system, however, only Members 2 and 4 are recognized in the boreholes. We propose that the deposits formally known as Member 3 are in fact the distal equivalents of Member 4. The sediments of Members 2 and 4 consisted of cone-like deposits and probably never filled up the cave. The U-Th ages show that there are substantial deposits younger than 400 ka in the underground cave, underlying the older deposits, highlighting again that these cave fills are not simple layer-cakes.

  12. A pulse of mid-Pleistocene rift volcanism in Ethiopia at the dawn of modern humans.

    PubMed

    Hutchison, William; Fusillo, Raffaella; Pyle, David M; Mather, Tamsin A; Blundy, Jon D; Biggs, Juliet; Yirgu, Gezahegn; Cohen, Benjamin E; Brooker, Richard A; Barfod, Dan N; Calvert, Andrew T

    2016-10-18

    The Ethiopian Rift Valley hosts the longest record of human co-existence with volcanoes on Earth, however, current understanding of the magnitude and timing of large explosive eruptions in this region is poor. Detailed records of volcanism are essential for interpreting the palaeoenvironments occupied by our hominin ancestors; and also for evaluating the volcanic hazards posed to the 10 million people currently living within this active rift zone. Here we use new geochronological evidence to suggest that a 200 km-long segment of rift experienced a major pulse of explosive volcanic activity between 320 and 170 ka. During this period, at least four distinct volcanic centres underwent large-volume (>10 km 3 ) caldera-forming eruptions, and eruptive fluxes were elevated five times above the average eruption rate for the past 700 ka. We propose that such pulses of episodic silicic volcanism would have drastically remodelled landscapes and ecosystems occupied by early hominin populations.

  13. A pulse of mid-Pleistocene rift volcanism in Ethiopia at the dawn of modern humans

    PubMed Central

    Hutchison, William; Fusillo, Raffaella; Pyle, David M.; Mather, Tamsin A.; Blundy, Jon D.; Biggs, Juliet; Yirgu, Gezahegn; Cohen, Benjamin E.; Brooker, Richard A.; Barfod, Dan N.; Calvert, Andrew T.

    2016-01-01

    The Ethiopian Rift Valley hosts the longest record of human co-existence with volcanoes on Earth, however, current understanding of the magnitude and timing of large explosive eruptions in this region is poor. Detailed records of volcanism are essential for interpreting the palaeoenvironments occupied by our hominin ancestors; and also for evaluating the volcanic hazards posed to the 10 million people currently living within this active rift zone. Here we use new geochronological evidence to suggest that a 200 km-long segment of rift experienced a major pulse of explosive volcanic activity between 320 and 170 ka. During this period, at least four distinct volcanic centres underwent large-volume (>10 km3) caldera-forming eruptions, and eruptive fluxes were elevated five times above the average eruption rate for the past 700 ka. We propose that such pulses of episodic silicic volcanism would have drastically remodelled landscapes and ecosystems occupied by early hominin populations. PMID:27754479

  14. An investigation of palaeodietary variability in European Pleistocene canids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flower, Lucy O. H.; Schreve, Danielle C.

    2014-07-01

    Temporal and interspecific dietary variability were investigated in three canid taxa, Canis lupus, Canis mosbachensis and Canis etruscus, across a range of British and mainland European wolf assemblages from the Early Pleistocene to Recent periods. Using established cranio-dental indicators to reveal dietary specialisations towards bone eating, flesh slicing, and non-flesh food crushing, inferences were made concerning the proportions of flesh to non-flesh foods in the diet, and hence the level of carnivory adopted by each taxon. Significant temporal differences were found in the diet and frequency of tooth wear of C. lupus from MIS 3, 5a and 7 in Britain. Relative body size comparisons based on lower carnassial length also revealed variation in body size for the Pleistocene age groups, correlating with differences in diet. Stepwise Discriminant Function Analyses revealed large-bodied MIS 5a C. lupus to be hypercarnivorous and specialised in fast flesh slicing and to some extent bone consumption, whereas relatively smaller-bodied MIS 3 and 7 C. lupus were both less carnivorous and more specialised in crushing non-meat foods. Modern wolves from central Sweden are smaller than those of MIS 5a and hypercarnivorous, although with greater specialisation towards crushing of non-meat foods. Temporal variations in diet were related to changes in prey diversity, competition from other carnivores, openness of the environment, and ultimately climate, and reflect the cranio-dental plasticity of C. lupus. In contrast, no temporal differences in diet were found in age groups of C. mosbachensis and C. etruscus, which may relate to more stable overall conditions in comparison to the later Pleistocene. The cranio-dental characteristics of the smaller-bodied mesocarnivore C. etruscus indicate adaptations to non-meat food crushing, whereas in the similarly small C. mosbachensis, enhanced flesh slicing capabilities and reduced crushing abilities indicate that it was more carnivorous

  15. Sedimentary evolution of the Pliocene and Pleistocene Ebro margin, northeastern Spain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alonso, B.; Field, M.E.; Gardner, J.V.; Maldonado, A.

    1990-01-01

    The Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of the Spanish Ebro margin overlie a regional unconformity and contain a major disconformity. These unconformities, named Reflector M and Reflector G, mark the bases of two seismic sequences. Except for close to the upper boundary where a few small channel deposits are recognized, the lower sequence lacks channels. The upper sequence contains nine channel-levee complexes as well as base-of-slope aprons that represent the proximal part of the Valencia turbidite system. Diverse geometries and variations in seismic units distinguish shelf, slope, base-of-slope and basin-floor facies. Four events characterize the late Miocene to Pleistocene evolution of the Ebro margin: (a) formation of a paleodrainage system and an extensive erosion-to-depositional surface during the latest Miocene (Messinian), (b) deposition of hemipelagic units during the early Pliocene, (c) development of canyons during the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene, and (d) deposition of slope wedges, channel-levee complexes, and base-of-slope aprons alternating with hemipelagic deposition during the Pleistocene. Sea-level fluctuations influenced the evolution of the sedimentary sequences of the Ebro margin, but the major control was the sediment supply from the Ebro River. ?? 1990.

  16. Northern Hemisphere glaciation and the evolution of Plio-Pleistocene climate noise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyers, Stephen R.; Hinnov, Linda A.

    2010-08-01

    Deterministic orbital controls on climate variability are commonly inferred to dominate across timescales of 104-106 years, although some studies have suggested that stochastic processes may be of equal or greater importance. Here we explicitly quantify changes in deterministic orbital processes (forcing and/or pacing) versus stochastic climate processes during the Plio-Pleistocene, via time-frequency analysis of two prominent foraminifera oxygen isotopic stacks. Our results indicate that development of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheet is paralleled by an overall amplification of both deterministic and stochastic climate energy, but their relative dominance is variable. The progression from a more stochastic early Pliocene to a strongly deterministic late Pleistocene is primarily accommodated during two transitory phases of Northern Hemisphere ice sheet growth. This long-term trend is punctuated by “stochastic events,” which we interpret as evidence for abrupt reorganization of the climate system at the initiation and termination of the mid-Pleistocene transition and at the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation. In addition to highlighting a complex interplay between deterministic and stochastic climate change during the Plio-Pleistocene, our results support an early onset for Northern Hemisphere glaciation (between 3.5 and 3.7 Ma) and reveal some new characteristics of the orbital signal response, such as the puzzling emergence of 100 ka and 400 ka cyclic climate variability during theoretical eccentricity nodes.

  17. Late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal extinctions on continental Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faith, J. Tyler

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the cause of late Quaternary mammal extinctions is the subject of intense debate spanning the fields of archeology and paleontology. In the global context, the losses on continental Africa have received little attention and are poorly understood. This study aims to inspire new discussion of African extinctions through a review of the extinct species and the chronology and possible causes of those extinctions. There are at least 24 large mammal (> 5 kg) species known to have disappeared from continental Africa during the late Pleistocene or Holocene, indicating a much greater taxonomic breadth than previously recognized. Among the better sampled taxa, these losses are restricted to the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene, between 13,000 and 6000 yrs ago. The African extinctions preferentially affected species that are grazers or prefer grasslands. Where good terrestrial paleoenvironmental records are present, extinctions are associated with changes in the availability, productivity, or structure of grassland habitats, suggesting that environmental changes played a decisive role in the losses. In the broader evolutionary context, these extinctions represent recent examples of selective taxonomic winnowing characterized by the loss of grassland specialists and the establishment of large mammal communities composed of more ecologically flexible taxa over the last million years. There is little reason to believe that humans played an important role in African extinctions.

  18. New body mass estimates of British Pleistocene wolves: Palaeoenvironmental implications and competitive interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flower, L. O. H.

    2016-10-01

    Body mass was reconstructed for early Middle Pleistocene Canis mosbachensis and late Middle to Late Pleistocene Canis lupus from key assemblages in Britain, to explore the presence of temporal size variability and whether size fluctuations were related to changes in climate and environment or to differences in Pleistocene carnivore community structure. Using the well-known body mass predictor of lower carnassial (m1) tooth length, combined with an extant canid dataset incorporating 25 species, least squares regression was used to assess allometric scaling prior to modelling the relationship between body mass and m1 length, producing a new predictive equation of Pleistocene canid body mass. The medium-sized C. mosbachensis had relatively stable body mass, with remarkable consistency in size compared to populations in the late Early Pleistocene of Europe. Periodical fluctuations in climatic conditions had a minimal effect on C. mosbachensis size over time, with the terrestrial connection between Britain and mainland Europe at this time key in promoting body mass stability by enabling movement away from less favourable conditions and to follow prey into refugia. Overall changes in carnivore guild structure were of minimal influence to C. mosbachensis in Britain, as the continued predominance of larger carnivores, in particular a larger canid, effectively constrained C. mosbachensis. In contrast, the body mass of larger-sized C. lupus was highly temporally varied, with an increasing size trend evident into the Devensian. Similar body size in the penultimate interglacial (MIS 7) and Middle Devensian (MIS 3) populations likely reflects palaeoenvironmental similarity and comparable carnivore community and prey spectrums, with larger predators effectively constraining C. lupus. However, the severely cold conditions of the Early Devensian (MIS 5a) may have caused a Bergmannian response in wolves, leading to their comparatively much larger size, with C. lupus further

  19. Pleistocene environmental dynamics recorded in the loess of the middle and lower Danube basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fitzsimmons, Kathryn E.; Marković, Slobodan B.; Hambach, Ulrich

    2012-05-01

    The substantial loess deposits of the middle and lower Danube basin in southeastern Europe represent one of the thickest and most comprehensive terrestrial palaeoenvironmental records on the continent, yet are also the least well understood. Environmental conditions over the last million years have resulted in relatively continuous deposits uninterrupted by glaciation and tundra conditions, which nevertheless reflect oscillations between relatively warm-humid (“interglacial”) and cold-dry (“glacial”) intervals. This relative environmental stability may have proven important for hominins migrating into and through the region. The loess stratigraphy comprises distinct loess-paleosol sequences, reflecting glacial-interglacial phases which can be quantified for intensity using environmental magnetism and geochemistry. These phases are emphasised by variations in vegetation and malacofauna which respond to climatic change. The loess deposits demonstrate broadly similar sedimentological characteristics across the basin. Danubian loess deposits initiated in response to the tectonic formation of the Pannonian basin, retreat of the large palaeolakes, and increased sediment supply from the Danube. The period from ˜1 Ma-500 ka (MIS 27-13) was characterised by alternating loess deposition and pedogenesis during glacial and interglacial periods respectively, in response to relatively humid, forested conditions. This period represents the opening of the Danube corridor and provides the backdrop for initial hominin arrival into Europe. After ˜500 ka, and particularly after MIS 9, loess accumulation rates increased in response to relatively more steppic, arid, environments. MIS 9 and 13-15 were the most humid phases of the last ˜600 ky. The MIS 5 interglacial period was the warmest, and relatively most humid, period preceding the Holocene, and was followed by substantially increased loess accumulation during MIS 4, which may be linked to North Atlantic circulation. The

  20. Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Dirks, Paul HGM; Berger, Lee R; Roberts, Eric M; Kramers, Jan D; Hawks, John; Randolph-Quinney, Patrick S; Elliott, Marina; Musiba, Charles M; Churchill, Steven E; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Schmid, Peter; Backwell, Lucinda R; Belyanin, Georgy A; Boshoff, Pedro; Hunter, K Lindsay; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Gurtov, Alia; Harrison, James du G; Hunter, Rick; Kruger, Ashley; Morris, Hannah; Makhubela, Tebogo V; Peixotto, Becca; Tucker, Steven

    2015-01-01

    We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.001 PMID:26354289

  1. Carnivora from the Kanapoi hominin site, northern Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Werdelin, Lars; Manthi, Fredrick Kyalo

    2012-02-01

    The assemblage from Kanapoi represents the most diverse early Pliocene carnivore assemblage from sub-Saharan Africa. Carnivora from Kanapoi were originally described by Werdelin (2003a), but continuing field work has brought to light significant new material from the site, shedding new light on the earliest post-Miocene radiation of Carnivora in Africa. Most importantly, a second species of Enhydriodon has been recovered from the site, including the first specimen to include a large part of the neurocranium. This makes Kanapoi the first site to include two species of this genus. This addition to the fauna will be of prime significance to understanding the ecology and evolutionary radiation of these giant, extinct otters. Other significant new finds include additional material of a wildcat-sized felid. Finds of this group are rare, and the new Kanapoi material adds significantly to our knowledge of the stem lineage of the genus Felis, which is widespread in Africa today.

  2. New mitochondrial DNA data affirm the importance of Pleistocene speciation in North American birds.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Ned K; Cicero, Carla

    2004-05-01

    The timing of origin of modern North American bird species in relation to Pleistocene glaciations has long been the topic of significant discussion and disagreement. Recently, Klicka and Zink (1997) and Avise and Walker (1998) enlivened this debate by using calibrated molecular distance values to estimate timing of speciations. Here we use new molecular studies to test their conclusions. Molecular distance values for 39 pairs of proven sister species, 27 of which are based on new data, alter the currently perceived pattern that avian species splits occurred mainly in the Pliocene and early-mid-Pleistocene. Mitochondrial DNA divergence values for this set of taxa showed a skewed distribution pointing toward relatively young speciation times, in contrast to the pattern presented by Klicka and Zink (1997) for 35 sister plus non-sister species pairs. Our pattern was not significantly different from that of Avise and Walker (1998) for "intraspecific phylogroups," some of which are species. We conclude that the entire Pleistocene, including the last two glacial cycles (<250,000 years ago), was important in speciations of modern North American birds. A substantial number of speciations were both initiated and completed in the last 250,000 years. Simultaneously, many taxa began to diverge in the Pleistocene but their speciations are not yet complete (per Avise and Walker 1998). The suggestion that durations of speciations average two million years is probably a substantial overestimate.

  3. Late Pleistocene Environments of the Central Ukraine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rousseau, Denis-Didier; Gerasimenko, Natalia; Matviischina, Zhanna; Kukla, George

    2001-11-01

    The Vyazivok loess sequence from the Dnieper Plain, Ukraine, documents regional environmental changes during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Pedological and palynological analyses and low-field magnetic susceptibility document changes from dense temperate forest during the last interglacial maximum to open, harsh, loess-steppe during the latest Pleistocene. The Vyazivok section overlies hillwash derived from a lower Pleistocene terrace and consists of two stratified soil complexes (Kaydaky and Pryluky; marine isotope stage [MIS] 5 equivalent) separated by a layer of eolian dust (Tyasmyn silt). The lower soils in both complexes formed within forest. These soils are overlain by the Uday (MIS4) and Bug (MIS2) loess units, which are separated by boreal soils of the Vytachiv (MIS3) complex. The coldest conditions within the record occurred in the youngest loess. Holocene soils cap the Bug loess. The Vyazivok section shows remarkable similarities with other classical loess sequences in western Europe, the Czech Republic, and Austria. The Kaydaky, Pryluky, and Vytachiv deposits, correlate with the PKIII, PKII, and PKI soil complexes, respectively, of the Czech Republic. The Tyasmyn and Prylyky silt layers correspond to marker horizons from central Europe.

  4. Bahamian Pleistocene model for some Mississippian oolites

    SciTech Connect

    Bain, R.J.

    1989-08-01

    San Salvador Island, unlike most Bahamian islands, is a narrow isolated platform surrounded by deep ocean. Therefore, sedimentary deposits on San Salvador must be explained in terms of processes and settings on this narrow, isolated shelf. Pleistocene oolite occurs between Illinoian and Wisconsinan paleosols. Dune ridges of up to 120 ft are composed of Pleistocene cross-bedded oolitic grainstone, whereas interdunal deposits are bioclastic packstone and wackestone containing abundant Chione cancellata. In lower dunal deposits, bioclastic content increases and the degree of sorting decreases. A fenestral porosity zone occurs approximately 5 ft above present-day sea level. In several ridges, oolite drapesmore » over older paleosol-capped bioclastic ridges. During the Sangamonian, sea water flooded the platform, however some remnant Aftonian ridges remained above sea level. As cold water from the surrounding deep ocean warmed on the shelf, ooids were generated and were washed onto beaches and blown into dunes. Remnant ridges restricted water movement and acted as nucleii for eolian ooid dunes. As sea level continued to rise, ooids were replaced by lagoonal bioclastic deposits. Ooid production was restricted to the swash zone along beaches resulting in the mixture of ooids and bioclastic sand in later Sangamonian deposits. Numerous Mississippian oolites display features similar to the Pleistocene oolite of San Salvador Island. Possible comparisons include thick lenses of Ste. Genevieve and Bangor limestones, paleosols in the Ste. Genevieve halo-shaped bodies of Greenbrier oolite, and the relationship of nearly all olites with bioclastic facies.« less

  5. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP): Understanding the paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic context of human origins through continental drilling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, Andrew S.; Campisano, Christopher; Asrat, Asfawossen; Arrowsmith, Ramon; Deino, Alan; Feibel, Craig; Hill, Andrew; Kingston, John; Lamb, Henry; Lowenstein, Tim; Olago, Daniel; Bernhart Owen, R.; Renaut, Robin; Schabitz, Frank; Trauth, Martin

    2015-04-01

    The influence of climate and environmental history on human evolution is an existential question that continues to be hotly debated, in part because of the paucity of high resolution records collected in close proximity to the key fossil and archaeological evidence. To address this issue and transform the scientific debate, the HSPDP was developed to collect lacustrine sediment drill cores from basins in Kenya and Ethiopia that collectively encompass critical time intervals and locations for Plio-Quaternary human evolution in East Africa. After a 17 month campaign, drilling was completed in November, 2014, with over 1750m of core collected from 11 boreholes from five areas (1930m total drilling length, avg. 91% recovery). The sites, from oldest to youngest, include 1) N. Awash, Ethiopia (~3.5-2.9Ma core interval); 2) Baringo-Tugen Hills, Kenya (~3.3-2.5Ma); 3) West Turkana, Kenya (~1.9-1.4Ma); L. Magadi, Kenya (0.8-0Ma) and the Chew Bahir Basin, Ethiopia (~0.5-0Ma). Initial core description (ICD) and sampling for geochronology, geochemistry and paleoecology studies had been completed by mid2014, with the two remaining sites (Magadi and Chew Bahir) scheduled for ICD work in early 2015. Whereas the primary scientific targets were the lacustrine deposits from the hominin-bearing basin depocenters, many intervals of paleosols (representative of low lake stands and probable arid periods) were also encountered in drill cores. Preliminary analyses of drill core sedimentology and geochemistry show both long-term lake level changes and cyclic variability in lake levels, both of which may be indicative of climatic forcing events of interest to paleoanthropologists. Authors of this abstract also include the entire HSPDP field team.

  6. The hominins: a very conservative tribe? Last common ancestors, plasticity and ecomorphology in Hominidae. Or, What's in a name?

    PubMed

    Crompton, Robin Huw

    2016-04-01

    In the early 20th century the dominant paradigm for the ecological context of the origins of human bipedalism was arboreal suspension. In the 1960s, however, with recognition of the close genetic relationship of humans, chimpanzees and bonobos, and with the first field studies of mountain gorillas and common chimpanzees, it was assumed that locomotion similar to that of common chimpanzees and mountain gorillas, which appeared to be dominated by terrestrial knuckle-walking, must have given rise to human bipedality. This paradigm has been popular, if not universally dominant, until very recently. However, evidence that neither the knuckle-walking or vertical climbing of these apes is mechanically similar to human bipedalism, as well as the hand-assisted bipedality and orthograde clambering of orang-utans, has cast doubt on this paradigm. It now appears that the dominance of terrestrial knuckle-walking in mountain gorillas is an artefact seen only in the extremes of their range, and that both mountain and lowland gorillas have a generalized orthogrady similar to that seen in orang-utans. These data, together with evidence for continued arboreal competence in humans, mesh well with an increasing weight of fossil evidence suggesting that a mix of orang-utan and gorilla-like arboreal locomotion and upright terrestrial bipedalism characterized most australopiths. The late split date of the panins, corresponding to dates for separation of Homo and Australopithecus, leads to the speculation that competition with chimpanzees, as appears to exist today with gorillas, may have driven ecological changes in hominins and perhaps cladogenesis. However, selection for ecological plasticity and morphological conservatism is a core characteristic of Hominidae as a whole, including Hominini. © 2015 Anatomical Society.

  7. Network analysis of the hominin origin of Herpes Simplex virus 2 from fossil data

    PubMed Central

    Underdown, Simon J.; Kumar, Krishna

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2) is a human herpesvirus found worldwide that causes genital lesions and more rarely causes encephalitis. This pathogen is most common in Africa, and particularly in central and east Africa, an area of particular significance for the evolution of modern humans. Unlike HSV1, HSV2 has not simply co-speciated with humans from their last common ancestor with primates. HSV2 jumped the species barrier between 1.4 and 3 MYA, most likely through intermediate but unknown hominin species. In this article, we use probability-based network analysis to determine the most probable transmission path between intermediate hosts of HSV2, from the ancestors of chimpanzees to the ancestors of modern humans, using paleo-environmental data on the distribution of African tropical rainforest over the last 3 million years and data on the age and distribution of fossil species of hominin present in Africa between 1.4 and 3 MYA. Our model identifies Paranthropus boisei as the most likely intermediate host of HSV2, while Homo habilis may also have played a role in the initial transmission of HSV2 from the ancestors of chimpanzees to P.boisei. PMID:28979799

  8. Network analysis of the hominin origin of Herpes Simplex virus 2 from fossil data.

    PubMed

    Underdown, Simon J; Kumar, Krishna; Houldcroft, Charlotte

    2017-07-01

    Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2) is a human herpesvirus found worldwide that causes genital lesions and more rarely causes encephalitis. This pathogen is most common in Africa, and particularly in central and east Africa, an area of particular significance for the evolution of modern humans. Unlike HSV1, HSV2 has not simply co-speciated with humans from their last common ancestor with primates. HSV2 jumped the species barrier between 1.4 and 3 MYA, most likely through intermediate but unknown hominin species. In this article, we use probability-based network analysis to determine the most probable transmission path between intermediate hosts of HSV2, from the ancestors of chimpanzees to the ancestors of modern humans, using paleo-environmental data on the distribution of African tropical rainforest over the last 3 million years and data on the age and distribution of fossil species of hominin present in Africa between 1.4 and 3 MYA. Our model identifies Paranthropus boisei as the most likely intermediate host of HSV2, while Homo habilis may also have played a role in the initial transmission of HSV2 from the ancestors of chimpanzees to P.boisei .

  9. Reconstructing the climate states of the Late Pleistocene with the MIROC climate model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Wing-Le; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; O'ishi, Ryouta; Takahashi, Kunio

    2014-05-01

    The Late Pleistocene was a period which lasted from the Eemian interglacial period to the start of the warm Holocene and was characterized mostly by widespread glacial ice. It was also a period which saw modern humans spread throughout the world and other species of the same genus, like the Neanderthals, become extinct. Various hypotheses have been put forward to explain the extinction of Neanderthals, about 30,000 years ago. Among these is one which involves changes in past climate and the inability of Neanderthals to adapt to such changes. The last traces of Neanderthals coincide with the end of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3) which was marked by large fluctuations in temperature and so-called Heinrich events, as suggested by geochemical records from ice cores. It is thought that melting sea ice or icebergs originating from the Laurentide ice sheet led to a large discharge of freshwater into the North Atlantic Ocean during the Heinrich events and severely weakened the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, with important environmental ramifications across parts of Europe such as sharp decreases in temperature and reduction in forest cover. In order to assess the effects of past climate change on past hominin migration and on the extinction of certain species, it is first important to have a good understanding of the past climate itself. In this study, we have used three variants of MIROC (The Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate), a global climate model, for a time slice experiment within the Late Pleistocene: two mid-resolution models (an atmosphere model and a coupled atmosphere-ocean model) and a high-resolution atmosphere model. To obtain a fuller picture, we also look at a cool stadial state as obtained from a 'freshwater hosing' coupled-model experiment, designed to mimic the effects of freshwater discharge in the North Atlantic. We next use the sea surface temperature response from this experiment to drive the atmosphere models. We discuss

  10. Pliocene-Pleistocene coastal events and history along the western margin of Australia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kendrick, G.W.; Wyrwoll, K.-H.; Szabo, B. J.

    1991-01-01

    Coastal deposits along the western coastal margin of Australia, a region of relative tectonic stability, record Plio-Pleistocene events and processes affecting the inner shelf and adjacent hinterland. Tectonic deformation of these deposits is more apparent in the Carnarvon Basin, and rather less so in the Perth Basin. The most complete record comes from the Perth Basin, where units of Pliocene and Pleistocene ages are well represented. In the Perth Basin, the predominantly siliciclastic Yoganup Formation, Ascot Formation and Bassendean Sand represent a complex of shoreline, inner shelf and regressive-dune facies equivalents, the deposition of which began at an undetermined stage of the Pliocene, through to the Early Pleistocene. The deposition of this sequence closed with a major regression and significant faunal extinction. Bioclastic carbonates characterize the Middle and Late Pleistocene of the Perth and Carnarvon basins. Fossil assemblages include a distinct subtropical element, unknown from the Ascot Formation and suggesting a strengthening of the Leeuwin Current. The estuarine arcoid bivalve Anadara trapezia characterizes assemblages of Oxygen Isotope Stages 5 and 7 in the Perth and Carnarvon basins, where it is now extinct. Deposits of Substage 5e (Perth Basin) also record a southerly expansion of warm-water corals and other fauna consistent with shelf temperatures warmer than present. New uranium-series ages on corals from marine sequences of the Tantabiddi Member, of the Bundera Calcarenite of the western Cape Range are consistent with the 'double peak' hypothesis for levels of Substage 5e but the evidence remains less than conclusive. Initial uranium-series dates from the Bibra and Dampier formations of Shark Bay indicate that both derive from the Late Pleistocene. These numerical ages contradict previous interpretations of relative ages obtained from field studies. The age relationship of the units requires further investigation. ?? 1991.

  11. First direct dating of a presumed Pleistocene hominid from China: AMS radiocarbon age of a femur from the Ordos Plateau.

    PubMed

    Keates, Susan G; Hodgins, Gregory W L; Kuzmin, Yaroslav V; Orlova, Lyobov A

    2007-07-01

    Human remains from the Xarusgol Valley, Ordos Plateau, northwestern China, have been considered to date to the Late Pleistocene. In order to ascertain their true age, direct AMS (14)C dating of a femur collected in the early 1920s was conducted. The results demonstrate that the femur is very young, with one sample of 'post-bomb' age and the other sample c. 200 years old. This first direct dating of a Chinese fossil hominid underscores the need to apply the same methodology to other Chinese modern human fossils currently believed to be of Pleistocene age.

  12. Morphometric variation in the papionin muzzle and the biochronology of the South African Plio-Pleistocene karst cave deposits.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Grine, Frederick E

    2010-03-01

    Papionin monkeys are widespread, relatively common members of Plio-Pleistocene faunal assemblages across Africa. For these reasons, papionin taxa have been used as biochronological indicators by which to infer the ages of the South African karst cave deposits. A recent morphometric study of South African fossil papionin muzzle shape concluded that its variation attests to a substantial and greater time depth for these sites than is generally estimated. This inference is significant, because accurate dating of the South African cave sites is critical to our knowledge of hominin evolution and mammalian biogeographic history. We here report the results of a comparative analysis of extant papionin monkeys by which variability of the South African fossil papionins may be assessed. The muzzles of 106 specimens representing six extant papionin genera were digitized and interlandmark distances were calculated. Results demonstrate that the overall amount of morphological variation present within the fossil assemblage fits comfortably within the range exhibited by the extant sample. We also performed a statistical experiment to assess the limitations imposed by small sample sizes, such as typically encountered in the fossil record. Results suggest that 15 specimens are sufficient to accurately represent the population mean for a given phenotype, but small sample sizes are insufficient to permit the accurate estimation of the population standard deviation, variance, and range. The suggestion that the muzzle morphology of fossil papionins attests to a considerable and previously unrecognized temporal depth of the South African karst cave sites is unwarranted.

  13. Pleistocene climate change inferred from multi-proxy analyses of a loess-paleosol sequence in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Yi; Qiu, Shifan; Fu, Shuqing; Rao, Zhiguo; Zhu, Zhaoyu

    2018-04-01

    The aeolian loess blanketing the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) is sensitive to climate change in monsoonal East Asia. Here, we present a multi-proxy climatic record from a Pleistocene loess-paleosol sequence from the Lantian Basin on the southern margin of the CLP. The measurements include magnetic susceptibility and related magnetic properties, bulk median grain-size, color reflectance, and the color-inferred hematite versus goethite ratio (Hm/Gt). A long-term aridification and cooling trend during the interval from ca 2.22-0.43 Ma is indicated by two magnetic grain-size proxies, corresponding to the global climatic cooling of the late Cenozoic. In addition, at least four intervals of climatic extremes are evident in the record of Hm/Gt ratio: at 1.71-1.65 Ma, 1.26-1.24 Ma, 0.94-0.86 Ma, and 0.62-0.48 Ma. These intervals are characterized by distinct regional climates, which contrast with the global climatic conditions represented in marine sediments. For example, a relatively arid climate is documented from 1.71 to 1.65 Ma, which was rapidly succeeded by a relatively humid climate which is associated with the earliest hominin (with an age of ca 1.63 Ma) in the Lantian Basin.

  14. Effect of ancient population structure on the degree of polymorphism shared between modern human populations and ancient hominins.

    PubMed

    Eriksson, Anders; Manica, Andrea

    2012-08-28

    Recent comparisons between anatomically modern humans and ancient genomes of other hominins have raised the tantalizing, and hotly debated, possibility of hybridization. Although several tests of hybridization have been devised, they all rely on the degree to which different modern populations share genetic polymorphisms with the ancient genomes of other hominins. However, spatial population structure is expected to generate genetic patterns similar to those that might be attributed to hybridization. To investigate this problem, we take Neanderthals as a case study, and build a spatially explicit model of the shared history of anatomically modern humans and this hominin. We show that the excess polymorphism shared between Eurasians and Neanderthals is compatible with scenarios in which no hybridization occurred, and is strongly linked to the strength of population structure in ancient populations. Thus, we recommend caution in inferring admixture from geographic patterns of shared polymorphisms, and argue that future attempts to investigate ancient hybridization between humans and other hominins should explicitly account for population structure.

  15. Latest Pleistocene and Holocene glacier fluctuations on Mount Baker, Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osborn, Gerald; Menounos, Brian; Ryane, Chanone; Riedel, Jon; Clague, John J.; Koch, Johannes; Clark, Douglas; Scott, Kevin; Davis, P. Thompson

    2012-08-01

    Glaciers on stratovolcanoes of the Pacific Northwest of North America offer opportunities for dating late Pleistocene and Holocene glacier advances because tephra and fossil wood are common in lateral moraines and in glacier forefields. We capitalize on this opportunity by examining the Holocene glacial record at Mount Baker, an active stratovolcano in northwest Washington. Earlier workers concluded that glaciers on Mount Baker during the early Holocene were more extensive than during the Little Ice Age and hypothesized that the explanation lay in unusual climatic or hypsometric effects peculiar to large volcanoes. We show that the main argument for an early Holocene glacier advance on Mount Baker, namely the absence of ca 10,000-year-old tephra on part of the south flank of the mountain, is incorrect. Moreover, a lake-sediment core indicates that a small cirque moraine previously thought be of early Holocene age is also likely older than the tephra and consequently of late Pleistocene age. Lateral and end moraines and wood mats ca 2 km downvalley of the present snout of Deming Glacier indicate that an advance during the Younger Dryas interval was little more extensive than the climactic Little Ice Age advance. Tephra and wood between tills in the left lateral moraine of Easton Glacier suggest that ice on Mount Baker was restricted in the early Holocene and that Neoglaciation began ca 6 ka. A series of progressively more extensive Neoglacial advances, dated to about 2.2, 1.6, 0.9, and 0.4 ka, are recorded by stacked tills in the right lateral moraine of Deming Glacier. Intervening retreats were long enough to allow establishment of forests on the moraine. Wood mats in moraines of Coleman and Easton glaciers indicate that Little Ice Age expansion began before 0.7 ka and was followed by retreat and a readvance ca 0.5 ka. Tree-ring and lichen data indicate glaciers on the south side of the mountain reached their maximum extents in the mid-1800s. The similarity between

  16. The Pliocene-Pleistocene sedimentary tectonic history of NW California

    SciTech Connect

    Stone, L.; Moley, K.; Aalto, K.R.

    1993-04-01

    A thick sequence of Late Miocene to Pleistocene sediments thought to represent deposition in a Neogene forearc basin are preserved in the structural basin referred to as the Eel River basin' located offshore of NW California and SE Oregon. The southern portion of this structural basin comes on land in the vicinity of Eureka where the marine and fluvial Wildcat Group is exposed. Basal Wildcat Group sediments are fluvial and littorial. Marine sandstones of the Wildcat Group contain K-spar concentrations of 5.5% and are believed to represent a fresh source. [sup 40]Ar/[sup 39]Ar laser probe analyses of Wildcat Group micasmore » yield dates of 52--57, 66--75, 128.5 and 299--303 Ma. The presence of Idaho detritus throughout the Neogene Wildcat Group indicates that the Klamath Mountains remained low during the Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Younger fluvial sediments in this region contain primarily locally derived detritus indicating local uplift of the Klamath Mountains. To the north, at Crescent City, thin remnants of the near-shore Saint George Formation and the eastern e