JOURNAL ARTICLE

Paleoanthropology. Late Pliocene fossiliferous sedimentary record and the environmental context of early Homo from Afar, Ethiopia

Erin N DiMaggio, Christopher J Campisano, John Rowan, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Alan L Deino, Faysal Bibi, Margaret E Lewis, Antoine Souron, Dominique Garello, Lars Werdelin, Kaye E Reed, J Ramón Arrowsmith
Science 2015 March 20, 347 (6228): 1355-9
25739409
Sedimentary basins in eastern Africa preserve a record of continental rifting and contain important fossil assemblages for interpreting hominin evolution. However, the record of hominin evolution between 3 and 2.5 million years ago (Ma) is poorly documented in surface outcrops, particularly in Afar, Ethiopia. Here we present the discovery of a 2.84- to 2.58-million-year-old fossil and hominin-bearing sediments in the Ledi-Geraru research area of Afar, Ethiopia, that have produced the earliest record of the genus Homo. Vertebrate fossils record a faunal turnover indicative of more open and probably arid habitats than those reconstructed earlier in this region, which is in broad agreement with hypotheses addressing the role of environmental forcing in hominin evolution at this time. Geological analyses constrain depositional and structural models of Afar and date the LD 350-1 Homo mandible to 2.80 to 2.75 Ma.

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