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Sample records for australopithecus bahrelghazali mio-pliocene

  1. Cosmogenic nuclide dating of Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Australopithecus bahrelghazali: Mio-Pliocene hominids from Chad.

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    Lebatard, Anne-Elisabeth; Bourlès, Didier L; Duringer, Philippe; Jolivet, Marc; Braucher, Régis; Carcaillet, Julien; Schuster, Mathieu; Arnaud, Nicolas; Monié, Patrick; Lihoreau, Fabrice; Likius, Andossa; Mackaye, Hassan Taisso; Vignaud, Patrick; Brunet, Michel

    2008-03-01

    Ages were determined at two hominid localities from the Chad Basin in the Djurab Desert (Northern Chad). In the Koro Toro fossiliferous area, KT 12 locality (16 degrees 00'N, 18 degrees 53'E) was the site of discovery of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) and in the Toros-Menalla fossiliferous area, TM 266 locality (16 degrees 15'N, 17 degrees 29'E) was the site of discovery of Sahelanthropus tchadensis (Toumaï). At both localities, the evolutive degree of the associated fossil mammal assemblages allowed a biochronological estimation of the hominid remains: early Pliocene (3-3.5 Ma) at KT 12 and late Miocene ( approximately 7 Ma) at TM 266. Atmospheric (10)Be, a cosmogenic nuclide, was used to quasicontinuously date these sedimentary units. The authigenic (10)Be/(9)Be dating of a pelite relic within the sedimentary level containing Abel yields an age of 3.58 +/- 0.27 Ma that points to the contemporaneity of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) with Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy). The 28 (10)Be/(9)Be ages obtained within the anthracotheriid unit containing Toumaï bracket, by absolute dating, the age of Sahelanthropus tchadensis to lie between 6.8 and 7.2 Ma. This chronological constraint is an important cornerstone both for establishing the earliest stages of hominid evolution and for new calibrations of the molecular clock. PMID:18305174

  2. Cosmogenic nuclide dating of Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Australopithecus bahrelghazali: Mio-Pliocene hominids from Chad

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    Lebatard, Anne-Elisabeth; Bourlès, Didier L.; Duringer, Philippe; Jolivet, Marc; Régis BRAUCHER; Carcaillet, Julien; Schuster, Mathieu; Arnaud, Nicolas; Monié, Patrick; Lihoreau, Fabrice; Likius, Andossa; Mackaye, Hassan Taisso; Vignaud, Patrick; Brunet, Michel

    2008-01-01

    Ages were determined at two hominid localities from the Chad Basin in the Djurab Desert (Northern Chad). In the Koro Toro fossiliferous area, KT 12 locality (16°00′N, 18°53′E) was the site of discovery of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) and in the Toros-Menalla fossiliferous area, TM 266 locality (16°15′N, 17°29′E) was the site of discovery of Sahelanthropus tchadensis (Toumaï). At both localities, the evolutive degree of the associated fossil mammal assemblages allowed a biochronologic...

  3. Symphyseal shape variation in extant and fossil hominoids, and the symphysis of Australopithecus bahrelghazali.

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    Guy, Franck; Mackaye, Hassane-Taïsso; Likius, Andossa; Vignaud, Patrick; Schmittbuhl, Matthieu; Brunet, Michel

    2008-07-01

    The holotype of the species Australopithecus bahrelghazali is a mandibular fragment preserving left C-P(4) and right I(2)-P(4). One of the key features of the A. bahrelghazali mandible is its sagittally and transversally flat anterior region associated with a vertical, bulbous symphysis that is assumed to differ morphologically from the classic, more apelike eastern australopith morphology with its sloping symphysis, developed transverse tori, and distinct genioglossal fossa. Yet, close similarity has been suggested between A. bahrelghazali and A. afarensis. To date, no metrical comparison of the symphyseal morphology of east and west African australopiths has been performed. For the selected characters, this study attempts to test the following null hypothesis: A. bahrelghazali does not present significant differences from A. afarensis (i.e., A. bahrelghazali vs. A. afarensis variation does not depart from expected intraspecific variation for hominoid species). Analysis of the mandibular symphysis is difficult to undertake using conventional linear variables since few landmarks are available to make a precise quantitative assessment of its morphology. In addition, while a few studies have used outline-based techniques of analysis to address symphyseal shape variation, none has integrated data on early hominins. We present here a detailed comparative study of variation in the symphyseal outline of A. bahrelghazali and A. afarensis based on a quantitative characterization by elliptic Fourier coefficients. Original data on symphyseal variation in Pliocene hominins are provided and discussed within a comparative framework of extant and fossil hominoid representatives. We evaluate the relevance of our quantitative data describing the shape of the symphysis for discriminating hominoid taxa, and test for differences in symphyseal shape between A. bahrelghazali and A. afarensis. Elliptic Fourier coefficients appear to be well-suited descriptors for depicting symphyseal

  4. MIO-PLIOCENE CRUSTACEANS FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN

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    JUAN FRANCISCO BETANCORT

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available There are few previous references to fossil crustaceans for the Neogene marine layers of the Canary Islands (Spain. The Mio-Pliocene marine sedimentary layers in the eastern islands (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were previously characterised by the presence of numerous fossil fauna, mainly anthozoans and molluscs, which correspond to an equatorial-typepalaeoclimate, warmer than the present climate. This Mio-Pliocene transition dated between 9.3 and 4.1 Ma. In this paper, 12 fossil crustacean taxa are identified and classified, including decapods and barnacles: Balanus concavus Bronn, 1831, Balanus spongicola Brown, 1827, Balanus perforatus Bruguière, 1789, Chenolobia testudinaria Linnè, 1767, Tetraclita cf. rubescens Darwin, 1854, Callianassa matsoni Rathbun, 1935, Callianassa sp., Upogebia sp, Eriphia aff. verrucosa (Forskal, 1775 , Maja sp., Scylla michelini Milne-Edwards, 1861 and Ocypode sp. Some of these taxa mean new references for the Atlantic islands and the North African Atlantic and definitely enlarge the palaeographic distribution of Neogene crustaceans beyond the Mediterranean region, extending it to the North Atlantic. Particularly significant are the presence of Tetraclita cf. rubescens ,this being the first reported fossil occurrence of this barnacle outside the North America Pacific coasts, and Chenolobia testudinaria , indicating for the first time the existence of marine turtles in these islands during the Neogene. These results are coherent with previous research hypothesising the existence of a flow of surface water between the Pacific and Atlantic in the Mio-Pliocene transition (Central American Seaway, CAS which explains the arrival of organisms, in larval stage, from Central America to the Canary Islands.

  5. Evidence for long-term uplift on the Canary Islands from emergent Mio Pliocene littoral deposits

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    Meco, Joaquín; Scaillet, Stéphane; Guillou, Hervé; Lomoschitz, Alejandro; Carlos Carracedo, Juan; Ballester, Javier; Betancort, Juan-Francisco; Cilleros, Antonio

    2007-06-01

    Several islands in the Canarian archipelago show marine deposits with identical fossil faunas, which are generally assigned to different glacioeustatic marine episodes: mainly Pleistocene episodes in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and Mio-Pliocene ones in Gran Canaria. Three fossil species ( Saccostrea chili, Nerita emiliana and Strombus coronatus) characterize all the marine deposits from southern Lanzarote, to the west and south of Fuerteventura and northeast of Gran Canaria. Three other species ( Ancilla glandiformis, Rothpletzia rudista and Siderastraea miocenica) confirm the chronostratigraphic attribution of these deposits. Other more occasional fossils (as Chlamys latissima, Isognomon soldanii and Clypeaster aegyptiacus) fit an upper Miocene and lower Pliocene age. This agrees with new K/Ar ages obtained from pillow lavas emplaced into the marine deposits (ca. 4.1 Ma in Gran Canaria, ca. 4.8 Ma in Fuerteventura) and from underlying (ca. 9.3 Ma in Gran Canaria) or overlying (ca. 9.8 Ma in Lanzarote) lava flows. The marine deposits are eroded but large continuous segments are preserved sloping gently towards the coast. Variations in the highest and the lowest elevations of the deposits apsl (above present sea level) indicate post-depositional uplift movements. Glacioeustatic causes are unlikely to be responsible for these variations on the basis of the coastal location of the deposits and their equatorial fauna characteristic of Mio-Pliocene corals. Differential uplift of the deposits across the archipelago is argued to result from the progressive seaward tilting of the islands along the insular volcanic trail marking the westward migration of hot spot head since 20 Ma. Successive westward accretion of younger volcanic edifices resulted in increasing lithostatic load of the crust with progressive (diachronous) tilting of the older edifices and their palaeo-shorelines marked by past coastal deposits.

  6. Giant bunodont Lutrinae from the Mio-Pliocene of Kenya and Uganda

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    Pickford, M.

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available Three new species of bunodont otters are described from the Mio-Pliocene of East Africa. They are provisionally attributed to the genus Sivaonyx Pilgrim, 1931. The species described are Sivaonyx soriae, nov. sp. and Sivaonyx senutae nov. sp. from the Latest Miocene Lukeino Formation (Kenya and Sivaonyx kamuhangirei nov. sp. from the Pliocene of Kazinga and Warwire (Uganda. Additional material of the species Sivaonyx ekecaman (Werdelin, 2003 is described from Sagatia, Mabaget Formation (Kenya. The systematics of the new tribe Enhydriodontini are discussed and we report the presence of evolutionary tendencies in the bunodont African otters: increase in body size, modification of the carnassial teeth. In particular in the P4/ the protocone becomes well separated from the paracone, at the same time that an anterior valley develops.Se describen tres nuevas especies de nutrias bunodontas del Mio-plioceno de Africa oriental. Provisionalmente se adscriben al género Sivaonyx Pilgrim 1931. Las especies descritas son Sivaonyx soriae nov. sp y Sivaonyx senutae nov. sp. del Mioceno final de la formación Lukeino (Kenia, y Sivaonyx kamuhangirei nov. sp del Plioceno de Kazinga y Warwire (Uganda. También se describen nuevos fósiles de Sagatia, formación Magabet (Kenia atribuibles a la especie Sivaonyx ekecaman (Werdelin, 2003. Se discute la sistemática de la nueva tribu Enhydriotini y se señala la presencia de dos tendencias evolutivas en las nutrias bunodontas africanas: incremento de talla y modificación de las carniceras. Especialmente del P4/ en el que el protocono se va separando del paracono, al mismo tiempo que se desarrolla un valle en posición anterior.

  7. Depositional Environment of Mio-Pliocene Siwalik Sedimentary Strata from the Darjeeling Himalayan Foothills, India: A Palynological Approach

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    More, Sandip; Paruya, Dipak Kumar; Taral, Suchana; Chakraborty, Tapan; Bera, Subir

    2016-01-01

    A rich and diverse palynoassemblage recovered from the Churanthi River section (26°53' 59.3" N, 88°34' 17.2" E), Darjeeling foothills Eastern Himalaya, has yielded 87 species assigned to 69 genera. The palynoassemblage is rich in angiosperm taxa (45.63%) followed by gymnosperms (0.45%), pteridophytes (18.49%) and fungal remains (23.88%). Based on their nearest living relatives, a wet evergreen to semi-evergreen forest under a humid tropical to sub-tropical environment during the Mio-Pliocene age has been suggested. A lot of angiosperms such as Palaeosantalaceaepites, Araliaceoipollenites, Malvacearampollis, Zonocostites, Neocouperipollis, Dicolpopollis, Palmidites, Palmaepollenites, isolated salt glands of mangrove plant leaves (Heliospermopsis) and Mediaverrunites type of fungal spores, along with ichnofossils like Planolites, Palaeophycus, Skolithos, Rosselia, Ophiomorpha and Teichichnus associated with rippled mudstone-siltstone suggest an environment strongly influenced by brackish water. Primary sedimentary structures in the associated strata indicate strong wave agitation common in shallow marine setting. Some high elevation components (5.14%) such as Alnipollenites, cf. Corylus (Betulaceae), Juglanspollenites, Engelhardtioipollenites (Juglandaceae), Quercoides, Cupuliferoidaepollenites, Lithocarpus, Castanopsis (Fagaceae), Abietineaepollenites (Pinaceae) represent hinterland vegetation possibly transported to the prograding deltaic coastline by the rivers. Reworked palynotaxa (Striatopodocarpites sp., Striatites sp., Faunipollenites sp., Circumstriatites sp., Crescentipollenites sp., Cuneatisporites sp., Parasaccites sp., Scheuringipollenites sp., Rhizomaspora sp., Marsupipollenites sp., Lophotriletes sp.) of Permian age have also been recorded in the palynoassemblage (11.55%) indicating the abundance of Permian Gondwana strata in the source area. PMID:26930664

  8. Revised Chronology for the Mio-Pliocene Successions of the Eastern Paratethys: Towards a Better Understanding of Paleoenvironmental Change

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    Krijgsman, W.; Chang, L.; Baak, C. V.; Palcu, D.; Vasiliev, I.

    2014-12-01

    Paratethys is a large epicontinental sea, stretching from Germany to China at the beginning of the Oligocene (~34 Myr ago), that progressively retreated by a complex combination of basin infill, glacio-eustatic sea-level lowering and tectonic uplift to its present-day remnants: Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Aral Lake. Paratethys experienced major paleoenvironmental changes towards anoxic, hypersaline, and fresh water conditions. An accurate geological time scale (GTS) is crucial to understand the timing and rates of these change and to determine the underlying mechanisms. Geological time scales for the Paratethys region are notoriously controversial and encompass mainly regional stages, which are all defined on the basis of characteristic faunal assemblages (mainly mollusks and ostracods) endemic to the Paratethys Sea. During the last decade, we have performed numerous integrated magneto-biostratigraphic studies on the Mio-Pliocene sedimentary successions of the Eastern Paratethys, which resulted in revised chronological frameworks for the Dacian, Black Sea and Caspian Sea basins. This allows high-resolution stratigraphic correlations between the individual Paratethys subbasins and with the Mediterranean successions and help to better understand the dramatic paleoenvironmental changes in the region, such as the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Rock magnetic analyses of the sedimentary sequences of the Paratethys indicate that greigite is the main magnetic carrier and that a range of magnetic properties cannot be explained by the presence of diagenetic greigite, but are instead consistent with those expected for a biogenetic (bacterial) origin.

  9. Depositional Environment of Mio-Pliocene Siwalik Sedimentary Strata from the Darjeeling Himalayan Foothills, India: A Palynological Approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    More, Sandip; Paruya, Dipak Kumar; Taral, Suchana; Chakraborty, Tapan; Bera, Subir

    2016-01-01

    A rich and diverse palynoassemblage recovered from the Churanthi River section (26°53' 59.3" N, 88°34' 17.2" E), Darjeeling foothills Eastern Himalaya, has yielded 87 species assigned to 69 genera. The palynoassemblage is rich in angiosperm taxa (45.63%) followed by gymnosperms (0.45%), pteridophytes (18.49%) and fungal remains (23.88%). Based on their nearest living relatives, a wet evergreen to semi-evergreen forest under a humid tropical to sub-tropical environment during the Mio-Pliocene age has been suggested. A lot of angiosperms such as Palaeosantalaceaepites, Araliaceoipollenites, Malvacearampollis, Zonocostites, Neocouperipollis, Dicolpopollis, Palmidites, Palmaepollenites, isolated salt glands of mangrove plant leaves (Heliospermopsis) and Mediaverrunites type of fungal spores, along with ichnofossils like Planolites, Palaeophycus, Skolithos, Rosselia, Ophiomorpha and Teichichnus associated with rippled mudstone-siltstone suggest an environment strongly influenced by brackish water. Primary sedimentary structures in the associated strata indicate strong wave agitation common in shallow marine setting. Some high elevation components (5.14%) such as Alnipollenites, cf. Corylus (Betulaceae), Juglanspollenites, Engelhardtioipollenites (Juglandaceae), Quercoides, Cupuliferoidaepollenites, Lithocarpus, Castanopsis (Fagaceae), Abietineaepollenites (Pinaceae) represent hinterland vegetation possibly transported to the prograding deltaic coastline by the rivers. Reworked palynotaxa (Striatopodocarpites sp., Striatites sp., Faunipollenites sp., Circumstriatites sp., Crescentipollenites sp., Cuneatisporites sp., Parasaccites sp., Scheuringipollenites sp., Rhizomaspora sp., Marsupipollenites sp., Lophotriletes sp.) of Permian age have also been recorded in the palynoassemblage (11.55%) indicating the abundance of Permian Gondwana strata in the source area. PMID:26930664

  10. Petrogenesis of the Eocene and Mio Pliocene alkaline basaltic magmatism in Meseta Chile Chico, southern Patagonia, Chile: Evidence for the participation of two slab windows

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    Espinoza, Felipe; Morata, Diego; Pelleter, Ewan; Maury, René C.; Suárez, Manuel; Lagabrielle, Yves; Polvé, Mireille; Bellon, Hervé; Cotten, Joseph; De la Cruz, Rita; Guivel, Christelle

    2005-06-01

    The Meseta Chile Chico (MCC, 46.4°S) is the westernmost exposure of Eocene (lower basaltic sequence, LBS; 55-40 Ma, K-Ar ages) and Mio-Pliocene (upper basaltic sequence, UBS; 16-4 Ma, K-Ar ages) flood basalt volcanism in Patagonia. The MCC is located south of the Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires (LGCBA), southeast from the present day Chile Triple Junction (CTJ), east of the actual volcanic gap between Southern South Volcanic Zone and Austral Volcanic Zone (SSVZ and AVZ, respectively) and just above the inferred location of the South Chile Ridge segment subducted at ˜6 Ma (SCR-1). Erupted products consist of mainly ne-normative olivine basalt with minor hy-normative tholeiites basalt, trachybasalt and basanite. MCC lavas are alkaline (42.7-53.1 wt.% SiO 2, 3-8 wt.% Na 2O+K 2O) and relatively primitive (Ni: 133-360 ppm, Cr: 161-193 ppm, Co: 35-72 ppm, 4-16.5 MgO wt.%). They have a marked OIB-like signature, as shown by their isotopic compositions ( 87Sr/ 86Sr o=0.70311-0.70414 and ɛNd=+4.7-+5.1) and their incompatible trace elements ratios (Ba/La=10-20, La/Nb=0.46-1.09, Ce/Pb=15.52-27.5, Sr/La1, Sr/La>25, low Ce/Pb, Nb/U) compatible with contamination by arc/slab-derived and/or crustal components. We propose that the genesis and extrusion of magmas is related to the opening of two slab windows due to the subduction of two active ridge segments beneath Patagonia during Eocene and Mio-Pliocene.

  11. The diet of Australopithecus sediba.

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    Henry, Amanda G; Ungar, Peter S; Passey, Benjamin H; Sponheimer, Matt; Rossouw, Lloyd; Bamford, Marion; Sandberg, Paul; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee

    2012-07-01

    Specimens of Australopithecus sediba from the site of Malapa, South Africa (dating from approximately 2 million years (Myr) ago) present a mix of primitive and derived traits that align the taxon with other Australopithecus species and with early Homo. Although much of the available cranial and postcranial material of Au. sediba has been described, its feeding ecology has not been investigated. Here we present results from the first extraction of plant phytoliths from dental calculus of an early hominin. We also consider stable carbon isotope and dental microwear texture data for Au. sediba in light of new palaeoenvironmental evidence. The two individuals examined consumed an almost exclusive C(3) diet that probably included harder foods, and both dicotyledons (for example, tree leaves, fruits, wood and bark) and monocotyledons (for example, grasses and sedges). Like Ardipithecus ramidus (approximately 4.4 Myr ago) and modern savanna chimpanzees, Au. sediba consumed C(3) foods in preference to widely available C(4) resources. The inferred consumption of C(3) monocotyledons, and wood or bark, increases the known variety of early hominin foods. The overall dietary pattern of these two individuals contrasts with available data for other hominins in the region and elsewhere. PMID:22763449

  12. Metacarpal proportions in Australopithecus africanus.

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    Green, David J; Gordon, Adam D

    2008-05-01

    Recent work has shown that, despite being craniodentally more derived, Australopithecus africanus had more apelike limb-size proportions than A. afarensis. Here, we test whether the A. africanus hand, as judged by metacarpal shaft and articular proportions, was similarly apelike. More specifically, did A. africanus have a short and narrow first metacarpal (MC1) relative to the other metacarpals? Proportions of both MC breadth and length were considered: the geometric mean (GM) of articular and midshaft measurements of MC1 breadth was compared to those of MC2-4, and MC1 length was compared to MC3 length individually and also to the GM of MC2 and 3 lengths. To compare the extant hominoid sample with an incomplete A. africanus fossil record (11 attributed metacarpals), a resampling procedure imposed sampling constraints on the comparative groups that produced composite intrahand ratios. Resampled ratios in the extant sample are not significantly different from actual ratios based on associated elements, demonstrating the methodological appropriateness of this technique. Australopithecus africanus metacarpals do not differ significantly from the great apes in the comparison of breadth ratios but are significantly greater than chimpanzees and orangutans in both measures of relative length. Conversely, A. africanus has a significantly smaller breadth ratio than modern humans, but does not significantly differ from this group in either measure of relative length. We conclude that the first metacarpals of A. africanus are more apelike in relative breadth while also being more humanlike in relative length, a finding consistent with previous work on A. afarensis hand proportions. This configuration would have likely promoted a high degree of manipulative dexterity, but the relatively slender, apelike first metacarpal suggests that A. africanus did not place the same mechanical demands on the thumb as more recent, stone-tool-producing hominins. PMID:18191176

  13. Mandibular development in Australopithecus robustus.

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    Cofran, Zachary

    2014-07-01

    Australopithecus robustus has a distinct mandibular anatomy, with a broad and deep corpus and a tall, relatively upright ramus. How this anatomy arose through development is unknown, as gross mandibular size and shape change have not been thoroughly examined quantitatively in this species. Herein, I investigate A. robustus mandibular growth by comparing its ontogenetic series with a sample of recent humans, examining age-related size variation in 28 linear measurements. Resampling is used to compare the amount of proportional size change occurring between tooth eruption stages in the small and fragmentary A. robustus sample, with that of a more complete human skeletal population. Ontogenetic allometry of corpus robusticity is also assessed with least squares regression. Results show that nearly all measurements experience greater average increase in A. robustus than in humans. Most notably, A. robustus corpus breadth undergoes a spurt of growth before eruption of M1 , likely due in part to delayed resorption of the ramus root on the lateral corpus. Between the occlusion of M1 and M2 , nearly all dimensions experience greater proportional size change in A. robustus. Nested resampling analysis affirms that this pattern of growth differences between species is biologically significant, and not a mere byproduct of the fossil sample size. Some species differences are likely a function of postcanine megadontia in A. robustus, although the causes of other differences are less clear. This study demonstrates an important role of the postnatal period for mandibular shape development in this species. PMID:24820665

  14. Molar microwear textures and the diets of Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis

    OpenAIRE

    Ungar, Peter S.; Scott, Robert S.; Grine, Frederick E.; Teaford, Mark F.

    2010-01-01

    Many researchers have suggested that Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis were among the earliest hominins to have diets that included hard, brittle items. Here we examine dental microwear textures of these hominins for evidence of this. The molars of three Au. anamensis and 19 Au. afarensis specimens examined preserve unobscured antemortem microwear. Microwear textures of these individuals closely resemble those of Paranthropus boisei, having lower complexity values than...

  15. Did Australopithecus and Homo co-exist

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Uranium series isotope dating of the tufas at Taung/Buxton suggests a considerably younger age for the Taung child (Australopithecus africanus) than has hitherto been accepted. If this later date is confirmed, it will necessitate a re-think of the evolutionary tree of Man and his ancestors

  16. The endocast of MH1, Australopithecus sediba.

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    Carlson, Kristian J; Stout, Dietrich; Jashashvili, Tea; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Tafforeau, Paul; Carlson, Keely; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    The virtual endocast of MH1 (Australopithecus sediba), obtained from high-quality synchrotron scanning, reveals generally australopith-like convolutional patterns on the frontal lobes but also some foreshadowing of features of the human frontal lobes, such as posterior repositioning of the olfactory bulbs. Principal component analysis of orbitofrontal dimensions on australopith endocasts (MH1, Sts 5, and Sts 60) indicates that among these, MH1 orbitofrontal shape and organization align most closely with human endocasts. These results are consistent with gradual neural reorganization of the orbitofrontal region in the transition from Australopithecus to Homo, but given the small volume of the MH1 endocast, they are not consistent with gradual brain enlargement before the transition. PMID:21903804

  17. The vertebral column of Australopithecus sediba.

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    Williams, Scott A; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Frater, Nakita; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    Two partial vertebral columns of Australopithecus sediba grant insight into aspects of early hominin spinal mobility, lumbar curvature, vertebral formula, and transitional vertebra position. Au. sediba likely possessed five non-rib-bearing lumbar vertebrae and five sacral elements, the same configuration that occurs modally in modern humans. This finding contrasts with other interpretations of early hominin regional vertebral numbers. Importantly, the transitional vertebra is distinct from and above the last rib-bearing vertebra in Au. sediba, resulting in a functionally longer lower back. This configuration, along with a strongly wedged last lumbar vertebra and other indicators of lordotic posture, would have contributed to a highly flexible spine that is derived compared with earlier members of the genus Australopithecus and similar to that of the Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton. PMID:23580532

  18. Relative cheek-tooth size in Australopithecus.

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    McHenry, H M

    1984-07-01

    Until the discovery of Australopithecus afarensis, cheek-tooth megadontia was unequivocally one of the defining characteristics of the australopithecine grade in human evolution along with bipedalism and small brains. This species, however, has an average postcanine area of 757 mm2, which is more like Homo habilis (759 mm2) than A. africanus (856 mm2). But what is its relative cheek-tooth size in comparison to body size? One approach to this question is to compare postcanine tooth area to estimated body weight. By this method all Australopithecus species are megadont: they have cheek teeth 1.7 to 2.3 times larger than modern hominoids of similar body size. The series from A. afarensis to A. africanus to A. robustus to A. boisei shows strong positive allometry indicating increasing megadontia through time. The series from H. habilis to H. erectus to H. sapiens shows strong negative allometry which implies a sharp reduction in the relative size of the posterior teeth. Postcanine megadontia in Australopithecus species can also be demonstrated by comparing tooth size and body size in associated skeletons: A. afarensis (represented by A.L. 288-1) has a cheek-tooth size 2.8 times larger than expected from modern hominoids; A. africanus (Sts 7) and A. robustus (TM 1517) are over twice the expected size. The evolutionary transition from the megadont condition of Australopithecus to the trend of decreasing megadontia seen in the Homo lineage may have occurred between 3.0 and 2.5 m.y. from A. afarensis to H.habilis but other evidence indicates that it is more likely to have occurred between 2.5 to 2.0 m.y. from an A. africanus-like form to H. habilis. PMID:6433716

  19. The subtalar joint complex of Australopithecus sediba.

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    Prang, Thomas C

    2016-01-01

    The hominin talus has figured prominently in previous studies of the functional morphology of the talocrural joint, but the talocalcaneal and talonavicular joints have received comparatively less attention despite their functional importance as components of the subtalar joint complex. An associated complete talus and calcaneus attributed to the Malapa Hominin 2 (MH2) individual of Australopithecus sediba offers the opportunity to evaluate the subtalar joint complex in an early hominin. Furthermore, detailed morphological comparisons of A. sediba to other fossil hominins such as Australopithecus africanus have not yet been conducted. Here I quantify joint curvatures and angular measurements among extant hominoids and fossil hominins to evaluate the functional morphology of the subtalar joint complex of A. sediba. Australopithecus sediba uniquely combines talocalcaneal joint morphology indicative of mobility with specializations of the talonavicular joint that provide medial midtarsal stabilization. Multivariate analyses of talus and calcaneus variables show that A. sediba is most similar to extant gorillas in the morphology of the subtalar joint complex. In contrast, other hominins, such as OH 8, are more similar to modern humans. The morphological similarity between MH2 (U.W. 88-98/99) and specimens from Sterkfontein, Member 4 (StW 88, StW 102, StW 352) in morphologies of the talonavicular and talocalcaneal joints suggests that A. sediba may have possessed a foot that was functionally similar to that of A. africanus. This combination of morphologies in the A. sediba foot is probably derived among hominins and suggests that arboreality may have been adaptively significant for southern African Australopithecus. PMID:26767963

  20. Variability of Australopithecus second maxillary molars from Sterkfontein Member 4.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fornai, Cinzia; Bookstein, Fred L; Weber, Gerhard W

    2015-08-01

    The question of how many Australopithecus species lived at Sterkfontein Member 4 and Makapansgat continues to be controversial inasmuch as the fossils are poorly preserved, the stratigraphy is difficult to interpret, and the cranial, dental, and postcranial remains are mostly not associated. To proceed we applied the most intensive modern methods of 3D geometric morphometrics to dental form, specifically the shapes of the upper second molars (M(2)s) in a sample combining 13 Australopithecus, 11 Paranthropus, and 23 Homo. We analyzed outer and inner crown surfaces, as well as crown and cervical outlines both separately and together, using a total of 16 landmarks, 51 curve semilandmarks, and 48 pseudolandmarks over the four structures. Outer and inner enamel surfaces are highly correlated in this dataset, while crown outline is the least informative of the four structures. Homo was easily distinguished from both Australopithecus and Paranthropus by these methods, likewise Homo sapiens from Homo neanderthalensis. There were, however, no stable classes within the Australopithecus sample or between Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Instead, there was a gradient along which Australopithecus prometheus and Australopithecus africanus lie toward the extremes, with Paranthropus overlapping both. If there are indeed different species at this site, then either their M(2) morphologies are uninformative or else the present sample is too small to make an accurate assessment. Our findings suggest that the variability of the Australopithecus specimens will be difficult to interpret authoritatively, independent of the method used. PMID:26163295

  1. Molar microwear textures and the diets of Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ungar, Peter S; Scott, Robert S; Grine, Frederick E; Teaford, Mark F

    2010-10-27

    Many researchers have suggested that Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis were among the earliest hominins to have diets that included hard, brittle items. Here we examine dental microwear textures of these hominins for evidence of this. The molars of three Au. anamensis and 19 Au. afarensis specimens examined preserve unobscured antemortem microwear. Microwear textures of these individuals closely resemble those of Paranthropus boisei, having lower complexity values than Australopithecus africanus and especially Paranthropus robustus. The microwear texture complexity values for Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis are similar to those of the grass-eating Theropithecus gelada and folivorous Alouatta palliata and Trachypithecus cristatus. This implies that these Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis individuals did not have diets dominated by hard, brittle foods shortly before their deaths. On the other hand, microwear texture anisotropy values for these taxa are lower on average than those of Theropithecus, Alouatta or Trachypithecus. This suggests that the fossil taxa did not have diets dominated by tough foods either, or if they did that directions of tooth-tooth movement were less constrained than in higher cusped and sharper crested extant primate grass eaters and folivores. PMID:20855308

  2. Becoming a hominid: Notes on the early taxonomy of Australopithecus

    OpenAIRE

    Štrkalj, Goran

    2000-01-01

    The paper attempts to trace the first suggestions that the Australopithecus as a member of the family Hominidae is to be found in the works of the German anthropologist Paul Adloff and the American scientist Dudley J. Morton. Adloff's and especially Morton's views, although largely neglected at the time when they were first articulated, represent the first steps towards the modern position on the taxonomy of Australopithecus.

  3. Anterior dental evolution in the Australopithecus anamensis–afarensis lineage

    OpenAIRE

    Carol V. Ward; Plavcan, J. Michael; Fredrick K. Manthi

    2010-01-01

    Australopithecus anamensis is the earliest known species of the Australopithecus–human clade and is the likely ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis. Investigating possible selective pressures underlying these changes is key to understanding the patterns of selection shaping the origins and early evolution of the Australopithecus–human clade. During the course of the Au. anamensis–afarensis lineage, significant changes appear to occur particularly in the anterior dentition, but also in jaw s...

  4. No brain expansion in Australopithecus boisei.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawks, John

    2011-10-01

    The endocranial volumes of robust australopithecine fossils appear to have increased in size over time. Most evidence with temporal resolution is concentrated in East African Australopithecus boisei. Including the KNM-WT 17000 cranium, this sample comprises 11 endocranial volume estimates ranging in date from 2.5 million to 1.4 million years ago. But the sample presents several difficulties to a test of trend, including substantial estimation error for some specimens and an unusually low variance. This study reevaluates the evidence, using randomization methods and a related test using an explicit model of variability. None of these tests applied to the A. boisei endocranial volume sample produces significant evidence for a trend in that species, whether or not the early KNM-WT 17000 specimen is included. PMID:21915845

  5. The upper limb of Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Churchill, Steven E; Holliday, Trenton W; Carlson, Kristian J; Jashashvili, Tea; Macias, Marisa E; Mathews, Sandra; Sparling, Tawnee L; Schmid, Peter; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    The evolution of the human upper limb involved a change in function from its use for both locomotion and prehension (as in apes) to a predominantly prehensile and manipulative role. Well-preserved forelimb remains of 1.98-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa, contribute to our understanding of this evolutionary transition. Whereas other aspects of their postcranial anatomy evince mosaic combinations of primitive (australopith-like) and derived (Homo-like) features, the upper limbs (excluding the hand and wrist) of the Malapa hominins are predominantly primitive and suggest the retention of substantial climbing and suspensory ability. The use of the forelimb primarily for prehension and manipulation appears to arise later, likely with the emergence of Homo erectus. PMID:23580536

  6. A partial pelvis of Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kibii, Job M; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Carlson, Kristian J; Reed, Nichelle D; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    The fossil record of the hominin pelvis reflects important evolutionary changes in locomotion and parturition. The partial pelves of two individuals of Australopithecus sediba were reconstructed from previously reported finds and new material. These remains share some features with australopiths, such as large biacetabular diameter, small sacral and coxal joints, and long pubic rami. The specimens also share derived features with Homo, including more vertically oriented and sigmoid-shaped iliac blades, greater robusticity of the iliac body, sinusoidal anterior iliac borders, shortened ischia, and more superiorly oriented pubic rami. These derived features appear in a species with a small adult brain size, suggesting that the birthing of larger-brained babies was not driving the evolution of the pelvis at this time. PMID:21903805

  7. Anterior dental evolution in the Australopithecus anamensis-afarensis lineage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Carol V; Plavcan, J Michael; Manthi, Fredrick K

    2010-10-27

    Australopithecus anamensis is the earliest known species of the Australopithecus-human clade and is the likely ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis. Investigating possible selective pressures underlying these changes is key to understanding the patterns of selection shaping the origins and early evolution of the Australopithecus-human clade. During the course of the Au. anamensis-afarensis lineage, significant changes appear to occur particularly in the anterior dentition, but also in jaw structure and molar form, suggesting selection for altered diet and/or food processing. Specifically, canine tooth crown height does not change, but maxillary canines and P(3)s become shorter mesiodistally, canine tooth crowns become more symmetrical in profile and P(3)s less unicuspid. Canine roots diminish in size and dimorphism, especially relative to the size of the postcanine teeth. Molar crowns become higher. Tooth rows become more divergent and symphyseal form changes. Dietary change involving anterior dental use is also suggested by less intense anterior tooth wear in Au. afarensis. These dental changes signal selection for altered dietary behaviour and explain some differences in craniofacial form between these taxa. These data identify Au. anamensis not just as a more primitive version of Au. afarensis, but as a dynamic member of an evolving lineage leading to Au. afarensis, and raise intriguing questions about what other evolutionary changes occurred during the early evolution of the Australopithecus-human clade, and what characterized the origins of the group. PMID:20855307

  8. Phenetic and functional analyses of the distal ulna of Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tallman, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    The morphology of the distal portion of the hominoid ulna is poorly studied despite its important functional role at the wrist joint. There are five qualitatively well-described fossil hominin distal ulnae belonging to Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus, but there have been few efforts to quantify their morphology or relate it to their functional abilities. This article presents an effort to do so, using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to analyze the shape of the distal ulna of the Plio-Pleistocene hominins and an extant comparative sample of great apes and humans. For the extant taxa, results show that the morphology of Pan and Pongo is distinct from that of Homo, and that these differences are likely related to climbing, clambering and below-branch suspension in the former, and the release of the limbs from locomotion and (potentially) tool manufacture in the latter. For the australopiths, results indicate that the A. afarensis sample is relatively heterogeneous. These results are driven by the morphology of A.L. 333-12, which is the largest ulna in the sample and has a unique combination of traits when compared with the other two A. afarensis specimens. Overall, the morphology of all the hominins was most consistent with the pattern displayed by extant great apes, and specifically Pan and Pongo; however, large overlap in shape in the distal ulna in the extant sample indicates that other areas of the skeleton may be more informative for functional analyses. PMID:25529241

  9. An early Australopithecus afarensis postcranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Latimer, Bruce M; Alene, Mulugeta; Deino, Alan L; Gibert, Luis; Melillo, Stephanie M; Saylor, Beverly Z; Scott, Gary R; Lovejoy, C Owen

    2010-07-01

    Only one partial skeleton that includes both forelimb and hindlimb elements has been reported for Australopithecus afarensis. The diminutive size of this specimen (A.L. 288-1 ["Lucy"]) has hampered our understanding of the paleobiology of this species absent the potential impact of allometry. Here we describe a large-bodied (i.e., well within the range of living Homo) specimen that, at 3.58 Ma, also substantially antedates A.L. 288-1. It provides fundamental evidence of limb proportions, thoracic form, and locomotor heritage in Australopithecus afarensis. Together, these characteristics further establish that bipedality in Australopithecus was highly evolved and that thoracic form differed substantially from that of either extant African ape. PMID:20566837

  10. The foot and ankle of Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zipfel, Bernhard; DeSilva, Jeremy M; Kidd, Robert S; Carlson, Kristian J; Churchill, Steven E; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    A well-preserved and articulated partial foot and ankle of Australopithecus sediba, including an associated complete adult distal tibia, talus, and calcaneus, have been discovered at the Malapa site, South Africa, and reported in direct association with the female paratype Malapa Hominin 2. These fossils reveal a mosaic of primitive and derived features that are distinct from those seen in other hominins. The ankle (talocrural) joint is mostly humanlike in form and inferred function, and there is some evidence for a humanlike arch and Achilles tendon. However, Au. sediba is apelike in possessing a more gracile calcaneal body and a more robust medial malleolus than expected. These observations suggest, if present models of foot function are correct, that Au. sediba may have practiced a unique form of bipedalism and some degree of arboreality. Given the combination of features in the Au. sediba foot, as well as comparisons between Au. sediba and older hominins, homoplasy is implied in the acquisition of bipedal adaptations in the hominin foot. PMID:21903807

  11. Reassessing manual proportions in Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolian, Campbell; Gordon, Adam D

    2013-11-01

    Previous analyses of hand morphology in Australopithecus afarensis have concluded that this taxon had modern human-like manual proportions, with relatively long thumbs and short fingers. These conclusions are based on the A.L.333 composite fossil assemblage from Hadar, Ethiopia, and are premised on the ability to assign phalanges to a single individual, and to the correct side and digit. Neither assignment is secure, however, given the taphonomy and sample composition at A.L.333. We use a resampling approach that includes the entire assemblage of complete hand elements at Hadar, and takes into account uncertainties in identifying phalanges by individual, side and digit number. This approach provides the most conservative estimates of manual proportions in Au. afarensis. We resampled hand long bone lengths in Au. afarensis and extant hominoids, and obtained confidence limits for distributions of manual proportions in the latter. Results confirm that intrinsic manual proportions in Au. afarensis are dissimilar to Pan and Pongo. However, manual proportions in Au. afarensis often fall at the upper end of the distribution in Gorilla, and very lower end in Homo, corresponding to disproportionately short thumbs and long medial digits in Homo. This suggests that manual proportions in Au. afarensis, particularly metacarpal proportions, were not as derived towards Homo as previously described, but rather are intermediate between gorillas and humans. Functionally, these results suggest Au. afarensis could not produce precision grips with the same efficiency as modern humans, which may in part account for the absence of lithic technology in this fossil taxon. PMID:24104947

  12. Evolution of the mandibular third premolar crown in early Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delezene, Lucas K; Kimbel, William H

    2011-06-01

    The Pliocene hominins Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis likely represent ancestor-descendent taxa--possibly an anagenetic lineage--and capture significant change in the morphology of the canine and mandibular third premolar (P(3)) crowns, dental elements that form the canine honing complex in nonhuman catarrhines. This study focuses on the P(3) crown, highlighting plesiomorphic features in A. anamensis. The A. afarensis P(3) crown, in contrast, is variable in its expression of apomorphic features that are characteristic of geologically younger hominins. Temporal variation characterizes each taxon as well. The A. anamensis P(3) from Allia Bay, Kenya expresses apomorphic character states, shared with A. afarensis, which are not seen in the older sample of A. anamensis P(3)s from Kanapoi, Kenya, while spatiotemporal differences in shape exist within the A. afarensis hypodigm. The accumulation of derived features in A. afarensis results in an increased level of P(3) molarisation. P(3) molarisation did not evolve concurrent with postcanine megadontia and neither did the appearance of derived aspects of P(3) occlusal form coincide with the loss of canine honing in hominins, which is apparent prior to the origin of the genus Australopithecus. A. afarensis P(3) variation reveals the independence of shape, size, and occlusal form. The evolution of the P(3) crown in early Australopithecus bridges the wide morphological gap that exists between geologically younger hominins on the one hand and extant apes and Ardipithecus on the other. PMID:21481921

  13. Microwear, mechanics and the feeding adaptations of Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strait, David S; Weber, Gerhard W; 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; Wang, Qian; Byron, Craig; Slice, Dennis E

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies of dental microwear and craniofacial mechanics have yielded contradictory interpretations regarding the feeding ecology and adaptations of Australopithecus africanus. As part of this debate, the methods used in the mechanical studies have been criticized. In particular, it has been claimed that finite element analysis has been poorly applied to this research question. This paper responds to some of these mechanical criticisms, highlights limitations of dental microwear analysis, and identifies avenues of future research. PMID:22130183

  14. Diet of Australopithecus afarensis from the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Ethiopia

    OpenAIRE

    Wynn, Jonathan G.; Sponheimer, Matt; Kimbel, William H.; Alemseged, Zeresenay; Reed, Kaye; Bedaso, Zelalem K.; Wilson, Jessica N.

    2013-01-01

    The enhanced dietary flexibility of early hominins to include consumption of C4/crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) foods (i.e., foods derived from grasses, sedges, and succulents common in tropical savannas and deserts) likely represents a significant ecological and behavioral distinction from both extant great apes and the last common ancestor that we shared with great apes. Here, we use stable carbon isotopic data from 20 samples of Australopithecus afarensis from Hadar and Dikika, Ethiopia...

  15. New fission-track ages of mio-pliocene tuffs in the Sierras Pampeanas and Precordillera of Argentina

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fission-track dates were determined for 18 volcanic tuff horizons located in nine Neogene foreland basin sequences distributed throughout the Precordillera and Sierras Pampeanas of Northwestern Argentina, an area of nearly horizontal subduction. These and other data indicate that a lower age limit for the sedimentary sequences studied is approximately 17 Ma. Therefore these fission-track dates constrain both the history of volcanic activity and the time of deposition in several foreland basins from the middle Miocene to Recent. Although the dates range from 3.6±0.8 Ma to 17.0±1.9 Ma, there is a marked increase in the number of ashes younger than 9 Ma. This implies that two distinct episodes of volcanic activity affected the region. The source of some of these tuffs is unknown but they are probably limited to the 'flat-slab' region between 27 deg and 32 deg S. Tuffs at Rio Blanco and Santa Florentina that are spatially associated with the Mogotes dacite domes of the Famatina Range represented magmatism bracketed from about 7 to 4 Ma in the region underlain by the flat-subducted plate. The stratigraphic relations in the basins show that the faulting that uplifted Sierra de Famatina was contemporaneous with the volcanism which reached the surface along the bounding faults. (Author)

  16. Hydrogen isotopes on organic compounds express large hydrological changes in the Mio-Pliocene of the Dacian Basin (Romania)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasiliev, Iuliana; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Krijgsman, Wout

    2016-04-01

    During the late Miocene to Pliocene (˜11 to 3 Ma) large part of the southern Eurasian interior was covered by the Eastern Paratethys epicontinental sea. The western most part of the Eastern Paratethys was occupied by the Dacian Basin, in the foredeep of the Carpathians. The active subsidence in the front of the Carpathians led to the fast accumulation of up to 10 km think sedimentary load in the Dacian Basin, all during the latest Miocene and Pliocene. These deposits are now tilted and well exposed along river section in the Carpathian Foredeep. Here we are reconstructing the large-scale changes of hydrologic budget in the Dacian Basin area over a long time interval (8 to 2.5 Ma). The sampled Rîmnicu S\\varat Valley section covers the Messinian salinity crisis interval, times when the adjacent Mediterranean basin suffered severe restrictions of its connections to the Ocean and, subsequently was flooded by the Atlantic at the beginning of Pliocene. We are using compound-specific hydrogen isotopic composition (δD) measured on n-alkanes produced by plant waxes. We focus our analysis on long-chained δDn‑alkanes (n-C27 to n-C33) derived from the vascular plant waxes. The saturated hydrocarbon fraction of the extractable organic matter identified in the a-polar fraction of Rîmnicu S\\varat Valley is dominated by a homologous series of n-alkanes ranging from n-C16 to n-C35. The long-chain (>C25), predominantly odd-carbon number homologues are prevailing which is typical for terrestrial higher plant derived n-alkanes, indicating an important terrestrial organic matter input. The ˜ 60 ‰ amplitude of changes for seven consecutive sampled levels measured from both δDn-C17‑21 and δDn-C27‑31 can be majorly explained by significant changes in the stable hydrogen isotope ratios characterizing the Dacian basin waters and the meteoric waters reaching the Dacian Basin. This indicates that the hydrological regime in Dacian paleo-basin has significantly varied, with heaviest δD values being recorded from a time-interval corresponding to the exceptionally dry Messinian salinity crisis of the Mediterranean.

  17. Sawfishes and Other Elasmobranch Assemblages from the Mio-Pliocene of the South Caribbean (Urumaco Sequence, Northwestern Venezuela)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-01-01

    The Urumaco stratigraphic sequence, western Venezuela, preserves a variety of paleoenvironments that include terrestrial, riverine, lacustrine and marine facies. A wide range of fossil vertebrates associated with these facies supports the hypothesis of an estuary in that geographic area connected with a hydrographic system that flowed from western Amazonia up to the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. Here the elasmobranch assemblages of the middle Miocene to middle Pliocene section of the Urumaco sequence (Socorro, Urumaco and Codore formations) are described. Based on new findings, we document at least 21 taxa of the Lamniformes, Carcharhiniformes, Myliobatiformes and Rajiformes, and describe a new carcharhiniform species (†Carcharhinus caquetius sp. nov.). Moreover, the Urumaco Formation has a high number of well-preserved fossil Pristis rostra, for which we provide a detailed taxonomic revision, and referral in the context of the global Miocene record of Pristis as well as extant species. Using the habitat preference of the living representatives, we hypothesize that the fossil chondrichthyan assemblages from the Urumaco sequence are evidence for marine shallow waters and estuarine habitats. PMID:26488163

  18. Sawfishes and Other Elasmobranch Assemblages from the Mio-Pliocene of the South Caribbean (Urumaco Sequence, Northwestern Venezuela.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge D Carrillo-Briceño

    Full Text Available The Urumaco stratigraphic sequence, western Venezuela, preserves a variety of paleoenvironments that include terrestrial, riverine, lacustrine and marine facies. A wide range of fossil vertebrates associated with these facies supports the hypothesis of an estuary in that geographic area connected with a hydrographic system that flowed from western Amazonia up to the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. Here the elasmobranch assemblages of the middle Miocene to middle Pliocene section of the Urumaco sequence (Socorro, Urumaco and Codore formations are described. Based on new findings, we document at least 21 taxa of the Lamniformes, Carcharhiniformes, Myliobatiformes and Rajiformes, and describe a new carcharhiniform species (†Carcharhinus caquetius sp. nov.. Moreover, the Urumaco Formation has a high number of well-preserved fossil Pristis rostra, for which we provide a detailed taxonomic revision, and referral in the context of the global Miocene record of Pristis as well as extant species. Using the habitat preference of the living representatives, we hypothesize that the fossil chondrichthyan assemblages from the Urumaco sequence are evidence for marine shallow waters and estuarine habitats.

  19. Mio-Pliocene magmatism in the Baguio Mining District (Luzon, Philippines): age clues to its geodynamic setting

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Baguio mining district (Central Cordillera of Luzon Island) has evolved, from Eocene to recent time, from a marginal basin to an island arc setting, related firstly to a westward subduction and after a subduction polarity reversal by the early Miocene to an eastward subduction. Late Miocene to Quaternary magmatism and tectonics have allowed the deposition of gold and copper. This scenario is consistent with available geological field and isotopic K-Ar ages. (authors)

  20. An early Australopithecus afarensis postcranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia

    OpenAIRE

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Latimer, Bruce M.; Alene, Mulugeta; Deino, Alan L.; Gibert, Luis; Melillo, Stephanie M.; Saylor, Beverly Z.; Scott, Gary R.; Lovejoy, C. Owen

    2010-01-01

    Only one partial skeleton that includes both forelimb and hindlimb elements has been reported for Australopithecus afarensis. The diminutive size of this specimen (A.L. 288-1 ["Lucy"]) has hampered our understanding of the paleobiology of this species absent the potential impact of allometry. Here we describe a large-bodied (i.e., well within the range of living Homo) specimen that, at 3.58 Ma, also substantially antedates A.L. 288–1. It provides fundamental evidence of limb proportions, thor...

  1. Phylogeny of early Australopithecus: new fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille (central Afar, Ethiopia)

    OpenAIRE

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes

    2010-01-01

    The earliest evidence of Australopithecus goes back to ca 4.2 Ma with the first recorded appearance of Australopithecus ‘anamensis’ at Kanapoi, Kenya. Australopithecus afarensis is well documented between 3.6 and 3.0 Ma mainly from deposits at Laetoli (Tanzania) and Hadar (Ethiopia). The phylogenetic relationship of these two ‘species’ is hypothesized as ancestor–descendant. However, the lack of fossil evidence from the time between 3.6 and 3.9 Ma has been one of its weakest points. Recent fi...

  2. Estimating canine tooth crown height in early Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plavcan, J Michael; Ward, Carol V; Paulus, Faydre L

    2009-07-01

    Canine tooth size reduction and the associated reduction in canine dimorphism is a basal hominin character that also provides important evidence for models of behavioral evolution. Two specimens of Australopithecus anamensis (KNM-KP 29287 and KNM-KP 29283) that do not preserve the canine crown, but do preserve the root or alveolus, appear to suggest that canine size variation and canine dimorphism in this species may have been greater than in other hominins. We evaluate canine root and crown dimensions in a series of extant hominoids, and estimate canine crown height in Australopithecus afarensis and A. anamensis. Our results demonstrate that it is possible to generate estimates of canine crown height from basal canine crown and root dimensions with a moderate degree of accuracy. Estimates of maxillary canine crown size for A. anamensis are slightly larger than those of A. afarensis, and are approximately the same size as canines of modern female chimpanzees. Estimated mandibular canine crown height is very similar in the two species. Variation within the A. anamensis sample of estimated canine crown heights is similar to that of modern humans, suggesting a low degree of sexual dimorphism. Inclusion of estimates for KNM-KP 29287 and KNM-KP 29283 does not substantially increase either the estimate of overall canine size or variation for A. anamensis. PMID:19482334

  3. Anterior dental evolution in the Australopithecus anamensis–afarensis lineage

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Carol V.; Plavcan, J. Michael; Manthi, Fredrick K.

    2010-01-01

    Australopithecus anamensis is the earliest known species of the Australopithecus–human clade and is the likely ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis. Investigating possible selective pressures underlying these changes is key to understanding the patterns of selection shaping the origins and early evolution of the Australopithecus–human clade. During the course of the Au. anamensis–afarensis lineage, significant changes appear to occur particularly in the anterior dentition, but also in jaw structure and molar form, suggesting selection for altered diet and/or food processing. Specifically, canine tooth crown height does not change, but maxillary canines and P3s become shorter mesiodistally, canine tooth crowns become more symmetrical in profile and P3s less unicuspid. Canine roots diminish in size and dimorphism, especially relative to the size of the postcanine teeth. Molar crowns become higher. Tooth rows become more divergent and symphyseal form changes. Dietary change involving anterior dental use is also suggested by less intense anterior tooth wear in Au. afarensis. These dental changes signal selection for altered dietary behaviour and explain some differences in craniofacial form between these taxa. These data identify Au. anamensis not just as a more primitive version of Au. afarensis, but as a dynamic member of an evolving lineage leading to Au. afarensis, and raise intriguing questions about what other evolutionary changes occurred during the early evolution of the Australopithecus–human clade, and what characterized the origins of the group. PMID:20855307

  4. Middle Pliocene hominin diversity: Australopithecus deyiremeda and Kenyanthropus platyops.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spoor, Fred; Leakey, Meave G; O'Higgins, Paul

    2016-07-01

    Geometric morphometric shape analyses are used to compare the maxillae of the Kenyanthropus platyops holotype KNM-WT 40000, the Australopithecus deyiremeda holotype BRT-VP-3/1 and other australopiths. The main aim is to explore the relationship between these two specimens and contemporary Australopithecus afarensis Five landmarks placed on lateral views of the maxillae quantify key aspects of the morphology. Generalized Procrustes analyses and principal component analyses of the resulting shape coordinates were performed. The magnitudes of differences in shape and their significances were assessed using Procrustes and Mahalanobis' distances, respectively. Both KNM-WT 40000 and BRT-VP-3/1 show statistically significant differences in maxillary shape from A. afarensis, but do so in dissimilar ways. Moreover, the former differs more from A. afarensis than the latter. KNM-WT 40000 has a more anteriorly positioned zygomatic process with a transversely flat, and more orthognathic subnasal clivus. BRT-VP-3/1 has a more inferiorly positioned zygomatic process, a slightly retracted dental arcade, but without shortening of the anterior maxilla. These findings are consistent with previous conclusions that the two fossils should be attributed to separate species, rather than to A. afarensis, and with the presence of three contemporary hominin species in the Middle Pliocene of eastern Africa.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298462

  5. From Australopithecus to Homo: the transition that wasn't.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimbel, William H; Villmoare, Brian

    2016-07-01

    Although the transition from Australopithecus to Homo is usually thought of as a momentous transformation, the fossil record bearing on the origin and earliest evolution of Homo is virtually undocumented. As a result, the poles of the transition are frequently attached to taxa (e.g. A. afarensis, at ca 3.0 Ma versus H. habilis or H. erectus, at ca 2.0-1.7 Ma) in which substantial adaptive differences have accumulated over significant spans of independent evolution. Such comparisons, in which temporally remote and adaptively divergent species are used to identify a 'transition', lend credence to the idea that genera should be conceived at once as monophyletic clades and adaptively unified grades. However, when the problem is recast in terms of lineages, rather than taxa per se, the adaptive criterion becomes a problem of subjectively privileging 'key' characteristics from what is typically a stepwise pattern of acquisition of novel characters beginning in the basal representatives of a clade. This is the pattern inferred for species usually included in early Homo, including H. erectus, which has often been cast in the role as earliest humanlike hominin. A fresh look at brain size, hand morphology and earliest technology suggests that a number of key Homo attributes may already be present in generalized species of Australopithecus, and that adaptive distinctions in Homo are simply amplifications or extensions of ancient hominin trends.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298460

  6. Premolar microwear and tooth use in Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delezene, Lucas K; Zolnierz, Melissa S; Teaford, Mark F; Kimbel, William H; Grine, Frederick E; Ungar, Peter S

    2013-09-01

    The mandibular third premolar (P3) of Australopithecus afarensis is notable for extensive morphological variability (e.g., metaconid presence/absence, closure of the anterior fovea, root number) and temporal trends in crown length and shape change over its 700 Ka time range. Hominins preceding A. afarensis have unicuspid, mesiodistally elongated P3s with smaller talonids, and subsequent australopiths have bicuspid, more symmetrically-shaped P3 crowns with expanded talonids. For these features, A. afarensis is intermediate and, thus, evinces the incipient stages of P3 molarization. Here, we examine A. afarensis P3 Phase II microwear and compare it with that of Australopithecus africanus and Cercocebus atys, an extant hard-object specialist, to assess whether the role of the P3 in food processing changed over time in A. afarensis. Premolar Phase II microwear textures are also compared with those of the molars to look for evidence of functional differentiation along the tooth row (i.e., that foods with different mechanical properties were processed by separate regions of the postcanine battery). Microwear textures were also examined along the mesial protoconid crest, the site of occlusion with the maxillary canine, of the A. afarensis P3 and compared with the same region in Pan troglodytes to determine whether microwear can be useful for identifying changes in the occlusal relationship between the P3 and maxillary canine in early Australopithecus. Finally, temporal trends in P3 Phase II and mesial microwear are considered. Results indicate that 1) both the P3 and molar Phase II facets of A. afarensis have less complex microwear textures than in A. africanus or C. atys; 2) A. afarensis P3 and molar Phase II textures differ, though not to the extent seen in taxa that eat hard and tough items; 3) microwear along the A. afarensis mesial protoconid crest is clearly distinct from that of the P. troglodytes, indicating that there is no honing equivalent in A. afarensis; and

  7. The lower limb and mechanics of walking in Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeSilva, Jeremy M; Holt, Kenneth G; Churchill, Steven E; Carlson, Kristian J; Walker, Christopher S; Zipfel, Bernhard; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    The discovery of a relatively complete Australopithecus sediba adult female skeleton permits a detailed locomotor analysis in which joint systems can be integrated to form a comprehensive picture of gait kinematics in this late australopith. Here we describe the lower limb anatomy of Au. sediba and hypothesize that this species walked with a fully extended leg and with an inverted foot during the swing phase of bipedal walking. Initial contact of the lateral foot with the ground resulted in a large pronatory torque around the joints of the foot that caused extreme medial weight transfer (hyperpronation) into the toe-off phase of the gait cycle (late pronation). These bipedal mechanics are different from those often reconstructed for other australopiths and suggest that there may have been several forms of bipedalism during the Plio-Pleistocene. PMID:23580534

  8. Human evolution. Human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Matthew M; Stephens, Nicholas B; Tsegai, Zewdi J; Foote, Alexandra C; Nguyen, N Huynh; Gross, Thomas; Pahr, Dieter H; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Kivell, Tracy L

    2015-01-23

    The distinctly human ability for forceful precision and power "squeeze" gripping is linked to two key evolutionary transitions in hand use: a reduction in arboreal climbing and the manufacture and use of tools. However, it is unclear when these locomotory and manipulative transitions occurred. Here we show that Australopithecus africanus (~3 to 2 million years ago) and several Pleistocene hominins, traditionally considered not to have engaged in habitual tool manufacture, have a human-like trabecular bone pattern in the metacarpals consistent with forceful opposition of the thumb and fingers typically adopted during tool use. These results support archaeological evidence for stone tool use in australopiths and provide morphological evidence that Pliocene hominins achieved human-like hand postures much earlier and more frequently than previously considered. PMID:25613885

  9. Mosaic morphology in the thorax of Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmid, Peter; Churchill, Steven E; Nalla, Shahed; Weissen, Eveline; Carlson, Kristian J; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    The shape of the thorax of early hominins has been a point of contention for more than 30 years. Owing to the generally fragmentary nature of fossil hominin ribs, few specimens have been recovered that have rib remains complete enough to allow accurate reassembly of thoracic shape, thus leaving open the question of when the cylindrical-shaped chest of humans and their immediate ancestors evolved. The ribs of Australopithecus sediba exhibit a mediolaterally narrow, ape-like upper thoracic shape, which is unlike the broad upper thorax of Homo that has been related to the locomotor pattern of endurance walking and running. The lower thorax, however, appears less laterally flared than that of apes and more closely approximates the morphology found in humans. PMID:23580537

  10. Geological setting and age of Australopithecus sediba from southern Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dirks, Paul H G M; Kibii, Job M; Kuhn, Brian F; Steininger, Christine; Churchill, Steven E; Kramers, Jan D; Pickering, Robyn; Farber, Daniel L; Mériaux, Anne-Sophie; Herries, Andy I R; King, Geoffrey C P; Berger, Lee R

    2010-04-01

    We describe the geological, geochronological, geomorphological, and faunal context of the Malapa site and the fossils of Australopithecus sediba. The hominins occur with a macrofauna assemblage that existed in Africa between 2.36 and 1.50 million years ago (Ma). The fossils are encased in water-laid, clastic sediments that were deposited along the lower parts of what is now a deeply eroded cave system, immediately above a flowstone layer with a U-Pb date of 2.026 +/- 0.021 Ma. The flowstone has a reversed paleomagnetic signature and the overlying hominin-bearing sediments are of normal polarity, indicating deposition during the 1.95- to 1.78-Ma Olduvai Subchron. The two hominin specimens were buried together in a single debris flow that lithified soon after deposition in a phreatic environment inaccessible to scavengers. PMID:20378812

  11. Mandibular remains support taxonomic validity of Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Ruiter, Darryl J; DeWitt, Thomas J; Carlson, Keely B; Brophy, Juliet K; Schroeder, Lauren; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Churchill, Steven E; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    Since the announcement of the species Australopithecus sediba, questions have been raised over whether the Malapa fossils represent a valid taxon or whether inadequate allowance was made for intraspecific variation, in particular with reference to the temporally and geographically proximate species Au. africanus. The morphology of mandibular remains of Au. sediba, including newly recovered material discussed here, shows that it is not merely a late-surviving morph of Au. africanus. Rather-as is seen elsewhere in the cranium, dentition, and postcranial skeleton-these mandibular remains share similarities with other australopiths but can be differentiated from the hypodigm of Au. africanus in both size and shape as well as in their ontogenetic growth trajectory. PMID:23580533

  12. Dental morphology and the phylogenetic "place" of Australopithecus sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irish, Joel D; Guatelli-Steinberg, Debbie; Legge, Scott S; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    To characterize further the Australopithecus sediba hypodigm, we describe 22 dental traits in specimens MH1 and MH2. Like other skeletal elements, the teeth present a mosaic of primitive and derived features. The new nonmetric data are then qualitatively and phenetically compared with those in eight other African hominin samples, before cladistic analyses using a gorilla outgroup. There is some distinction, largely driven by contrasting molar traits, from East African australopiths. However, Au. sediba links with Au. africanus to form a South African australopith clade. These species present five apomorphies, including shared expressions of Carabelli's upper first molar (UM1) and protostylid lower first molar (LM1). Five synapomorphies are also evident between them and monophyletic Homo habilis/rudolfensis + H. erectus. Finally, a South African australopith + Homo clade is supported by four shared derived states, including identical LM1 cusp 7 expression. PMID:23580535

  13. Brief communication: Molar development and crown areas in early Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Ramirez Rozzi, Fernando V; Wood, Bernard A; Bromage, Timothy G

    2012-08-01

    Recent studies suggest that the hypodigms representing the two earliest Australopithecus (Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis) form an ancestor-descendant lineage. Understanding the details of this possible transition is important comparative evidence for assessing the likelihood of other examples of ancestor-descendant lineages within the hominin clade. To this end we have analyzed crown and cusp base areas of high resolution replicas of the mandibular molars of Au. anamensis (Allia Bay and Kanapoi sites) and those of Au. afarensis (Hadar, Laetoli, and Maka). We found no statistically significant differences in crown areas between these hypodigms although the mean of M(1) crowns was smaller in Au. anamensis, being the smallest of any Australopithecus species sampled to date. Intraspecies comparison of the areas of mesial cusps for each molar type using Wilcoxon signed rank test showed no differences for Au. anamensis. Significant differences were found between the protoconid and metaconid of Au. afarensis M(2)s and M(3)s. Furthermore, the area formed by the posterior cusps as a whole relative to the anterior cusps showed significant differences in Au. afarensis M(1)s and in Au. anamensis M(2)s but no differences were noted for M(3)s of either taxon. Developmental information derived from microstructural details in enamel shows that M(1) crown formation in Au. anamensis is similar to Pan and shorter than in H. sapiens. Taken together, these data suggests that the overall trend in the Au. anamensis-Au. afarensis transition may have involved a moderate increase in M(1) crown areas with relative expansion of distal cusps. PMID:22623291

  14. Metatarsophalangeal joint function and positional behavior in Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duncan, A S; Kappelman, J; Shapiro, L J

    1994-01-01

    Recent discussions of the pedal morphology of Australopithecus afarensis have led to conflicting interpretations of australopithecine locomotor behavior. We report the results of a study using computer aided design (CAD) software that provides a quantitative assessment of the functional morphology of australopithecine metatarsophalangeal joints. The sample includes A. afarensis, Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, and Pongo pygmaeus. Angular measurements of the articular surfaces relative to the long axes of the metatarsals and phalanges were taken to determine whether the articular surfaces are plantarly or dorsally oriented. Humans have the most dorsally oriented articular surfaces of the proximal pedal phalanges. This trait appears to be functionally associated with dorsiflexion during bipedal stride. Pongo has the most plantarly oriented articular surfaces of the proximal pedal phalanges, probably reflecting an emphasis on plantarflexion in arboreal positional behaviors, while the African hominoids are intermediate between Pongo and Homo for this characteristic. A. afarensis falls midway between the African apes and humans. Results from an analysis of metatarsal heads are inconclusive with regard to the functional morphology of A. afarensis. Overall, the results are consistent with other evidence indicating that A. afarensis was a capable climber. PMID:8141243

  15. Diet of Australopithecus afarensis from the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Ethiopia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wynn, Jonathan G; Sponheimer, Matt; Kimbel, William H; Alemseged, Zeresenay; Reed, Kaye; Bedaso, Zelalem K; Wilson, Jessica N

    2013-06-25

    The enhanced dietary flexibility of early hominins to include consumption of C4/crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) foods (i.e., foods derived from grasses, sedges, and succulents common in tropical savannas and deserts) likely represents a significant ecological and behavioral distinction from both extant great apes and the last common ancestor that we shared with great apes. Here, we use stable carbon isotopic data from 20 samples of Australopithecus afarensis from Hadar and Dikika, Ethiopia (>3.4-2.9 Ma) to show that this species consumed a diet with significant C4/CAM foods, differing from its putative ancestor Au. anamensis. Furthermore, there is no temporal trend in the amount of C4/CAM food consumption over the age of the samples analyzed, and the amount of C4/CAM food intake was highly variable, even within a single narrow stratigraphic interval. As such, Au. afarensis was a key participant in the C4/CAM dietary expansion by early australopiths of the middle Pliocene. The middle Pliocene expansion of the eastern African australopith diet to include savanna-based foods represents a shift to use of plant food resources that were already abundant in hominin environments for at least 1 million y and sets the stage for dietary differentiation and niche specialization by subsequent hominin taxa. PMID:23733965

  16. Australopithecus sediba and the earliest origins of the genus Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, Lee

    2012-01-01

    Discovered in 2008, the site of Malapa has yielded a remarkable assemblage of early hominin remains attributed to the species Australopithecus sediba. The species shows unexpected and unpredicted mosaicism in its anatomy. Several commentators have questioned the specific status of Au. sediba arguing that it does not exceed the variation of Au. africanus. This opinion however, does not take into account that Au. sediba differs from Au. africanus in both craniodental and postcranial characters to a greater degree than Au.africanus differs from Au. afarensis in these same characters. Au. sediba has also been questioned as a potential ancestor of the genus Homo due to the perception that earlier specimens of the genus have been found than the c198 Ma date of the Malapa sample. This opinion however, does not take into account either the poor condition of these fossils, as well as the numerous problems with both the criteria used to associate them with the genus Homo, nor the questionable provenance of each of these specimens. This argument also does not acknowledge that Malapa is almost certainly not the first chronological appearance of Au. sediba, it is only the first known fossil occurrence. Au. sediba should therefore be considered a strong potential candidate ancestor of the genus Homo until better preserved specimens are discovered that would refute such a hypothesis. PMID:23011933

  17. The feeding biomechanics and dietary ecology of Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strait, David S; Weber, Gerhard W; Neubauer, Simon; Chalk, Janine; Richmond, Brian G; Lucas, Peter W; Spencer, Mark A; Schrein, Caitlin; Dechow, Paul C; Ross, Callum F; Grosse, Ian R; Wright, Barth W; Constantino, Paul; Wood, Bernard A; Lawn, Brian; Hylander, William L; Wang, Qian; Byron, Craig; Slice, Dennis E; Smith, Amanda L

    2009-02-17

    The African Plio-Pleistocene hominins known as australopiths evolved a distinctive craniofacial morphology that traditionally has been viewed as a dietary adaptation for feeding on either small, hard objects or on large volumes of food. A historically influential interpretation of this morphology hypothesizes that loads applied to the premolars during feeding had a profound influence on the evolution of australopith craniofacial form. Here, we test this hypothesis using finite element analysis in conjunction with comparative, imaging, and experimental methods. We find that the facial skeleton of the Australopithecus type species, A. africanus, is well suited to withstand premolar loads. However, we suggest that the mastication of either small objects or large volumes of food is unlikely to fully explain the evolution of facial form in this species. Rather, key aspects of australopith craniofacial morphology are more likely to be related to the ingestion and initial preparation of large, mechanically protected food objects like large nuts and seeds. These foods may have broadened the diet of these hominins, possibly by being critical resources that australopiths relied on during periods when their preferred dietary items were in short supply. Our analysis reconciles apparent discrepancies between dietary reconstructions based on biomechanics, tooth morphology, and dental microwear. PMID:19188607

  18. "Lucy" redux: a review of research on Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimbel, William H; Delezene, Lucas K

    2009-01-01

    In the 1970s, mid-Pliocene hominin fossils were found at the sites of Hadar in Ethiopia and Laetoli in Tanzania. These samples constituted the first substantial evidence for hominins older than 3.0 Ma and were notable for some remarkable discoveries, such as the "Lucy" partial skeleton and the abundant remains from the A.L. 333 locality at Hadar and the hominin footprint trail at Laetoli. The Hadar and Laetoli fossils were ultimately assigned to the novel hominin species Australopithecus afarensis, which at the time was the most plesiomorphic and geologically ancient hominin taxon. The discovery and naming of A. afarensis coincided with important developments in theory and methodology in paleoanthropology; in addition, important fossil and genetic discoveries were changing expectations about hominin divergence dates from extant African apes. This coincidence of events ensured that A. afarensis figured prominently in the last 30 years of paleoanthropological research. Here, the 30+ year history of discovery, analysis, and interpretation of A. afarensis and its contexts are summarized and synthesized. Research on A. afarensis continues and subject areas in which further investigation is needed to resolve ongoing debates regarding the paleobiology of this species are highlighted. PMID:19890859

  19. Reevaluating the functional implications of Australopithecus afarensis navicular morphology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prang, Thomas C

    2016-08-01

    The longitudinal arch is a unique characteristic of the human foot, yet the timing and pattern of its evolution remain controversial, in part due to the disagreement among researchers over which skeletal traits are the best indicators of its presence or absence. The small size of the human navicular tuberosity has previously been linked to the presence of a longitudinal arch, implying that the large tuberosity of early hominins such as Australopithecus afarensis reflects a flat foot. However, this hypothesis is at odds with other evidence of pedal form and function, such as metatarsal, tarsal, and footprint morphology, which show that a longitudinal arch was probably present in A. afarensis. This study reevaluates the morphometric affinities of the A. afarensis naviculars among other Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins and anthropoid primates (N = 170). Multivariate cluster analyses show that all fossil hominin naviculars, including those attributed to A. afarensis, are most similar to modern humans. A measure of navicular tuberosity size quantified as the ratio of the tuberosity volume to the surface area of the talar facet shows that Ateles has the largest navicular tuberosity among the anthropoid sample and that there is no difference between highly arboreal and terrestrial taxa in this metric (e.g., Hylobates and Gorilla beringei). Instead, a relatively large navicular tuberosity may reflect the development of leg musculature associated with ankle plantarflexion. The functional inferences derived from the morphology of the A. afarensis naviculars are consistent with the morphology of the Laetoli footprints. PMID:27457546

  20. Did Australopithecus and Homo co-exist. [Dating of the ape-man fossil from Taung

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vogel, J.C. (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria (South Africa). Natural Isotopes Div.)

    1984-07-01

    Uranium series isotope dating of the tufas at Taung/Buxton suggests a considerably younger age for the Taung child (Australopithecus africanus) than has hitherto been accepted. If this later date is confirmed, it will necessitate a re-think of the evolutionary tree of Man and his ancestors.

  1. CT-based study of internal structure of the anterior pillar in extinct hominins and its implications for the phylogeny of robust Australopithecus

    OpenAIRE

    Villmoare, Brian A.; Kimbel, William H.

    2011-01-01

    The phylogeny of the early African hominins has long been confounded by contrasting interpretations of midfacial structure. In particular, the anterior pillar, an externally prominent bony column running vertically alongside the nasal aperture, has been identified as a homology of South African species Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus. If the anterior pillar is a true synapomorphy of these two species, the evidence for a southern African clade of Australopithecus would...

  2. Comparative taphonomy, taphofacies, and bonebeds of the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation, central California: strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation in shallow marine settings.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert W Boessenecker

    Full Text Available Taphonomic study of marine vertebrate remains has traditionally focused on single skeletons, lagerstätten, or bonebed genesis with few attempts to document environmental gradients in preservation. As such, establishment of a concrete taphonomic model for shallow marine vertebrate assemblages is lacking. The Neogene Purisima Formation of Northern California, a richly fossiliferous unit recording nearshore to offshore depositional settings, offers a unique opportunity to examine preservational trends across these settings.Lithofacies analysis was conducted to place vertebrate fossils within a hydrodynamic and depositional environmental context. Taphonomic data including abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, articulation, polish, and biogenic bone modification were recorded for over 1000 vertebrate fossils of sharks, bony fish, birds, pinnipeds, odontocetes, mysticetes, sirenians, and land mammals. These data were used to compare both preservation of multiple taxa within a single lithofacies and preservation of individual taxa across lithofacies to document environmental gradients in preservation. Differential preservation between taxa indicates strong preservational bias within the Purisima Formation. Varying levels of abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, and articulation are strongly correlative with physical processes of sediment transport and sedimentation rate. Preservational characteristics were used to delineate four taphofacies corresponding to inner, middle, and outer shelf settings, and bonebeds. Application of sequence stratigraphic methods shows that bonebeds mark major stratigraphic discontinuities, while packages of rock between discontinuities consistently exhibit onshore-offshore changes in taphofacies.Changes in vertebrate preservation and bonebed character between lithofacies closely correspond to onshore-offshore changes in depositional setting, indicating that the dominant control of preservation is exerted by physical processes. The strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation and preservational bias within the Purisima Formation has implications for paleoecologic and paleobiologic studies of marine vertebrates. Evidence of preservational bias among marine vertebrates suggests that careful consideration of taphonomic overprint must be undertaken before meaningful paleoecologic interpretations of shallow marine vertebrates is attempted.

  3. Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rak, Yoel; Ginzburg, Avishag; Geffen, Eli

    2007-01-01

    Mandibular ramus morphology on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis closely matches that of gorillas. This finding was unexpected given that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans. Because modern humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, and many other primates share a ramal morphology that differs from that of gorillas, the gorilla anatomy must represent a unique condition, and its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology. This particular morphology appears also in Australopithecus robustus. The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Au. afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of Au. afarensis as a modern human ancestor. The ramal anatomy of the earlier Ardipithecus ramidus is virtually that of a chimpanzee, corroborating the proposed phylogenetic scenario. PMID:17426152

  4. Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like australopith from South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, Lee R; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Carlson, Kristian J; Dirks, Paul H G M; Kibii, Job M

    2010-04-01

    Despite a rich African Plio-Pleistocene hominin fossil record, the ancestry of Homo and its relation to earlier australopithecines remain unresolved. Here we report on two partial skeletons with an age of 1.95 to 1.78 million years. The fossils were encased in cave deposits at the Malapa site in South Africa. The skeletons were found close together and are directly associated with craniodental remains. Together they represent a new species of Australopithecus that is probably descended from Australopithecus africanus. Combined craniodental and postcranial evidence demonstrates that this new species shares more derived features with early Homo than any other australopith species and thus might help reveal the ancestor of that genus. PMID:20378811

  5. Australopithecus sediba hand demonstrates mosaic evolution of locomotor and manipulative abilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kivell, Tracy L; Kibii, Job M; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    Hand bones from a single individual with a clear taxonomic affiliation are scarce in the hominin fossil record, which has hampered understanding the evolution of manipulative abilities in hominins. Here we describe and analyze a nearly complete wrist and hand of an adult female [Malapa Hominin 2 (MH2)] Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa (1.977 million years ago). The hand presents a suite of Australopithecus-like features, such as a strong flexor apparatus associated with arboreal locomotion, and Homo-like features, such as a long thumb and short fingers associated with precision gripping and possibly stone tool production. Comparisons to other fossil hominins suggest that there were at least two distinct hand morphotypes around the Plio-Pleistocene transition. The MH2 fossils suggest that Au. sediba may represent a basal condition associated with early stone tool use and production. PMID:21903806

  6. High-resolution vegetation and climate change associated with Pliocene Australopithecus afarensis

    OpenAIRE

    R. Bonnefille; R. Potts; Chalié, F.; Jolly, D.; O. Peyron

    2004-01-01

    Plio-Pleistocene global climate change is believed to have had an important influence on local habitats and early human evolution in Africa. Responses of hominin lineages to climate change have been difficult to test, however, because this procedure requires well documented evidence for connections between global climate and hominin environment. Through high-resolution pollen data from Hadar, Ethiopia, we show that the hominin Australopithecus afarensis accommodated to substantial environment...

  7. Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and implications for the origins of the genus Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pickering, Robyn; Dirks, Paul H G M; Jinnah, Zubair; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchil, Steven E; Herries, Andy I R; Woodhead, Jon D; Hellstrom, John C; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    Newly exposed cave sediments at the Malapa site include a flowstone layer capping the sedimentary unit containing the Australopithecus sediba fossils. Uranium-lead dating of the flowstone, combined with paleomagnetic and stratigraphic analysis of the flowstone and underlying sediments, provides a tightly constrained date of 1.977 ± 0.002 million years ago (Ma) for these fossils. This refined dating suggests that Au. sediba from Malapa predates the earliest uncontested evidence for Homo in Africa. PMID:21903808

  8. Metopic suture of Taung (Australopithecus africanus) and its implications for hominin brain evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Falk, D.; Zollikofer, C P E; Morimoto, N.; Ponce de Leon, M S

    2012-01-01

    The type specimen for Australopithecus africanus (Taung) includes a natural endocast that reproduces most of the external morphology of the right cerebral hemisphere and a fragment of fossilized face that articulates with the endocast. Despite the fact that Taung died between 3 and 4 y of age, the endocast reproduces a small triangular-shaped remnant of the anterior fontanelle, from which a clear metopic suture (MS) courses rostrally along the midline [Hrdlička A (1925) Am J Phys Anthropol 8:...

  9. Human evolution. Comment on "Human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Almécija, Sergio; Wallace, Ian J; Judex, Stefan; Alba, David M; Moyà-Solà, Salvador

    2015-06-01

    Skinner and colleagues (Research Article, 23 January 2015, p. 395), based on metacarpal trabecular bone structure, argue that Australopithecus africanus employed human-like dexterity for stone tool making and use 3 million years ago. However, their evolutionary and biological assumptions are misinformed, failing to refute the previously existing hypothesis that human-like manipulation preceded systematized stone tool manufacture, as indicated by the fossil record. PMID:26045428

  10. Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods

    OpenAIRE

    Ledogar, Justin A.; Smith, Amanda L.; Benazzi, Stefano; Weber, Gerhard W.; Spencer, Mark A.; Carlson, Keely B.; McNulty, Kieran P.; Dechow, Paul C.; Grosse, Ian R.; Ross, Callum F.; Richmond, Brian G.; Wright, Barth W.; Qian WANG; Byron, Craig; Carlson, Kristian J.

    2016-01-01

    Australopithecus sediba has been hypothesized to be a close relative of the genus Homo. Here we show that MH1, the type specimen of A. sediba, was not optimized to produce high molar bite force and appears to have been limited in its ability to consume foods that were mechanically challenging to eat. Dental microwear data have previously been interpreted as indicating that A. sediba consumed hard foods, so our findings illustrate that mechanical data are essential if one aims to reconstruct a...

  11. Three-dimensional molar enamel distribution and thickness in Australopithecus and Paranthropus

    OpenAIRE

    Olejniczak, A. J.; Smith, T. M.; Skinner, M.M; Grine, F E; Feeney, R.N.M; Thackeray, J. F.; Hublin, J.-J.

    2008-01-01

    Thick molar enamel is among the few diagnostic characters of hominins which are measurable in fossil specimens. Despite a long history of study and characterization of Paranthropus molars as relatively ‘hyper-thick’, only a few tooth fragments and controlled planes of section (designed to be proxies of whole-crown thickness) have been measured. Here, we measure molar enamel thickness in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus using accurate microtomographic methods, recording the...

  12. Human evolution. Response to Comment on "Human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Matthew M; Stephens, Nicholas B; Tsegai, Zewdi J; Foote, Alexandra C; Nguyen, N Huynh; Gross, Thomas; Pahr, Dieter H; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Kivell, Tracy L

    2015-06-01

    Almécija and colleagues claim that we apply a simplified understanding of bone functional adaptation and that our results of human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus are not novel. We argue that our results speak to actual behavior, rather than potential behaviors, and our functional interpretation is well supported by our methodological approach, comparative sample, and previous experimental data. PMID:26045429

  13. Sexual dimorphism in Australopithecus afarensis was similar to that of modern humans

    OpenAIRE

    Reno, Philip L.; Meindl, Richard S.; McCollum, Melanie A.; Lovejoy, C. Owen

    2003-01-01

    The substantial fossil record for Australopithecus afarensis includes both an adult partial skeleton [Afar Locality (A.L.) 288-1, “Lucy”] and a large simultaneous death assemblage (A.L. 333). Here we optimize data derived from both to more accurately estimate skeletal size dimorphism. Postcranial ratios derived from A.L. 288-1 enable a significant increase in sample size compared with previous studies. Extensive simulations using modern humans, chimpanzees, and gorilla...

  14. An enlarged postcranial sample confirms Australopithecus afarensis dimorphism was similar to modern humans

    OpenAIRE

    Reno, Philip L.; McCollum, Melanie A.; Meindl, Richard S.; Lovejoy, C. Owen

    2010-01-01

    In a previous study, we introduced the template method as a means of enlarging the Australopithecus afarensis postcranial sample to more accurately estimate its skeletal dimorphism. Results indicated dimorphism to be largely comparable to that of Homo sapiens. Some have since argued that our results were biased by artificial homogeneity in our Au. afarensis sample. Here we report the results from inclusion of 12 additional, newly reported, specimens. The results are consistent with those of o...

  15. Metacarpal torsion in apes, humans, and early Australopithecus: implications for manipulatory abilities

    OpenAIRE

    Drapeau, Michelle S.M.

    2015-01-01

    Human hands, when compared to that of apes, have a series of adaptations to facilitate manipulation. Numerous studies have shown that Australopithecus afarensis and Au. africanus display some of these adaptations, such as a longer thumb relative to the other fingers, asymmetric heads on the second and fifth metacarpals, and orientation of the second metacarpal joints with the trapezium and capitate away from the sagittal plane, while lacking others such as a very mobile fifth metacarpal, a st...

  16. Trabecular evidence for a human-like gait in Australopithecus africanus

    OpenAIRE

    Barak, M; Lieberman, D; Raichlen, D.; Pontzer, H.; Warrener, A.; Hublin, J.

    2013-01-01

    Although the earliest known hominins were apparently upright bipeds, there has been mixed evidence whether particular species of hominins including those in the genus Australopithecus walked with relatively extended hips, knees and ankles like modern humans, or with more flexed lower limb joints like apes when bipedal. Here we demonstrate in chimpanzees and humans a highly predictable and sensitive relationship between the orientation of the ankle joint during loading and the principal orient...

  17. The cranial base of Australopithecus afarensis: new insights from the female skull

    OpenAIRE

    Kimbel, William H.; Rak, Yoel

    2010-01-01

    Cranial base morphology differs among hominoids in ways that are usually attributed to some combination of an enlarged brain, retracted face and upright locomotion in humans. The human foramen magnum is anteriorly inclined and, with the occipital condyles, is forwardly located on a broad, short and flexed basicranium; the petrous elements are coronally rotated; the glenoid region is topographically complex; the nuchal lines are low; and the nuchal plane is horizontal. Australopithecus afarens...

  18. Trabecular Evidence for a Human-Like Gait in Australopithecus africanus

    OpenAIRE

    Barak, Meir M.; Lieberman, Daniel E.; Raichlen, David; Pontzer, Herman; Warrener, Anna G.; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2013-01-01

    Although the earliest known hominins were apparently upright bipeds, there has been mixed evidence whether particular species of hominins including those in the genus Australopithecus walked with relatively extended hips, knees and ankles like modern humans, or with more flexed lower limb joints like apes when bipedal. Here we demonstrate in chimpanzees and humans a highly predictable and sensitive relationship between the orientation of the ankle joint during loading and the principal orient...

  19. Rearfoot posture of Australopithecus sediba and the evolution of the hominin longitudinal arch

    OpenAIRE

    Prang, Thomas C.

    2015-01-01

    The longitudinal arch is one of the hallmarks of the human foot but its evolutionary history remains controversial due to the fragmentary nature of the fossil record. In modern humans, the presence of a longitudinal arch is reflected in the angular relationships among the major surfaces of the human talus and calcaneus complex, which is also known as the rearfoot. A complete talus and calcaneus of Australopithecus sediba provide the opportunity to evaluate rearfoot posture in an early hominin...

  20. Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths

    OpenAIRE

    Rak, Yoel; Ginzburg, Avishag; Geffen, Eli

    2007-01-01

    Mandibular ramus morphology on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis closely matches that of gorillas. This finding was unexpected given that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans. Because modern humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, and many other primates share a ramal morphology that differs from that of gorillas, the gorilla anatomy must represent a unique condition, and its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology...

  1. Rearfoot posture of Australopithecus sediba and the evolution of the hominin longitudinal arch.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prang, Thomas C

    2015-01-01

    The longitudinal arch is one of the hallmarks of the human foot but its evolutionary history remains controversial due to the fragmentary nature of the fossil record. In modern humans, the presence of a longitudinal arch is reflected in the angular relationships among the major surfaces of the human talus and calcaneus complex, which is also known as the rearfoot. A complete talus and calcaneus of Australopithecus sediba provide the opportunity to evaluate rearfoot posture in an early hominin for the first time. Here I show that A. sediba is indistinguishable from extant African apes in the angular configuration of its rearfoot, which strongly suggests that it lacked a longitudinal arch. Inferences made from isolated fossils support the hypothesis that Australopithecus afarensis possessed an arched foot. However, tali attributed to temporally younger taxa like Australopithecus africanus and Homo floresiensis are more similar to those of A. sediba. The inferred absence of a longitudinal arch in A. sediba would be biomechanically consistent with prior suggestions of increased midtarsal mobility in this taxon. The morphological patterns in talus and calcaneus angular relationships among fossil hominins suggest that there was diversity in traits associated with the longitudinal arch in the Plio-Pleistocene. PMID:26628197

  2. New hominid fossils from Woranso-Mille (Central Afar, Ethiopia) and taxonomy of early Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Saylor, Beverly Z; Deino, Alan; Alene, Mulugeta; Latimer, Bruce M

    2010-03-01

    The phylogenetic relationship between Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis has been hypothesized as ancestor-descendant. However, the weakest part of this hypothesis has been the absence of fossil samples between 3.6 and 3.9 million years ago. Here we describe new fossil specimens from the Woranso-Mille site in Ethiopia that are directly relevant to this issue. They derive from sediments chronometrically dated to 3.57-3.8 million years ago. The new fossil specimens are largely isolated teeth, partial mandibles, and maxillae, and some postcranial fragments. However, they shed some light on the relationships between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. The dental morphology shows closer affinity with Au. anamensis from Allia Bay/Kanapoi (Kenya) and Asa Issie (Ethiopia) than with Au. afarensis from Hadar (Ethiopia). However, they are intermediate in dental and mandibular morphology between Au. anamensis and the older Au. afarensis material from Laetoli. The new fossils lend strong support to the hypothesized ancestor-descendant relationship between these two early Australopithecus species. The Woranso-Mille hominids cannot be unequivocally assigned to either taxon due to their dental morphological intermediacy. This could be an indication that the Kanapoi, Allia Bay, and Asa Issie Au. anamensis is the primitive form of Au. afarensis at Hadar with the Laetoli and Woranso-Mille populations sampling a mosaic of morphological features from both ends. It is particularly difficult to draw a line between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis in light of the new discoveries from Woranso-Mille. The morphology provides no evidence that Au. afarensis and Au. anamensis represent distinct taxa. PMID:19918995

  3. New fossils of Australopithecus anamensis from Kanapoi, West Turkana, Kenya (2003-2008).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, C V; Manthi, F K; Plavcan, J M

    2013-11-01

    Renewed fieldwork from 2003 through 2008 at the Australopithecus anamensis type-site of Kanapoi, Kenya, yielded nine new fossils attributable to this species. These fossils all date to between 4.195 and 4.108 million years ago. Most were recovered from the lower fluvial sequence at the site, with one from the lacustrine sequence deltaic sands that overlie the lower fluvial deposits but are still below the Kanapoi Tuff. The new specimens include a partial edentulous mandible, partial maxillary dentition, two partial mandibular dentitions, and five isolated teeth. The new Kanapoi hominin fossils increase the sample known from the earliest Australopithecus, and provide new insights into morphology within this taxon. They support the distinctiveness of the early A. anamensis fossils relative to earlier hominins and to the later Australopithecus afarensis. The new fossils do not appreciably extend the range of observed variation in A. anamensis from Kanapoi, with the exception of some slightly larger molars, and a canine tooth root that is the largest in the hominin fossil record. All of the Kanapoi hominins share a distinctive morphology of the canine-premolar complex, typical early hominin low canine crowns but with mesiodistally longer honing teeth than seen in A. afarensis, and large, probably dimorphic, canine tooth roots. The new Kanapoi specimens support the observation that canine crown height, morphology, root size and dimorphism were not altered from a primitive ape-like condition as part of a single event in human evolution, and that there may have been an adaptive difference in canine function between A. anamensis and A. afarensis. PMID:23998457

  4. Phylogeny of early Australopithecus: new fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille (central Afar, Ethiopia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes

    2010-10-27

    The earliest evidence of Australopithecus goes back to ca 4.2 Ma with the first recorded appearance of Australopithecus 'anamensis' at Kanapoi, Kenya. Australopithecus afarensis is well documented between 3.6 and 3.0 Ma mainly from deposits at Laetoli (Tanzania) and Hadar (Ethiopia). The phylogenetic relationship of these two 'species' is hypothesized as ancestor-descendant. However, the lack of fossil evidence from the time between 3.6 and 3.9 Ma has been one of its weakest points. Recent fieldwork in the Woranso-Mille study area in the Afar region of Ethiopia has yielded fossil hominids dated between 3.6 and 3.8 Ma. These new fossils play a significant role in testing the proposed relationship between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. The Woranso-Mille hominids (3.6-3.8 Ma) show a mosaic of primitive, predominantly Au. anamensis-like, and some derived (Au. afarensis-like) dentognathic features. Furthermore, they show that, as currently known, there are no discrete and functionally significant anatomical differences between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. Based on the currently available evidence, it appears that there is no compelling evidence to falsify the hypothesis of 'chronospecies pair' or ancestor-descendant relationship between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. Most importantly, however, the temporally and morphologically intermediate Woranso-Mille hominids indicate that the species names Au. afarensis and Au. anamensis do not refer to two real species, but rather to earlier and later representatives of a single phyletically evolving lineage. However, if retaining these two names is necessary for communication purposes, the Woranso-Mille hominids are best referred to as Au. anamensis based on new dentognathic evidence. PMID:20855306

  5. An enlarged postcranial sample confirms Australopithecus afarensis dimorphism was similar to modern humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reno, Philip L; McCollum, Melanie A; Meindl, Richard S; Lovejoy, C Owen

    2010-10-27

    In a previous study, we introduced the template method as a means of enlarging the Australopithecus afarensis postcranial sample to more accurately estimate its skeletal dimorphism. Results indicated dimorphism to be largely comparable to that of Homo sapiens. Some have since argued that our results were biased by artificial homogeneity in our Au. afarensis sample. Here we report the results from inclusion of 12 additional, newly reported, specimens. The results are consistent with those of our original study and with the hypothesis that early hominid demographic success derived from a reproductive strategy involving male provisioning of pair-bonded females. PMID:20855309

  6. From Lucy to Kadanuumuu: balanced analyses of Australopithecus afarensis assemblages confirm only moderate skeletal dimorphism

    OpenAIRE

    Reno, Philip L.; C. Owen Lovejoy

    2015-01-01

    Sexual dimorphism in body size is often used as a correlate of social and reproductive behavior in Australopithecus afarensis. In addition to a number of isolated specimens, the sample for this species includes two small associated skeletons (A.L. 288-1 or “Lucy” and A.L. 128/129) and a geologically contemporaneous death assemblage of several larger individuals (A.L. 333). These have driven both perceptions and quantitative analyses concluding that Au. afarensis was markedly dimorphic. The Te...

  7. New cosmogenic burial ages for Sterkfontein Member 2 Australopithecus and Member 5 Oldowan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Granger, Darryl E.; Gibbon, Ryan J.; Kuman, Kathleen; Clarke, Ronald J.; Bruxelles, Laurent; Caffee, Marc W.

    2015-06-01

    The cave infills at Sterkfontein contain one of the richest assemblages of Australopithecus fossils in the world, including the nearly complete skeleton StW 573 (`Little Foot') in its lower section, as well as early stone tools in higher sections. However, the chronology of the site remains controversial owing to the complex history of cave infilling. Much of the existing chronology based on uranium-lead dating and palaeomagnetic stratigraphy has recently been called into question by the recognition that dated flowstones fill cavities formed within previously cemented breccias and therefore do not form a stratigraphic sequence. Earlier dating with cosmogenic nuclides suffered a high degree of uncertainty and has been questioned on grounds of sediment reworking. Here we use isochron burial dating with cosmogenic aluminium-26 and beryllium-10 to show that the breccia containing StW 573 did not undergo significant reworking, and that it was deposited 3.67 +/- 0.16 million years ago, far earlier than the 2.2 million year flowstones found within it. The skeleton is thus coeval with early Australopithecus afarensis in eastern Africa. We also date the earliest stone tools at Sterkfontein to 2.18 +/- 0.21 million years ago, placing them in the Oldowan at a time similar to that found elsewhere in South Africa at Swartkans and Wonderwerk.

  8. Trabecular evidence for a human-like gait in Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barak, Meir M; Lieberman, Daniel E; Raichlen, David; Pontzer, Herman; Warrener, Anna G; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2013-01-01

    Although the earliest known hominins were apparently upright bipeds, there has been mixed evidence whether particular species of hominins including those in the genus Australopithecus walked with relatively extended hips, knees and ankles like modern humans, or with more flexed lower limb joints like apes when bipedal. Here we demonstrate in chimpanzees and humans a highly predictable and sensitive relationship between the orientation of the ankle joint during loading and the principal orientation of trabecular bone struts in the distal tibia that function to withstand compressive forces within the joint. Analyses of the orientation of these struts using microCT scans in a sample of fossil tibiae from the site of Sterkfontein, of which two are assigned to Australopithecus africanus, indicate that these hominins primarily loaded their ankles in a relatively extended posture like modern humans and unlike chimpanzees. In other respects, however, trabecular properties in Au africanus are distinctive, with values that mostly fall between those of chimpanzees and humans. These results indicate that Au. africanus, like Homo, walked with an efficient, extended lower limb. PMID:24223719

  9. Trabecular evidence for a human-like gait in Australopithecus africanus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meir M Barak

    Full Text Available Although the earliest known hominins were apparently upright bipeds, there has been mixed evidence whether particular species of hominins including those in the genus Australopithecus walked with relatively extended hips, knees and ankles like modern humans, or with more flexed lower limb joints like apes when bipedal. Here we demonstrate in chimpanzees and humans a highly predictable and sensitive relationship between the orientation of the ankle joint during loading and the principal orientation of trabecular bone struts in the distal tibia that function to withstand compressive forces within the joint. Analyses of the orientation of these struts using microCT scans in a sample of fossil tibiae from the site of Sterkfontein, of which two are assigned to Australopithecus africanus, indicate that these hominins primarily loaded their ankles in a relatively extended posture like modern humans and unlike chimpanzees. In other respects, however, trabecular properties in Au africanus are distinctive, with values that mostly fall between those of chimpanzees and humans. These results indicate that Au. africanus, like Homo, walked with an efficient, extended lower limb.

  10. High-resolution vegetation and climate change associated with Pliocene Australopithecus afarensis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonnefille, R.; Potts, R.; Chalié, F.; Jolly, D.; Peyron, O.

    2004-01-01

    Plio-Pleistocene global climate change is believed to have had an important influence on local habitats and early human evolution in Africa. Responses of hominin lineages to climate change have been difficult to test, however, because this procedure requires well documented evidence for connections between global climate and hominin environment. Through high-resolution pollen data from Hadar, Ethiopia, we show that the hominin Australopithecus afarensis accommodated to substantial environmental variability between 3.4 and 2.9 million years ago. A large biome shift, up to 5°C cooling, and a 200- to 300-mm/yr rainfall increase occurred just before 3.3 million years ago, which is consistent with a global marine δ18O isotopic shift. PMID:15304655

  11. Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ledogar, Justin A; Smith, Amanda L; Benazzi, Stefano; Weber, Gerhard W; Spencer, Mark A; Carlson, Keely B; McNulty, Kieran P; Dechow, Paul C; Grosse, Ian R; Ross, Callum F; Richmond, Brian G; Wright, Barth W; Wang, Qian; Byron, Craig; Carlson, Kristian J; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee R; Tamvada, Kelli; Pryor, Leslie C; Berthaume, Michael A; Strait, David S

    2016-01-01

    Australopithecus sediba has been hypothesized to be a close relative of the genus Homo. Here we show that MH1, the type specimen of A. sediba, was not optimized to produce high molar bite force and appears to have been limited in its ability to consume foods that were mechanically challenging to eat. Dental microwear data have previously been interpreted as indicating that A. sediba consumed hard foods, so our findings illustrate that mechanical data are essential if one aims to reconstruct a relatively complete picture of feeding adaptations in extinct hominins. An implication of our study is that the key to understanding the origin of Homo lies in understanding how environmental changes disrupted gracile australopith niches. Resulting selection pressures led to changes in diet and dietary adaption that set the stage for the emergence of our genus. PMID:26853550

  12. Testing hypotheses of dietary reconstruction from buccal dental microwear in Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estebaranz, F; Martínez, L M; Galbany, J; Turbón, D; Pérez-Pérez, A

    2009-12-01

    A recent study of occlusal microwear in Australopithecus afarensis described this species as an opportunistic dweller, living in both forested and open environments and greatly relying on fallback resources and using fewer food-processing activities than previously suggested. In the present study, analysis of buccal microwear variability in a sample of A. afarensis specimens (n=75 teeth) showed no significant correlations with the ecological shift that took place around 3.5Ma in Africa. These results are consistent with the occlusal microwear data available. In fact, significant correlations between buccal and occlusal microwear variables were found. However, comparison of the buccal microwear patterns showed clear similarities between A. afarensis and those hominoid species living in somewhat open environments, especially the Cameroon gorillas. A diet based mainly on succulent fruits and seasonal fallback resources would be consistent with the buccal microwear patterns observed. PMID:19875149

  13. Complete fourth metatarsal and arches in the foot of Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Carol V; Kimbel, William H; Johanson, Donald C

    2011-02-11

    The transition to full-time terrestrial bipedality is a hallmark of human evolution. A key correlate of human bipedalism is the development of longitudinal and transverse arches of the foot that provide a rigid propulsive lever and critical shock absorption during striding bipedal gait. Evidence for arches in the earliest well-known Australopithecus species, A. afarensis, has long been debated. A complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis was recently discovered at Hadar, Ethiopia. It exhibits torsion of the head relative to the base, a direct correlate of a transverse arch in humans. The orientation of the proximal and distal ends of the bone reflects a longitudinal arch. Further, the deep, flat base and tarsal facets imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans and support the hypothesis that this species was a committed terrestrial biped. PMID:21311018

  14. Kantis: A new Australopithecus site on the shoulders of the Rift Valley near Nairobi, Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mbua, Emma; Kusaka, Soichiro; Kunimatsu, Yutaka; Geraads, Denis; Sawada, Yoshihiro; Brown, Francis H; Sakai, Tetsuya; Boisserie, Jean-Renaud; Saneyoshi, Mototaka; Omuombo, Christine; Muteti, Samuel; Hirata, Takafumi; Hayashida, Akira; Iwano, Hideki; Danhara, Tohru; Bobe, René; Jicha, Brian; Nakatsukasa, Masato

    2016-05-01

    Most Plio-Pleistocene sites in the Gregory Rift Valley that have yielded abundant fossil hominins lie on the Rift Valley floor. Here we report a new Pliocene site, Kantis, on the shoulder of the Gregory Rift Valley, which extends the geographical range of Australopithecus afarensis to the highlands of Kenya. This species, known from sites in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and possibly Kenya, is believed to be adapted to a wide spectrum of habitats, from open grassland to woodland. The Kantis fauna is generally similar to that reported from other contemporaneous A. afarensis sites on the Rift Valley floor. However, its faunal composition and stable carbon isotopic data from dental enamel suggest a stronger C4 environment than that present at those sites. Although the Gregory Rift Valley has been the focus of paleontologists' attention for many years, surveys of the Rift shoulder may provide new perspective on African Pliocene mammal and hominin evolution. PMID:27178456

  15. Sexual dimorphism in Australopithecus afarensis was similar to that of modern humans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reno, Philip L.; Meindl, Richard S.; McCollum, Melanie A.; Lovejoy, C. Owen

    2003-01-01

    The substantial fossil record for Australopithecus afarensis includes both an adult partial skeleton [Afar Locality (A.L.) 288-1, “Lucy”] and a large simultaneous death assemblage (A.L. 333). Here we optimize data derived from both to more accurately estimate skeletal size dimorphism. Postcranial ratios derived from A.L. 288-1 enable a significant increase in sample size compared with previous studies. Extensive simulations using modern humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas confirm that this technique is accurate and that skeletal size dimorphism in A. afarensis was most similar to that of contemporary Homo sapiens. These data eliminate some apparent discrepancies between the canine and skeletal size dimorphism in hominoids, imply that the species was not characterized by substantial sexual bimaturation, and greatly increase the probability that the reproductive strategy of A. afarensis was principally monogamy. PMID:12878734

  16. Australopithecus afarensis scapular ontogeny, function, and the role of climbing in human evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, David J; Alemseged, Zeresenay

    2012-10-26

    Scapular morphology is predictive of locomotor adaptations among primates, but this skeletal element is scarce in the hominin fossil record. Notably, both scapulae of the juvenile Australopithecus afarensis skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia, have been recovered. These scapulae display several traits characteristic of suspensory apes, as do the few known fragmentary adult australopith representatives. Many of these traits change significantly throughout modern human ontogeny, but remain stable in apes. Thus, the similarity of juvenile and adult fossil morphologies implies that A. afarensis development was apelike. Additionally, changes in other scapular traits throughout African ape development are associated with shifts in locomotor behavior. This affirms the functional relevance of those characteristics, and their presence in australopith fossils supports the hypothesis that their locomotor repertoire included a substantial amount of climbing. PMID:23112331

  17. The natural endocast of Taung (Australopithecus africanus): insights from the unpublished papers of Raymond Arthur Dart.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falk, Dean

    2009-01-01

    Dart's 1925 announcement of Australopithecus africanus (Dart: Nature 115 [1925] 195-199) was highly controversial, partly because of an interpretation of the Taung natural endocast that rested on an erroneous identification of the lambdoid suture as the lunate sulcus. Unpublished materials from the University of Witwatersrand Archives (Dart, unpublished material) reveal that Dart reacted to the controversy by: 1) describing and illustrating the entire sulcal pattern on the Taung endocast, in contrast to just two sulcal identifications in 1925, 2) identifying a hypothetical part of the lambdoid suture and revising his description of the lunate sulcus, and 3) bolstering his argument that Taung's brain was advanced by detailing expansions in three significant cortical association areas. Four unpublished illustrations of Dart's identifications for sulci and sutures on the Taung endocast are compared here with those published by Keith (Keith: New discoveries relating to the antiquity of man (1931)), Schepers (Schepers: The endocranial casts of the South African ape-men. In: Broom R, Schepers GWH, editors. The South African fossil ape-men; the Australopithecinae [1946] p 155-272), and Falk (Falk: Am J Phys Anthropol 53 [1980] 525-539), and the thorny issue of the location of the lunate sulcus is revisited in light of new information. Archival materials reveal that Dart believed that Taung's brain was reorganized globally rather than in a mosaic manner, and that the shapes of certain cortical association areas showed that Australopithecus was closer to Pithecanthropus than to the living apes. Although a few of Dart's hitherto-unpublished sulcal identifications, including his revision for the lunate sulcus, were questionable, his claim that the Taung endocast reproduced a shape that was advanced toward a human condition in its prefrontal cortex and caudally protruded occipital lobe was correct. PMID:19890860

  18. The cranial base of Australopithecus afarensis: new insights from the female skull.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimbel, William H; Rak, Yoel

    2010-10-27

    Cranial base morphology differs among hominoids in ways that are usually attributed to some combination of an enlarged brain, retracted face and upright locomotion in humans. The human foramen magnum is anteriorly inclined and, with the occipital condyles, is forwardly located on a broad, short and flexed basicranium; the petrous elements are coronally rotated; the glenoid region is topographically complex; the nuchal lines are low; and the nuchal plane is horizontal. Australopithecus afarensis (3.7-3.0 Ma) is the earliest known species of the australopith grade in which the adult cranial base can be assessed comprehensively. This region of the adult skull was known from fragments in the 1970s, but renewed fieldwork beginning in the 1990s at the Hadar site, Ethiopia (3.4-3.0 Ma), recovered two nearly complete crania and major portions of a third, each associated with a mandible. These new specimens confirm that in small-brained, bipedal Australopithecus the foramen magnum and occipital condyles were anteriorly sited, as in humans, but without the foramen's forward inclination. In the large male A.L. 444-2 this is associated with a short basal axis, a bilateral expansion of the base, and an inferiorly rotated, flexed occipital squama--all derived characters shared by later australopiths and humans. However, in A.L. 822-1 (a female) a more primitive morphology is present: although the foramen and condyles reside anteriorly on a short base, the nuchal lines are very high, the nuchal plane is very steep, and the base is as relatively narrow centrally. A.L. 822-1 illuminates fragmentary specimens in the 1970s Hadar collection that hint at aspects of this primitive suite, suggesting that it is a common pattern in the A. afarensis hypodigm. We explore the implications of these specimens for sexual dimorphism and evolutionary scenarios of functional integration in the hominin cranial base. PMID:20855310

  19. Enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) morphology distinguishes the lower molars of Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Matthew M; Gunz, Philipp; Wood, Bernard A; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2008-12-01

    Tooth crown morphology plays a central role in hominin systematics, but the removal of the original outer enamel surface by dental attrition often eliminates from consideration the type of detailed crown morphology that has been shown to discriminate among hominin taxa. This reduces the size of samples available for study. The enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) is the developmental precursor and primary contributor to the morphology of the unworn outer enamel surface, and its morphology is only affected after considerable attrition. In this paper, we explore whether the form of the EDJ can be used to distinguish between the mandibular molars of two southern African fossil hominins: Paranthropus (or Australopithecus) robustus and Australopithecus africanus. After micro-computed tomographic scanning the molar sample, we made high-resolution images of the EDJ and used geometric morphometrics to compare EDJ shape differences between species, in addition to documenting metameric variation along the molar row within each species. Landmarks were collected along the marginal ridge that runs between adjacent dentine horns and around the circumference of the cervix. Our results suggest that the morphology of the EDJ can distinguish lower molars of these southern African hominins, and it can discriminate first, second, and third molars within each taxon. These results confirm previous findings that the EDJ preserves taxonomically valuable shape information in worn teeth. Mean differences in EDJ shape, in particular dentine horn height, crown height, and cervix shape, are more marked between adjacent molars within each taxon than for the same molar between the two taxa. PMID:18824253

  20. From Lucy to Kadanuumuu: balanced analyses of Australopithecus afarensis assemblages confirm only moderate skeletal dimorphism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Philip L. Reno

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Sexual dimorphism in body size is often used as a correlate of social and reproductive behavior in Australopithecus afarensis. In addition to a number of isolated specimens, the sample for this species includes two small associated skeletons (A.L. 288-1 or “Lucy” and A.L. 128/129 and a geologically contemporaneous death assemblage of several larger individuals (A.L. 333. These have driven both perceptions and quantitative analyses concluding that Au. afarensis was markedly dimorphic. The Template Method enables simultaneous evaluation of multiple skeletal sites, thereby greatly expanding sample size, and reveals that A. afarensis dimorphism was similar to that of modern humans. A new very large partial skeleton (KSD-VP-1/1 or “Kadanuumuu” can now also be used, like Lucy, as a template specimen. In addition, the recently developed Geometric Mean Method has been used to argue that Au. afarensis was equally or even more dimorphic than gorillas. However, in its previous application Lucy and A.L. 128/129 accounted for 10 of 11 estimates of female size. Here we directly compare the two methods and demonstrate that including multiple measurements from the same partial skeleton that falls at the margin of the species size range dramatically inflates dimorphism estimates. Prevention of the dominance of a single specimen’s contribution to calculations of multiple dimorphism estimates confirms that Au. afarensis was only moderately dimorphic.

  1. Buccal dental microwear analyses support greater specialization in consumption of hard foodstuffs for Australopithecus anamensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estebaranz, Ferran; Galbany, Jordi; Martínez, Laura; Turbón, Daniel; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro

    2012-01-01

    Molar occlusal microwear texture and anisotropy analyses of 3 Australopithecus anamensis fossil specimens have shown complexity values similar to those of Au. afarensis, indicating that neither of these hominin species had a diet dominated by hard food. However, many researchers have suggested that these were some of the earliest hominins to have such diets. Here we examine buccal microwear patterns of 5 Au. anamensis, 26 Au. afarensis, 48 Hominoidea and 80 Cercopithecoidea primate specimens for independent evidence of dietary adaptations of Au. anamensis. The buccal microwear results obtained suggest that the diet of Au. anamensis relied heavily on hard, brittle food, at least seasonally. This is similar to the diet of the extant Cercopithecoidea primates, including Papio anubis and Chlorocebus aethiops, both of which live in wooded, seasonal savannah environments and have diets that include fruit and grasses, but also underground storage organs (USOs), such as corms or blades, as well as leaves and seeds, and also Mandrillus and Cercocebus, from forested environments with frugivorous-granivorous diets. Furthermore, the buccal microwear patterns of Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis clearly differed - in clear contrast to occlusal enamel texture observations-, which support previous dietary interpretations based on both anatomical and palaeocological reconstructions. PMID:22781583

  2. Blood, bulbs, and bunodonts: on evolutionary ecology and the diets of Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, and early Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sayers, Ken; Lovejoy, C Owen

    2014-12-01

    Beginning with Darwin, some have argued that predation on other vertebrates dates to the earliest stages of hominid evolution, and can explain many uniquely human anatomical and behavioral characters. Other recent workers have focused instead on scavenging, or particular plant foods. Foraging theory suggests that inclusion of any food is influenced by its profitability and distribution within the consumer's habitat. The morphology and likely cognitive abilities of Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, and early Homo suggest that while hunting and scavenging occurred, their profitability generally would have been considerably lower than in extant primates and/or modern human hunter-gatherers. On the other hand, early hominid diet modelers should not focus solely on plant foods, as this overlooks standard functional interpretations of the early hominid dentition, their remarkable demographic success, and the wide range of available food types within their likely day ranges. Any dietary model focusing too narrowly on any one food type or foraging strategy must be viewed with caution. We argue that early hominid diet can best be elucidated by consideration of their entire habitat-specific resource base, and by quantifying the potential profitability and abundance of likely available foods. PMID:25510078

  3. Stratigraphic analysis of the Sterkfontein StW 573 Australopithecus skeleton and implications for its age.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruxelles, Laurent; Clarke, Ronald J; Maire, Richard; Ortega, Richard; Stratford, Dominic

    2014-05-01

    StW 573, Little Foot, is the most complete Australopithecus skeleton yet discovered, with many of its bones found in their correct anatomical position. Since the discovery of the in situ skeleton in the Silberberg Grotto in 1997, several teams have attempted to date the fossil. This appeared a simple process because several flowstones are inter-bedded in the breccia above and below StW 573. Dating of these flowstones, using U-Pb (uranium-lead) isotope decay techniques, gave younger results than expected from the fauna and stratigraphic position, around 2.2 Ma (millions of years). Our recent stratigraphic, micromorphological and geochemical studies revealed that the stratigraphy is much more complicated than was previously thought, with localized post-depositional processes leading to the creation of voids within the breccia around the skeleton. These voids were then filled by multiple generations of flowstone growth. The research we present here demonstrates that the proposed dates based on the flowstone deposition can give only a minimum age for StW 573 and that the flowstone formation came after, and probably long after, the breccia deposition. If one takes account of the long evolution of these karst fillings, StW 573 appears to be significantly older than 2.2 Ma. PMID:24698198

  4. Three-dimensional molar enamel distribution and thickness in Australopithecus and Paranthropus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olejniczak, A J; Smith, T M; Skinner, M M; Grine, F E; Feeney, R N M; Thackeray, J F; Hublin, J-J

    2008-08-23

    Thick molar enamel is among the few diagnostic characters of hominins which are measurable in fossil specimens. Despite a long history of study and characterization of Paranthropus molars as relatively 'hyper-thick', only a few tooth fragments and controlled planes of section (designed to be proxies of whole-crown thickness) have been measured. Here, we measure molar enamel thickness in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus using accurate microtomographic methods, recording the whole-crown distribution of enamel. Both taxa have relatively thick enamel, but are thinner than previously characterized based on two-dimensional measurements. Three-dimensional measurements show that P. robustus enamel is not hyper-thick, and A. africanus enamel is relatively thinner than that of recent humans. Interspecific differences in the whole-crown distribution of enamel thickness influence cross-sectional measurements such that enamel thickness is exaggerated in two-dimensional sections of A. africanus and P. robustus molars. As such, two-dimensional enamel thickness measurements in australopiths are not reliable proxies for the three-dimensional data they are meant to represent. The three-dimensional distribution of enamel thickness shows different patterns among species, and is more useful for the interpretation of functional adaptations than single summary measures of enamel thickness. PMID:18522924

  5. Confocal scanning optical microscopy of a 3-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis femur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromage, T G; Goldman, H M; McFarlin, S C; Perez Ochoa, A; Boyde, A

    2009-01-01

    Portable confocal scanning optical microscopy (PCSOM) has been specifically developed for the noncontact and nondestructive imaging of early human fossil hard tissues, which here we describe and apply to a 3-million-year-old femur from the celebrated Ethiopian skeleton, "Lucy," referred to Australopithecus afarensis. We examine two bone tissue parameters that demonstrate the potential of this technology. First, subsurface reflection images from intact bone reveal bone cell spaces, the osteocyte lacunae, whose density is demonstrated to scale negatively with body size, reflecting aspects of metabolism and organismal life history. Second, images of a naturally fractured cross section near to Lucy's femoral mid-shaft, which match in sign those of transmitted circularly polarized light, reveal relative collagen fiber orientation patterns that are an important indicator of femoral biomechanical efficacy. Preliminary results indicate that Lucy was characterized by metabolic constraints typical for a primate her body size and that in her femur she was adapted to habitual bipedalism. Limitations imposed by the transport and invasive histology of unique or rare fossils motivated development of the PCSOM so that specimens may be examined wherever and whenever nondestructive imaging is required. PMID:19191265

  6. Individual tooth macrowear pattern guides the reconstruction of Sts 52 (Australopithecus africanus) dental arches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benazzi, Stefano; Kullmer, Ottmar; Schulz, Dieter; Gruppioni, Giorgio; Weber, Gerhard W

    2013-02-01

    The functional restoration of the occlusal relationship between maxillary and mandibular tooth rows is a major challenge in modern dentistry and maxillofacial surgery. Similar technical challenges are present in paleoanthropology when considering fragmented and deformed mandibular and maxillary fossils. Sts 52, an Australopithecus africanus specimen from Sterkfontein Member 4, represents a typical case where the original shape of the dental arches is no longer preserved. It includes a partial lower face (Sts 52a) and a fragmented mandible (Sts 52b), both incomplete and damaged to such an extent to thwart attempts at matching upper and lower dentitions. We show how the preserved macro wear pattern of the tooth crowns can be used to functionally reconstruct Sts 52's dental arches. High-resolution dental stone casts of Sts 52 maxillary and mandibular dentition were mounted and repositioned in a dental articulator. The occlusal relationship between antagonists was restored based on the analysis of the occlusal wear pattern of each preserved tooth, considering all dental contact movements represented in the occlusal compass. The reconstructed dental arches were three-dimensional surface scanned and their occlusal kinematics tested in a simulation. The outcome of this contribution is the first functional restoration of A. africanus dental arches providing new morphometric data for specimen Sts 52. It is noteworthy that the method described in this case study might be applied to several other fossil specimens. PMID:23296796

  7. From Lucy to Kadanuumuu: balanced analyses of Australopithecus afarensis assemblages confirm only moderate skeletal dimorphism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reno, Philip L; Lovejoy, C Owen

    2015-01-01

    Sexual dimorphism in body size is often used as a correlate of social and reproductive behavior in Australopithecus afarensis. In addition to a number of isolated specimens, the sample for this species includes two small associated skeletons (A.L. 288-1 or "Lucy" and A.L. 128/129) and a geologically contemporaneous death assemblage of several larger individuals (A.L. 333). These have driven both perceptions and quantitative analyses concluding that Au. afarensis was markedly dimorphic. The Template Method enables simultaneous evaluation of multiple skeletal sites, thereby greatly expanding sample size, and reveals that A. afarensis dimorphism was similar to that of modern humans. A new very large partial skeleton (KSD-VP-1/1 or "Kadanuumuu") can now also be used, like Lucy, as a template specimen. In addition, the recently developed Geometric Mean Method has been used to argue that Au. afarensis was equally or even more dimorphic than gorillas. However, in its previous application Lucy and A.L. 128/129 accounted for 10 of 11 estimates of female size. Here we directly compare the two methods and demonstrate that including multiple measurements from the same partial skeleton that falls at the margin of the species size range dramatically inflates dimorphism estimates. Prevention of the dominance of a single specimen's contribution to calculations of multiple dimorphism estimates confirms that Au. afarensis was only moderately dimorphic. PMID:25945314

  8. Dental metric assessment of the omo fossils: implications for the phylogenetic position of Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunt, K; Vitzthum, V J

    1986-10-01

    The discovery of Australopithecus afarensis has led to new interpretations of hominid phylogeny, some of which reject A. africanus as an ancestor of Homo. Analysis of buccolingual tooth crown dimensions in australopithecines and Homo species by Johanson and White (Science 202:321-330, 1979) revealed that the South African gracile australopithecines are intermediate in size between Laetoli/hadar hominids and South African robust hominids. Homo, on the other hand, displays dimensions similar to those of A. afarensis and smaller than those of other australopithecines. These authors conclude, therefore, that A. africanus is derived in the direction of A. robustus and is not an ancestor of the Homo clade. However, there is a considerable time gap (ca. 800,000 years) between the Laetoli/Hadar specimens and the earliest Homo specimens; "gracile" hominids from Omo fit into this chronological gap and are from the same geographic area. Because the early specimens at Omo have been designated A. afarensis and the later specimens classified as Homo habilis, Omo offers a unique opportunity to test hypotheses concerning hominid evolution, especially regarding the phylogenetic status of A. africanus. Comparisons of mean cheek teeth breadths disclosed the significant (P less than or equal to 0.05) differences between the Omo sample and the Laetoli/Hadar fossils (P4, M2, and M3), the Homo fossils (P3, P4, M1, M2, and M1), and A. africanus (M3). Of the several possible interpretations of these data, it appears that the high degree of similarity between the Omo sample and the South African gracile australopithecine material warrants considering the two as geographical variants of A. africanus. The geographic, chronologic, and metric attributes of the Omo sample argue for its lineal affinity with A. afarensis and Homo. In conclusion, a consideration of hominid postcanine dental metrics provides no basis for removing A. africanus from the ancestry of the Homo lineage. PMID:3099582

  9. Indications of habitat association of Australopithecus robustus in the Bloubank Valley, South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Ruiter, Darryl J; Sponheimer, Matt; Lee-Thorp, Julia A

    2008-12-01

    Establishing the habitat preferences of early hominin taxa is a necessary, though difficult, requirement for understanding the interaction between environmental change and hominin evolution. The environments typically associated with Australopithecus robustus have been reconstructed as predominantly open grasslands situated within a habitat mosaic that included a more wooded component with a nearby perennial water source. Most studies have concluded that the open grassland component represents the habitat preference of the hominins. In this study we investigate indicators of habitat association of A. robustus that are preserved in the animal paleocommunities represented in a series of fossil cave infills in the Bloubank Valley of South Africa, including Swartkrans, Sterkfontein, Kromdraai, and Coopers. Testing for conditions of isotaphonomy reveals a potential bias relating to depositional matrix and perhaps accumulating agent, though such a bias has not unduly influenced the taxonomic composition the assemblages. Correspondence analysis of census data from modern African nature reserves demonstrates that carnivore predation patterns are indicative of animal communities, which in turn are representative of habitats. As a result, modern census data are used to document patterns of habitat preference of large herbivores, thus allowing assignment of fossil taxa to a series of broadly defined habitat categories. Correspondence analysis of fossil assemblages reveals that the abundance profile of A. robustus is most similar to that of woodland-adapted taxa. In addition, fluctuations in the relative abundance of taxa assigned to the broad habitat categories reveal a significant negative correlation between A. robustus and open grassland-adapted taxa, indicating that the more grassland-adapted taxa there are in a given assemblage, the fewer hominins there tend to be. Thus, it appears that the open grasslands that comprise the majority of the paleoenvironments associated

  10. New postcranial fossils of Australopithecus afarensis from Hadar, Ethiopia (1990-2007).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Carol V; Kimbel, William H; Harmon, Elizabeth H; Johanson, Donald C

    2012-07-01

    Renewed fieldwork at Hadar, Ethiopia, from 1990 to 2007, by a team based at the Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, resulted in the recovery of 49 new postcranial fossils attributed to Australopithecus afarensis. These fossils include elements from both the upper and lower limbs as well as the axial skeleton, and increase the sample size of previously known elements for A. afarensis. The expanded Hadar sample provides evidence of multiple new individuals that are intermediate in size between the smallest and largest individuals previously documented, and so support the hypothesis that a single dimorphic species is represented. Consideration of the functional anatomy of the new fossils supports the hypothesis that no functional or behavioral differences need to be invoked to explain the morphological variation between large and small A. afarensis individuals. Several specimens provide important new data about this species, including new vertebrae supporting the hypothesis that A. afarensis may have had a more human-like thoracic form than previously appreciated, with an invaginated thoracic vertebral column. A distal pollical phalanx confirms the presence of a human-like flexor pollicis longus muscle in A. afarensis. The new fossils include the first complete fourth metatarsal known for A. afarensis. This specimen exhibits the dorsoplantarly expanded base, axial torsion and domed head typical of humans, revealing the presence of human-like permanent longitudinal and transverse arches and extension of the metatarsophalangeal joints as in human-like heel-off during gait. The new Hadar postcranial fossils provide a more complete picture of postcranial functional anatomy, and individual and temporal variation within this sample. They provide the basis for further in-depth analyses of the behavioral and evolutionary significance of A. afarensis anatomy, and greater insight into the biology and evolution of these early hominins. PMID:22652491

  11. Kinematic parameters inferred from enamel microstructure: new insights into the diet of Australopithecus anamensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macho, Gabriele A; Shimizu, Daisuke

    2010-01-01

    The dietary adaptations of Australopithecus anamensis are contentious, with suggestions that range from soft fruits to hard, brittle, tough, and abrasive foods. It is unlikely that all propositions are equally valid, however. Here we extend recent finite element (FE) analyses of enamel microstructure (Shimizu and Macho, 2008) to enquire about the range of loading directions (i.e., kinematics) to which A. anamensis enamel microstructure/molars could safely be subjected. The rationale underlying this study is the observation that hard brittle foods are broken down in crush, while tough foods require shear. The findings are compared with those of Pan and Gorilla. Eighteen detailed FE models of enamel microstructure were created and analysed. The results highlight the uniqueness of A. anamensis dental structure and imply that mastication in this species included a greater shear component than in Pan, as well as a wider range of loading directions; it is similar to that in Gorilla in this respect. These findings are in accord with microwear studies (Grine et al., 2006a). Unlike either of the great apes, however, enamel microstructure of A. anamensis was found to be poorly equipped to withstand loading parallel to the dentino-enamel junction; such loading regimes are associated with mastication of soft fleshy fruits. This, together with broader morphological considerations, raises doubts as to whether A. anamensis was essentially a frugivore that expanded its dietary niche as a result of fluctuations in environmental conditions, e.g., during seasonal food shortages. Instead, it is more parsimonious to conclude that the habitual diet of A. anamensis differed considerably from that of either of the extant African great apes. PMID:19783029

  12. Size and shape variation in the proximal femur of Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harmon, Elizabeth

    2009-06-01

    Aside from use as estimates of body mass dimorphism and fore to hind limb joint size comparisons, postcranial elements have not often contributed to assessments of variation in Australopithecus africanus. Meanwhile, cranial, facial, and dental size variation is interpreted to be high or moderately high. Further, the cranial base and face express patterns of structural (shape) variation, which are interpreted by some as evidence for the presence of multiple species. Here, the proximal femur is used to consider postcranial size and shape variation in A. africanus. Original fossils from Makapansgat and Sterkfontein, and samples from Homo, Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo were measured. Size variation was assessed by comparing the A. africanus coefficient of variation to bootstrapped distributions of coefficient of variation samples for each taxon. Shape variation was assessed from isometrically adjusted shape variables. First, the A. africanus standard deviation of log transformed shape variables was compared to bootstrapped distributions of logged standard deviations in each taxon. Second, shape variable based Euclidean distances between fossil pairs were compared to pairwise Euclidean distance distributions in each reference taxon. The degree of size variation in the A. africanus proximal femur is consistent with that of a single species, and is most comparable to Homo and Pan, lower than A. afarensis, and lower than some estimates of cranial and dental variation. Some, but not all, shape variables show more variation in A. africanus than in extant taxa. The degree of shape difference between some fossils exceeds the majority of pairwise differences in the reference taxa. Proximal femoral shape, but not size, variation is consistent with high estimates of A. africanus cranial variation. PMID:19446306

  13. Metacarpal torsion in apes, humans, and early Australopithecus: implications for manipulatory abilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drapeau, Michelle S M

    2015-01-01

    Human hands, when compared to that of apes, have a series of adaptations to facilitate manipulation. Numerous studies have shown that Australopithecus afarensis and Au. africanus display some of these adaptations, such as a longer thumb relative to the other fingers, asymmetric heads on the second and fifth metacarpals, and orientation of the second metacarpal joints with the trapezium and capitate away from the sagittal plane, while lacking others such as a very mobile fifth metacarpal, a styloid process on the third, and a flatter metacarpo-trapezium articulation, suggesting some adaptation to manipulation but more limited than in humans. This paper explores variation in metacarpal torsion, a trait said to enhance manipulation, in humans, apes, early australopithecines and specimens from Swartkrans. This study shows that humans are different from large apes in torsion of the third and fourth metacarpals. Humans are also characterized by wedge-shaped bases of the third and fourth metacarpals, making the metacarpal-base row very arched mediolaterally and placing the ulnar-most metacarpals in a position that facilitate opposition to the thumb in power or cradle grips. The third and fourth metacarpals of Au. afarensis are very human-like, suggesting that the medial palm was already well adapted for these kinds of grips in that taxon. Au. africanus present a less clear human-like morphology, suggesting, perhaps, that the medial palm was less suited to human-like manipulation in that taxa than in Au. afarensis. Overall, this study supports previous studies on Au. afarensis and Au. africanus that these taxa had derived hand morphology with some adaptation to human-like power and precision grips and support the hypothesis that dexterous hands largely predated Homo. PMID:26500820

  14. Metopic suture of Taung (Australopithecus africanus) and its implications for hominin brain evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falk, Dean; Zollikofer, Christoph P E; Morimoto, Naoki; Ponce de León, Marcia S

    2012-05-29

    The type specimen for Australopithecus africanus (Taung) includes a natural endocast that reproduces most of the external morphology of the right cerebral hemisphere and a fragment of fossilized face that articulates with the endocast. Despite the fact that Taung died between 3 and 4 y of age, the endocast reproduces a small triangular-shaped remnant of the anterior fontanelle, from which a clear metopic suture (MS) courses rostrally along the midline [Hrdlička A (1925) Am J Phys Anthropol 8:379-392]. Here we describe and interpret this feature of Taung in light of comparative fossil and actualistic data on the timing of MS closure. In great apes, the MS normally fuses shortly after birth, such that unfused MS similar to Taung's are rare. In humans, however, MS fuses well after birth, and partially or unfused MS are frequent. In gracile fossil adult hominins that lived between ∼3.0 and 1.5 million y ago, MS are also relatively frequent, indicating that the modern human-like pattern of late MS fusion may have become adaptive during early hominin evolution. Selective pressures favoring delayed fusion might have resulted from three aspects of perinatal ontogeny: (i) the difficulty of giving birth to large-headed neonates through birth canals that were reconfigured for bipedalism (the "obstetric dilemma"), (ii) high early postnatal brain growth rates, and (iii) reorganization and expansion of the frontal neocortex. Overall, our data indicate that hominin brain evolution occurred within a complex network of fetopelvic constraints, which required modification of frontal neurocranial ossification patterns. PMID:22566620

  15. Forearm articular proportions and the antebrachial index in Homo sapiens, Australopithecus afarensis and the great apes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Frank L'Engle; Cunningham, Deborah L; Amaral, Lia Q

    2015-12-01

    When hominin bipedality evolved, the forearms were free to adopt nonlocomotor tasks which may have resulted in changes to the articular surfaces of the ulna and the relative lengths of the forearm bones. Similarly, sex differences in forearm proportions may be more likely to emerge in bipeds than in the great apes given the locomotor constraints in Gorilla, Pan and Pongo. To test these assumptions, ulnar articular proportions and the antebrachial index (radius length/ulna length) in Homo sapiens (n=51), Gorilla gorilla (n=88), Pan troglodytes (n=49), Pongo pygmaeus (n=36) and Australopithecus afarensis A.L. 288-1 and A.L. 438-1 are compared. Intercept-adjusted ratios are used to control for size and minimize the effects of allometry. Canonical scores axes show that the proximally broad and elongated trochlear notch with respect to size in H. sapiens and A. afarensis is largely distinct from G. gorilla, P. troglodytes and P. pygmaeus. A cluster analysis of scaled ulnar articular dimensions groups H. sapiens males with A.L. 438-1 ulna length estimates, while one A.L. 288-1 ulna length estimate groups with Pan and another clusters most closely with H. sapiens, G. gorilla and A.L. 438-1. The relatively low antebrachial index characterizing H. sapiens and non-outlier estimates of A.L. 288-1 and A.L. 438-1 differs from those of the great apes. Unique sex differences in H. sapiens suggest a link between bipedality and forearm functional morphology. PMID:26256651

  16. Using the morphology of the hominoid distal fibula to interpret arboreality in Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchi, Damiano

    2015-08-01

    The fibula has rarely been considered in anthropological studies. However differences in morphology - and inferred function - of the fibula between human and non-human apes have been noted in the past and related to differences in locomotor behavior. Recent studies have pointed out the correlation between diaphyseal rigidity of the fibula and tibia and locomotor behavior in living hominids, and its possible application for inferring early hominin locomotor behavior. The problem with the application of the method proposed in these studies is the extreme rarity of associated early hominin fibula and tibia. Additionally, previous studies investigating morphological traits of fibulotalar articular facets to infer the degree of arboreality in fossil australopiths were often qualitative. In the present study, articular measurements of the distal fibula of living great apes and humans (Pongo, Gorilla, Pan and Homo) are quantified and compared to Australopithecus afarensis distal fibulae. Quantitative analysis is carried out for articular areas and breadths of the fibulotalar articular facets, for the angles formed by the fibulotalar articular facets and the longitudinal axis of the fibula, and for the angle between the proximal fibulotalar articular facet and the subcutaneous triangular area. Results show that the fibula of A. afarensis bears some traits consistent with modern terrestrial bipedalism, like a more laterally facing lateral malleolus, in association with more ape-like traits, like the smaller distal fibulotalar articular facet area and the more inferiorly oriented fibulotalar articular facets, consistent with A. afarensis being a terrestrial hominin adapted for some form of arboreality. PMID:26142774

  17. New Australopithecus robustus fossils and associated U-Pb dates from Cooper's Cave (Gauteng, South Africa).

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Ruiter, Darryl J; Pickering, Robyn; Steininger, Christine M; Kramers, Jan D; Hancox, Phillip J; Churchill, Steven E; Berger, Lee R; Backwell, Lucinda

    2009-05-01

    Australopithecus robustus is one of the best represented hominin taxa in Africa, with hundreds of specimens recovered from six fossil localities in the Bloubank Valley area of Gauteng Province, South Africa. However, precise geochronological ages are presently lacking for these fossil cave infills. In this paper, we provide a detailed geological background to a series of hominin fossils retrieved from the newly investigated deposit of Cooper's D (located partway between Sterkfontein and Kromdraai in the Bloubank Valley), including uranium-lead (U-Pb) ages for speleothem material associated with A. robustus. U-Pb dating of a basal speleothem underlying the entire deposit results in a maximum age of 1.526 (+/-0.088) Ma for Cooper's D. A second U-Pb date of ca. 1.4 Ma is produced from a flowstone layer above this basal speleothem; since this upper flowstone is not a capping flowstone, and fossiliferous sediments are preserved above this layer, some of the hominins might be slightly younger than the calculated age. As a result, we can broadly constrain the age of the hominins from Cooper's D to between 1.5 and approximately 1.4 Ma. Extinct fauna recorded in this comparatively young deposit raise the possibility that the Bloubank Valley region of South Africa represented a more stable environmental refugium for taxa relative to tectonically more active East Africa. The sediments of the deposit likely infilled rapidly during periods when arid conditions prevailed in the paleoenvironment, although it is unclear whether sediment deposition and bone deposition were necessarily contemporaneous occurrences. We reconstruct the paleoenvironment of Cooper's D as predominantly grassland, with nearby woodlands and a permanent water source. The hominin teeth recovered from Cooper's D are all from juveniles and can be confidently assigned to A. robustus. In addition, two juvenile mandibular fragments and an adult thoracic vertebra are tentatively attributed to A. robustus. PMID

  18. CT-based study of internal structure of the anterior pillar in extinct hominins and its implications for the phylogeny of robust Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villmoare, Brian A; Kimbel, William H

    2011-09-27

    The phylogeny of the early African hominins has long been confounded by contrasting interpretations of midfacial structure. In particular, the anterior pillar, an externally prominent bony column running vertically alongside the nasal aperture, has been identified as a homology of South African species Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus. If the anterior pillar is a true synapomorphy of these two species, the evidence for a southern African clade of Australopithecus would be strengthened, and support would be given to the phylogenetic hypothesis of an independent origin for eastern and southern African "robust" australopith clades. Analyses of CT data, however, show that the internal structure of the circumnasal region is strikingly different in the two South African australopith species. In A. africanus the anterior pillar is a hollow column of cortical bone, whereas in A. robustus it is a column of dense trabecular bone. Although Australopithecus boisei usually lacks an external pillar, it has internal morphology identical to that seen in A. robustus. This result supports the monophyly of the "robust" australopiths and suggests that the external similarities seen in the South African species are the result of parallel evolution. PMID:21930932

  19. Premolar root and canal variation in South African Plio-Pleistocene specimens attributed to Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, N Collin; Thackeray, J Francis; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Skinner, Matthew M

    2016-04-01

    South African hominin fossils attributed to Australopithecus africanus derive from the cave sites of Makapansgat, Sterkfontein, and Taung, from deposits dated between about 2 and 3 million years ago (Ma), while Paranthropus robustus is known from Drimolen, Kromdraai, and Swartkrans, from deposits dated between about 1 and 2 Ma. Although variation in the premolar root complex has informed taxonomic and phylogenetic hypotheses for these fossil hominin species, traditionally there has been a focus on external root form, number, and position. In this study, we use microtomography to undertake the first comprehensive study of maxillary and mandibular premolar root and canal variation in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus (n = 166 teeth) within and between the species. We also test for correlations between premolar size and root morphology as predicted under the 'size/number continuum' (SNC) model, which correlates increasing root number with tooth size. Our results demonstrate previously undocumented variation in these two fossil hominin species and highlight taxonomic differences in the presence and frequency of particular root types, qualitative root traits, and tooth size (measured as cervix cross-sectional area). Patterns of tooth size and canal/root number are broadly consistent with the SNC model, however statistically significant support is limited. The implications for hominin taxonomy in light of the increased variation in root morphology documented in this study are discussed. PMID:27086055

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

    OpenAIRE

    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 antimer...

  1. Landscapes and their relation to hominin habitats: case studies from Australopithecus sites in eastern and southern Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, Sally C; Bailey, Geoff N; King, Geoffrey C P

    2011-03-01

    We examine the links between geomorphological processes, specific landscape features, surface water drainage, and the creation of suitable habitats for hominins. The existence of mosaic (i.e., heterogeneous) habitats within hominin site landscape reconstructions is typically explained using models of the riverine and gallery forest settings, or the pan or lake setting. We propose a different model: the Tectonic Landscape Model (TLM), where tectonic faulting and volcanism disrupts existing pan or river settings at small-scales (∼10-25 km). Our model encompasses the interpretation of the landscape features, the role of tectonics in creating these landscapes, and the implications for hominins. In particular, the model explains the underlying mechanism for the creation and maintenance of heterogeneous habitats in regions of active tectonics. We illustrate how areas with faulting and disturbed drainage patterns would have been attractive habitats for hominins, such as Australopithecus, and other fauna. Wetland areas are an important characteristic of surface water disturbance by fault activity; therefore we examine the tectonically-controlled Okavango Delta (Botswana) and the Nylsvley wetland (South Africa) as modern examples of how tectonics in a riverine setting significantly enhance the faunal and floral biodiversity. While tectonic landscapes may not have been the only type of attractive habitats to hominins, we propose a suite of landscape, faunal, and floral indicators, which when recovered together suggest that site environments may have been influenced by tectonic and/or volcanic activity while hominins were present. For the fossil sites, we interpret the faulting and landscapes around australopithecine-bearing sites of the Middle Awash (Ethiopia) and Makapansgat, Taung, and Sterkfontein (South Africa) to illustrate these relationships between landscape features and surface water bodies. Exploitation of tectonically active landscapes may explain why the

  2. Continuous dental eruption identifies Sts 5 as the developmentally oldest fossil hominin and informs the taxonomy of Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villmoare, B; Kuykendall, K; Rae, T C; Brimacombe, C S

    2013-12-01

    The relatively small Australopithecus africanus specimen Sts 5 has figured prominently in taxonomic debates, and the determination of this specimen as a young male or an elderly female has the potential to offer a great deal of resolution on this question. Sts 5 has been argued to be either a small, immature male or a mature female based on a variety of characters. A proposed model of continuous root remodeling and angular change for heavily worn dentition may account for the extremely short tooth roots, particularly for the anterior dentition, that Sts 5 demonstrates. The anterior tooth roots of Sts 5 are oriented vertically (relative to the alveolar plane), unlike those found in most other apes, humans, and fossil specimens, in which the tooth roots are roughly parallel with the plane of the nasoalveolar clivus. Computed tomography (CT) data of adult apes were examined and a relationship between the angle of the anterior tooth roots and their length was discovered, caused by heavily worn anterior dentition continuing to erupt to maintain occlusion. The extremely short and vertically oriented anterior roots observed in Sts 5 thus suggest that the specimen represents an aged female specimen with extremely worn dentition. Interestingly, this reorientation of anterior tooth roots helps account for the unusual nasoalveolar contour of Sts 5. The remodeling associated with the heavily worn teeth and reoriented roots thus resolves the taxonomic question raised by analyses identifying unusual prognathism of this small specimen. PMID:24210658

  3. Endocranial volume of Australopithecus africanus: new CT-based estimates and the effects of missing data and small sample size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neubauer, Simon; Gunz, Philipp; Weber, Gerhard W; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2012-04-01

    Estimation of endocranial volume in Australopithecus africanus is important in interpreting early hominin brain evolution. However, the number of individuals available for investigation is limited and most of these fossils are, to some degree, incomplete and/or distorted. Uncertainties of the required reconstruction ('missing data uncertainty') and the small sample size ('small sample uncertainty') both potentially bias estimates of the average and within-group variation of endocranial volume in A. africanus. We used CT scans, electronic preparation (segmentation), mirror-imaging and semilandmark-based geometric morphometrics to generate and reconstruct complete endocasts for Sts 5, Sts 60, Sts 71, StW 505, MLD 37/38, and Taung, and measured their endocranial volumes (EV). To get a sense of the reliability of these new EV estimates, we then used simulations based on samples of chimpanzees and humans to: (a) test the accuracy of our approach, (b) assess missing data uncertainty, and (c) appraise small sample uncertainty. Incorporating missing data uncertainty of the five adult individuals, A. africanus was found to have an average adult endocranial volume of 454-461 ml with a standard deviation of 66-75 ml. EV estimates for the juvenile Taung individual range from 402 to 407 ml. Our simulations show that missing data uncertainty is small given the missing portions of the investigated fossils, but that small sample sizes are problematic for estimating species average EV. It is important to take these uncertainties into account when different fossil groups are being compared. PMID:22365336

  4. The enamel-dentine junction in the postcanine dentition of Australopithecus africanus: intra-individual metameric and antimeric variation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, J; Thackeray, J F; Subsol, G; Kahn, J L; Maret, D; Treil, J; Beck, A

    2010-01-01

    We used micro-computed tomography and virtual tools to study metric and morphological features at the enamel-dentine junction and on the outer enamel surface in the postcanine dentition of an exceptionally well-preserved maxilla and mandible of an early hominin. The fossil, Sts 52 from Sterkfontein, South Africa, is attributed to Australopithecus africanus and is about 2.5 million years old. For comparative purposes in this exploratory study, we also used micro-computed tomography to analyse the dentition of a common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), a pygmy chimpanzee (Pan paniscus) and three extant humans. Metameric variation of the 3D enamel-dentine junction in the two chimpanzee mandibles was much smaller than in extant humans. Variation in metameric shape was high and complex. Notably, the mandibular metameric variation in extant humans can be greater within individuals, as compared with variation between individuals, with differences in shape appearing greater for M2 compared with M1. We recommend the use of a new approach in which individual metameric variation is systematically assessed before making inferences about differences between fossil hominin species. The fossil hominin examined in this study showed a metameric pattern of mandibular variation in shape that was comparable to the pattern seen in two chimpanzees. This degree of metameric variation appeared relatively small compared with the much larger patterns of variation observed within and between extant humans. PMID:19900182

  5. Protostylid expression at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of mandibular molars of Paranthropus robustus and Australopithecus africanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Matthew M; Wood, Bernard A; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2009-01-01

    Distinctive expressions and incidences of discrete dental traits at the outer enamel surface (OES) contribute to the diagnoses of many early hominin taxa. Examination of the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ), imaged non-destructively using micro-computed tomography, has elucidated the morphological development of dental traits and improved interpretations of their variability within and among taxa. The OES expressions of one of these dental traits, the protostylid, have been found to differ among African Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominin taxa. In this study protostylid expression is examined at the OES and at the EDJ of Paranthropus robustus (n=23) and Australopithecus africanus (n=28) mandibular molars, with the goals of incorporating EDJ morphology into the definition of the protostylid and assessing the relative contribution of the EDJ and enamel cap to its expression in these taxa. The results provide evidence (a) of statistically significant taxon-specific patterns of protostylid morphology at the EDJ that are not evident at the OES; (b) that in P. robustus, thick enamel reduces the morphological correspondence between the form of the protostylid seen at the EDJ and the OES, and (c) that if EDJ images can be obtained, then the protostylid retains its taxonomic value even in worn teeth. PMID:18986683

  6. Digit ratios predict polygyny in early apes, Ardipithecus, Neanderthals and early modern humans but not in Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Emma; Rolian, Campbell; Cashmore, Lisa; Shultz, Susanne

    2011-05-22

    Social behaviour of fossil hominoid species is notoriously difficult to predict owing to difficulties in estimating body size dimorphism from fragmentary remains and, in hominins, low canine size dimorphism. Recent studies have shown that the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D : 4D), a putative biomarker for prenatal androgen effects (PAEs), covaries with intra-sexual competition and social systems across haplorrhines; non-pair-bonded polygynous taxa have significantly lower 2D : 4D ratios (high PAE) than pair-bonded monogamous species. Here, we use proximal phalanx ratios of extant and fossil specimens to reconstruct the social systems of extinct hominoids. Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, Hispanopithecus laietanus and Ardipithecus ramidus have ratios consistent with polygynous extant species, whereas the ratio of Australopithecus afarensis is consistent with monogamous extant species. The early anatomically modern human Qafzeh 9 and Neanderthals have lower digit ratios than most contemporary human populations, indicating increased androgenization and possibly higher incidence of polygyny. Although speculative owing to small sample sizes, these results suggest that digit ratios represent a supplementary approach for elucidating the social systems of fossil hominins. PMID:21047863

  7. Strong postcranial size dimorphism in Australopithecus afarensis: results from two new resampling methods for multivariate data sets with missing data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Adam D; Green, David J; Richmond, Brian G

    2008-03-01

    There is considerable debate over the level of size dimorphism and inferred social behavior of Australopithecus afarensis. Most previous studies have analyzed size variation in single variables or multiple variables drawn from single elements. These approaches suffer from small sample sizes, underscoring the need for new techniques that incorporate measurements from multiple unassociated elements, reducing the influence of random sampling on size variation in fossil samples. One such technique, the template method, has recently been proposed but is limited to samples with a template specimen and is sensitive to a number of assumptions. Here we present two new resampling methods that do not require a template specimen, allow measurements from multiple unassociated elements to be included in a single analysis, and allow for significance tests between comparative and fossil multivariate data sets with missing data. Using these new methods, multivariate postcranial size dimorphism is measured using eight measurements of the femur, tibia, humerus, and radius in samples of A. afarensis, modern humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. Postcranial dimorphism in A. afarensis is similar to that of gorillas and orangutans, and significantly greater than in modern humans and chimpanzees. Because studies in living primates have examined the association of behavior with dimorphism in body mass and craniodental measurements, not postcrania, relationships between postcranial dimorphism and social behavior must be established to make robust behavioral inferences for A. afarensis. However, the results of this and past studies strongly suggest behavioral and mating strategies differed between A. afarensis and modern humans. PMID:18044693

  8. The enamel–dentine junction in the postcanine dentition of Australopithecus africanus: intra-individual metameric and antimeric variation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, J; Thackeray, J F; Subsol, G; Kahn, J L; Maret, D; Treil, J; Beck, A

    2010-01-01

    We used micro-computed tomography and virtual tools to study metric and morphological features at the enamel–dentine junction and on the outer enamel surface in the postcanine dentition of an exceptionally well-preserved maxilla and mandible of an early hominin. The fossil, Sts 52 from Sterkfontein, South Africa, is attributed to Australopithecus africanus and is about 2.5 million years old. For comparative purposes in this exploratory study, we also used micro-computed tomography to analyse the dentition of a common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), a pygmy chimpanzee (Pan paniscus) and three extant humans. Metameric variation of the 3D enamel–dentine junction in the two chimpanzee mandibles was much smaller than in extant humans. Variation in metameric shape was high and complex. Notably, the mandibular metameric variation in extant humans can be greater within individuals, as compared with variation between individuals, with differences in shape appearing greater for M2 compared with M1. We recommend the use of a new approach in which individual metameric variation is systematically assessed before making inferences about differences between fossil hominin species. The fossil hominin examined in this study showed a metameric pattern of mandibular variation in shape that was comparable to the pattern seen in two chimpanzees. This degree of metameric variation appeared relatively small compared with the much larger patterns of variation observed within and between extant humans. PMID:19900182

  9. Postnatal temporal bone ontogeny in Pan, Gorilla, and Homo, and the implications for temporal bone ontogeny in Australopithecus afarensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terhune, Claire E; Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A

    2013-08-01

    Assessments of temporal bone morphology have played an important role in taxonomic and phylogenetic evaluations of fossil taxa, and recent three-dimensional analyses of this region have supported the utility of the temporal bone for testing taxonomic and phylogenetic hypotheses. But while clinical analyses have examined aspects of temporal bone ontogeny in humans, the ontogeny of the temporal bone in non-human taxa is less well documented. This study examines ontogenetic allometry of the temporal bone in order to address several research questions related to the pattern and trajectory of temporal bone shape change during ontogeny in the African apes and humans. We further apply these data to a preliminary analysis of temporal bone ontogeny in Australopithecus afarensis. Three-dimensional landmarks were digitized on an ontogenetic series of specimens of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, and Gorilla gorilla. Data were analyzed using geometric morphometric methods, and shape changes throughout ontogeny in relation to size were compared. Results of these analyses indicate that, despite broadly similar patterns, African apes and humans show marked differences in development of the mandibular fossa and tympanic portions of the temporal bone. These findings indicate divergent, rather than parallel, postnatal ontogenetic allometric trajectories for temporal bone shape in these taxa. The pattern of temporal bone shape change with size exhibited by A. afarensis showed some affinities to that of humans, but was most similar to extant African apes, particularly Gorilla. PMID:23868175

  10. Stride lengths, speed and energy costs in walking of Australopithecus afarensis: using evolutionary robotics to predict locomotion of early human ancestors

    OpenAIRE

    Sellers, William I.; Cain, Gemma M; Wang, Weijie; Crompton, Robin H

    2005-01-01

    This paper uses techniques from evolutionary robotics to predict the most energy-efficient upright walking gait for the early human relative Australopithecus afarensis, based on the proportions of the 3.2 million year old AL 288-1 ‘Lucy’ skeleton, and matches predictions against the nearly contemporaneous (3.5–3.6 million year old) Laetoli fossil footprint trails. The technique creates gaits de novo and uses genetic algorithm optimization to search for the most efficient patterns of simulated...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:23633001

  12. The structural rigidity of the cranium of Australopithecus africanus: implications for diet, dietary adaptations, and the allometry of feeding biomechanics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strait, David S; Grosse, Ian R; Dechow, Paul C; Smith, Amanda L; Wang, Qian; Weber, Gerhard W; Neubauer, Simon; Slice, Dennis E; Chalk, Janine; Richmond, Brian G; Lucas, Peter W; Spencer, Mark A; Schrein, Caitlin; Wright, Barth W; Byron, Craig; Ross, Callum F

    2010-04-01

    Australopithecus africanus is an early hominin (i.e., human relative) believed to exhibit stress-reducing adaptations in its craniofacial skeleton that may be related to the consumption of resistant food items using its premolar teeth. Finite element analyses simulating molar and premolar biting were used to test the hypothesis that the cranium of A. africanus is structurally more rigid than that of Macaca fascicularis, an Old World monkey that lacks derived australopith facial features. Previously generated finite element models of crania of these species were subjected to isometrically scaled loads, permitting a direct comparison of strain magnitudes. Moreover, strain energy (SE) in the models was compared after results were scaled to account for differences in bone volume and muscle forces. Results indicate that strains in certain skeletal regions below the orbits are higher in M. fascicularis than in A. africanus. Moreover, although premolar bites produce von Mises strains in the rostrum that are elevated relative to those produced by molar biting in both species, rostral strains are much higher in the macaque than in the australopith. These data suggest that at least the midface of A. africanus is more rigid than that of M. fascicularis. Comparisons of SE reveal that the A. africanus cranium is, overall, more rigid than that of M. fascicularis during premolar biting. This is consistent with the hypothesis that this hominin may have periodically consumed large, hard food items. However, the SE data suggest that the A. africanus cranium is marginally less rigid than that of the macaque during molar biting. It is hypothesized that the SE results are being influenced by the allometric scaling of cranial cortical bone thickness. PMID:20235314

  13. Quantifying mental foramen position in extant hominoids and Australopithecus: implications for its use in studies of human evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Chris A; Williams, Frank L

    2010-08-01

    The location of the mental foramen on the mandibular corpus has figured prominently in debates concerning the taxonomy of fossil hominins and Gorilla gorilla. In this study we quantify the antero/posterior (A/P) position of the mental foramen across great apes, modern humans and Australopithecus. Contrary to most qualitative assessments, we find significant differences between some extant hominoid species in mental foramen A/P position supporting its potential usefulness as a character for taxonomic and phylogenetic analyses of fossil hominoids. Gorilla gorilla, particularly the eastern subspecies, with a comparatively longer dental arcade and fossil and extant hominins with reduced canines and incisors tend to exhibit more anteriorly positioned mental foramina. Conversely, Pan troglodytes exhibits more posteriorly positioned mental foramina. Variation in this character among Gorilla gorilla subspecies supports recent taxonomic assessments that separate eastern and western populations. In all taxa other than Pan troglodytes the A/P position of the mental foramen is positively allometric with respect to dental arcade length. Thus, within each of these species, specimens with longer dental arcades tend to have more posteriorly positioned mental foramina. Those species with greater sexual dimorphism in canine size and dental arcade length (i.e., Gorilla gorilla and Pongo pygmaeus) exhibit more extreme differences between smaller and larger individuals. Moreover, among great apes those individuals with greater anterior convergence of the dental arcade tend to exhibit more posteriorly positioned mental foramina. Dental arcade length, canine crown area and anterior convergence are all significantly associated with mental foramen A/P position, suggesting that these traits may influence taxonomic variation in the A/P position of the mental foramen. PMID:20564583

  14. A comparative study of the trabecular bony architecture of the talus in humans, non-human primates, and Australopithecus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeSilva, Jeremy M; Devlin, Maureen J

    2012-09-01

    This study tested the hypothesis that talar trabecular microarchitecture reflects the loading patterns in the primate ankle joint, to determine whether talar trabecular morphology might be useful for inferring locomotor behavior in fossil hominins. Trabecular microarchitecture was quantified in the anteromedial, anterolateral, posteromedial, and posterolateral quadrants of the talar body in humans and non-human primates using micro-computed tomography. Trabecular bone parameters, including bone volume fraction, trabecular number and thickness, and degree of anisotropy differed between primates, but not in a manner entirely consistent with hypotheses derived from locomotor kinematics. Humans have highly organized trabecular struts across the entirety of the talus, consistent with the compressive loads incurred during bipedal walking. Chimpanzees possess a high bone volume fraction, consisting of plate-like trabecular struts. Orangutan tali are filled with a high number of thin, connected trabeculae, particularly in the anterior portion of the talus. Gorillas and baboons have strikingly similar internal architecture of the talus. Intraspecific analyses revealed no regional differences in trabecular architecture unique to bipedal humans. Of the 22 statistically significant regional differences in the human talus, all can also be found in other primates. Trabecular thickness, number, spacing, and connectivity density had the same regional relationship in the talus of humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and baboons, suggesting a deeply conserved architecture in the primate talus. Australopithecus tali are human-like in most respects, differing most notably in having more oriented struts in the posteromedial quadrant of the body compared with the posterolateral quadrant. Though this result could mean that australopiths loaded their ankles in a unique manner during bipedal gait, the regional variation in degree of anisotropy was similar in humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. Stride lengths, speed and energy costs in walking of Australopithecus afarensis: using evolutionary robotics to predict locomotion of early human ancestors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sellers, William I; Cain, Gemma M; Wang, Weijie; Crompton, Robin H

    2005-12-22

    This paper uses techniques from evolutionary robotics to predict the most energy-efficient upright walking gait for the early human relative Australopithecus afarensis, based on the proportions of the 3.2 million year old AL 288-1 'Lucy' skeleton, and matches predictions against the nearly contemporaneous (3.5-3.6 million year old) Laetoli fossil footprint trails. The technique creates gaits de novo and uses genetic algorithm optimization to search for the most efficient patterns of simulated muscular contraction at a variety of speeds. The model was first verified by predicting gaits for living human subjects, and comparing costs, stride lengths and speeds to experimentally determined values for the same subjects. Subsequent simulations for A. afarensis yield estimates of the range of walking speeds from 0.6 to 1.3 m s-1 at a cost of 7.0 J kg-1 m-1 for the lowest speeds, falling to 5.8 J kg-1 m-1 at 1.0 m s-1, and rising to 6.2 J kg-1 m-1 at the maximum speed achieved. Speeds previously estimated for the makers of the Laetoli footprint trails (0.56 or 0.64 m s-1 for Trail 1, 0.72 or 0.75 m s-1 for Trail 2/3) may have been underestimated, substantially so for Trail 2/3, with true values in excess of 0.7 and 1.0 m s-1, respectively. The predictions conflict with suggestions that A. afarensis used a 'shuffling' gait, indicating rather that the species was a fully competent biped. PMID:16849203

  17. Stride lengths, speed and energy costs in walking of Australopithecus afarensis: using evolutionary robotics to predict locomotion of early human ancestors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sellers, William I; Cain, Gemma M; Wang, Weijie; Crompton, Robin H

    2005-01-01

    This paper uses techniques from evolutionary robotics to predict the most energy-efficient upright walking gait for the early human relative Australopithecus afarensis, based on the proportions of the 3.2 million year old AL 288-1 ‘Lucy’ skeleton, and matches predictions against the nearly contemporaneous (3.5–3.6 million year old) Laetoli fossil footprint trails. The technique creates gaits de novo and uses genetic algorithm optimization to search for the most efficient patterns of simulated muscular contraction at a variety of speeds. The model was first verified by predicting gaits for living human subjects, and comparing costs, stride lengths and speeds to experimentally determined values for the same subjects. Subsequent simulations for A. afarensis yield estimates of the range of walking speeds from 0.6 to 1.3 m s−1 at a cost of 7.0 J kg−1 m−1 for the lowest speeds, falling to 5.8 J kg−1 m−1 at 1.0 m s−1, and rising to 6.2 J kg−1 m−1 at the maximum speed achieved. Speeds previously estimated for the makers of the Laetoli footprint trails (0.56 or 0.64 m s−1 for Trail 1, 0.72 or 0.75 m s−1 for Trail 2/3) may have been underestimated, substantially so for Trail 2/3, with true values in excess of 0.7 and 1.0 m s−1, respectively. The predictions conflict with suggestions that A. afarensis used a ‘shuffling’ gait, indicating rather that the species was a fully competent biped. PMID:16849203

  18. Dietary and paleoenvironmental reconstruction using stable isotopes of herbivore tooth enamel from middle Pliocene Dikika, Ethiopia: implication for Australopithecus afarensis habitat and food resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bedaso, Zelalem K; Wynn, Jonathan G; Alemseged, Zeresenay; Geraads, Denis

    2013-01-01

    Carbon and oxygen isotopes of mammalian tooth enamel were used to reconstruct paleoenvironments of Australopithecus afarensis from the middle Pliocene locality of Dikika, Ethiopia. Isotopic analyses were conducted on 210 mammalian herbivore teeth from 15 different taxa collected from the Basal Member (~3.8-3.42 Ma) and Sidi Hakoma Member (3.42-3.24 Ma) of the Hadar Formation. The isotopic analyses aim specifically at reconstructing shifts in the relative abundance of C(4) grasses in mammalian diets, and more generally at paleoclimate factors such as aridity and seasonality, as well as habitat structure. Carbon isotopic data suggest a wide range of foraging strategies, characterized by mixed C(3)/C(4) to C(4)-dominated diets in wooded grasslands to open woodlands. Weighted average C(4) dietary proportions range between 60% and 86% in the Basal Member and 49% and 74% in the Sidi Hakoma Member. Paleoclimatic conditions based on the reconstructed mean annual water deficit from the δ(18)O(enamel) values indicate a wetter climate as compared to either the early Pliocene or the Pleistocene nearby. The middle Pliocene habitat structure at Dikika could be as diverse as open grassland and wooded grassland, and woodland to forest in the Sidi Hakoma Member while wooded grassland, woodland to grassland are evident in the Basal Member. All habitats except closed woodland and forest are persistent through both members; however, the relative proportion of individual habitats changed through time. These changes could have put the fauna in competition for preferred habitats and food resources, which could have forced migration, adaptation to other resources and/or extinction. Thus, the existence of A. afarensis throughout the middle Pliocene indicates either this species might have adapted to a wide range of habitats, or its preferred habitat was not affected by the observed environmental changes. PMID:23199576

  19. Nuevo esquema estratigráfico para los depósitos marinos mio-pliocenos del área de Navidad (33º00'-34º30'S, Chile central New stratigrafic scheme for the Mio-Pliocene marine deposits of the Navidad area (33º00'-34º30'S, central Chile

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alfonso Encinas

    2006-07-01

    Full Text Available Varios autores han propuesto diferentes esquemas estratigráficos para los depósitos sedimentarios neógenos marinos que afloran en la zona costera de Chile central entre Valparaíso (~33°00'S y Punta Topocalma (~34°30'S, sin que exista un consenso al respecto. Tampoco existe acuerdo respecto a las correlaciones entre los depósitos que afloran en la parte norte de dicha zona, entre Valparaíso y San Antonio (~33°30'S con aquellos que aparecen en la parte sur, entre San Antonio y Punta Topocalma. Sobre la base de nuevos estudios estratigráficos, sedimentológicos y paleontológicos se propone, de manera formal, un nuevo esquema estratigráfico para estos depósitos. De acuerdo con este nuevo esquema se definen la Formación Navidad (Mioceno Superior-Plioceno Inferior y las formaciones Licancheu, Rapel y La Cueva (Plioceno. Se propone la elevación de las tres primeras unidades (Navidad, Licancheu y Rapel, generalmente consideradas como miembros en clasificaciones anteriores, al rango de formaciones debido a que se encuentran separadas por discontinuidades (paraconformidades de escala regional. En el presente trabajo se definen estas unidades, se revisan los esquemas anteriores y se justifica la proposición de este nuevo esquemaDifferent stratigraphic schemes have been proposed by various authors for the Neogene marine sedimentary deposits cropping out along the central Chilean coast between Valparaíso (~33°00'S and Punta Topocalma (~34°30'S, without any consensus having been reached. Neither does any agreement exist with respect to the correlation between the deposits cropping out in the northern part of this area, between San Antonio (~33°30'S and Valparaíso, and those of the southern part, between San Antonio and Punta Topocalma. Based on new stratigraphic, sedimentologic and paleontologic studies we propose a formal, new stratigraphic classification for this area. According to this scheme we define the Navidad Formation (Upper Miocene-Lower Pliocene and the Licancheu, Rapel and La Cueva formations (Pliocene. We propose that the rank of the three first cited units (Navidad, Licancheu and Rapel, generally considered to be members in previous classifications, be elevated to formations, because they are separated by regional unconformities (paraconformities. In this paper we define these units, revise the previous classifications, and explain the basis for the new classification

  20. Comparison of inverse-dynamics musculo-skeletal models of AL 288-1 Australopithecus afarensis and KNM-WT 15000 Homo ergaster to modern humans, with implications for the evolution of bipedalism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Weijie; Crompton, Robin H; Carey, Tanya S; Günther, Michael M; Li, Yu; Savage, Russell; Sellers, Williams I

    2004-12-01

    Size and proportions of the postcranial skeleton differ markedly between Australopithecus afarensis and Homo ergaster, and between the latter and modern Homo sapiens. This study uses computer simulations of gait in models derived from the best-known skeletons of these species (AL 288-1, Australopithecus afarensis, 3.18 million year ago) and KNM-WT 15000 (Homo ergaster, 1.5-1.8 million year ago) compared to models of adult human males and females, to estimate the required muscle power during bipedal walking, and to compare this with those in modern humans. Skeletal measurements were carried out on a cast of KNM-WT 15000, but for AL 288-1 were taken from the literature. Muscle attachments were applied to the models based on their position relative to the bone in modern humans. Joint motions and moments from experiments on human walking were input into the models to calculate muscle stress and power. The models were tested in erect walking and 'bent-hip bent-knee' gait. Calculated muscle forces were verified against EMG activity phases from experimental data, with reference to reasonable activation/force delays. Calculated muscle powers are reasonably comparable to experimentally derived metabolic values from the literature, given likely values for muscle efficiency. The results show that: 1) if evaluated by the power expenditure per unit of mass (W/kg) in walking, AL 288-1 and KNM-WT 15000 would need similar power to modern humans; however, 2) with distance-specific parameters as the criteria, AL 288-1 would require to expend relatively more muscle power (W/kg.m(-1)) in comparison to modern humans. The results imply that in the evolution of bipedalism, body proportions, for example those of KNM-WT 15000, may have evolved to obtain an effective application of muscle power to bipedal walking over a long distance, or at high speed. PMID:15566947

  1. Le sacrum de Sterkfontein Sts 14 Q ( Australopithecus africanus): nouvelles données sur la croissance et sur l'âge osseux du spécimen (hommage à R. Broom et J.T. Robinson) . The sacrum of Sterkfontein Sts 14 Q (Australopithecus africanus): new data on the growth and on the osseus age of the specimen (homage to R. Broom and J.T. Robinson)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berge, Christine; Gommery, Dominique

    1999-08-01

    The fossil sacrum of Sterkfontein Sts 14Q ( Australopithecus africanus) was compared with 96 human sacrums of known age so as to reveal its growth stage. Robinson (1972) noticed the presence of an immature trait (unfused intervertebral disc between S1 and S2) in this individual which in other respects is supposed to be a fully matured adult. Our study brings us to define a "sub-adult" category corresponding to a class between the ages of 16 to 25 years in modern humans. Sts 14Q had the same state of maturation, which corresponds to a post-pubertal individual which had not finished its growth concerning the sacral breadth, and probably the pelvic breadth.

  2. Like Father, Like Son: Assessment of the Morphological Affinities of A.L. 288–1 (A. afarensis), Sts 7 (A. africanus) and Omo 119–73–2718 (Australopithecus sp.) through a Three-Dimensional Shape Analysis of the Shoulder Joint

    OpenAIRE

    Arias-Martorell, Julia; Potau, Josep Maria; Bello-Hellegouarch, Gaëlle; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro

    2015-01-01

    The postcranial evidence for the Australopithecus genus indicates that australopiths were able bipeds; however, the morphology of the forelimbs and particularly that of the shoulder girdle suggests that they were partially adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. The nature of such arboreal adaptations is still unclear, as are the kind of arboreal behaviors in which australopiths might have engaged. In this study we analyzed the shape of the shoulder joint (proximal humerus and glenoid cavity of the...

  3. Like father, like son: assessment of the morphological affinities of A.L. 288-1 (A. afarensis), Sts 7 (A. africanus) and Omo 119-73-2718 (Australopithecus sp.) through a three-dimensional shape analysis of the shoulder joint.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arias-Martorell, Julia; Potau, Josep Maria; Bello-Hellegouarch, Gaëlle; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro

    2015-01-01

    The postcranial evidence for the Australopithecus genus indicates that australopiths were able bipeds; however, the morphology of the forelimbs and particularly that of the shoulder girdle suggests that they were partially adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. The nature of such arboreal adaptations is still unclear, as are the kind of arboreal behaviors in which australopiths might have engaged. In this study we analyzed the shape of the shoulder joint (proximal humerus and glenoid cavity of the scapula) of three australopith specimens: A.L. 288-1 (A. afarensis), Sts 7 (A. africanus) and Omo 119-73-2718 (Australopithecus sp.) with three-dimensional geometric morphometrics. The morphology of the specimens was compared with that of a wide array of living anthropoid taxa and some additional fossil hominins (the Homo erectus specimen KNM-WT 15000 and the H. neanderthalensis specimen Tabun 1). Our results indicate that A.L. 288-1 shows mosaic traits resembling H. sapiens and Pongo, whereas the Sts 7 shoulder is most similar to the arboreal apes and does not present affinities with H. sapiens. Omo 119-73-2718 exhibits morphological affinities with the more arboreal and partially suspensory New World monkey Lagothrix. The shoulder of the australopith specimens thus shows a combination of primitive and derived traits (humeral globularity, enhancement of internal and external rotation of the joint), related to use of the arm in overhead positions. The genus Homo specimens show overall affinities with H. sapiens at the shoulder, indicating full correspondence of these hominin shoulders with the modern human morphotype. PMID:25651542

  4. Like Father, Like Son: Assessment of the Morphological Affinities of A.L. 288–1 (A. afarensis), Sts 7 (A. africanus) and Omo 119–73–2718 (Australopithecus sp.) through a Three-Dimensional Shape Analysis of the Shoulder Joint

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arias-Martorell, Julia; Potau, Josep Maria; Bello-Hellegouarch, Gaëlle; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro

    2015-01-01

    The postcranial evidence for the Australopithecus genus indicates that australopiths were able bipeds; however, the morphology of the forelimbs and particularly that of the shoulder girdle suggests that they were partially adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. The nature of such arboreal adaptations is still unclear, as are the kind of arboreal behaviors in which australopiths might have engaged. In this study we analyzed the shape of the shoulder joint (proximal humerus and glenoid cavity of the scapula) of three australopith specimens: A.L. 288–1 (A. afarensis), Sts 7 (A. africanus) and Omo 119–73–2718 (Australopithecus sp.) with three-dimensional geometric morphometrics. The morphology of the specimens was compared with that of a wide array of living anthropoid taxa and some additional fossil hominins (the Homo erectus specimen KNM-WT 15000 and the H. neanderthalensis specimen Tabun 1). Our results indicate that A.L. 288–1 shows mosaic traits resembling H. sapiens and Pongo, whereas the Sts 7 shoulder is most similar to the arboreal apes and does not present affinities with H. sapiens. Omo 119–73–2718 exhibits morphological affinities with the more arboreal and partially suspensory New World monkey Lagothrix. The shoulder of the australopith specimens thus shows a combination of primitive and derived traits (humeral globularity, enhancement of internal and external rotation of the joint), related to use of the arm in overhead positions. The genus Homo specimens show overall affinities with H. sapiens at the shoulder, indicating full correspondence of these hominin shoulders with the modern human morphotype. PMID:25651542

  5. Like father, like son: assessment of the morphological affinities of A.L. 288-1 (A. afarensis, Sts 7 (A. africanus and Omo 119-73-2718 (Australopithecus sp. through a three-dimensional shape analysis of the shoulder joint.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Arias-Martorell

    Full Text Available The postcranial evidence for the Australopithecus genus indicates that australopiths were able bipeds; however, the morphology of the forelimbs and particularly that of the shoulder girdle suggests that they were partially adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. The nature of such arboreal adaptations is still unclear, as are the kind of arboreal behaviors in which australopiths might have engaged. In this study we analyzed the shape of the shoulder joint (proximal humerus and glenoid cavity of the scapula of three australopith specimens: A.L. 288-1 (A. afarensis, Sts 7 (A. africanus and Omo 119-73-2718 (Australopithecus sp. with three-dimensional geometric morphometrics. The morphology of the specimens was compared with that of a wide array of living anthropoid taxa and some additional fossil hominins (the Homo erectus specimen KNM-WT 15000 and the H. neanderthalensis specimen Tabun 1. Our results indicate that A.L. 288-1 shows mosaic traits resembling H. sapiens and Pongo, whereas the Sts 7 shoulder is most similar to the arboreal apes and does not present affinities with H. sapiens. Omo 119-73-2718 exhibits morphological affinities with the more arboreal and partially suspensory New World monkey Lagothrix. The shoulder of the australopith specimens thus shows a combination of primitive and derived traits (humeral globularity, enhancement of internal and external rotation of the joint, related to use of the arm in overhead positions. The genus Homo specimens show overall affinities with H. sapiens at the shoulder, indicating full correspondence of these hominin shoulders with the modern human morphotype.

  6. The Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy) of Higher Education.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gamble, John King

    1999-01-01

    Uses a fictitious character and story to express doubts about the use of business and marketing principles in American higher education. Asserts that higher education is profoundly different from other institutions, and that colleges and universities should be shielded from the vagaries of the market. (CAK)

  7. Paléocontraintes et déformations syn- et post-collision Afrique Europe identifiées dans la couverture mésozoïque et cénozoïque du Haut Atlas occidental (Maroc)Syn- and post-collision Africa Europe palaeostresses and deformations identified in the West High-Atlas Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover (Morocco)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amrhar, Mostafa

    Palaeostresses and deformation axis reconstruction related to the intracontinental High-Atlas uplift evidences two shortening phases from Upper Cretaceous to Quaternary. The first compression is oriented N20-30°E and is Maastrichtian to Oligocene age; the second one, oriented N120-160°E, is syn-Mio-Pliocene. Tectonic inversion of the lateral to compressive Jurassic regime is contemporaneous with the beginning of Africa and Europe collision. Rotation of the Mio-Pliocene shortening orientation could be linked to the change of the convergence direction between the Africa and Europe plates. To cite this article: M. Amrhar, C. R. Geoscience 334 (2002) 279-285.

  8. Messinian events in the Black Sea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Baak, Christiaan G C; Radionova, Eleanora P.; Golovina, Larisa A.; Raffi, Isabella; Kuiper, Klaudia F.; Vasiliev, Iuliana; Krijgsman, Wout

    2015-01-01

    Past hydrological interactions between the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea are poorly resolved due to complications in establishing a high-resolution time frame for the Black Sea. We present a new greigite-based magnetostratigraphic age model for the Mio-Pliocene deposits of DSDP Hole 380/380A, dril

  9. The feeding biomechanics and dietary ecology of Australopithecus africanus

    OpenAIRE

    Strait, David S.; Weber, Gerhard W.; Neubauer, Simon; Chalk, Janine; Richmond, Brian G.; Lucas, Peter W.; Spencer, Mark A.; Schrein, Caitlin; Dechow, Paul C.; Ross, Callum F.; Grosse, Ian R.; Wright, Barth W.; Constantino, Paul; Wood, Bernard A.; Lawn, Brian

    2009-01-01

    The African Plio-Pleistocene hominins known as australopiths evolved a distinctive craniofacial morphology that traditionally has been viewed as a dietary adaptation for feeding on either small, hard objects or on large volumes of food. A historically influential interpretation of this morphology hypothesizes that loads applied to the premolars during feeding had a profound influence on the evolution of australopith craniofacial form. Here, we test this hypothesis using finite element analysi...

  10. Some observations on surface instability associated with coal deposits in South Sumatra

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Walton, G.; Gunawan, R.

    1979-01-01

    Recent exploration of Indonesian government concessions in South Sumatra by Shell Mijnbouw N.V. has revealed small-scale surface instability of recent origin, which could be important with respect to the construction of large spoil dumps. The area is SW of Palembang where Mio-Pliocene coals of the Muara Enim formation outcrop in country around Tanjung Enim. Preliminary sampling of three coal seams was made in a series of trenches along the valley of the Air Muara Tiga.

  11. Polygenetic development and paleoenvironmental implications of a Pleistocene calcrete at Tongoy, central northern Chile.

    OpenAIRE

    M. Pfeiffer; J. Le Roux; H. Kemnitz

    2011-01-01

    The Norte Chico Region, in central northern Chile, is a particularly sensitive area to Quaternary climate changes because of its extreme climatic gradients. However, very little has been done to determine the late Pleistocene climatic conditions of the area. Calcretes are known to be important repositories of information on past ecosystems and environments. In the Tongoy paleobay, a series of four marine beach terraces have developed over a Mio-Pliocene calcareous formation since MIS 11 to th...

  12. Early hominin speciation at the Plio/Pleistocene transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cameron, D W

    2003-01-01

    Over the last half-decade or so, there has been an explosion in the recognition of hominin genera and species. We now have the late Miocene genera Orrorin and Sahelanthropus, the mid Pliocene genus Kenyanthropus, three new Pliocene species of Australopithecus (A. anamensis, A. garhi and A. bahrelghazali) and a sub species of Ardipithecus (Ar. r. kadabba) to contend with. Excepting also the more traditional species allocated to Paranthropus, Australopithecus and early Homo we are approaching around 15 species over 5 million years (excluding hominin evolution over the last one million years). Can such a large number of hominin species be justified? An examination of extant hominid (Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, and Pan paniscus) anatomical variability indicates that the range of fossil hominin variability supports the recognition of this large number of fossil species. It is also shown that not all hominins are directly related to the emergence of early Homo and as such have become extinct. Indeed the traditional australopithecine species 'A'. anamensis, 'A'. afarensis and 'A'. garhi are considered here to belong to a distinct genus Praeanthropus. They are also argued not be hominins, but rather an as yet undefined hominid group from which the more derived hominins evolved. The first hominin is represented by A. africanus or a hominin very much like it. The Paranthropus clade is defined by a derived heterochronic condition of peramorphosis, associated with sequential progenesis (contraction of successive growth stages) in brain and dental development, but a mixture of peramorphic and paedomorphic features in its craniofacial anatomy. Conversely, Kenyanthropus and Homo both share a pattern of peramorphosis, associated with sequential hypermorphosis (prolongation of successive growth stages) in brain development, and paedomorphosis processes in cranial, facial and dental development. This suggests, that these two clades share an important synapomorphy not

  13. BLOOD, BULBS, AND BUNODONTS: ON EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY AND THE DIETS OF ARDIPITHECUS, AUSTRALOPITHECUS, AND EARLY HOMO

    OpenAIRE

    Sayers, Ken; Lovejoy, C. Owen

    2014-01-01

    Beginning with Darwin, some have argued that predation on other vertebrates dates to the earliest stages of hominid evolution, and can explain many uniquely human anatomical and behavioral characters. Other recent workers have focused instead on scavenging, or particular plant foods. Foraging theory suggests that inclusion of any food is influenced by its profitability and distribution within the consumer’s habitat. The morphology and likely cognitive abilities of Ardipithecus, Australopithec...

  14. Nature of the upper mantle and metasomatic processes on either side of the Sillon Houiller (French Massif Central)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peridotite xenoliths collected in two Mio-Pliocene volcanoes on either side of the Sillon Houiller (French Massif Central) have contrasting characteristics. East of the Sillon Houiller, the peridotites record anomalously high temperatures (1,250 deg. C) and extensive re-equilibration with basaltic melts. To the waste, equilibrium temperatures are much lower (950 deg C) and the peridotites bear evidence for interaction with volatile-rich small melt fractions. In agreement with seismic tomographic data, these results indicate that the Massif Central lithospheric mantle is strongly affected by mantle plume upwelling to the east of the Sillon Houiller, while this effect is moderate to the west. (authors)

  15. Probing atomic scale transformation of fossil dental enamel using Fourier transform infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy : a case study from the Tugen Hills (Rift Gregory, Kenya)

    OpenAIRE

    Yi, H. H.; Balan, Etienne; Gervais, C; SEGALEN, L.; Roche, D; PERSON, A.; Fayon, F.; Morin, G.; F. Babonneau

    2014-01-01

    A series of fossil tooth enamel samples was investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, C-13 and F-19 magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS NMR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Tooth remains were collected in Mio-Pliocene deposits of the Tugen Hills in Kenya. Significant transformations were observed in fossil enamel as a function of increasing fluorine content (up to 2.8 wt.%). FTIR spectroscopy revealed a shift of the nu(1) PO4 stretching band to h...

  16. Depósitos epitermales de baja sulfuración ricos en sulfuros de metales base, distrito aurífero La Carolina, San Luis, Argentina

    OpenAIRE

    Gallard-Esquivel María Cecilia; Urbina, Nilda Esther; Sruoga, Patricia; Japas, María Silvia

    2011-01-01

    Low-sulfidation epithermal base-metal sulfide-rich deposits, La Carolina gold-bearing district,San Luis, Argentina. La Carolina gold-bearing district is located at the western end of the Metallogenetic Belt of San Luis, which is spatially and genetically related to the mesosilicic volcanism of mio-pliocene age. The volcanic arc experienced an eastward migration, due to the flattening of the Nazca plate in the segment 27°-33°S, known as the Pampean flat-slab. At La Carolina, the volcanic activ...

  17. Metamorphic zoning and geodynamic evolution of an inverted crustal section (Karakorum margin, N Pakistan), evidence for two metamorphic events

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolland, Y.; Carrio-Schaffhauser, E.; Sheppard, S. M. F.; Pêcher, A.; Esclauze, L.

    2006-04-01

    The Karakorum Range comprises a crustal section of marbles and metapelites providing an opportunity to study the extent of high-temperature metamorphic reequilibration in an active orogen. Metamorphism culminated during the Mio-Pliocene, at 6 7 Ma. Peak metamorphic conditions increased from south to north, i.e. from (1) the Upper Anchizone grade (lawsonite, chlorite smectite) to (2) lower granulite migmatite grade (HT˜800°C) conditions along strike of a 30-km section perpendicular to the structural fabric of the rocks. The metamorphic section can be separated into two domains: 1. A domain with low to transitional metamorphic conditions, with respect to the HT zone, where initial bedding is preserved. These moderate PT conditions prevailed during the main tectonic stacking event (50 37 Ma), prior to the Mio-Pliocene event. In this domain, metamorphism is governed by fluid-assisted grain-scale diffusion, as suggested by the progressive coarsening of minerals with increasing metamorphic grade and the preservation of sedimentary δ13C signatures in carbonates. A low thermal gradient (17°C/km) is derived from P-T estimates of the prograde metamorphic sequences.

  18. A fossil aardvark (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) from the lower Pliocene of Chad

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehmann, Thomas; Vignaud, Patrick; Mackaye, Hassane Taïsso; Brunet, Michel

    2004-12-01

    The Mission Paléoanthropologique Franco-Tchadienne (MPFT) found a new species of Orycteropodidae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) in the Kollé fossiliferous sector, northern Chad. After Orycteropus abundulafus [Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20 (1) (2000) 205-209; Lehmann, T., Vignaud, P., Likius A., Brunet M., in press. A new Orycteropodidae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) in the Mio-Pliocene of Northern Chad. Zool. J. Linnean Soc.], this specimen is the second complete skeleton of fossil aardvark found in the Djurab desert. It is the first complete representative of an Orycteropus species found in the Pliocene of Africa. In regard to the Miocene fossil aardvarks, this new taxon, Orycteropus djourabensis nov. sp., shows more affinities with the extant O. afer. The main differences are the larger teeth and the shorter hand in the fossil form. Kossom Bougoudi and Kollé represent a chronological series that gives a unique opportunity for studying the evolution of the African Tubulidentata around the Mio-Pliocene boundary (5.5-4 My). The new species is distinct from the older Chadian Orycteropodid from KB and it embodies the taxonomic turnover that took place within the order Tubulidentata around this boundary in Africa. Moreover, this new species is the oldest known Orycteropus species that clearly belongs to the modern forms including the extant aardvark.

  19. A new reconstruction of Sts 14 pelvis (Australopithecus africanus) from computed tomography and three-dimensional modeling techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berge, Christine; Goularas, Dionysis

    2010-03-01

    The purpose of this study is to propose a new reconstruction of the australopithecine Sts 14 pelvis from original fossils. Digital models created from CT images allow us to perform mirroring operations, select valid regions after digital interposition, and reassemble parts. The key-element of the reconstruction is the sacroiliac joint, restored from right and left articular surfaces, which places of the pubic symphysis close to the sagittal plane. The complete pelvis is obtained by 3D model mirroring of hip-bone and sacrum. The present reconstruction of the Sts 14 pelvis is consistent with Schmid's (1983) [Folia Primatol. 40, 283-306, 1983] and Häusler and Schmid's A.L. 288-1 [J. Hum. Evol. 29, 363-383, 1995] pelvic reconstructions by illustrating a relatively platypelloid shape of the pelvic cavity and laterally inclined iliac blades. The pelvic morphology suggests that australopithecines had a less posteriorly tilted sacrum in erect posture than modern humans. As compared with Lovejoy's [Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. Suppl. 50, 460, 1979] A.L. 288-1 pelvic reconstruction, the less transversely flattened shape of the Sts 14 pelvic cavity led to obstetrical mechanics characterized as in humans by ante-ischiatic birth and a curved trajectory. We deduce a human-like movement of rotation and flexion of the fetal skull in the Sts 14 pelvic cavity. PMID:20138331

  20. Digit ratios predict polygyny in early apes, Ardipithecus, Neanderthals and early modern humans but not in Australopithecus

    OpenAIRE

    Nelson, Emma; Rolian, Campbell; Cashmore, Lisa; Shultz, Susanne

    2010-01-01

    Social behaviour of fossil hominoid species is notoriously difficult to predict owing to difficulties in estimating body size dimorphism from fragmentary remains and, in hominins, low canine size dimorphism. Recent studies have shown that the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D : 4D), a putative biomarker for prenatal androgen effects (PAEs), covaries with intra-sexual competition and social systems across haplorrhines; non-pair-bonded polygynous taxa have significantly lower 2D : 4D ratios (hig...

  1. Basicranial architecture and relative brain size of Sts 5 (Australopithecus africanus) and other Plio-Pleistocene hominids

    OpenAIRE

    Spoor, F.

    1997-01-01

    The cranial base has long been recognised as a complex morphological region where major structural changes have occurred during hominid evolution. Here the relationship between relative brain size and basicranial shape in modern humans, fossil hominids, Sts 5 in particular, and other primates is investigated. The results reveal that basicranial shape is well correlated with relative brain size among non-hominid primates, supporting the notion that brain size is a prime factor underlying bosic...

  2. Landscapes and their relation to hominin habitats:case studies from Australopithecus sites in eastern and southern Africa

    OpenAIRE

    Reynolds, S.C.; Bailey, Geoff; G. C. P. King

    2011-01-01

    We examine the links between geomorphological processes, specific landscape features, surface water drainage, and the creation of suitable habitats for hominins. The existence of mosaic (i.e. heterogeneous) habitats within hominin site landscape reconstructions is typically explained using models of the riverine and gallery forest settings, or the pan or lake setting. We propose a different model: the Tectonic Landscape Model (TLM), where tectonic faulting and volcanism disrupts existing pan ...

  3. On Paleobiogeography of Italian Tertiary Mammals / Elementi di Paleobiogeografia dei mammiferi terziari dell'Italia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tassos Kotsakis

    1986-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract In this paper the Italian continental Tertiary mammalofaunas are examined. For each known layer the faunal composition, the age and the center of spreading of each component are pointed out. Besides some isolated remains collected in marine sediments, faunistic assemblages coming from three Eocene, six Oligocene, six Miocene, three Mio/Pliocene, six Lower Pliocene, more than ten Upper Pliocene and two Pleistocene sites interesting for mammalian Tertiary biogeography are analysed. Riassunto Vengono esaminate le faune a mammiferi continentali del Terziario italiano. Per ogni giacimento viene indicata la composizione della fauna, l'età e l'area di provenienza delle varie componenti. A prescindere dai resti isolati raccolti in sedimenti marini, vengono analizzate le faune di trentasei località (tre eoceniche, sei oligoceniche, sei mioceniche, tre mio/plioceniche, sei plioceniche inferiori, dieci plioceniche superiori e due pleistoceniche che presentino interesse per la biogeografia del Terziario.

  4. Modeling three-dimensional sculptures of australopithecines (Australopithecus afarensis) for the Museum of Natural History of Vienna (Austria): the post-cranial hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berge, C; Daynes, E

    2001-12-01

    In March 1999, E. Daynes, a sculptor specializing in fossil hominid reconstruction, asked C. Berge to take over the scientific supervision of the reconstruction of two australopithecine post-crania. The heads had been modeled from two skulls found in Hadar (AL 444-2, AL 417). The sculptures were to be represented in a walking stance. The female proportions (AL 417) are estimated from the skeleton of 'Lucy' (AL 288), and the male proportions (AL 444-2) extrapolated from the female ones. Biomechanical and anatomical data (comparison with great apes and humans) are used to reconstruct both dynamic equilibrium and muscular systems. The reconstruction suggests that the fossils moved the pelvis and shoulders extensively when they walked. The hindlimb muscles (such as adductors, gluteal muscles and calf) are fleshy and not or very little tendinous. As indicated by the Laetoli step prints (belonging to a close and contemporaneous species), the foot is adducted during the walk and the support is internal just before take off. In spite of inevitable approximations, such a reconstruction appears to be particularly helpful to bring out morphological and functional traits of the first hominids which are both close to and different from modern humans. PMID:11733173

  5. Evolution of Lake Chad Basin hydrology during the mid-Holocene: A preliminary approach from lake to climate modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sepulchre, Pierre; Schuster, Mathieu; Ramstein, Gilles; Krinnezr, Gerhard; Girard, Jean-Francois; Vignaud, Patrick; Brunet, Michel

    2008-03-01

    During the mid-Holocene (6000 yr Before Present, hereafter yr BP) the Chad Basin was occupied by a large endoreic lake, called Lake Mega-Chad. The existence of this lake at that time seems linked to increased monsoonal moisture supply to the Sahel and the Sahara, which in turn was probably ultimately caused by variations in the orbital forcing and higher temperature gradients between ocean and continent. This study provides a synthesis of several works carried out on the Lake Chad Basin and analyses the results of a simulation of the mid-Holocene climate with an Atmosphere General Circulation Model (LMDZ for Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, IPSL Paris), with emphasis on the possible conditions leading to the existence of Lake Mega-Chad. The aim is to define the best diagnostics to understand which mechanisms lead to the existence of the large lake. This paper is the first step of an ongoing work that intends to understand the environmental conditions that this part of Africa experienced during the Upper Miocene (ca. 7 Ma BP), an epoch that was contemporaneous with the first known hominids. Indeed, early hominids of Lake Chad Basin, Australopithecus bahrelghazali [ Brunet, M., et al., 1995. The first australopithecine 2500 kilometers west of the Rift-Valley (Chad). Nature, 378(6554): 273-275] and Sahelanthropus tchadensis [Brunet, M., et al., 2002. A new hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad, central Africa. Nature, 418(6894): 145-151; Brunet, M., et al., 2005. New material of the earliest hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad. Nature, 434(7034): 752-755] are systematically associated with wet episodes that are documented for 7 Ma BP [Vignaud, P., et al., 2002. Geology and palaeontology of the Upper Miocene Toros-Menalla hominid locality, Chad. Nature, 418(6894): 152-155] and testified by extended lacustrine deposits (diatomites, pelites, various aquatic fauna). Because the mid-Holocene was the last such mega-lake episode, our aim here is to assess the

  6. Surface uplift and convective rainfall along the southern Central Andes (Angastaco Basin, NW Argentina)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pingel, Heiko; Mulch, Andreas; Alonso, Ricardo N.; Cottle, John; Hynek, Scott A.; Poletti, Jacob; Rohrmann, Alexander; Schmitt, Axel K.; Stockli, Daniel F.; Strecker, Manfred R.

    2016-04-01

    Stable-isotopic and sedimentary records from the orogenic Puna Plateau of NW Argentina and adjacent intermontane basins to the east furnish a unique late Cenozoic record of range uplift and ensuing paleoenvironmental change in the south-central Andes. Today, focused precipitation in this region occurs along the eastern, windward flanks of the Eastern Cordillera and Sierras Pampeanas ranges, while the orogen interior constitutes high-elevation regions with increasingly arid conditions in a westward direction. As in many mountain belts, such hydrologic and topographic gradients are commonly mirrored by a systematic relationship between the oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios of meteoric water and elevation. The glass fraction of isotopically datable volcanic ash intercalated in sedimentary sequences constitutes an environmental proxy that retains a signal of the hydrogen-isotopic composition of ancient precipitation. This isotopic composition thus helps to elucidate the combined climatic and tectonic processes associated with topographic growth, which ultimately controls the spatial patterns of precipitation in mountain belts. However, between 25.5 and 27°S present-day river-based hydrogen-isotope lapse rates are very low, possibly due to deep-convective seasonal storms that dominate runoff. If not accounted for, the effects of such conditions on moisture availability in the past may lead to misinterpretations of proxy-records of rainfall. Here, we present hydrogen-isotope data of volcanic glass (δDg), extracted from 34 volcanic ash layers in different sedimentary basins of the Eastern Cordillera and the Sierras Pampeanas. Combined with previously published δDg records and our refined U-Pb and (U-Th)/He zircon geochronology on 17 tuff samples, we demonstrate hydrogen-isotope variations associated with paleoenvironmental change in the Angastaco Basin, which evolved from a contiguous foreland to a fault-bounded intermontane basin during the late Mio-Pliocene

  7. Late Miocene/Pliocene Ostracod Biostratigraphy from South Carpathian Foredeep, Romania (Badislava-Topolog Area)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Floroiu, Alina; Stoica, Marius; Vasiliev, Iuliana; Krijgsman, Wout

    2016-04-01

    The Paratethys epicontinental sea has been an essential paleogeographic feature defining the Eurasian interior since Oligocene. By the end of the Miocene, ongoing tectonic activity in the region determined severe restrictions of the connection of the large former Paratethys sea resulting in the formation of several smaller subbasins: the Pannonian basin, the Dacian basin, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. In the western part of the Dacian Basin, the thick and continuous Mio-Pliocene sedimentary successions of the Getic Depression of Romania provide an exceptional opportunity to study the paleoecological changes in the Eastern Paratethys during the time when the Mediterranean and Black Sea experienced important sea level changes related to the Messinian Salinity Crisis. These sedimentary successions were the basis of high-resolution magnetobiostratigraphic studies that allow a detailed correlation to the Geological Time Scale. Here, we present the main characteristics of the ostracod assemblages of the Late Miocene/Pliocene sedimentary succession from Badislava-Topolog section covering the Eastern Paratethys regional Maeotian and Pontian, stages that are, at moment, under ongoing formal stratigraphic definition process. The Mio-Pliocene is exposed in the central part of the Getic Depression, especially Topolog-Arges area, where it riches up to 500 m in thickness being incorporated into a large monocline structure with 15o-20o plungeto the south. The Upper Maeotian deposits from the area have developed mainly in fluviatile-deltaic facies with frequent continental intercalations. The ostracod assemblage is represented by rare fresh water ostracods of Candona, Pseudocandona and Ilyocypris genera, capable to populate unstable environments like flood-plains, lakes and rivers with temporary existence. The scarce Maeotian ostracod fauna from this marginal section differs essentially from the more diversified one of the same age recorded in areas that evolved in basinal

  8. Searching Structural Control on the Evolution of the Reservoir Permeability in the Porphyry Copper-Molybdenum Rio Blanco - Los Bronces District: Structural Geology and Passive Seismic Tomography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Comte, D.; Carrizo, D.; Vela, I.; Silva, W.

    2013-05-01

    Understand main factors that controls the crustal permeability related to giant ore deposits is a crucial goal for improving metallogenic models. Subsurface data at distrital scales, remains a key factor to reach that goal, however use of regional geophysical methodologies are still extremely expensive and poorly developed on ore exploration. We present the results associated to distrital structural analyses, combined with passive seismic tomography in a case study in Central Andes. Tectono-magmatic evolution of the Rio Blanco-Los Bronces District (Porphyry Cu-Mo Deposit) involves a complex interaction of different processes along the time which includes: Pre-Mesozoic structural inheritance, Oligo-Miocene extension, Mio-Pliocene orogenic shortening with the respective tectonic inversion associated to the uplift of the Andean western margin. Miocene volcano sedimentary units (Abanico Formation) and Pliocene syn-orogenic volcanic units form the deformed host distrital structure. These rocks are part of a trench-linked Andean deformation belt that accommodates EW shortening by NS- strike faults and NS-axes fault related folds. This structural belt controls the uplift of the western margin of the Andes by tectonic inversion of Miocene rift-type structural geometries. The reservoir structure is interpreted by the emplacement of a batholith in the core of the transfer zone between two NS-strike reverse faults, where the ore bodies are located in the center of an anticline general structure showing NW-SE mineralization trend. In turn, NE trending faults dislocate ore bodies in the transfer zone. The reservoir structure is interpreted by the emplacement of a Mio-Pliocene syntectonic batholith in the middle of a transfer zone between two NS-strike reverse faults, where the ore bodies are located in the axis of the anticlinal general structure. Passive seismic tomography results suggest a NNW-strike zone formed by fractured or/and hydrated rocks. This zone is spatially

  9. Site characterization and site response in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hough, Susan E.; Yong, Alan K.; Altidor, Jean Robert; Anglade, Dieuseul; Given, Douglas D.; Mildor, Saint-Louis

    2011-01-01

    Waveform analysis of aftershocks of the Mw7.0 Haiti earthquake of 12 January 2010 reveals amplification of ground motions at sites within the Cul de Sac valley in which Port-au-Prince is situated. Relative to ground motions recorded at a hard-rock reference site, peak acceleration values are amplified by a factor of approximately 1.8 at sites on low-lying Mio-Pliocene deposits in central Port-au-Prince and by a factor of approximately 2.5–3 on a steep foothill ridge in the southern Port-au-Prince metropolitan region. The observed amplitude, predominant periods, variability, and polarization of amplification are consistent with predicted topographic amplification by a steep, narrow ridge. A swath of unusually high damage in this region corresponds with the extent of the ridge where high weak-motion amplifications are observed. We use ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) imagery to map local geomorphology, including characterization of both near-surface and of small-scale topographic structures that correspond to zones of inferred amplification.

  10. Tertiary block rotations in the Fars Arc (Zagros, Iran)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aubourg, C.; Smith, B.; Bakhtari, H. R.; Guya, N.; Eshraghi, A.

    2008-05-01

    The Fars arc accommodates the oblique convergence between the Arabic plate and the Iran block. Many geological observations suggest block rotations from regional to local scales. We present palaeomagnetic investigations in the Fars arc and its eastern termination, the Zagros-Makran syntaxis. Sixty-four sites have been sampled covering the Palaeocene Pabdeh Fm. to Mio-Pliocene Agha-Jhari Fm., the latest being the most sampled formation. We document pre-tilting components in all formations. However, coarse fractions of Agha-Jhari clastics formation retain a post-tilting remagnetization. As a whole, block rotations rarely exceed 20°. In the western Fars arc, clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations of small amplitudes are consistent with the torsions observed near the strike slip Kazerun and Mangarak faults. In the Zagros Makran syntaxis, counter-clockwise and clockwise rotations are observed, respectively, in the western and eastern part. This pattern is consistent with an amplification of the shape of the syntaxis. Between Zagros and Makran, palaeomagnetic data support that the present-day arcuate shape of the arc is secondary. We assume that most of the block rotations took place during the Plio-Pleistocene, during a blocking stage of the Zagros-Makran syntaxis. We emphasize the role of Oman Peninsula which plays as an indenter for the propagation of the Fars thrust belt.

  11. Late cenozoic magmatism in the South Patagonian batholith: SHRIMP U-Pb zircon age evidence

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The North Patagonian Batholith (NPB) has a zonal age pattern which includes a well defined belt of Miocene and Mio-Pliocene plutons in its central portion (Pankhurst et al., 1999) which are spatially, and probably genetically related to the Liquine-Ofqui Fault Zone. Previous geochronological studies in the Southern Patagonian Batholith (SPB), as summarized by Bruce et al. (1991), have yielded 9 late Cenozoic K-Ar or Ar-Ar ages out of a total of 116 age determinations. None of these young ages correspond to U-Pb determinations on zircons, and some of the young ages correspond to satellite plutons east of the SPB proper, such as the Torres del Paine intrusion. In this paper we present the first late Cenozoic SHRIMP U-Pb zircon ages in the area of the SPB. The morphology of the analysed zircon crystals is described and leads to some inferences on the methodology and on the geological interpretation of the obtained ages (au)

  12. Identification and environmental interpretation of diagenetic and biogenic greigite in sediments: A lesson from the Messinian Black Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Liao; Vasiliev, Iuliana; van Baak, Christiaan; Krijgsman, Wout; Dekkers, Mark J.; Roberts, Andrew P.; Gerald, John D. Fitz; van Hoesel, Annelies; Winklhofer, Michael

    2014-09-01

    (Fe3S4) is a widespread authigenic magnetic mineral in anoxic sediments and is also commonly biosynthesized by magnetotactic bacteria in aqueous environments. While the presence of fossilized bacterial magnetite (Fe3O4) has now been widely demonstrated, the preservation of greigite magnetofossils in the geological record is only poorly constrained. Here we investigate Mio-Pliocene sediments of the former Black Sea to test whether we can detect greigite magnetofossils and to unravel potential environmental controls on greigite formation. Our magnetic analyses and transmission electron microscope (TEM) observations indicate the presence of both diagenetic and bacterial greigite, and suggest a potentially widespread preservation of greigite magnetofossils in ancient sediments, which has important implications for assessing the reliability of paleomagnetic records carried by greigite. TEM-based chemical and structural analyses also indicate the common presence of nickel-substituted diagenetic iron sulfide crystals with a ferrimagnetic greigite structure. In addition, our cyclostratigraphic framework allows correlation of magnetic properties of Messinian Black Sea sediments (Taman Peninsula, Russia) to global climate records. Diagenetic greigite enhancements appear to be climatically controlled, with greigite mainly occurring in warm/wet periods. Diagenetic greigite formation can be explained by variations in terrigenous inputs and dissolved pore water sulfate concentrations in different sedimentary environments. Our analysis demonstrates the usefulness of greigite for studying long-term climate variability in anoxic environments.

  13. Impact of climate changes during the last 5 million years on groundwater in basement aquifers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aquilina, Luc; Vergnaud-Ayraud, Virginie; Les Landes, Antoine Armandine; Pauwels, Hélène; Davy, Philippe; Pételet-Giraud, Emmanuelle; Labasque, Thierry; Roques, Clément; Chatton, Eliot; Bour, Olivier; Ben Maamar, Sarah; Dufresne, Alexis; Khaska, Mahmoud; La Salle, Corinne Le Gal; Barbecot, Florent

    2015-09-01

    Climate change is thought to have major effects on groundwater resources. There is however a limited knowledge of the impacts of past climate changes such as warm or glacial periods on groundwater although marine or glacial fluids may have circulated in basements during these periods. Geochemical investigations of groundwater at shallow depth (80-400 m) in the Armorican basement (western France) revealed three major phases of evolution: (1) Mio-Pliocene transgressions led to marine water introduction in the whole rock porosity through density and then diffusion processes, (2) intensive and rapid recharge after the glacial maximum down to several hundred meters depths, (3) a present-day regime of groundwater circulation limited to shallow depth. This work identifies important constraints regarding the mechanisms responsible for both marine and glacial fluid migrations and their preservation within a basement. It defines the first clear time scales of these processes and thus provides a unique case for understanding the effects of climate changes on hydrogeology in basements. It reveals that glacial water is supplied in significant amounts to deep aquifers even in permafrosted zones. It also emphasizes the vulnerability of modern groundwater hydrosystems to climate change as groundwater active aquifers is restricted to shallow depths.

  14. Origin of the Mile Tilek Tuff, South Andaman: evidence from 40Ar-39Ar chronology and geochemistry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Mile Tilek Tuff is one of several consolidated volcanic ash deposits in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that has preserved evidence of a large-scale volcanic eruption in Southeast Asia. Assumed to be of Mio-Pliocene age (∼ 25-2 Ma), the tuff was thought to have been generated by the Andaman-Indonesia volcanic arc. Little was known about its source volcano because of absence of critical isotope data. To provide accurate age information and determine its source, we dated the tuff by 40Ar-39Ar method and measured its trace element contents and Sr-Nd isotopic ratios. The 40Ar-39Ar plateau age for the whole rock is 0.73 ± 0.16 (2σ) Ma, which suggests that the tuff got deposited much later than previously believed. Chemically, the tuff possesses typical characteristics of subduction zone magmatism. Its Sr-Nd isotopic compositions (87Sr/86Sr = 0.7073 and εNd ≤ 0.9) suggest substantial continental crustal contamination of its source magma, which points to a source volcano in Sumatra. Based on available age information on large-scale volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, we speculate that the Ranau volcano in south Sumatra could have been the source of the Mile Tilek Tuff. (author)

  15. Brittle tectonics and state of stress in the basin of Tizi n'Test (High Atlas, Morocco during the Tertiary inversion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qarbous, A.

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available During the Atlasic compressional phase, the Tizi n’Test Triassic basin underwent a tectonic inversion responsible for the reactivation of the extensional Triassic structures. Contrary to former concepts suggesting a transpressional regime, the NE-SW to WNW-ESE trending faults had a reverse displacement, while the NW-SE to NNW-SSE ones were reactivated as strike-slip faults. The reverse motion of the initially normal faults led to the uplift of the basin and its basement in a pop-up style. This inversion is also responsible for a set of footwall synclines and hanging wall anticlines with variable half-wavelength, and related to basement reverse faulting. Striation analysis with the help of software R4DT was carried out at 45 sites in order to determine the state of stress. The 25 most reliable tensors show that the main compressive stress £m1 trends NW-SE to NNE. Analysis of the spatial distribution of the £m1 axis shows a main maximum at N012 and two secondary axes at N123 and N147. In absence of an absolute or relative chronology of the events, we interpret these directions as related to two distinct events, the age of which should be, by comparison with other studies, pre-Mio-Pliocene for the N012 phase and Mio-Pliocene for the NW-SE phase.Durante la fase de compresión Atlásica, la cuenca Triásica de Tizi n’Test ha sufrido un proceso de inversión tectónica responsable de la reactivación de las estructuras extensionales Triásicas. A diferencia de las teorías anteriores que hablaban de un régimen transpresivo, las fallas NE-SO a ONO-ESE han sido inversas, mientras que las de direcciones NO-SE a NNO-SSE han sido reactivadas en su mayoría como fallas de desgarre. El juego inverso de las fallas inicialmente normales provocó el levantamiento de la cuenca y su zócalo paleozoico mediante un estilo de “pop-upâ€�. Esta inversión también generó un conjunto de sinclinales en los compartimientos inferiores y

  16. Kinematics of a sigmoidal fold and vertical axis rotation in the east of the Zagros Makran syntaxis (southern Iran): Paleomagnetic, magnetic fabric and microtectonic approaches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, B.; Aubourg, C.; Guézou, J. C.; Nazari, H.; Molinaro, M.; Braud, X.; Guya, N.

    2005-12-01

    The Zagros Simple Fold Belt is characterized by elongated, curved, or sigmoidal folds. The trend of these structures together with the structural style, change suddenly across the Zagros-Makran syntaxis which separates the continental collision domain of Zagros from the oceanic subduction one in Makran. This work focuses on the Minab anticline, outcropping in the easternmost part of Zagros. In order to understand the kinematics of a sigmoidal fold and underscore possible vertical axis rotations in the eastern side of the syntaxis, we performed a joint study of magnetic fabric, microtectonics and paleomagnetism of the northern termination of this fold. The two limbs have been sampled (7 sites, 134 samples) along three cross-sections corresponding to three different orientations of the fold axis. The rocks are weakly deformed fine-grained Mio-Pliocene reddish siltstones. The shortening directions deduced from both magnetic fabric analysis and microtectonic observations are consistent with each other, they are horizontal and roughly perpendicular to the local fold axis, following the torsion of the fold hinge line, and indicating a tectonic origin of the magnetic fabric. Rockmagnetic analyses (thermomagnetic curves, hysteresis loops) point to the presence of magnetite in the PSD and MD ranges as the main magnetic carriers, together with a minor contribution from hematite. Apart from a post-tilting sub-actual VRM and/or CRM (component A), paleomagnetic analyses yield mainly two pre-tilting magnetization components: Component B is carried by magnetite, spanning the intermediate to high unblocking temperature range (300 °C ≤ Tubs ≤ 580 °C). Component C has unblocking temperatures characteristic of hematite (580 °C ≤ Tubs ≤ 680 °C). Both are ante-folding, based on positive reversal and fold tests, inside each of the cross-section but also for the three sections together. However, because component C is biased by some inclination flattening, only component B is

  17. Miocene-Quaternary structural evolution of the Uyuni-Atacama region, Andes of Chile and Bolivia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tibaldi, A.; Corazzato, C.; Rovida, A.

    2009-06-01

    We describe the Miocene-Quaternary geological-structural evolution of the region between the Salar de Uyuni and de Atacama, Andes of Chile and Bolivia. We recognized four main tectonic events based on fold geometry, fault kinematics and stratigraphic data. The oldest event, of Miocene age, is characterized by folding and reverse faulting of the sedimentary successions with an E-W direction of shortening in the northern part of the studied area and a WNW-ESE shortening in the southern part. The following two events, of Pliocene age, are characterized by lower shortening amounts; they occurred first by reverse faulting with a NW-SE-trending greatest principal stress ( σ1, computed with striated fault planes) and a vertical least principal stress ( σ3), followed by pervasive strike-slip faulting with the same NW-SE-trending σ1 and a horizontal NE-SW σ3. The fourth event, dating to the late Pliocene-Quaternary is characterized by normal faulting: the σ3 still trends NE-SW, whereas the intermediate principal stress σ2 exchanged with σ1. Volcanism accompanied both the contractional, transcurrent and extensional tectonic phases. The Mio-Pliocene compression appears directly linked to a rapid convergence and an apparently important coupling between the continental and oceanic plates. The E-W to WNW-ESE direction of shortening of the Miocene structures and the NW-SE σ1 of the Pliocene structures seem to be more linked to an intra-Andean re-orientation of structures following the WNW-directed absolute motion of the South-American Plate. The extensional deformations can be interpreted as related to gravity forces affecting the highest parts of the volcanic belt in a sort of asymmetrical (SW-ward) collapse of the belt.

  18. Modes of rifting in magma-rich settings: Tectono-magmatic evolution of Central Afar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stab, Martin; Bellahsen, Nicolas; Pik, Raphaël.; Quidelleur, Xavier; Ayalew, Dereje; Leroy, Sylvie

    2016-01-01

    Recent research in Afar (northern Ethiopia) has largely focused on the formation of the present-day ocean-continent transition at active segments (e.g., Manda Hararo). However, the Oligo-Miocene history of extension, from the onset of rifting at ~25 Ma to the eruption of the massive Stratoïd flood basalts at ~4 Ma, remains poorly constrained. Here we present new structural data and radiometric dating from Central Afar, obtained along a zone stretching from the undeformed Oligocene Ethiopian plateau to the Manda Hararo and Tat'Ale active volcanic segments. Basaltic and rhyolitic formations were mapped in two key areas corresponding to the proximal and distal parts of a half-rift. We present a balanced composite cross section of Central Afar, reconstructed using our new data and previously published geophysical data on the crustal structure. Our main findings are as follows: (1) Extension during the Mio-Pliocene corresponds to a "wide rift" style of rifting. (2) The lower crust has been underplated/intruded and rethickened during rifting by magmatic injection. (3) Our restoration points to the existence of midcrustal shear zones that have helped to distribute extension in the upper crust and to localize extension at depth in a necking zone. Moreover, we suggest that there is a close relationship between the location of a shear zone and the underplated/intruded material. In magma-rich environments such as Central Afar, breakup should be achieved once the initial continental crust has been completely replaced by the newly, magmatically accreted crust. Consequently, and particularly in Afar, crustal thickness is not necessarily indicative of breakup but instead reflects differences in tectono-magmatic regimes.

  19. Megalake Chad impact on climate and vegetation during the late Pliocene and the mid-Holocene

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Contoux

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Given the growing evidence for megalakes in the geological record, assessing their impact on climate and vegetation is important for the validation of palaeoclimate simulations and therefore the accuracy of model–data comparison in lacustrine environments. Megalake Chad (MLC occurrences are documented not only for the mid-Holocene but also for the Mio-Pliocene (Schuster et al., 2009. At this time, the surface covered by water would have reached up to ~350 000 km2 (Ghienne et al., 2002; Schuster et al., 2005; Leblanc et al., 2006, making it an important evaporation source, possibly modifying climate and vegetation in the Chad Basin. We investigated the impact of such a giant continental water area in two different climatic backgrounds within the Paleoclimate Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (PMIP3: the late Pliocene (3.3 to 3 Ma, i.e. the mid-Piacenzian warm period and the mid-Holocene (6 kyr BP. In all simulations including MLC, precipitation is drastically reduced above the lake surface because deep convection is inhibited by overlying colder air. Meanwhile, convective activity is enhanced around MLC because of the wind increase generated by the flat surface of the megalake, transporting colder and moister air towards the eastern shore of the lake. The effect of MLC on precipitation and temperature is not sufficient to widely impact vegetation patterns. Nevertheless, tropical savanna is present in the Chad Basin in all climatic configurations, even without MLC presence, showing that the climate itself is the driver of favourable environments for sustainable hominid habitats.

  20. Paratethys forcing of the Messinian Salinity Crisis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krijgsman, Wout; Van Baak, Christiaan; Flecker, Rachel; Grothe, Arjen; Marzocchi, Alice; Stoica, Marius; Vasiliev, Iuliana

    2016-04-01

    During the Messinian Salinity Crisis (5.97-5.33 Ma), there is increasing evidence for the presence of fresh water input, not only during the final Lago-mare stage but even during times of evaporite formation. Here we present new strontium isotopic data from two well-dated Messinian sections in the Black and Caspian seas, which show remarkably similar Sr-values as the ones recorded in the Mediterranean during the final phase of the salinity crisis. This strongly suggests that a major fresh water pulse in the Mediterranean originated from the Paratethys. It highlights the importance of a Mediterranean-Black Sea connection during the entire MSC, adding an enormous drainage basin to the Mediterranean water balance. The presence of Paratethyan fauna in the Mediterranean Lago-Mare deposits has fuelled long-lasting controversies over the connectivity between the Mediterranean and Paratethys and contemporary sea level drops in both basins. We furthermore use results of sub-precessional climate simulations to calculate the freshwater budget of the Mediterranean and Paratethys in the Messinian. Using these numerical constraints, we propose a Mediterranean outflow pump as an alternative scenario for the most dramatic hydrological changes in the MSC. This "pump" mechanism significantly enhanced Paratethyan inflow to the Mediterranean, creating 1) suitable conditions for gypsum to form and 2) Lago-mare fauna to migrate and thrive. When the Mediterranean sea level finally reached the height of the Gibraltar sill, Mediterranean outflow restarted there and enhanced exchange with the Atlantic. During this reorganisation of the circulation, brackish and hypersaline waters were pumped out of the Mediterranean, and open marine conditions were re-established without major flooding at the Mio-Pliocene boundary.

  1. Post Tyrrhénian deformation analysis in the Sahel coast (Eastern Tunisia): seismotectonic events implication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mejrei, H.; Ghribi, R.; Bouaziz, S.; Balescu, S.

    2012-04-01

    The eastern coast of Tunisia is characterized by Pleistocene coastal deposits considered as a reference of interglacial high sea levels. In this region, the stratigraphy of Tunisian Pleistocene deposits was first established on the basis of geomorphological, lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic criteria and U/Th data. They have been subdivided into three superimposed formations, from the oldest to the recent "Douira, Rejiche and Chebba" including coastal marine (Strombus bubonius), lagoonal and eolian sediments. These marine formations are organized into parallel bars to the actual shoreline overlaying unconformably the Mio-Pliocene and "Villafranchian" deposits. A luminescence dating method IRSL applied to alkali feldspar grains from the two sandy marines units of the Douira formation demonstrate for the first time the presence of two successive interglacial high sea level events correlative of MIS 7 and MIS 9. These sandy marine units are separated by a major erosional surface and by a continental pedogenised loamy deposit related to a low sea level event which might be assigned to MIS 8. Variations in the height of these marine unit (+13 to +32m) in the Sahel coast reflect a significant tectonic deformations and show precious geomorphological and tectonic markers. An extensive brittle deformations analysis has been carried out in several sites. A detailed analysis of fracturing is based on studies of fault-slip data population and of joint sets. It allows reconstructions of post Tyrrhenian stress regimes which are characterized by N170-016 compression and N095-100 extension. In this paper we present, the combination of IRSL data applied to these raised marine deposits and a reconstruction of tectonic evolution in term of stress pattern evolution since the Tyrrhenian allowed us to assign an accurate the recent tectonic calendar. These reconstituted events will be replaced and will be discussed in the regional setting of sismotectonic activities of the north

  2. Vicariance and Its Impact on the Molecular Ecology of a Chinese Ranid Frog Species-Complex (Odorrana schmackeri, Ranidae.

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    Yongmin Li

    Full Text Available Paleogeological events and Pleistocene climatic fluctuations have had profound influences on the genetic patterns and phylogeographic structure of species in southern China. In this study, we investigated the population genetic structure and Phylogeography of the Odorrana schmackeri species complex, mountain stream-dwelling odorous frogs, endemic to southern China. We obtained mitochondrial sequences (1,151bp of the complete ND2 gene and two flanking tRNAs of 511 individuals from 25 sites for phylogeographic analyses. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed seven divergent evolutionary lineages, with mean pairwise (K2P sequence distances from 7.8% to 21.1%, except for a closer ND2 distance (3.4%. The complex geological history of southern China drove matrilineal divergence in the O. schmackeri species complex into highly structured geographical units. The first divergence between lineage A+B and other lineages (C-G had likely been influenced by the uplift of coastal mountains of Southeast China during the Mio-Pliocene period. The subsequent divergences between the lineages C-G may have followed the formation of the Three Gorges and the intensification of the East Asian summer monsoon during the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Demographic analyses indicated that major lineages A and C have been experienced recent population expansion (c. 0.045-0.245 Ma from multiple refugia prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM. Molecular analysis suggest that these seven lineages may represent seven different species, three described species and four cryptic species and should at least be separated into seven management units corresponding to these seven geographic lineages for conservation.

  3. Depósitos epitermales de baja sulfuración ricos en sulfuros de metales base, distrito aurífero La Carolina, San Luis, Argentina

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    Gallard-Esquivel María Cecilia

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Low-sulfidation epithermal base-metal sulfide-rich deposits, La Carolina gold-bearing district,San Luis, Argentina. La Carolina gold-bearing district is located at the western end of the Metallogenetic Belt of San Luis, which is spatially and genetically related to the mesosilicic volcanism of mio-pliocene age. The volcanic arc experienced an eastward migration, due to the flattening of the Nazca plate in the segment 27°-33°S, known as the Pampean flat-slab. At La Carolina, the volcanic activity occurred between 8.2 and 6.3 Ma. It encompasses lavas and pyroclastics of andesitic, dacitic, latitic and trachytic composition. The mesosilicic magmas belong to normal to high-k calc-alkaline and shoshonitic suites. Structural analysis shows that previous structures have strongly controlled the emplacement of volcanic rocks and related mineral deposits at La Carolina allowing to define a pullapart.In this gold-bearing district there are eigth small mineralized prospects. The mineralogy consists of pyrite, arsenic rich pyrite, galena, sphalerite, marcasite, melnikovite, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, tennantitetetrahedrite, digenite, covellite, bornite, pyrargiryte, hessite, silvanite, pearceite, argirodite, gold, silver, greigite, boulangerite, jamesonite and electrum. The gangue consists of quartz, calcite, chalcedony and minor adularia.The hydrothermal alteration is widespread and comprise phyllic and argillic mineral assemblages characterized by sericite, illite, interstratified I/S, and silicic; propylitic alteration is also present as an outer halo. Fluid inclusions studies show that the formation temperatures range between 230º to 330º C. Boiling and mixing with meteoric water led to mineral precipitation. Based on the mineralogy, textures, hydrothermal alteration, formation temperatures,fluid chemistry and prospective geochemistry the mineralizations have been classified as low-sulfidation epithermal base-metal sulfide-rich deposits.

  4. Gravimetry contributions to the study of the complex western Haouz aquifer (Morocco): Structural and hydrogeological implications

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    Chouikri, Ibtissam; el Mandour, Abdennabi; Jaffal, Mohammed; Baudron, Paul; García-Aróstegui, José-Luis; Manar, Ahmed; Casas, Albert

    2016-03-01

    This study provides new elements that illustrate the benefits of combining gravity, structural, stratigraphic and piezometric data for hydrogeological purposes. A combined methodology was applied to the western Haouz aquifer (Morocco), one of the main sources of water for irrigation and human consumption in the Marrakech region. First, a residual anomaly map was calculated from the Bouguer anomaly data. The computed map provided information on the ground density variation, revealing a strong control by a regional gradient. We then used various filtering techniques to delineate the major geological structures such as faults and basins: vertical and horizontal derivatives and upward continuation. This technique highlighted news structures and provided information on their dip. The gravity anomalies perfectly delineated the basement uplifts and the sedimentary thickening in depressions and grabens. The interpretation of gravimetric filtering, geological and hydrogeological data then highlighted two types of groundwater reservoirs, an unconfined aquifer hosted in conglomeratic mio-pliocene and quaternary rocks, covering the entire western Haouz and a deep confined aquifer contained in cenomanian-turonian limestone and eocene dolomitic formations in the south. Combining piezometric and residual anomaly maps revealed that groundwater flow and storage was in perfect agreement with the structures showing a negative anomaly, while structures with positive anomalies corresponded to groundwater divides. The study of gravity gradient zones by contact analysis enhanced the existing structural pattern of the study area and highlighted new structures, mainly oriented N70 and N130. The results of this study present a common framework and provide a notable step forward in the knowledge of the geometry and the groundwater flow pattern of the western Haouz aquifer, and will serve as a solid basis for a better water resource management.

  5. Delineation of sub-pixel level sedimentary litho-contacts by super resolution mapping of Landsat image

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    Shanmuga Priyaa, S.; Sanjeevi, S.

    2014-12-01

    To delineate the geological formation at the surface, satellite image classification approaches are often preferred. This study aims to produce a super resolved map with better delineation of the litho-contacts from the medium resolution Landsat image. Conventionally used per-pixel classification provides an output map at the same resolution of the satellite image, while the super resolved map provides the high resolution output map using the medium resolution image. In this study, four test sites are considered for delineating different litho-contacts using super resolution mapping approach in Cuddalore district, southern India. The test sites consists of charnockite, fissile hornblende-biotite gneiss, marine sandstone and sandstone with clay, limestone with calcareous shale and clay, clay with limestone bands/lenses, mio-pliocene and quaternary argillaceous and calcareous sandstone, fluvial and fluviomarine formations. This work compares the per-pixel, super resolved output derived from linear spectral unmixing (LSU) based HNN and spectral angle mapper (SAM) based HNN approaches. The super resolution mapping approach was performed on the medium resolution (30 m) Landsat image to obtain the litho-contact maps and the results are compared with the existing maps and observations from field visits. The results showed improved accuracy (90.92%) of the map prepared by the SAM based super resolution approach compared to the LSU based super resolution approach (90.14%) and the maximum likelihood classification approach (83.74%). Such an improved accuracy of the super resolved map (6 m resolution) is due to the fact that the lithological mapping is done not merely at the resolution of the image, but at the sub-pixel level. Hence, it is inferred that super resolution mapping applied to multispectral images may be preferred for mapping lithounits and litho-contacts than the conventional per-pixel and sub-pixel image classification methods.

  6. Origin of the groundwater salinity and geochemical processes in detrital and carbonate aquifers: Case of Chougafiya basin (Central Tunisia)

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    Farid, Intissar; Zouari, Kamel; Rigane, Adel; Beji, Ridha

    2015-11-01

    Comprehensive investigations of groundwaters were performed in the detrital and carbonate aquifers of the Chougafiya basin, central Tunisia. In the present review, hydrochemistry and isotopic tools were combined to get an insight into the processes controlling mineralization, recharge conditions, flow pattern of groundwater and C chemistry in the investigated hydrological system. Analysis of the dissolved constituents revealed that several processes controlled the observed chemical composition: (i) the dissolution of evaporitic minerals, (ii) cation exchange reactions, (iii) sulfate reduction under anaerobic conditions, (iv) incongruent dissolution of carbonate minerals (calcite, dolomite) coupled with gypsum dissolution and calcite precipitation, and (v) silicates weathering. Data inferred from 18O and deuterium isotopes in groundwater samples indicated recharge with modern rainfall. Water characterized by lower δ18O and δ2H values is interpreted as recharged by non-evaporated rainfall originating from Mediterranean and Atlantic air masses. However, water with relatively enriched δ18O and δ2H contents is thought to reflect the occurrence of an evaporation process related to the long term practice of flood irrigation. The radiogenic (3H) isotope data provided insight into the presence of two recharge periods in the investigated groundwaters. Waters with 3H contents of 1 TU clearly suggested the occurrence of a contemporaneous recharge probably during the last two decades. Carbon isotopes provided some insights into the timescales of groundwater flow, but mainly revealed that main sources of C are active in the system. These are likely: dissolved biogenic CO2, carbonate dissolution and incongruent reaction of the carbonate matrix. Mean residence times were determined after correction of the initial activities for dead C from the rock matrix and suggest ages ranging from the present day to the Holocene in both Upper Cretaceous and Mio-pliocene groundwaters.

  7. Eroding and Inflating the Atacama Desert, Chile: Insights Through Cosmogenic 10-Be, 26-Al and 21-Ne

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    Heimsath, A. M.; Jungers, M. C.; Amundson, R.; Balco, G.; Shuster, D. L.

    2010-12-01

    quantify surface chronologies as well as the processes shaping these unusual landscapes. To do so we have combined standard surface exposure dating with an application of the burial and profile-dating methodology to surfaces that are expanding by salt inflation. Profiles of these nuclides are used to test simple end-member models for the timescale of surface inflation and initial results support Mio-Pliocene ages for landscapes previously dated by other methods. We also use profiles and burial-age methods to date and better estimate potential inheritance in the nuclide signals for extensive cobble deposits thought to originate from the Andes prior to the onset of hyperaridity. Preliminary results support Miocene deposition, which may suggest a significantly more recent onset time for hyperaridity than others have estimated.

  8. Sedimentology, paleontology and age of the Ayacara and Lago Ranco formations (south-central Chile, 40°- 42°S). Tectonic implications.

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    Encinas, Alfonso; Zambrano, Patricio; Bernabe, Pablo; Finger, Kenneth; Buatois, Luis; Duhart, Paul; Valencia, Victor; Fanning, M.; Herve, Francisco

    2010-05-01

    Deep-marine, Mio-Pliocene strata correlative with the Navidad Formation crop out in different areas along the forearc of south-central Chile (~34°-41°) and have also been recognized in boreholes drilles on the continental shelf. However, at Lago Ranco (40°S) and Ayacara (42°) there are outcrops of marine strata whose age and correlation with these units remain uncertain. These deposits consist of rhythmic successions of sandstone and siltstone representing facies similar to those of the Navidad and correlative formations. These marine successions are known ase the Estratos de Lago Ranco and Ayacara formations. They both crop out in the western Andean Cordillera near the limit with the Intermediate Depression at Lago Ranco and the submerged equivalent of this physiographic unit at Ayacara. There are very few studies carried out on these units and most of them consist on internal reports and unpublished theses.In order to unravel the sedimentary enviroment, age and tectonic history of this area during the Neogene we carried out sedimentological, ichnological and micropaleontological studies. In addition, we carried out U-Pb dating in detrital zircons (LAICPMS and SHRIMP). Our studies show the presence of sedimentary features and ichnofacies typical of deposition in a deep-marine environment for these units..In agreement, benthic foraminifers (Ciclamina incisa and Siphonodosaria sangrinensis) indicate lower bathial depths (1500 m). U-Pb (LAICPMS and SHRIMP) indicate a maximum depositional age of around 20 Ma for these units. In agreement, the occurrence of the planktic foraminifer species Globorotalia siakensis (P22-N14), Globigerinoides quadrilobatus (N6-Recent) and Globigerinoides sikanus (N8-N9) in strata of the Ayacara Formation suggest an early-middle Miocene age for this unit. These data indicate that the area corresponding to the western Main Andean Cordillera in south central Chile, was subjeted to major subsidence during the early-middle Miocene. Major

  9. Neogene Palynology of the Snake River Plain: Climate Change and Volcanic Effects.

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    Davis, O. K.; Ellis, B.; Link, P.; Wood, S.; Shervais, J. W.

    2006-12-01

    Preliminary palynological analyses of lake sediment and inter-flow samples reveal environmental and vegetation changes in response to climatic and volcanic events over the late Neogene. On the evolutionary timescale, sagebrush steppe has expanded and coniferous and deciduous forests have declined. In part this trend has followed the cooling and drying of the late Neogene, but volcanic impact may also be recorded in the effects of long-term subsidence and in periodic deposition of volcanic tephra. The most detailed palynological record yet published for the region (Thompson, 1992) records increasing pine and juniper percentages and decreasing sagebrush and Sarcobatus percentages spanning the Pliocene Glenns Ferry Formation and Pleistocene Bruneau Formation. Palynology of a well in Lake Idaho sediments (Canyon County, Davis, this abstract) shows the same decline of sagebrush and Sarcobatus, but records decreasing juniper percentages during the Pliocene. These Lake Idaho records are spanned by the palynology of the Great Salt Lake (Davis, 2002), which records a modern pollen flora from the late Miocene onward. Salt sage and sagebrush steppe developed progressively from the late Miocene through the Holocene, with peaks in sagebrush pollen percentages during the Mio- Pliocene transition and the late Pleistocene. The Great Salt Lake and Glenns Ferry records both include low percentages of the pollen of deciduous forest taxa such as oak and elm throughout the Pliocene and sporadically into the Pleistocene. Recent studies of soils associated with volcanic tephra reveal a Pliocene upland with abundant grass and high percentages of the pollen and spores of aquatic vegetation: a landscape with drainages choked by ash falls. Palynology above the Fossil Gulch Ash (Hagerman Valley) contains abundant charcoal and high percentages of the pollen of mountain conifers, suggesting devastation of the local vegetation and erosion into Lake Idaho from the surrounding mountains

  10. Using 10Be cosmogenic surface exposure dating to determine the evolution of the Purgatorio active fault in the Andean forearc, southern Peru

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    Carlos, Benavente; Swann, Zerathe; Laurence, Audin; Fabrizio, Delgado; Marianne, Saillard; Sarah, Hall R.; Aster Team

    2015-04-01

    Active transpressive deformation has been occurring along the Andean hyperarid forearc for the last 3 Myrs but many of these faults are still not described even if able to produce large damaging earthquakes. Active faulting along the northern part of the Arica Bend can be recognized due to the presence of well-preserved and sharp fault scarps indicating recent surface slip. During the Mio-Pliocene, deposition within the forearc continental basins resulted in the formation of vast fan deposits and conglomerates of the Moquegua Formation, which can be considered as bedrock in this exposure study (~45-4 Ma; Tosdal et al., 1984; Sebrier et al., 1988a; Roperch et al., 2006). The typical vertical Purgatorio fault scarps offset both the Moquegua bedrock and several younger geomorphic features associated with formation outcroping vertically along the fault scarp. These samples are well-suited to the application of in situ produced cosmogenic radionuclides for surface exposure dating, as the hyperarid region has extremely low erosion rates. We sampled the scarp away from any significant drainage so as to avoid possibly disturbed areas. The sampling did involve extracting quarzite conglomeratic material along the bedrock scarp and on the upper surrounding crests. The aim has been to measure Berylium-20 TCN (Terrestrial in situ Cosmogenic Nuclides) concentrations to determine exposure age as a function of height on the scarp. This has been successfully employed on one scarp in Italy based on Chlorine-36 TCN (Palumbo et al., 2004). However, slow faults behaviour remains unclear and more contributions are needed. Quaternary activity of the Purgatorio fault system was evidenced by Hall et al. (2008). They highlighted a vertical offset of about ~100 m for a pediment surface intercepted by the fault, and dated at ~280 ka. Considering that the pediment surface is horizontal, this would gave a maximum of ~0.3 mm/yr of vertical deformation since 280 ka. Our new data provide evidences

  11. Mn oxides as efficient traps for metal pollutants in a polyphase low-temperature Pliocene environment: A case study in the Tamra iron mine, Nefza mining district, Tunisia

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    Decrée, Sophie; Ruffet, Gilles; De Putter, Thierry; Baele, Jean-Marc; Recourt, Philippe; Jamoussi, Fakher; Yans, Johan

    2010-05-01

    The Tamra mine, located in the Nefza mining district (NW Tunisia), exploits a 50 m-thick layer of Mio-Pliocene sediments that are heavily mineralized with Fe and other metals (Mn, Pb, Zn), especially in its eastern part, which is highly mineralized in Mn and known as the "manganiferous zone". The textural and geochemical studies of manganiferous minerals in the Tamra mine have allowed the determination of four main paragenetic stages. Stages 1 and 2 relate to the main pedogenetic event that gave rise to the currently exploited Fe ore deposit. The last two stages relate to mineralizing events closely connected with hydrothermal circulation and leaching of underlying mineralization of the Sidi Driss Pb-Zn sedex deposit, with subsequent crystallisation in the supergene environment. Stage 3 is characterized by the formation of massive romanechite, hollandite and Sr-cryptomelane, while stage 4 results in the formation of coronadite and chalcophanite. 39Ar- 40Ar analyses performed on hollandite (stage 3) and coronadite (stage 4) samples yielded ages of 4.7 ± 0.1 Ma and 3.35 ± 0.07 Ma, respectively. Tentative 39Ar- 40Ar analyses on chalcophanite provided aberrant results, due to the poor argon retention in this layer-structure mineral. The youngest age corresponds to the late phase of the late Alpine extension event in northern Tunisia, evidenced through an increased regional thermal gradient as well as by a N-S set of normal faults and fractures. The Tamra mine is obviously a polyphase mineral deposit, recording several distinct metal inputs, part of them originating from the underlying Sidi Driss Pb-Zn deposit, while another part is provided by hydrothermal circulations forced by the high thermal gradient. Three springs flowing from the Tamra ore series are regular sources for drinking water used by the local population. Although the Alpine thermal gradient could have facilitated extensive mixing between subsurface oxidizing meteoric fluids and deep reducing

  12. Rapid hydrological response to central Andean Plateau uplift, NW-Argentina

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    Rohrmann, Alexander; Sachse, Dirk; Strecker, Manfred R.; Mulch, Andreas; Pingel, Heiko; Alonso, Ricardo N.

    2015-04-01

    sediment accumulation space in an early intermontane setting. After 6.5 Ma the presence of an efficient orographic barrier is compatible with the inference of rapid (~ 0.5 Ma) basin aridification and a gradual shift to semi-arid vegetation and upward sediment coarsening. Our new high-resolution multi-proxy isotope approach reconstructs the response of the hydrologic cycle, ecosystem, and surface processes to the eastward advance of Mio-Pliocene Andean mountain building in unprecedented detail.

  13. Diets and environments of late Cenozoic mammals in the Qaidam Basin, Tibetan Plateau: Evidence from stable isotopes

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    Zhang, Chunfu; Wang, Yang; Li, Qiang; Wang, Xiaoming; Deng, Tao; Tseng, Zhijie J.; Takeuchi, Gary T.; Xie, Gangpu; Xu, Yingfeng

    2012-06-01

    The timing history and driving mechanisms of C4 expansion and Tibetan uplift are hotly debated issues. Paleoenvironmental evidence from within the Tibetan Plateau is essential to help resolve these issues. Here we report results of stable C and O isotope analyses of tooth enamel samples from a variety of late Cenozoic mammals, including deer, giraffe, horse, rhino, and elephant, from the Qaidam Basin in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The enamel-δ13C values are rhino (CD0722, with δ13C values up to -4.1‰). If the Qaidam Basin was as arid as today in the Mio-Pliocene, these data would indicate that the majority of the animals had C3 diets and only a few individuals (besides the exceptional rhino CD0722) may have consumed some C4 plants. Based on geological evidence, however, the Qaidam Basin was probably warmer and more humid during the late Miocene and early Pliocene than today. Thus, these δ13C values likely indicate that many individuals had significant dietary intakes of C4 plants, and the Qaidam Basin had more C4 plants in the late Miocene and early Pliocene than today. Moreover, the Qaidam Basin likely had much denser vegetation at those times in order to support such large mammals as rhinos and elephants. While the δ18O values did not increase monotonously with time, the range of variation seems to have increased considerably since the early Pliocene, indicating increased aridification in the basin. The mean δ18O values of large mammals and those reconstructed for local meteoric waters display a significant negative shift in the late Miocene, consistent with the marine δ18O record which shows a cooling trend in the same period. Taken together, the isotope data suggest a warmer, wetter, and perhaps lower Qaidam Basin during the late Miocene and early Pliocene. Increased aridification after the early Pliocene is likely due to a combined effect of regional tectonism, which resulted in a more effective barrier preventing moisture from the Indian Ocean

  14. Structural Evolution of the Central Venezuelan Andes: Changes From Compression to Strike-slip and Extension

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    Hervouet, Y.; Dhont, D.; Backe, G.

    2006-12-01

    The Venezuelan Andes form a N50°E-trending belt extending from the colombian border in the SW to the Caribbean sea in the NE. The belt is 100 km wide and its highest summits reach 5000 m in its central part. Uplift of the belt is a consequence of the relative convergence between the triangular-shaped Maracaibo crustal block on the west and the Guyana shield belonging to South America. The Maracaibo block is cut by a series of strike-slip faults separating several crustal units. Among these, the easternmost Trujillo triangular block is limited on the west by the N-S left-lateral Valera fault and on the south-east by the NE-trending right-lateral Bocono fault. Our methodology, based on the analysis of radar satellite and digital elevation model imagery and implemented by structural field work and the compilation of seismotectonic data, presents a new understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Venezuelan Andes during the Neogene-Quaternary. We have characterized three stages of deformation. The first, Mio-Pliocene in age, corresponds to the NW-SE Andean compression responsible for the uplift of the Venezuelan Andes. The second tectonic stage is consitent with a strike-slip regime of deformation marked by shearing along the Bocono and Valera faults and hence individualizing the Trujillo block, which has been cut into two smaller triangular wedges. This strike-slip faulting- dominated compressional-extensional tectonic regime started at some point between the Pliocene and the Quaternary and allowed the Trujillo crustal block to move towards the NE. The third stage of deformation corresponds to extension in the Trujillo block and is still active today. The present-day distribution of the deformation in the Venezuelan Andes is consistent with strain partitioning. While compression is restricted on both flanks of the belt, strike-slip and extension occurs in the central part of the mountain range. Extension is associated with the motion of crustal blocks moving

  15. Macroscopic, Microscopic, and Paleo-depositional Features of selected Coals in Arahan, Banjarsari, Subanjeriji, and South Banko Regions, South Sumatra

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    Nana Suwarna

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available DOI: 10.17014/ijog.v5i4.110The Arahan, Banjarsari, Subanjeriji, and Banko Regions, parts of the Bukit Asam coalfield, is situated in the Lematang Depression of South Palembang Sub-basin, South Sumatera Basin. Twenty two fresh outcrop and subcrop samples of Seam B, A, Benuang, Enim, and Jelawatan of the Mio-Pliocene Muaraenim coals have been analyzed macroscopically and microscopically, to assess the characteristics and depositional environment of the coal present. On the basis of lithotype analysis, accompanied by organic-petrological and SEM analyses, the coal seams of the Muaraenim Formation show variations in the predominance of some macerals, indicating successions of environmental changes. Petrographically, the dominant maceral group is vitrinite, present in high to very high values (69.4 – 97.4 %; whilst the minor one is inertinite showing a low to moderate amount (0.4 – 22.0 %, followed by low to moderate value of exinite (0.4 – 18.2 %. Vitrinite reflectance values are present in a low to moderate level, varying from 0.34 to 0.55 %, with one sample showing value of 0.59 %. Mineral matter dominated by clay minerals, with minor pyrite and carbonate, displays a low degree (0.4 – 5.4 %, with one sample of 12.0 %. Organic facies study tends to indicate that the coals were deposited in a wet forest swamp to limnic zone, within lower delta plain to transgressive area. This condition has supported the depositional setting interpreted from sedimentary facies associations that shows a shallow-water continental margin sequence, varying from a fluvial to deltaic environment. The organic facies concept is thus applicable in basin studies context and has potential to become an additional tool for interpretation of depositional environment.

  16. From apes to humans: locomotion as a key feature for phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Senut, Brigitte

    2002-03-01

    If bipedalism has often been considered to be of a crucial interest for understanding hominid evolution, the acceptance of locomotor features to build phylogenies is still far from being a reality in the field. Especially for hominid evolution, it still seems to be difficult to accept that traits, other than craniodental ones, can be useful for defining the major dichotomies. The recent discovery of Australopithecus anamensis suggests a challenging view of the major dichotomy between apes and humans. Whilst it is widely accepted that Ardipithecus ramidus is ancestral to Australopithecus anamensis, which in its turn is ancestral to Australopithecus afarensis and then to later hominids, the postcranial adaptations, which should be taken into account, suggest another branching pattern. Based on the fact that by 4.0 million years two different locomotor patterns can be identified in hominids, two lineages would appear to be present: the "Australopithecine" lineage (with Australopithecus afarensis or Ardipithecus ramidus if the latter is really a hominid sensu stricto) and the "Hominine" lineage (with Australopithecus anamensis = Praeanthropus africanus). PMID:12050904

  17. A reappraisal of early hominid phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strait, D S; Grine, F E; Moniz, M A

    1997-01-01

    We report here on the results of a new cladistic analysis of early hominid relationships. Ingroup taxa included Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus aethiopicus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster and Homo sapiens. Outgroup taxa included Pan troglodytes and Gorilla gorilla. Sixty craniodental characters were selected for analysis. These were drawn from the trait lists of other studies and our own observations. Eight parsimony analyses were performed that differed with respect to the number of characters examined and the manner in which the characters were treated. Seven employed ordered characters, and included analyses in which (1) taxa that were variable with respect to a character were coded as having an intermediate state, (2) characters with variable states in any taxon were excluded; (3) a variable taxon was coded as having the state exhibited by the majority of its hypodigm, (4) variable taxa were coded as missing data for that character, (5) some characters were considered irreversible, (6) masticatory characters were excluded, and (7) characters whose states were unknown in some taxa were excluded. In the final analysis, (8) all characters were unordered. All analyses were performed using PAUP 3.0s. Despite the fact that the eight analyses differed with respect to methodology, they produced several consistent results. All agreed that the "robust" australopithecines form a clade, A. afarensis is the sister taxon of all other hominids, and the genus Australopithecus, as conventionally defined, is paraphyletic. All eight also supported trees in which A. africanus is the sister taxon of a joint Homo+ "robust" clade, although in one analysis an equally parsimonious topology found A. africanus to be the sister of the "robust" species. In most analyses, the relationships of A. africanus and H. habilis were unstable, in the sense that their positions vary in trees

  18. How We Got Here: Evolutionary Changes in Skull Shape in Humans & Their Ancestors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, Rebecca M.

    2012-01-01

    This activity uses inquiry to investigate how large changes in shape can evolve from small changes in the timing of development. Students measure skull shape in fetal, infant, juvenile, and adult chimpanzees and compare them to adult skulls of "Homo sapiens," "Homo erectus," and "Australopithecus afarensis." They conclude by re-interpreting their…

  19. Development of the palatal size in Pan troglodytes, Hominids and Homo sapiens.

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    Arnold, W H; Zoellner, A; Sebastian, T

    2004-12-01

    As the hard palate plays an important role in speech production it was the aim of this study whether similarities or dissimilarities in palatal size may allow conclusions about the ability to produce speech in the extant investigated species. The palatal size of Pan troglodytes, Homo sapiens, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and Cro-Magnon has been investigated using euclidian distance matrix analysis (EDMA) and thin-plate-spline analysis. The results show that the palatal size of all australopithecine specimens and H. erectus is very similar to that of P toglodytes, whereas the palatal size of H. neanderthalensis more closely resembles that of H. sapiens. Postnatal development of palatal size in P troglodytes is different from that of H. sapiens. In P troglodytes not only the size of the palate changes but also the form. In H. sapiens there is little change in form, but a continuos uniform growth from infantile to adult specimens. From the results we conclude that in all australopithecine samples which have been investigated, the palatal size is similar to that of P troglodytes. Therefore, it is unlikely that austraopithecine individuals were capable of producing vowels and consonants. The palatal size of H. neandethalensis and Cro-Magnon is similar to that of H. sapiens which may indicate the possibility that they were capable of speech production. PMID:15646285

  20. Basicranial anatomy of Plio-Pleistocene hominids from East and South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, M C; Wood, B A

    1982-10-01

    The results of a metrical analysis of the basicranium of 19 Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominid crania are presented. The sample includes crania attributed to Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus boisei, and robustus, and Homo erectus as well as crania whose attribution is still under discussion. These results confirm significant differences between the cranial base patterns of the "gracile" and "robust" australopithecines and the three crania attributed to Homo erectus have a pattern which resembles that of modern humans. None of the crania examined from East Africa sites have base patterns which resemble that of the "gracile" australopithecines. The crania KNM-ER 407 and 732 have patterns which are compatible with them being smaller-bodied females of Australopithecus boisei; KNM-ER 1470 and 1813 have base patterns which most closely resemble that of Homo erectus. The cranial base pattern of KNM-ER 1805 is compatible with its inclusion in either Australopithecus boisei or Homo. When account is taken of the immaturity of Taung, the evidence of its cranial base pattern suggests that if it had reached adulthood it would have resembled the "gracile" australopithecine crania from Sterkfontein and Makapansgat. PMID:6816071

  1. New hominin fossils from Kanapoi, Kenya, and the mosaic evolution of canine teeth in early hominins

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Michael Plavcan

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Whilst reduced size, altered shape and diminished sexual dimorphism of the canine–premolar complex are diagnostic features of the hominin clade, little is known about the rate and timing of changes in canine size and shape in early hominins. The earliest Australopithecus, Australopithecus anamensis, had canine crowns similar in size to those of its descendant Australopithecus afarensis, but a single large root alveolus has suggested that this species may have had larger and more dimorphic canines than previously recognised. Here we present three new associated dentitions attributed to A. anamensis, recently recovered from the type site of Kanapoi, Kenya, that provide evidence of canine evolution in early Australopithecus. These fossils include the largest mandibular canine root in the hominin fossil record. We demonstrate that, although canine crown height did not differ between these species, A. anamensis had larger and more dimorphic roots, more like those of extant great apes and Ardipithecus ramidus, than those of A. afarensis. The canine and premolar occlusal shapes of A. anamensis also resemble those of Ar. ramidus, and are intermediary between extant great apes and A. afarensis. A. afarensis achieved Homo-like maxillary crown basal proportions without a reduction in crown height. Thus, canine crown size and dimorphism remained stable during the early evolution of Australopithecus, but mandibular root dimensions changed only later within the A. anamensis–afarensis lineage, coincident with morphological changes in the canine–premolar complex. These observations suggest that selection on canine tooth crown height, shape and root dimensions was not coupled in early hominin evolution, and was not part of an integrated adaptive package.

  2. Analyse quantitative du réseau hydrographique du bassin versant du Slănic (Roumanie

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    Florina Grecu

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available L'étude porte sur le bassin versant du Slănic, un affluent du Buzău. Ce bassin de taille relativement réduite (433 km2 est situé dans la région des Carpates et des Subcarpates de la Courbure, région très active sur le plan sismique. Du point de vue lithologique, le bassin du Slănic correspond à des flyschs paléogènes et à des molasses mio-pliocènes. Ces roches peu résistantes ont facilité une forte érosion du relief. Actuellement, les précipitations présentent souvent une forte intensité, et elles se produisent fréquemment après des périodes de sécheresse. Elles sont ainsi très agressives et déclenchent une érosion intense. L'analyse de quelques paramètres morphométriques [grand nombre de segments de cours d'eau d'ordres 1 (5230 et 2 (944 ; densité élevée des segments par rapport à la superficie du bassin (environ 15 segments / km2 ; longueur moyenne réduite des segments d'ordre 1 (260 m par rapport à ceux d'ordre 2 (530 m] s'accorde avec des temps de concentration des eaux courts et une forte énergie des écoulements. La vitesse de réaction aux précipitations des segments d'ordres inférieurs est en outre favorisée par la répartition spatiale des pluies et par les conditions lithologiques.The study is focused on the Slănic basin which has a small size (433 km2. The hydrographical basin of Slănic, situated in the Carpathian and Subcarpathian Curvature, a very active from neotectonical viewpoint area, is a part of the Buzău basin. From a petrographic point of view, the Slănic hydrographic basin belongs to the paleogen flysch deposits (within the Carpathian sector and to the mio-pliocen molasse (within the Subcarpathian area latter formed by predominantely friable rocks which have encouraged deep fragmentation of the relief. Actual rainfalls are often very intensive, and they frequently occur after dry seasons. The analysis of morphometric parameters shows many elementary segments of first

  3. New Constraints on the Timing and Magnitude of Deformation and Basin Exhumation in the Eastern Cordillera of NW Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trimble, J. D.; Carrapa, B.; Stockli, D. F.; Stutz, J.

    2008-12-01

    could be potentially related to the reactivation of Cretaceous relay-zone structures. Flexural-slip folding is the dominant mechanism of folding within the basin, with centimeter to meter scale fracture-rich and slickenside-rich beds of fine silts acting as primary slip-surfaces between thicker, more competent beds of coarse sand and conglomerate. A newly discovered intra-formational angular unconformity near the base of the Angastaco Fm. documents growth during the early stages of deposition. However, there is no clear evidence of continuous growth up section, implying at least two pulses of significant deformation during syn- and post- Miocene time. New apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronology (AHe) from six samples from the Eocene-Oligocene(?) Quebrada de los Colorados Fm and the Miocene Angastaco Fm (~18 Ma) in the Angastaco and surrounding Pucara and Tin Tin basins yields youngest ages between ca. 13.2 Ma (to the west) and ca. 10.3 Ma (to the east), and correlate with low Uranium content. We interpret these ages as representative of cooling following basin exhumation in the Miocene. The younging of those ages towards the east, together with structural data indicating young Mio-Pliocene deformation, suggests that those ages may be the result of eastward propagation of deformation into the foreland driving basin exhumation.

  4. New insights into the evolution of central Tyrrhenian margin of Italy (northern Latium off-shore area): evidences and constraints from seismic data interpretation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buttinelli, M.; Vico, G.; Scrocca, D.; Petracchini, L.; de Rita, D.

    2009-04-01

    the formation of several small and narrow graben and half-graben basins with NW-SE and NE-SW direction of elongation, filled with up to 600m of conglomeratic, sandy and clayish sediments and a regional unconformity surface on top of the deformed basement. The sedimentation continued with the trasgressive deposition of the Plio-Pleitocene clayish units, separated by a Middle Pliocene unconformity; iii) a final stage of deformation, strictly localized around the Late Pliocene volcanic intrusions of the Tolfa and Ceriti dome complexes. This is associated with local uplift (up to 200m), normal faulting, and radial tilting of the sedimentary units strata of the Mio-Pliocene sedimentary units in the on-shore graben and half-graben filled basins, analogous to the geological setting of the basins recognised in the off-shore part of this area. Gravimetric and Magnetic anomaly data also suggest the possible presence of an off-shore intrusion just in front of the coastline of Civitavecchia city. Seismic reflection data analysis show in the same place a local perturbation of the sedimentation regime of the Plio-Pleistocene units due to the local change of basin morphology.

  5. Extreme extension across Seram and Ambon, eastern Indonesia: Evidence for Banda slab rollback

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    J. M. Pownall

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available The island of Seram, which lies in the northern part of the 180°-curved Banda Arc, has previously been interpreted as a fold-and-thrust belt formed during arc-continent collision, which incorporates ophiolites intruded by granites thought to have been produced by anatexis within a metamorphic "sole". However, new geological mapping and a re-examination of the field relations cause us to question this model. We instead propose that there is evidence for recent N–S extension that has caused the high-temperature exhumation of hot mantle peridotites, granites, and granulites (the "Kobipoto Complex" beneath low-angle lithospheric detachment faults. Greenschist- to lower-amphibolite facies metapelites and amphibolites of the Tehoru Formation, which comprise the hanging wall above the detachment faults, were overprinted by sillimanite-grade metamorphism, migmatisation and limited localised diatexis to form the Taunusa Complex. Highly aluminous metapelitic garnet + cordierite + sillimanite + spinel + corundum + quartz granulites exposed in the Kobipoto Mountains (central Seram are intimately associated with the peridotites. Spinel + quartz inclusions in garnet, which indicate that peak metamorphic temperatures for the granulites likely approached 900 °C, confirm that peridotite was juxtaposed against the crust at typical lithospheric mantle temperatures and could not have been part of a cooled ophiolite. Some granulites experienced slight metatexis, but the majority underwent more advanced in situ anatexis to produce widespread granitic diatexites characterised by abundant cordierite and garnet xenocrysts and numerous restitic sillimanite + spinel "clots". These Mio-Pliocene "cordierite granites", which are present throughout Ambon, western Seram, and the Kobipoto Mountains in direct association with peridotites, demonstrate that the extreme extension required to have driven Kobipoto Complex exhumation must have occurred along much of the northern

  6. Parametric study of the impact of waste pollutants on groundwater: the case of Abidjan District (Ivory Coast)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agnès Kouamé, Amenan; Jaboyedoff, Michel; Tacher, Laurent; Derron, Marc-Henri; Franz, Martin

    2015-04-01

    Abidjan like numerous African cities is experiencing a significant and uncontrolled population growth. The annual growth rate is estimated at 3.99% by the National Institute of Statistics. This rapid population growth also generates growing needs in general and especially for drinking water and economic activities. In the District of Abidjan, groundwater comes from the Mio-Pliocene age aquifer called "Continental Terminal". This unconfined aquifer is the main source of water supply. Its lithology consists of four levels. Actually only the two upper levels outcrop and constitute the main part of the Continental Terminal aquifer. Some recent studies report a potential overexploitation and pollution of Abidjan groundwater (Jourda, 1986, Kouame 2007, Deh, 2013). This deterioration in water quality could be due to the release of domestic and industrial waste water, pesticide and fertilizer from crops and toxic waste sites containing high doses of organochlorines, of hydrogen sulfide and sulfides. This risk is also linked to the economic activities such as car workshops, gas stations and the sand exploitation in the lagoon. To observe the likely evolution of such contaminants in the subsurface and we developed hydrogeological models that couple groundwater flow and transport with FEFLOW software. The model is composed of a sandy layer where two constant hydraulic heads of 55 m and 0.2 m are imposed on the north and the south respectively. We carried out grain size analysis of some samples (E2, E3, E4, E5, and E6) which shows particle size ranging between 0.0001 mm and 8 mm. This grain size analysis performed by sieving underwater and laser indicates that these five soils are: loamy sand with traces of clay and gravel for E2 and E5; Sandy loam with traces of clay for E3; Sand with traces of clay and gravel for E4 and Sand with traces of silt and clay for E6. Their porosity and average values of permeability coefficient K measured in the laboratory range from 0.2 to 0

  7. The promotion of geomorphosites on salt from Sovata - Praid and Turda using cultural and scientific tourism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toma, B.; Irimus, I.; Petrea, D.

    2012-04-01

    The paper highlights the role of geomorphosites on salt, in experts and specialists training, in geography of tourism and planning, namely, the involvement of educational factor in defining managerial and marketing skills of future specialists in training. Geographical area of investigation belongs to the Transylvanian tectonic basin, overlapped to saliferous tectonic area from eastern Transylvania, represented by Praid - Sovata - Corund anticline and Sic -Cojocna - Turda anticline, analysis is focused on the Praid - Sovata and Turda diapirs. Saliferous area Praid - Sovata - Corund is situated on the contact area of the Transylvanian Basin with neo-eruptiv mountain chain of Eastern Carpathians, Calimani - Gurghiu - Harghita, and at the contact of Târnavelor Plateau with the orogen alignment of Gurghiu - Harghita Mountains. The salt body, in the horizontal plane, has a quasi-circular shape, slightly ellipsoidal, with diameters of 1.2 and 1.4 km, and is estimated to have a burial depth of 2.6 to 2.8 km. The salt massif from Praid, pierce the Mio-Pliocene blanket around and appears at the surface as diapir, flanked by sedimentary rocks that are partially covered by extrusive post-Pliocene volcanic formations and Quaternary deposits. Evaporitic deposits presents a varied lithology represented by gypsum, anhydrite, salt rock, potassium salt and celestine. The salt massif from Turda develops on the anticline Sic -Cojocna - Turda, oriented NE - SW, 2 km NE of Turda's downtown. It has an elongated shape, about 4 km, with widths ranging from 700 m to 200 m and also with a thickness ranging from 750 m to over 1000 m. In terms of stratigraphy, the salt massif is surrounded by deposits belonging to Badenian, Sarmatian and Quaternary. Due to salt dissolution by meteoric waters, carsto-saline lakes were formed, and due to ceiling collapse, because of an intensive exploitation, and infiltrations of rainwater and rivers, antropo-salted lakes were formed. The water and mud of

  8. Geomorpho-pédogenèse dans des accumulations alluviales d'un piémont andin: Étude du contact Andes-Llanos Occidentaux au Venezuela (Région de Guanare-Barinas

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    Pouyllau, Daniel

    1990-06-01

    Full Text Available The piémont in the South-East region of the Andes In Venezuela we study, lying between the towns of Guanare and Barinas, spreads over 150.000 ha of a zone where a dry tropical forest constitutes the climatic vegetation. During the erogenic period of the Andes -i.e. mio-pliocene and quaternary-, a strong erosion produced at the same time a removal of material belonging to the high basins, its transportation towards the depressed areas of the Llanos, and the breaking up of the widespread sheet structures thus constituted, and finally created the present topography with terraces. The study of this piémont thus allows the formulation of a series of hypotheses concerning the géomorphologic evolution of this region.

    [fr] Le piémont sud-oriental des Andes vénézuéliennes étudié et située entre les villes de Guanare et de Barinas, s'étend sur 150.000 ha dans une zone où la forêt sèche tropicale est la végétation climacique. Durant l'orogenèse andine mio-pliocène et quaternaire, une intense érosion a entraîné, en même temps, le déblaiement des matériaux des hauts-bassins, leur transport vers la dépression des Llanos et le dépôt en nappes généralisées; le démantèlement de celles-ci a conduit à la topographie actuelle des terrasses. L'étude de ce piémont permet d'émettre une série d'hypothèses sur l'évolution géomorphologique régionale.
    [es] El piedemonte suroriental de los Andes venezolanos, ubicado entre las ciudades de Guanare y de Barinas, cubre 150.000 has. y su vegetación climácica es el bosque seco tropical. Durante la orogénesis andina, mio-pliocena y cuaternaria, una intensa erosión originó al mismo tiempo el arrastre de los materiales de las cuencas altas, su transporte hacia la depresión de loa Llanos, su deposición en mantos generalizados y el desmantelamiento de los mismos, formando la topografía actual de las terrazas. El estudio de este piedemonte permite emitir una serle de hip

  9. Modeling along-axis variations in fault architecture in the Main Ethiopian Rift: implications for Nubia-Somalia kinematics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erbello, Asfaw; Corti, Giacomo; Sani, Federico; Kidane, Tesfaye

    2016-04-01

    The Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), at the northern termination of the East African Rift, is an ideal locale where to get insights into the long-term motion between Nubia and Somalia. The rift is indeed one of the few places along the plate boundary where the deformation is narrow: its evolution is thus strictly related to the kinematics of the two major plates, whereas south of the Turkana depression a two-plate model for the EARS is too simplistic as extension occurs both along the Western and Eastern branches and different microplates are present between the two major plates. Despite its importance, the kinematics responsible for development and evolution of the MER is still a matter of debate: indeed, whereas the Quaternary-present kinematics of rifting is rather well constrained, the plate kinematics driving the initial, Mio-Pliocene stages of extension is still not clear, and different hypothesis have been put forward, including: polyphase rifting, with a change in direction of extension from NW-SE extension to E-W extension; constant Miocene-recent NW-SE extension; constant Miocene-recent NE-SW extension; constant, post-11 Ma extension consistent with the GPS-derived kinematics (i.e., roughly E-W to ESE-WNW). To shed additional light on this controversy and to test these different hypothesis, in this contribution we use new crustal-scale analogue models to analyze the along-strike variations in fault architecture in the MER and their relations with the rift trend, plate motion and the resulting Miocene-recent kinematics of rifting. The extension direction is indeed one of the most important parameters controlling the architecture of continental rifts and the relative abundance and orientation of different fault sets that develop during oblique rifting is typically a function of the angle between the extension direction and the orthogonal to the rift trend (i.e., the obliquity angle). Since the trend of the MER varies along strike, and consequently it is

  10. Fish as a proxy for African paleogeography: results from both extant and fossil taxa and prospects to constrain faunal exchange pathway through time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otero, Olga; Joordens, Josephine; Dettai, Agnès; Christ, Leemans; Pinton, Aurélie

    2016-04-01

    : relationships between Chad and neighbouring basins throughout the Mio-Pliocene. Pa

  11. La thèse de Paul DEMANGEON un demi-siècle après : une relecture actualisée dans le bassin de l'Orb (Languedoc, France

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    Jean-Pierre Larue

    2008-01-01

    favourable to the elaboration of the Villespassans erosion surface. The Messinian regression of the Mediterranean Sea caused a deep valley incision up to Cessenon for the Orb River and to Montouliers for the Cesse tributary. However, an uplift of the basement with gentle distortions in the Languedocian piedmont seems necessary to explain the upstream erosion in the X micaschists. The Villespassans surface was distorted while the lower Fontcaude surface was not affected. These Mio-Pliocene tectonic movements are responsible of the size increase and of the mineralogical change in the Pliocene deposits.

  12. Effects of Caribbean oceanic plateau shallow subduction on topographic uplift and exhumation of the northwestern Maracaibo block, Colombia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez, J.; Mann, P.

    2013-12-01

    central SP show several slope-break knickpoints and changes in steepness indices by factor of ~1.9, all indicative of fault control in this area; 3) perturbations in stream profiles with change in steepness indices by a factor of ~1.6 occur in the southern SP are interpreted as the expression of the active Santa-Marta Bucaramanga fault system, 4) although most of the knickpoints in SSM profiles seem to be associated with changes in bedrock lithology, the alignments, slope-breaking character, and change in steepness indices by factor of ~1.8-2.2 indicate active ENE-WSW fault control along the south-southeastern edge of the SSM, 5) generally undisturbed profiles at northern SSM suggest current quiescence in rock uplift in this area; and 6) basin modeling of the CRB constrain the most recent uplift event as Mio-Pliocene at rates of 0.15-0.18 mm/yr. We propose that the most likely tectonic mechanism to explain widespread active fault activity and uplift within the SSM and SP is oblique, low-angle (20 degrees), southeastward subduction of the Caribbean plate beneath the area. The present rate of subduction and length of slab would have initiated uplift and fault activity at Early Miocene.

  13. Integrative geomorphological mapping approach for reconstructing meso-scale alluvial fan palaeoenvironments at Alborz southern foothill, Damghan basin, Iran

    Science.gov (United States)

    Büdel, Christian; Majid Padashi, Seyed; Baumhauer, Roland

    2013-04-01

    Alluvial fans and aprons are common depositional features in general Iranian geomorphology. The countries major cities as well as settlements and surrounding area have often been developed and been built up on this Quaternary sediment covers. Hence they periodically face the effects of varying fluvial and slope-fluvial activity occurring as part of this geosystem. The Geological Survey of Iran therefore supports considerable efforts in Quaternary studies yielding to a selection of detailed mapped Quaternary landscapes. The studied geomorphologic structures which are settled up around an endorheic basin in Semnan Province represent a typical type of landform configuration in the area. A 12-km-transect was laid across this basin and range formation. It is oriented in north-south direction from the southern saltpan, called "Kavir-e-Haj Aligholi"/"Chah-e-Jam" ("Damghan Kavir"), across a vast sandy braided river plain, which is entering from the north east direction of the city of Shahroud. At its northern rim it covers alluvial sediment bodies, which are mainly constituted by broad alluvial aprons, fed by watersheds in Alborz Mountains and having their genetic origins in Mio-/Pliocene times. During this study a fully analytical mapping system was used for developing a geodatabase capable of integrating geomorphological analyses. Therefore the system must provide proper differentiation of form, material and process elements as well as geometric separation. Hence the German GMK25 system was set up and slightly modified to fit to the specific project demands. Due to its structure it offers most sophisticated standards and scale independent hierarchies, which fit very well to the software-determinated possibilities of advanced geodatabase applications. One of the main aspects of mapping Quaternary sediments and structures is to acquire a proper description and systematic correlation and categorization of the belonging mapping-objects. Therefore the team from GSI and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

    Haasgat is a primate-rich fossil locality in the northeastern part of the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we report the first hominin identified from Haasgat, a partial maxillary molar (HGT 500), that was recovered from an ex situ calcified sediment block sampled from the locality. The in situ fossil bearing deposits of the Haasgat paleokarstic deposits are estimated to date to slightly older than 1.95 Ma based on magnetobiostratigraphy. This places the hominin specimen at a critical time period in South Africa that marks the last occurrence of Australopithecus around 1.98 Ma and the first evidence of Paranthropus and Homo in the region between ∼2.0 and 1.8 Ma. A comprehensive morphological evaluation of the Haasgat hominin molar was conducted against the current South African catalogue of hominin dental remains and imaging analyses using micro-CT, electron and confocal microscopy. The preserved occlusal morphology is most similar to Australopithecus africanus or early Homo specimens but different from Paranthropus. Occlusal linear enamel thickness measured from micro-CT scans provides an average of ∼2.0 mm consistent with Australopithecus and early Homo. Analysis of the enamel microstructure suggests an estimated periodicity of 7-9 days. Hunter-Schreger bands appear long and straight as in some Paranthropus, but contrast with this genus in the short shape of the striae of Retzius. Taken together, these data suggests that the maxillary fragment recovered from Haasgat best fits within the Australopithecus-early Homo hypodigms to the exclusion of the genus Paranthropus. At ∼1.95 Ma this specimen would either represent another example of late occurring Australopithecus or one of the earliest examples of Homo in the region. While the identification of this first hominin specimen from Haasgat is not unexpected given the composition of other South African penecontemporaneous site deposits, it represents one of the few hominin

  15. Effects of size and locomotor adaptations on the hominid pelvis: evaluation of australopithecine bipedality with a new multivariate method.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berge, C; Kazmierczak, J B

    1986-01-01

    Three pelves and eight innominate bones belonging to the fossil species, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus robustus, Homo erectus, and Homo sapiens, have been studied biometrically and compared with those of recent humans and apes. A new method of logarithmic factorial analysis suppresses both the size effects and the size reference on pelvic proportions. In combination with principal component analysis it allows specializations to be dissociated from allometrical variations. Some morphological differences on the hominid pelvis prove to be mainly allometric. However, the pelvic morphology of australopithecines is clearly differentiated from that of the genus Homo (including H. erectus, OH 28, KNMER 3227). A. africanus (Sts 14, MLD 7, AL 288) is nearer the humans than is A. robustus (SK 50, SK 3155), which appears to be more specialized in the australopithecine lineage. The pelvic morphology of A. africanus, as integrated with the articular pelvic-femoral link, appears to be biometrically equivalent to that of humans. PMID:3104176

  16. Hominid cranium from Omo: Description and taxonomy of Omo-323-1976-896.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemseged, Zeresenay; Coppens, Yves; Geraads, Denis

    2002-02-01

    Omo-323-1976-896, a partial hominid cranium dated to ca. 2.1 from the Member G, Unit G-8 of the Shungura Formation, lower Omo Basin of Ethiopia, is described. It is suggested that the specimen is an adult male based on the well-developed and completely fused sagittal crest; heavily worn teeth; relatively large canine; and size of the articular eminence. Omo-323 consists of fragments of the frontal, both temporals, occipital, parietals, and the right maxilla, and is attributed to Australopithecus boisei, making it the oldest known cranium of this species. The specimen shares features with Australopithecus aethiopicus (KNM-WT 17000), thus supporting the existence of an evolving East African robust lineage between ca. 2.6-1.2 Ma. The morphology of Omo-323 increases our knowledge of the intraspecific variability of A.boisei. PMID:11815945

  17. Form and function in the hominoid tarsal skeleton.

    OpenAIRE

    Harcourt-Smith, W. E. H.

    2003-01-01

    This thesis explores form variation in the adult tarsal skeleton of extant and fossil hominoids. Three dimensional coordinate data were obtained from five bones of the foot: the calcaneus, talus, cuboid, navicular and medial cuneiform. The comparative sample was made up of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Gorilla gorilla gorilla and Pongo pygmaeus. The fossil sample consisted of tarsal remains assigned to a number of Late Pliocene taxa: Australopithecus ...

  18. Recent debate and heavy evidence on human origin

    OpenAIRE

    Aguirre, Emiliano

    2013-01-01

    The discovery and the study of Australopithecus sediba has brought the debate between its supporters as the only immediate ancestor of Homo erectus excluding H. habilis out of that ancestry as well as any other eventual species of genus Homo, and on the other side the defenders of Homo habilis as the direct ancestor of Homo erectus and following humans. Here the second opinion is supported, with the view that the succession between two species is not instantaneous, the new distinctive traits ...

  19. In Search of the Ancestors of Chinese People

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    GAO Xing; WANG Chunxue

    2010-01-01

    @@ Presently,the research on the origin of Chinese ancestors focuses on two issues,namely the origin of the first human populations in Asia and the origin of modern Chinese people.Up till now,all the fossils of Australopithecus and Homo habilis,the earliest two stages of human evolution,are from Africa,and no human fossil earlier than2.0 million years ago is available outside of this continent.

  20. Evidence of termite foraging by Swartkrans early hominids

    OpenAIRE

    Backwell, Lucinda R.; d'Errico, Francesco

    2001-01-01

    Previous studies have suggested that modified bones from the Lower Paleolithic sites of Swartkrans and Sterkfontein in South Africa represent the oldest known bone tools and that they were used by Australopithecus robustus to dig up tubers. Macroscopic and microscopic analysis of the wear patterns on the purported bone tools, pseudo bone tools produced naturally by known taphonomic processes, and experimentally used bone tools confirm the anthropic origin of the mo...

  1. Die sosio-kulturele ontwikkeling van Krugersdorp onder munisipale bestuur tot 1993 / Janetta du Plooy

    OpenAIRE

    Du Plooy, Janetta

    1998-01-01

    The historical past of Krugersdorp dates back to the pre-historic period of the Australopithecus African us and the stone- and Iron Age communities of the present Krugersdorp region. At the time the first white pioneers settled in this region in the nineteenth century, the area was unoccupied. The Batswana people fled from the region during the period of the Difaqane to settle. west from Krugersdorp, near the present town of Rustenburg. Two major events in the late nineteenth century lead to ...

  2. Ardipithecus ramidus and the evolution of the human cranial base

    OpenAIRE

    Kimbel, William H.; Suwa, Gen; Asfaw, Berhane; Rak, Yoel; White, Tim D.

    2014-01-01

    The Pliocene (4.4 Ma) hominoid species Ardipithecus ramidus has been linked phylogenetically to the Australopithecus + Homo clade by nonhoning canines, a short basicranium, and postcranial features related to bipedality. However, aspects of the foot and pelvis indicative of arboreal locomotion have raised arguments that this taxon may instead exemplify parallel evolution of human-like traits among apes around the time of the chimpanzee-human split. Our investigation of the basicranium shows t...

  3. Early hominin auditory ossicles from South Africa

    OpenAIRE

    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 ...

  4. Paleoecological reconstruction of hominin-bearing middle Pliocene localities at Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curran, Sabrina C; Haile-Selassie, Yohannes

    2016-07-01

    Woranso-Mille is a paleoanthropological site in Ethiopia sampling an important and under-represented time period in human evolution (3.8-3.6 million years ago). Specimens of cf. Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, and the recently named Australopithecus deyiremeda have been recovered from this site. Using multiple habitat proxies, this study provides a paleoecological reconstruction of two fossiliferous collection areas from Woranso-Mille, Aralee Issie (ARI) and Mesgid Dora (MSD). Previous reconstructions based on faunal assemblages have pointed, due to the presence of aepycerotins, alcelaphins, and proboscideans, to the existence of open habitats as well as more closed ones, based on the occurrence of cercopithecids, giraffids, and traglephins. Results from community structure analysis (proportions of locomotor and dietary adaptations) at ARI and MSD indicated a predominance of open habitats, such as shrublands. Mesowear analysis revealed that ungulates of all dietary types (grazers, leaf and fruit browsers, and mixed feeders) were present in nearly equal proportions. Ecomorphological analyses using linear measurements of the astragalus and phalanges indicated that bovids utilizing locomotor behaviors associated with all habitat types were present, though the intermediate-cover habitat bovids were best represented in the sample (Heavy cover at ARI and Light cover at MSD). Together, these results suggest that the ARI and MSD localities were heterogeneous habitats (mosaics), likely with densely vegetated areas along a paleo-river and more open regions (woodlands, grasslands) available away from the river. PMID:27343774

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

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    Leece, AB; Kegley, Anthony D.T.; Lacruz, Rodrigo S.; Herries, Andy I.R.; Hemingway, Jason; Kgasi, Lazarus; Potze, Stephany

    2016-01-01

    Haasgat is a primate-rich fossil locality in the northeastern part of the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we report the first hominin identified from Haasgat, a partial maxillary molar (HGT 500), that was recovered from an ex situ calcified sediment block sampled from the locality. The in situ fossil bearing deposits of the Haasgat paleokarstic deposits are estimated to date to slightly older than 1.95 Ma based on magnetobiostratigraphy. This places the hominin specimen at a critical time period in South Africa that marks the last occurrence of Australopithecus around 1.98 Ma and the first evidence of Paranthropus and Homo in the region between ∼2.0 and 1.8 Ma. A comprehensive morphological evaluation of the Haasgat hominin molar was conducted against the current South African catalogue of hominin dental remains and imaging analyses using micro-CT, electron and confocal microscopy. The preserved occlusal morphology is most similar to Australopithecus africanus or early Homo specimens but different from Paranthropus. Occlusal linear enamel thickness measured from micro-CT scans provides an average of ∼2.0 mm consistent with Australopithecus and early Homo. Analysis of the enamel microstructure suggests an estimated periodicity of 7–9 days. Hunter–Schreger bands appear long and straight as in some Paranthropus, but contrast with this genus in the short shape of the striae of Retzius. Taken together, these data suggests that the maxillary fragment recovered from Haasgat best fits within the Australopithecus—early Homo hypodigms to the exclusion of the genus Paranthropus. At ∼1.95 Ma this specimen would either represent another example of late occurring Australopithecus or one of the earliest examples of Homo in the region. While the identification of this first hominin specimen from Haasgat is not unexpected given the composition of other South African penecontemporaneous site deposits, it represents one of the few

  6. Our Magnetic Planet (Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laj, Carlo

    2015-04-01

    and Turkey) allowed to show that the main post-cretaceous geodynamical evolution of the Aegean Realm is dominated since 30 My by two phases of rotational deformation in opposite sense around two poles: one just north of Albania for the western part, the second in the South Eastern Mediterranean for the eastern part. During the sampling of Mio-Pliocene marls in Crete, using a LETI portable magnetometer to the development of which I have participated, we sampled a geomagnetic reversal registered over about 50 cm of sediments. Interestingly, some intermediate directions were clearly apparent. This gave me the idea that the dynamical directional behaviour of the reversing field could be studied. At the time, only a very few and very incomplete similar records existed. For me, this has been the beginning of an extraordinary adventure still going on today. From the accumulation of data, first from Crete, then from other worldwide spread sites, it became apparent, as illustrated in a cover of Nature, that sedimentary reversal transition paths had a tendency to coincide with the seismically cold deep regions, suggesting that a lower mantle control existed over the reversing geodynamo. This idea, sometimes greeted with scepticism, has stimulated joint efforts to test it both from different disciplines and different experimental and theoretical approaches. It is fair to say that 25 years after it was proposed, our idea is still "on the table" and discussed. We then turned to the study of the changes of the geomagnetic field intensity, still inadequately described at the time. Because measurements of traditional small cubic samples was largely too time consuming to allow surveys of the amplitude we had in mind, I adapted the u-channel measurement techniques to small access pass-through cryogenic magnetometers, and suggested to W. Goree of 2G-Enterprises a modification of the standard pick-up coil geometry (called the Laj-system by the manufacturer) to allow high spatial

  7. Our Magnetic Planet (Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laj, Carlo

    2015-04-01

    and Turkey) allowed to show that the main post-cretaceous geodynamical evolution of the Aegean Realm is dominated since 30 My by two phases of rotational deformation in opposite sense around two poles: one just north of Albania for the western part, the second in the South Eastern Mediterranean for the eastern part. During the sampling of Mio-Pliocene marls in Crete, using a LETI portable magnetometer to the development of which I have participated, we sampled a geomagnetic reversal registered over about 50 cm of sediments. Interestingly, some intermediate directions were clearly apparent. This gave me the idea that the dynamical directional behaviour of the reversing field could be studied. At the time, only a very few and very incomplete similar records existed. For me, this has been the beginning of an extraordinary adventure still going on today. From the accumulation of data, first from Crete, then from other worldwide spread sites, it became apparent, as illustrated in a cover of Nature, that sedimentary reversal transition paths had a tendency to coincide with the seismically cold deep regions, suggesting that a lower mantle control existed over the reversing geodynamo. This idea, sometimes greeted with scepticism, has stimulated joint efforts to test it both from different disciplines and different experimental and theoretical approaches. It is fair to say that 25 years after it was proposed, our idea is still "on the table" and discussed. We then turned to the study of the changes of the geomagnetic field intensity, still inadequately described at the time. Because measurements of traditional small cubic samples was largely too time consuming to allow surveys of the amplitude we had in mind, I adapted the u-channel measurement techniques to small access pass-through cryogenic magnetometers, and suggested to W. Goree of 2G-Enterprises a modification of the standard pick-up coil geometry (called the Laj-system by the manufacturer) to allow high spatial

  8. Control estructural en el emplazamiento del volcanismo y mineralizaciones neógenas, distrito Cañada Honda, San Luis Structural control on Neogene volcanism and related ore deposits at Cañada Honda district, San Luis province

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    María Silvia Japas

    2010-12-01

    Tertiary volcanic belt records the eastward migration of the Andean volcanic arc due to the flattening of the Nazca Plate in Mio-Pliocene times. The tertiary volcanic belt encompasses several very important metallogenetic districts in the San Luis Pampean Ranges. Volcanic rocks and associated ore-deposits crop out following a NW-WNW trending belt at La Carolina, Cañada Honda - Cerros Largos, Cerros del Rosario and El Morro volcanic fields. The available geochronological data indicate that the volcanic activity began early at the western end of the belt and ended ~ 10 Ma later at its eastern border. Cañada Honda district represents the oldest and longest-lived volcanic field of the tertiary volcanic belt. It records eruptive events and related hydrothermal alteration from 12-13 Ma to 7.3 Ma, including lavas and volcaniclastic products. Preliminary structural analysis shows that previous structures have strongly controlled, either directly or indirectly, the emplacement of volcanic rocks and related mineral deposits. Kinematic and strain fabric analyses allow to recognize two volcano-tectonic associations. One of these associations would be related to dextral reactivations of structures parallel to basement foliation. On the other hand, the main one would be linked with the generation of two volcano-tectonic depressions which are aligned in a NW-WNW direction. Their dominant structures trend NW-WNW and reveal sinistral-normal motions, both at local and Tertiary volcanic belt scales.

  9. Geometric morphometric analysis of the early Pleistocene hominin teeth from Jianshi,Hubei Province,China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ronald; CLARKE

    2010-01-01

    Although the early Pleistocene hominin fossils found in East Asia continent are widely recognized as the earliest hominins migrated from Africa, debates remain on the morphology and taxonomy of these fossils. In this study, dental crown shape of the three early Pleistocene hominin teeth (P3, M1, and M1) found in Jianshi, Hubei Province of China was analyzed by means of geometric morphometrics. The comparative samples of fossil hominins from Africa, Asia, and Europe as well as those of modern humans (N=257) were used. The results indicate that the contour, asymmetry, and cusp patterns of these three types of teeth differ obviously between the fossil hominins and modern humans. The crown shape of P3 in most fossil hominins including Australopithecus, African early Homo, and Asian Pleistocene hominins are asymmetric with their crown occlusal contours long and curving elliptic-shaped. The occlusal contour of the fossil hominin M1 is symmetric and rectangle-shaped with no marked cusp protrusion. The crown shape of fossil M1 is characterized by asymmetric contour with slightly projected metaconid and hypoconid. On the contrary, in modern Chinese and some European late Pleistocene hominins, the crowns of P3s show symmetric contours with buccal side wider than lingual side; the crown shape of M1 is asymmetric with lingual cusp distalplaced, especially for hypoconid; the M1 has symmetric and round crown contour. Our study reveals that Australopithecus has wide variations in its crown shape, whereas these dental morphospaces of Asian hominins are closely placed. The crown contour, symmetry, and cusp patterns of these three teeth of Jianshi hominin resemble those of Asian early and middle Pleistocene hominins. No marked difference in dental crown shape is shown between the Jianshi hominin and other Chinese Homo erectus, and there is also no evidence in support of the Jianshi hominin’s closeness to Australopithecus and African early Homo members.

  10. Orce y la primera colonización humana de Europa

    OpenAIRE

    Martínez Navarro, Bienvenido

    2016-01-01

    La transformación desde una alimentación fundamentalmente vegetariana hacia otra con un alto componente carnívoro es la principal causa que provocó la individualización del género Homo respecto de Australopithecus. Esta misma causa es la que permitió a Homo salir de las latitudes tropicales africanas donde los recursos vegetales son muy abundantes y conquistar las latitudes medias de Eurasia, con climas estacionales. Pero el acceso a la carne nunca fue fácil y las hienas eran unas duras comp...

  11. Aquatic ape theory and fossil hominids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verhaegen, M J

    1991-06-01

    While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the light of the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) of Hardy and Morgan, and to compare the skeletal parts of our fossil relatives with those of (semi)aquatic animals. Possible convergences are observed with proboscis monkeys, beavers, sea-otters, hippopotamuses, seals, sea-lions, walruses, sea-cows, whales, dolphins, porpoises, penguins and crocodiles. PMID:1909768

  12. The brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falk, Dean; Hildebolt, Charles; Smith, Kirk; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, Thomas; Brown, Peter; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wayhu; Brunsden, Barry; Prior, Fred

    2005-04-01

    The brain of Homo floresiensis was assessed by comparing a virtual endocast from the type specimen (LB1) with endocasts from great apes, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, a human pygmy, a human microcephalic, specimen number Sts 5 (Australopithecus africanus), and specimen number WT 17000 (Paranthropus aethiopicus). Morphometric, allometric, and shape data indicate that LB1 is not a microcephalic or pygmy. LB1's brain/body size ratio scales like that of an australopithecine, but its endocast shape resembles that of Homo erectus. LB1 has derived frontal and temporal lobes and a lunate sulcus in a derived position, which are consistent with capabilities for higher cognitive processing. PMID:15749690

  13. Endocranial capacity in an early hominid cranium from Sterkfontein, South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conroy, G C; Weber, G W; Seidler, H; Tobias, P V; Kane, A; Brunsden, B

    1998-06-12

    Two- and three-dimensional computer imaging shows that endocranial capacity in an approximately 2.8- to 2.6-million-year-old early hominid cranium (Stw 505) from Sterkfontein, South Africa, tentatively assigned to Australopithecus africanus, is approximately 515 cubic centimeters. Although this is the largest endocranial capacity recorded for this species, it is still markedly less than anecdotal reports of endocranial capacity exceeding 600 cubic centimeters. No australopithecine has an endocranial capacity approaching, let alone exceeding, 600 cubic centimeters. Some currently accepted estimates of early hominid endocranial capacity may be inflated, suggesting that the tempo and mode of early hominid brain evolution may need reevaluation. PMID:9624045

  14. Carroña y cuernos, otra visión de la evolución humana

    OpenAIRE

    Martínez Navarro, Bienvenido

    2014-01-01

    No se puede entender cómo y cuándo aparece el género Homo, sin considerar profundamente el cambio ocasionado en su dieta desde una alimentación básicamente vegetariana en sus antepasados Australopithecus, hacia otra con un fuerte componente carnívoro sustentada por el aprovechamiento sistemático de la carroña procedente de los grandes mamíferos, en competencia con otros carnívoros, especialmente las hienas. Este paso fundamental en la evolución humana se produjo en África entre 3 y 2,5 millon...

  15. Heterochronic processes in human evolution: an ontogenetic analysis of the hominid pelvis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berge, C

    1998-04-01

    Changes in pelvic shape in human ontogeny and hominid phylogeny suggest that the heterochronic processes involved differ greatly from the neotenic process traditionally described in the evolution of the skull. The morphology of 150 juvenile and adult pelves of African apes, 60 juvenile and adult pelves of modern humans, two adult pelves and a juvenile hip bone of australopithecines (Sts 14, AL 288, MLD 7) was studied. Multivariate results, ontogenetic allometries, and growth curves confirm that the pelvic growth pattern in humans differs markedly from those of the African apes. The results permit the following conclusions. First, the appearance of a new feature (acetabulo-cristal buttress and cristal tubercle) at the time of human birth allows the addition of traits, such as the attainment of a proportionally narrower pelvis, with more sagittally positioned iliac blades. Pelvic proportions and orientation change progressively in early childhood as bipedalism is practiced. Other changes in pelvic proportions occur later with the adolescent growth spurt. Second, comparison of juvenile and adult australopithecines to modern humans indicates that 1) some pelvic traits of adult Australopithecus resemble those of neonate Homo; 2) the pelvic growth of Australopithecus was probably closer to that of apes, than to that of humans; and 3) prolonged growth in length of hindlimb and pelvis after sexual maturity seems to be a unique feature of Homo. The position of the acetabulo-cristal buttress and of the cristal tubercle on the ilium are similar in adult Australopithecus and neonate Homo suggesting that this feature may have been displaced later during hominid evolution. Progressive displacement of the acetabulo-cristal buttress on the ilium occurs both during hominid evolution (from Australopithecus to Homo sapiens) and human growth (from neonate to adult). This suggests peramorphic evolution of the pelvic morphology of hominids combining three processes of recapitulation

  16. Bone strength and athletic ability in hominids: Ardipithecus ramidus to Homo sapiens

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, S. A.

    2013-03-01

    The ability of the femur to resist bending stresses is determined by its midlength cross-sectional geometry, its length and the elastic properties of the mineral part of the bone. The animal's athletic ability, determined by a ``bone strength index,'' is limited by this femoral bending strength in relation to the loads on the femur. This analysis is applied to the fossil record for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus. Evidence that the femoral bone strength index of modern Homo sapiens has weakened over the last 50,000 years is found.

  17. First early hominin from central Africa (Ishango, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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    Isabelle Crevecoeur

    Full Text Available 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.

  18. 人类进化的转折点——一个基因突变的解释

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘擎

    2004-01-01

    根据目前的古人类学研究.在距今大约350万年前出现了两足直立行走的“阿法种南猿”(Australopithecus Afarensis)。此后.从猿到人的漫长进化历程中又有一次重要的转折.发生在大约250万年前,这就是“能人”(Homo Habilis)与“非洲种南猿”(Australopithecus)的进化路径分野。前者成为人类的祖先而后者在大约100万年前已经灭绝。这次转折来自于一个重要的解剖学变化,就是脑容量在短期内急剧增大,正是这个关键的转变才得以使原始猿人获得了智力发展的可能,朝向“现代人”(HomoSapiens)的方向进化。

  19. Distinct growth of the nasomaxillary complex in Au. sediba.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Bromage, Timothy G; O'Higgins, Paul; Toro-Ibacache, Viviana; Warshaw, Johanna; Berger, Lee R

    2015-01-01

    Studies of facial ontogeny in immature hominins have contributed significantly to understanding the evolution of human growth and development. The recently discovered hominin species Autralopithecus sediba is represented by a well-preserved and nearly complete facial skeleton of a juvenile (MH1) which shows a derived facial anatomy. We examined MH1 using high radiation synchrotron to interpret features of the oronasal complex pertinent to facial growth. We also analyzed bone surface microanatomy to identify and map fields of bone deposition and bone resorption, which affect the development of the facial skeleton. The oronasal anatomy (premaxilla-palate-vomer architecture) is similar to other Australopithecus species. However surface growth remodeling of the midface (nasomaxillary complex) differs markedly from Australopithecus, Paranthropus, early Homo and from KNM-WT 15000 (H. erectus/ergaster) showing a distinct distribution of vertically disposed alternating depository and resorptive fields in relation to anterior dental roots and the subnasal region. The ontogeny of the MH1 midface superficially resembles some H. sapiens in the distribution of remodeling fields. The facial growth of MH1 appears unique among early hominins representing an evolutionary modification in facial ontogeny at 1.9 my, or to changes in masticatory system loading associated with diet. PMID:26469387

  20. Geometric morphometric analysis of the crown morphology of the lower first premolar of hominins, with special attention to Pleistocene Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-10-01

    This article is the third of a series that explores hominin dental crown morphology by means of geometric morphometrics. After the analysis of the lower second premolar and the upper first molar crown shapes, we apply the same technique to lower first premolar morphology. Our results show a clear distinction between the morphology seen in earlier hominin taxa such as Australopithecus and African early Homo, as well as Asian H. erectus, and more recent groups such as European H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens. The morphology of the earlier hominins includes an asymmetrical outline, a conspicuous talonid, and an occlusal polygon that tends to be large. The morphology of the recent hominins includes a symmetrical outline and a reduced or absent talonid. Within this later group, premolars belonging to H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis tend to possess a small and mesiolingually-displaced occlusal polygon, whereas H. sapiens specimens usually present expanded and centered occlusal polygons in an almost circular outline. The morphological differences among Paranthropus, Australopithecus, and African early Homo as studied here are small and evolutionarily less significant compared to the differences between the earlier and later homin taxa. In contrast to the lower second premolar and the upper first molar crown, the inclusion of a larger hominin sample of lower first premolars reveals a large allometric component. PMID:18639917

  1. Interpreting sulci on hominin endocasts: old hypotheses and new findings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  2. Interpreting sulci on hominin endocasts: Old hypotheses and new findings

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dean eFalk

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  3. Shape Ontogeny of the Distal Femur in the Hominidae with Implications for the Evolution of Bipedality.

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    Melissa Tallman

    Full Text Available Heterochrony has been invoked to explain differences in the morphology of modern humans as compared to other great apes. The distal femur is one area where heterochrony has been hypothesized to explain morphological differentiation among Plio-Pleistocene hominins. This hypothesis is evaluated here using geometric morphometric data to describe the ontogenetic shape trajectories of extant hominine distal femora and place Plio-Pleistocene hominins within that context. Results of multivariate statistical analyses showed that in both Homo and Gorilla, the shape of the distal femur changes significantly over the course of development, whereas that of Pan changes very little. Development of the distal femur of Homo is characterized by an elongation of the condyles, and a greater degree of enlargement of the medial condyle relative to the lateral condyle, whereas Gorilla are characterized by a greater degree of enlargement of the lateral condyle, relative to the medial. Early Homo and Australopithecus africanus fossils fell on the modern human ontogenetic shape trajectory and were most similar to either adult or adolescent modern humans while specimens of Australopithecus afarensis were more similar to Gorilla/Pan. These results indicate that shape differences among the distal femora of Plio-Pleistocene hominins and humans cannot be accounted for by heterochrony alone; heterochrony could explain a transition from the distal femoral shape of early Homo/A. africanus to modern Homo, but not a transition from A. afarensis to Homo. That change could be the result of genetic or epigenetic factors.

  4. Sédimentation et tectonique dans le bassin marin Eocène supérieur-Oligocène des Alpes du Sud Sedimentation and Tectonics in the Upper Eocene-Oligocene Marine Basin in the Southern Alps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Riche P.

    2006-11-01

    'exprime nettement moins que précédemment. Le toit des grès est marqué par une surface de discontinuité fortement érosive correspondant à des canyons sous-marins de direction NE-SO. Cette surface peut être mise en relation avec l'écoulement des olistostromes qui termine le remplissage du bassin. La mise en place de ces olistostromes et des olistolithes qui les accompagnent n'est pas paléontologiquement datée : elle débute avec la fin de la sédimentation gréseuse. L'ensemble est encore affecté par une distension E-O ce qui tend à montrer que cette mise en place est antérieure à la phase de serrage miocène. La confrontation entre les observations de terrain, les expériences de sédimentation en canal et l'interprétation sismique de bassins offshore argumente les interprétations proposées. This paper is based on local field surveys performed recently by Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP and Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs (ENSPM in the western part of the southern Alps nummulitic basin, to help interpret seismic data. It underlines the role of extensional tectonics during sedimentation. It questions the geodynamic interpretation of the basin as a foredeep basin in the Alpine orogenic belt. On a Mesozoic basement folded by the Pyreneo-Provençale orogeny, as early as the Lutetian the nummulitic transgression flooded the eastern area, which was subsequently obscured by the Pennine main fault during Mio-Pliocene times. It spread westward during the Upper Eocene. In the meantime, an E-W extension, shown clearly along the Var River faults and along the edge of the Pelvoux range, fragmented the fringes of the basin with blocks tilted during sedimentation. The result is fast changes of facies within the basal carbonates, which pass from platform types to slope types and to thin gravitational sediments farther into the basin. The overlying marls correspond to slope facies wrapping the inherited topography. The Gres d'Annot s. l

  5. Early Pleistocene hominid teeth recovered in Mohui cave in Bubing Basin, Guangxi, South China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Wei; Richard Potts; HOU Yamei; CHEN Yunfa; WU Huaying; YUAN Baoyin; HUANG Weiwen

    2005-01-01

    Two hominid teeth recovered in Mohui cave are morphologically distinguished from Australopithecus in Africa, but close to Homo erectus in China. These teeth are therefore provisionally assigned to Homo erectus. The associated mammalian fauna include Gigantopithecus blacki, Nestoritherium sp., Sus xiaozhu, Sus peii and Ailuropoda microta, which are typical early Pleistocene taxa in South China. The general characteristics of the Mohui faunal assemblage are similar to the Longgupo site, which is dated to 2 Ma, implying a contemporaneity for the two sites. To date, compared with the discoveries in Africa, far fewer early Pleistocene hominid fossils have been recovered in Asia, and there are intensive controversies concerning their stratigraphic provenience and typological and temporal positions. The hominid fossils from Mohui cave, with their reliable biostratigraphic positions and distinct typological features, provide important evidence regarding the issue of early human origins and evolution.

  6. Ontogeny of the maxilla in Neanderthals and their ancestors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Bromage, Timothy G; O'Higgins, Paul; Arsuaga, Juan-Luis; Stringer, Chris; Godinho, Ricardo Miguel; Warshaw, Johanna; Martínez, Ignacio; Gracia-Tellez, Ana; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Carbonell, Eudald

    2015-01-01

    Neanderthals had large and projecting (prognathic) faces similar to those of their putative ancestors from Sima de los Huesos (SH) and different from the retracted modern human face. When such differences arose during development and the morphogenetic modifications involved are unknown. We show that maxillary growth remodelling (bone formation and resorption) of the Devil's Tower (Gibraltar 2) and La Quina 18 Neanderthals and four SH hominins, all sub-adults, show extensive bone deposition, whereas in modern humans extensive osteoclastic bone resorption is found in the same regions. This morphogenetic difference is evident by ∼5 years of age. Modern human faces are distinct from those of the Neanderthal and SH fossils in part because their postnatal growth processes differ markedly. The growth remodelling identified in these fossil hominins is shared with Australopithecus and early Homo but not with modern humans suggesting that the modern human face is developmentally derived. PMID:26639346

  7. Human hyoid bones from the middle Pleistocene site of the Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martínez, I; Arsuaga, J L; Quam, R; Carretero, J M; Gracia, A; Rodríguez, L

    2008-01-01

    This study describes and compares two hyoid bones from the middle Pleistocene site of the Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain). The Atapuerca SH hyoids are humanlike in both their morphology and dimensions, and they clearly differ from the hyoid bones of chimpanzees and Australopithecus afarensis. Their comparison with the Neandertal specimens Kebara 2 and SDR-034 makes it possible to begin to approach the question of temporal variation and sexual dimorphism in this bone in fossil humans. The results presented here show that the degree of metric and anatomical variation in the fossil sample was similar in magnitude and kind to living humans. Modern hyoid morphology was present by at least 530 kya and appears to represent a shared derived feature of the modern human and Neandertal evolutionary lineages inherited from their last common ancestor. PMID:17804038

  8. The effective mechanical advantage of a.L. 129-1a for knee extension.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sylvester, Adam D; Mahfouz, Mohamed R; Kramer, Patricia Ann

    2011-09-01

    The functional significance of shape differences between modern human and australopithecine distal femora remains unclear. Here, we examine the morphological component of the effective mechanical advantage (EMA) of the quadriceps muscle group in a sample of hominins that includes the fossil A.L. 129-1a (Australopithecus afarensis) and modern humans. Quadriceps muscle moment arms were calculated from three-dimensional computer models of specimens through a range of knee flexion. All hominins were compared using the same limb positions to allow us to examine, in isolation, the morphological component of the lengths of the pertinent moment arms. After taking into account the differences in bicondylar angle, the morphological component of the EMA was calculated as the ratio of the quadriceps muscle and ground reaction force moment arms. Our analyses reveal that A.L. 129-1a would have possessed a morphological component of the quadriceps muscle EMA expected for a hominin of its body mass. PMID:21809469

  9. Dental development of the Taung skull from computerized tomography.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conroy, G C; Vannier, M W

    Just over 60 years ago, Dart's description and analysis of the Taung child's skull triggered an intellectual revolution about human origins. Recently, several authors have suggested that one of the most significant hominid-like traits of australopithecines, delayed maturation, may not after all be valid. This is a radical departure from Mann's classic study of australopithecine maturation and palaeodemography based on dental eruption patterns. The resolution of this debate has important implications for the history of the biological and social evolution of the human species. In view of the controversies generated by recent studies, and particularly because the Taung skull is the type specimen of Australopithecus africanus, we have investigated the relevant anatomy of the Taung 'child' using computerized tomography. We conclude that the Taung 'child' shows some important dental maturational affinities with great apes, although as Dart noted, other hominid-like features are clearly present. PMID:3116435

  10. Estimation of australopithecine stature from long bones: A.L.288-1 as a test case.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geissmann, T

    1986-01-01

    Regression equations for the estimation of stature from long bones, although derived from modern human populations, are frequently applied to early hominids. In fact, some of these equations have even been recommended or especially created to be applied to Australopithecus remains. In this study, 45 sets of regression and correlation formulae, recurrent in anthropological and medico-legal literature, are applied to long bones of the Pliocene hominid A.L.288-1 ('Lucy'), in order to assess which, if any, could be considered suitable for stature reconstruction in 'gracile' australopithecines. Virtually every method based on regression equations overestimates stature as compared with the estimate based on reconstruction of all the preserved skeletal parts. In addition, most methods failed to give consistent results with data from different limb segments. None of the sets of regression formulae tested here can be recommended as a reliable means of stature estimation in 'gracile' australopithecines. PMID:3108121

  11. Mineralogy of the Laetolil Footprint Tuff: A comparison with possible volcanic sources from the Crater Highlands and Gregory Rift

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaitsev, Anatoly N.; Spratt, John; Sharygin, Victor V.; Wenzel, Thomas; Zaitseva, Olga A.; Markl, Gregor

    2015-11-01

    Sadiman volcano in northern Tanzania was postulated as a source of the Upper Laetolil Tuff 7 renowned for its 3.66 Ma old footprints of Australopithecus afarensis as both localities show similarities in terms of their mineralogy. Despite this widely accepted view, Laetoli and Sadiman differ in some key features, particularly in the absence of melilite at Sadiman, and in their magnetite composition. Magnetite from these localities shows significant differences in Mg, Al and Ti contents. Compositions of major, minor and accessory minerals and the occurrence of carbonate-silicate melt inclusions in magnetite from Laetoli indicate their formation from a fractionated carbonate- and melilite-bearing nephelinitic melt. This differs from the melt from which the Sadiman rocks formed. We propose that the nephelinitic Mosonik volcano, located to the north-east from Laetoli, could be a potential source for the Upper Laetolil Footprint Tuff 7.

  12. A geometric morphometrics comparative analysis of Neandertal humeri (epiphyses-fused) from the El Sidrón cave site (Asturias, Spain).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosas, Antonio; Pérez-Criado, Laura; Bastir, Markus; Estalrrich, Almudena; Huguet, Rosa; García-Tabernero, Antonio; Pastor, Juan Francisco; de la Rasilla, Marco

    2015-05-01

    A new collection of 49,000 year old Neandertal fossil humeri from the El Sidrón cave site (Asturias, Spain) is presented. A total of 49 humeral remains were recovered, representing 10 left and 8 right humeri from adults, adolescents, and a juvenile (not included in the analyses). 3D geometric morphometric (GM) methods as well as classic anthropological variables were employed to conduct a broad comparative analysis by means of mean centroid size and shape comparisons, principal components analysis, and cluster studies. Due to the fragmentary nature of the fossils, comparisons were organized in independent analyses according to different humeral portions: distal epiphysis, diaphysis, proximal epiphysis, and the complete humerus. From a multivariate viewpoint, 3D-GM analyses revealed major differences among taxonomic groups, supporting the value of the humerus in systematic classification. Notably, the Australopithecus anamensis (KP-271) and Homo ergaster Nariokotome (KNM-WT 15000) distal humerus consistently clusters close to those of modern humans, which may imply a primitive condition for Homo sapiens morphology. Australopithecus specimens show a high degree of dispersion in the morphospace. The El Sidrón sample perfectly fits into the classic Neandertal pattern, previously described as having a relatively wide olecranon fossa, as well as thin lateral and medial distodorsal pillars. These characteristics were also typical of the Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca) sample, African mid-Pleistocene Bodo specimen, and Lower Pleistocene TD6-Atapuerca remains and may be considered as a derived state. Finally, we hypothesize that most of the features thought to be different between Neandertals and modern humans might be associated with structural differences in the pectoral girdle and shoulder joint. PMID:25819346

  13. Spinal cord evolution in early Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:26553817

  14. The posterior border of the sphenoid greater wing and its phylogenetic usefulness in human evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, J; Crubézy, E; Elyaqtine, M

    1998-12-01

    The elucidation of patterns of cranial skeletal maturation and growth in fossil hominids is possible not only through dental studies but also by mapping different aspects of ossification in both extant African apes and humans. However, knowledge of normal skeletal development in large samples of extant great apes is flimsy. To remedy this situation, this paper offers an extensive survey and thorough discussion of the ossification of the posterior border of the sphenoid greater wing. Indeed, this area provides much information about basicranial skeletal maturation. We investigate three variants: the absence of the foramen spinosum and the position of both the foramen spinosum and the foramen ovale in relation to the sphenosquamosal suture. Providing original data about humans and 1,425 extant great ape skulls and using a sample of 64 fossil hominids, this study aimed to test whether different ossification patterns occurred during the course of human evolution. The incidence of three derived morphologies located on the posterior border of the sphenoid greater wing increases during human evolution at different geological periods. The evolutionary polarity of these three derived morphologies is assessed by outgroup comparison and ontogenetic methods. During human evolution, there is a clear trend for the foramen spinosum to be present and wholly located on the posterior area of the sphenoid greater wing. Moreover, in all the great ape species and in Australopithecus afarensis, the sphenosquamosal suture may split the foramen ovale. Inversely, the foramen ovale always lies wholly within the sphenoid greater wing in Australopithecus africanus, robust australopithecines, early Homo, H. erectus (and/or H. ergaster), and Homo sapiens. From ontogenetic studies in humans, we conclude that, during human evolution, the ossification of the posterior area of the sphenoid greater wing progressively surrounded the middle meningeal artery (passing through the foramen spinosum) and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-04-01

    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

  16. Bovid ecomorphology and hominin paleoenvironments of the Shungura Formation, lower Omo River Valley, Ethiopia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:26208956

  17. A quantitative and qualitative reanalysis of the endocast from the juvenile Paranthropus specimen l338y-6 from Omo, Ethiopia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, D D; Falk, D

    1999-12-01

    Based on an analysis of its endocast, Holloway (1981 Am J Phys Anthropol 53:109-118) attributed the juvenile Omo L338y-6 specimen to Australopithecus africanus (i.e., gracile australopithecines) rather than to Paranthropus (Australopithecus) boisei (robust australopithecines) favored by other workers (Rak and Howell [1978] Am J Phys Anthropol 48:345-366). Holloway's attribution was based on the specimen's (1) low cranial capacity, (2) gracile-like meningeal vessels, (3) gracile-like cerebellar hemispheres, and (4) absence of an enlarged occipital/marginal (O/M) sinus system. Recent work, however, has shown that criteria 1 and 2 are not useful for sorting gracile from robust australopithecines (Culotta [1999] Science 284:1109-1111; Falk [1993] Am J Phys Anthropol 92:81-98). In this paper, we test criterion 3 by quantifying the endocranial cerebellar and occipital morphology reproduced on the Omo L338y-6 endocast, and comparing it to seven endocasts from South and East African early hominids. Our preliminary results show that metric analysis of this specimen cannot be used to sort it preferentially with either robust or gracile australopithecines. Finally, we demonstrate that, contrary to previous reports, the Omo L338y-6 endocast reproduces an enlarged left occipital sinus (criterion 4). This observation is consistent with the original attribution of the Omo specimen to robust australopithecines (Rak and Howell [1978] Am J Phys Anthropol 48:345-366). Furthermore, if Omo L338y-6 was a robust australopithecine, this discovery extends the occurrence of an enlarged O/M sinus system to one of the earliest known paranthropines. Am J Phys Anthropol 110:399-406, 1999. PMID:10564571

  18. The natural history of the helicoidal occlusal plane and its evolution in early Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tobias, P V

    1980-08-01

    In modern man the pitch of the occlusal plane may vary along the tooth-row. When anterior cheek-teeth show a plane sloping upward palatally, whilst that on posterior cheek-teeth slopes upward buccally, there results a twisted or helicoidal occlusal plane (Ackermann). Several hypotheses have been proposed for the structural basis of the helicoidal occlusal plane. Campbell's proposal ('25) has gained widest acceptance, namely that the helicoid results from anteroposterior differences in upper and lower alveolar arch width. In the early 1960s, while studying the Olduvai hominids assigned to Homo habilis, the author noted changing occlusal slopes along the tooth-row and a slight helicoid, although these featues had not been noted in other early hominids. Subsequently, Wallace showed a total absence of the helicoid from South African australopithecines, and its presence in Swartkrans Homo, SK 45 and SK 80. Recent studies confirm the presence of the helicoid in all available specimens of H. habilis, including Stw 53 found at Sterkfontein in 1976. Hence, this trait may distinguish between Australopithecus and early Homo. Measurements of the maxillary arch widths have shown that, whereas in Australopithecus arch widths increase to a maximum at M3, in early Homo maxillary arch widths are greatest at M2. The decline in posterior maxillary arch width is part of a general reduction of that region. Thus despite striking elongation of premolars and M1 in early Homo, M2 and M3 are mesiodistally abbreviated. It is hypothesized that the onset of posterior arch reduction, with the appearance of a helicoid, was a structural and functional concomitant of the transition from the presumed australopithecine ancestor to H. habilis. PMID:6774617

  19. The massive fossil humerus from the Oldowan horizon of Gombore I, Melka Kunture (Ethiopia, >1.39 Ma)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Di Vincenzo, Fabio; Rodriguez, Laura; Carretero, José Miguel; Collina, Carmine; Geraads, Denis; Piperno, Marcello; Manzi, Giorgio

    2015-08-01

    A well-preserved distal portion of a left humerus was discovered in 1976 during excavations directed by J. Chavaillon at the Gombore I site, in the Melka Kunture area (Ethiopia). The specimen, labelled Gombore IB-7594 (formally Melka Kunture 3, or MK3), was found in situ within unit 2 of level B, which is dated to >1.39 Ma and includes a rich Oldowan Paleolithic assemblage. Although MK3 has never been described in detail, it appeared in the literature several times and, from a taxonomic point of view, has been alternatively regarded as Homo, Australopithecus or Paranthropus. According to our analysis, MK3 exhibits a suite of features that fit the variability of the genus Homo and does not display any clear Australopithecus/Paranthropus affinity. Nevertheless, MK3 adds a great deal of variability to the genus Homo, at least as far as the Early Pleistocene fossil record is concerned. In particular, our quantitative approach, which combines traditional morphometric analyses and geometric morphometrics, highlights traits that are uncommon among the Plio-Pleistocene fossil record, while affinities with Mid-to-Late Pleistocene representatives of Homo are observed. In addition, the large size of MK3 suggests that this humerus belonged to an individual whose body weight approached 90 kg, far from the range of body size known for Homo representatives in the Early Pleistocene and as big as those of extant humans or even gorillas. We suggest that such peculiar features are of interest when regarded from an ecological perspective; thus, dimension and morphology of MK3 may be considered as an exaptation that became useful when early humans dispersed to high altitudes such as those of the upper Awash basin on the Ethiopian plateau, at heights above 2000 m.

  20. Crown morphology and variation of the lower premolars of Zhoukoudian Homo erectus

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XING Song; ZHOU Mi; LIU Wu

    2009-01-01

    Traditional descriptive observation and advanced geometric morphometric are employed to study the morphological characteristics of Zhoukoudian mandibular premolars,and simultaneously with the specimens of Australopithecus,African early Homo,Homo erectus in other areas of Asia except Zhoukoudian,Europe Pleistocene fossil hominins,and recent Chinese (72 P_3 and 69 P_4 on the whole) being included as comparisons.Results suggest obvious evolutionary changes in the occlusal morphology and crown outline shape of mandibular premolars.Australopithecus P_3s are found with extremely asymmetrical crown outlines,prominent mesial and distal vertical grooves on the buccal side,open foveas,and well-developed talonids,and P_4s with similarly asymmetrical crown outlines,distinct mesial and distal vertical grooves on the buccal side,and "H" type of grooves combination.These characteristics are also expressed in the later hominin specimens,but with a decreased extent and lower frequency.The P_3s of recent Chinese,slightly asymmetrical in the crown lingual contours,and P_4s,basically symmetrical in the crown outlines,become faint or disappeared in the mesial or distal vertical buccal grooves,and decreased in the talonid size.It is suggested that Zhoukoudian mandibular premolars preserve some primitive traits of earlier hominins,including asymmetrical crown outlines and prominent mesial and distal vertical grooves of buccal side.Moreover,Zhoukoudian specimens exhibit obvious morphological variation between individuals,expressed mainly by aspects of mesial and distal vertical buccal grooves in various degrees,symmetry or asymmetry extent of crown lingual contour,relative location of polygon to the corresponding surrounding outline,as well as the relative size of talonid.When compared with Homo erectus from the other areas of Asia,Zhoukoudian specimens show their similarity with those of Xichuan and S-1,and at the same time great discrepancy with S-6 in the occlusal morphology and crown

  1. Optimum ratio of upper to lower limb lengths in hand-carrying of a load under the assumption of frequency coordination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, W J; Crompton, R H; Li, Y; Gunther, M M

    2003-02-01

    The ratio of the upper to lower limb lengths [or the intermembral index (IMI)] in the earliest human ancestors is closer to that of the living chimpanzees than to our own, although the former show undoubted adaptations to bipedality. What biomechanical factors could then have led to the phenomenon of genus Homo? This paper proposes and evaluates a relationship between IMI and hand-carrying. Assuming that coordination of limb swing frequencies of the upper and lower limbs would be the subject of positive selection, a mathematical expression was derived and can in part explain the changes in IMI. We found that AL-288-1 [3.6 million years old (MY)], the most complete skeleton of the early hominid Australopithecus afarensis, could only have carried loads equivalent to 15-50% of the upper limb weight while maintaining swing symmetry, but KNM WT-15000, Homo ergaster (1.8MY) and modern humans could both carry loads 3 times heavier than the upper limb while maintaining swing symmetry. The carrying ability of chimpanzees would be inferior to that of AL-288-1. The IMI of modern humans, at 68-70, is the smallest, and is optimal for hand-carrying under our criteria. Under reduced selection pressure for hand-carrying, but unreduced selection for mechanical effectiveness, we might expect humans to evolve a longer upper limb, to improve swing symmetry when unloaded. PMID:12547362

  2. The hunters and the hunted revisited.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee-Thorp, J; Thackeray, J F; van der Merwe, N

    2000-12-01

    The dietary niches of extinct animals, including hominids and predators, may be constrained using stable carbon isotope ratios in fossil tooth enamel.(13)C/(12)C ratios of many of the primates abundant in the faunal assemblages of Members 1 and 2 at Swartkrans, including cercopithecoids and Australopithecus (Paranthropus) robustus, and a range of other possible prey species, have been reported previously. Resulting suggestions of a mixed, or omnivorous, diet for A. robustus raise questions about niche overlap with coeval, larger brained Homo. Here we present(13)C/(12)C data from Homo and several large predators including Panthera pardus, Dinofelis sp., Megantereon cultridens and Chasmoporthetes nitidula in Member 1, and P. pardus and P. leo in Member 2, in order to compare the two hominid species and to determine likely predators of the various primates and other macrovertebrates. Results for three Homo cf. ergaster individuals are indistinguishable from those of A. robustus, showing that proportions of C(3)- and C(4)-based foods in their diets did not differ. P. pardus, Megantereon and Crocuta are shown to be likely predators of the hominids and Papio baboons in Member 1, while the Dinofelis individual concentrated on prey which consumed C(4)grasses. The hunting hyaenid C. nitidula preyed on either mixed feeders or on a range of animals across the spectrum of C(3)and C(4)variation. The data from Members 1 and 2 confirm a shift in leopard diets towards animals that consumed C(4)grasses. PMID:11102267

  3. Human evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, B

    1996-12-01

    The common ancestor of modern humans and the great apes is estimated to have lived between 5 and 8 Myrs ago, but the earliest evidence in the human, or hominid, fossil record is Ardipithecus ramidus, from a 4.5 Myr Ethiopian site. This genus was succeeded by Australopithecus, within which four species are presently recognised. All combine a relatively primitive postcranial skeleton, a dentition with expanded chewing teeth and a small brain. The most primitive species in our own genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, are little advanced over the australopithecines and with hindsight their inclusion in Homo may not be appropriate. The first species to share a substantial number of features with later Homo is Homo ergaster, or 'early African Homo erectus', which appears in the fossil record around 2.0 Myr. Outside Africa, fossil hominids appear as Homo erectus-like hominids, in mainland Asia and in Indonesia close to 2 Myr ago; the earliest good evidence of 'archaic Homo' in Europe is dated at between 600-700 Kyr before the present. Anatomically modern human, or Homo sapiens, fossils are seen first in the fossil record in Africa around 150 Kyr ago. Taken together with molecular evidence on the extent of DNA variation, this suggests that the transition from 'archaic' to 'modern' Homo may have taken place in Africa. PMID:8976151

  4. Hypothesis: brain size and skull shape as criteria for a new hominin family tree.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:25041944

  5. Hand function and tool behavior in early hominids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Susman, R L

    1998-07-01

    Prompted by the discovery of the Olduvai Hominid 7 hand (Homo habilis) in 1960, studies of primate hands were conducted in order to understand better the functional morphology of the earliest hominids and the evolution of tool behavior. Since Napier's work in the early 1960's, the hand bones of a number of other species have been recovered in East and South Africa. New hominid finds and a prolific archaeological record have broadened our perspective on the evolution of tool behavior in Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and early Homo. A debate is underway at this time on the questions of what exactly we can glean from the fossil record regarding the evolution of tool behavior and what are the best approaches to interpreting the evidence. I support the model of Napier that identified morphological correlates of precision and power grasping in the hands of extant primates and in early hominid hand bones. At the same time, I question both the underlying rationale and attempts to identify more subtle aspects of precision grasping, based on present evidence. PMID:9680465

  6. A New Horned Crocodile from the Plio-Pleistocene Hominid Sites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brochu, Christopher A.; Njau, Jackson; Blumenschine, Robert J.; Densmore, Llewellyn D.

    2010-01-01

    Background The fossil record reveals surprising crocodile diversity in the Neogene of Africa, but relationships with their living relatives and the biogeographic origins of the modern African crocodylian fauna are poorly understood. A Plio-Pleistocene crocodile from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, represents a new extinct species and shows that high crocodylian diversity in Africa persisted after the Miocene. It had prominent triangular “horns” over the ears and a relatively deep snout, these resemble those of the recently extinct Malagasy crocodile Voay robustus, but the new species lacks features found among osteolaemines and shares derived similarities with living species of Crocodylus. Methodology/Principal Findings The holotype consists of a partial skull and skeleton and was collected on the surface between two tuffs dated to approximately 1.84 million years (Ma), in the same interval near the type localities for the hominids Homo habilis and Australopithecus boisei. It was compared with previously-collected material from Olduvai Gorge referable to the same species. Phylogenetic analysis places the new form within or adjacent to crown Crocodylus. Conclusions/Significance The new crocodile species was the largest predator encountered by our ancestors at Olduvai Gorge, as indicated by hominid specimens preserving crocodile bite marks from these sites. The new species also reinforces the emerging view of high crocodylian diversity throughout the Neogene, and it represents one of the few extinct species referable to crown genus Crocodylus. PMID:20195356

  7. The Feeding Biomechanics and Dietary Ecology of Paranthropus boisei

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Amanda L.; Benazzi, Stefano; Ledogar, Justin A.; Tamvada, Kelli; Pryor Smith, Leslie C.; Weber, Gerhard W.; Spencer, Mark A.; Lucas, Peter W.; Michael, Shaji; Shekeban, Ali; Al-Fadhalah, Khaled; Almusallam, Abdulwahab S.; Dechow, Paul C.; Grosse, Ian R.; Ross, Callum F.; Madden, Richard H.; Richmond, Brian G.; Wright, Barth W.; Wang, Qian; Byron, Craig; Slice, Dennis E.; Wood, Sarah; Dzialo, Christine; Berthaume, Michael A.; Casteren, Adam Van; Strait, David S.

    2015-01-01

    The African Plio-Pleistocene hominins known as australopiths evolved derived craniodental features frequently interpreted as adaptations for feeding on either hard, or compliant/tough foods. Among australopiths, Paranthropus boisei is the most robust form, exhibiting traits traditionally hypothesized to produce high bite forces efficiently and strengthen the face against feeding stresses. However, recent mechanical analyses imply that P. boisei may not have been an efficient producer of bite force and that robust morphology in primates is not necessarily strong. Here we use an engineering method, finite element analysis, to show that the facial skeleton of P. boisei is structurally strong, exhibits a strain pattern different from that in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Australopithecus africanus, and efficiently produces high bite force. It has been suggested that P. boisei consumed a diet of compliant/tough foods like grass blades and sedge pith. However, the blunt occlusal topography of this and other species suggests that australopiths are adapted to consume hard foods, perhaps including grass and sedge seeds. A consideration of evolutionary trends in morphology relating to feeding mechanics suggests that food processing behaviors in gracile australopiths evidently were disrupted by environmental change, perhaps contributing to the eventual evolution of Homo and Paranthropus. PMID:25529240

  8. A geometric morphometric analysis of hominin upper first molar shape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez-Robles, A; Martinón-Torres, M; Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Margvelashvili, A; Bastir, M; Arsuaga, J L; Pérez-Pérez, A; Estebaranz, F; Martínez, L M

    2007-09-01

    Recent studies have revealed interesting differences in upper first molar morphology across the hominin fossil record, particularly significant between H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis. Usually these analyses have been performed by means of classic morphometric methods, including the measurement of relative cusp areas or the angles defined between cusps. Although these studies have provided valuable information for the morphological characterization of some hominin species, we believe that the analysis of this particular tooth could be more conclusive for taxonomic assignment. In this study, we have applied geometric morphometric methods to explore the morphological variability of the upper first molar (M(1)) across the human fossil record. Our emphasis focuses on the study of the phenetic relationships among the European middle Pleistocene populations (designated as H. heidelbergensis) with H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens, but the inclusion of Australopithecus and early Homo specimens has helped us to assess the polarity of the observed traits. H. neanderthalensis presents a unique morphology characterized by a relatively distal displacement of the lingual cusps and protrusion in the external outline of a large and bulging hypocone. This morphology can be found in a less pronounced degree in the European early and middle Pleistocene populations, and reaches its maximum expression with the H. neanderthalensis lineage. In contrast, modern humans retain the primitive morphology with a square occlusal polygon associated with a round external outline. PMID:17599390

  9. Loss of air sacs improved hominin speech abilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Boer, Bart

    2012-01-01

    In this paper, the acoustic-perceptual effects of air sacs are investigated. Using an adaptive hearing experiment, it is shown that air sacs reduce the perceptual effect of vowel-like articulations. Air sacs are a feature of the vocal tract of all great apes, except humans. Because the presence or absence of air sacs is correlated with the anatomy of the hyoid bone, a probable minimum and maximum date of the loss of air sacs can be estimated from fossil hyoid bones. Australopithecus afarensis still had air sacs about 3.3 Ma, while Homo heidelbergensis, some 600 000 years ago and Homo neandethalensis some 60 000 years ago, did no longer. The reduced distinctiveness of articulations produced with an air sac is in line with the hypothesis that air sacs were selected against because of the evolution of complex vocal communication. This relation between complex vocal communication and fossil evidence may help to get a firmer estimate of when speech first evolved. PMID:22078314

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  11. Estimate of the lower-limb-specific muscle parameters during bipedal walking for humans, apes and early hominids with the implications for the evolution of body proportion

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wang Weijie

    2007-01-01

    Modern human has different body proportion from early hominids and great apes. Comparing with others, in general, modern human adults have relatively long lower limb and heavier body weight. Since the lower limbs provide support to the whole body and play an important role in walking, it is proposed that the ratio of the lower limb to the whole body for modern human could be beneficial to bipedal walking. This study tried to estimate the muscle parameters of the lower limb in walking for the subjects with various body proportions. Using a simplified musculoskeletal model, some muscle parameters of the lower limb, e.g. muscle force, stress, work and power, were estimated for modern human adult, child, AL 288-1 (the fossil specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, 3.18 million years old) and apes. The results show that with the body proportion modern human adult spends less muscle work and power in walking than other subjects. The results imply that using the cost of transport (i.e. the muscle work of the lower limb per unit of displacement) as the criteria, the early hominids, if their body proportions were structurally similar to AL 288-1, could evolve towards what modern human adult looks like, in order to save energy during bipedal walking.

  12. Can chimpanzee biology highlight human origin and evolution?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roffman, Itai; Nevo, Eviatar

    2010-07-01

    The closest living relatives of humans are their chimpanzee/bonobo (Pan) sister species, members of the same subfamily "Homininae". This classification is supported by over 50 years of research in the fields of chimpanzee cultural diversity, language competency, genomics, anatomy, high cognition, psychology, society, self-consciousness and relation to others, tool use/production, as well as Homo level emotions, symbolic competency, memory recollection, complex multifaceted problem-solving capabilities, and interspecies communication. Language competence and symbolism can be continuously bridged from chimpanzee to man. Emotions, intercommunity aggression, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and vocalization of intonations seem to parallel between the sister taxa Homo and Pan. The shared suite of traits between Pan and Homo genus demonstrated in this article integrates old and new information on human-chimpanzee evolution, bilateral informational and cross-cultural exchange, promoting the urgent need for Pan cultures in the wild to be protected, as they are part of the cultural heritage of mankind. Also, we suggest that bonobos, Pan paniscus, based on shared traits with Australopithecus, need to be included in Australopithecine's subgenus, and may even represent living-fossil Australopithecines. Unfolding bonobo and chimpanzee biology highlights our common genetic and cultural evolutionary origins. PMID:23908781

  13. Can Chimpanzee Biology Highlight Human Origin and Evolution?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Itai Roffman

    2010-07-01

    Full Text Available The closest living relatives of humans are their chimpanzee/bonobo (Pan sister species, members of the same subfamily “Homininae”. This classification is supported by over 50 years of research in the fields of chimpanzee cultural diversity, language competency, genomics, anatomy, high cognition, psychology, society, self-consciousness and relation to others, tool use/production, as well as Homo level emotions, symbolic competency, memory recollection, complex multifaceted problem-solving capabilities, and interspecies communication. Language competence and symbolism can be continuously bridged from chimpanzee to man. Emotions, intercommunity aggression, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and vocalization of intonations seem to parallel between the sister taxa Homo and Pan. The shared suite of traits between Pan and Homo genus demonstrated in this article integrates old and new information on human–chimpanzee evolution, bilateral informational and cross-cultural exchange, promoting the urgent need for Pan cultures in the wild to be protected, as they are part of the cultural heritage of mankind. Also, we suggest that bonobos, Pan paniscus, based on shared traits with Australopithecus, need to be included in Australopithecine’s subgenus, and may even represent living-fossil Australopithecines. Unfolding bonobo and chimpanzee biology highlights our common genetic and cultural evolutionary origins.

  14. Increased cranial capacity in hominid evolution and preeclampsia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaline, Jean

    2003-08-01

    One of the major trends in primate evolution generally and hominid evolution in particular, is cranio-facial contraction accompanied by an increase in cranial capacity. Landmark-based morphometric methods are applied to adult skulls of great apes (Gorilla, Pan), australopithecines (Australopithecus and Paranthropus), and humans (Homo eragster, erectus, neanderthalensis, and sapiens). Morphological changes quantified by vector fields (Procrustes methods) indicate that these skull plans are characterized by distinctive degrees of cranio-facial contraction. These suggest the existence of three discrete skull organization plans: "great ape", "australopithecine" and "Homo". This paper focuses on the "Homo" skull bauplan and discusses the possible relationships between greatly increased cranial capacity and preeclampsia. The earliest species of the human lineage exhibit less cranio-facial contraction and smaller cranial capacity than Homo neanderthalensis and modern Homo sapiens. Neandertalization introduces a posterior elongation of the skull and leads to a large increase in cranial capacity in the last Neandertals, with values as large as in present-day H. sapiens. Consequently, a new biological hypothesis is proposed to account for the unexplained disappearance of H. neanderthalensis some 30000 years ago related to the possible appearance of preeclampsia as a factor affecting the survival of the species. PMID:12896818

  15. Biomechanical appraisal of some skeletal features associated with head balance and posture in the Hominoidea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, L M; Moore, W J

    1975-01-01

    The condylar position index, condylar angle and the area of insertion of the nuchal musculature corrected for condylar position, direction of muscle pull and skull size were determined in Homo sapiens, Gorilla, Pan and the casts of two Neanderthal and two australopithecine crania. In all three attributes, the values of H. sapiens exceeded, by statistically significant amounts, those for the ape genera. The greater value for the condylar position index indicates a better balance of the head, that for the condylar angle reflects the more vertical orientation of the vertebral column while that for the corrected nuchal area suggests a less effective nuchal musculature in H. sapiens as compared to the apes. In the casts of the Neanderthal crania, the values all came within, or close to, the ranges for H. sapiens. In the australopithecine casts, the condylar angle cane within the ranges for H. sapiens while the condylar position index and the corrected nuchal area were intermediate in value between H. sapiens and the extant apes. These findings are consistent with observations from other skeletal regions that while Australopithecus had an upright posture, this creature was, in the complex of posturally significant morphological features, distinct from extant hominoids. PMID:811073

  16. Chimpanzee subspecies and ‘robust’ australopithecine holotypes, in the context of comments by Darwin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Prat

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available On the basis of comparative anatomy (including chimpanzees, gorillas and other primates, Darwin1 suggested that Africa was the continent from which ‘progenitors’ of humankind evolved. Hominin fossils from this continent proved him correct. We present the results of morphometric analyses based on cranial data obtained from chimpanzee taxa currently recognised as distinct subspecies, namely Pan troglodytes troglodytes and Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii, as well as Pan paniscus (bonobo. Our objective was to use a morphometric technique2 to quantify the degree of similarity between pairs of specimens, in the context of a statistical (probabilistic definition of a species.3–5 Results obtained from great apes, including two subspecies of chimpanzee, were assessed in relation to same-scale comparisons between the holotypes of ‘robust’ australopithecine (Plio-Pleistocene hominin taxa which have traditionally been distinguished at a species level, notably Paranthropus robustus from South Africa, and Paranthropus (Australopithecus/ Zinjanthropus boisei from East Africa. The question arises as to whether the holotypes of these two taxa, TM 1517 from Kromdraai6 and OH 5 from Olduvai,7 respectively, are different at the subspecies rather than at the species level.

  17. Nut-like oil seeds: food for monkeys, chimpanzees, humans, and probably ape-men.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, C R

    1987-07-01

    The hypothetical hyperrobust australopithecine gnathic nutcracker adaptation is reexamined in light of ecobotanical information on edible wild nuts provided by the flora of tropical and subtropical Africa. The nut producing species are tree-forms. Those of the forest region do not as a rule produce fruits with edible mesocarps. In contrast, the woodland savanna species (particularly in the Zambezian region) characteristically provide an important whole fruit, i.e., a nutritious mesocarp in addition to edible oil-rich nut seeds. These fruits drop from the tree before they are fully mature and go through the final ripening phase on the ground. They are important seasonal foods for a variety of vertebrates, including primates, elephants, and antelope. Altogether the nuts exhibit a broad range of toughness values, measured here as strength under compression. The woodland nuts are not as tough (177-934 kg force, breaking load) as those of the tropical forest (192-1,673 kg force). The seed-predators of the woodland species include squirrels, baboons, warthogs, and parrots. Paleoecological analyses indicate that it was the woodland nuts that were probably available to Australopithecus boisei and A. robustus. Preliminary estimates of adult male gnathic nut-cracking capabilities suggest that A. boisei could have orally cracked a significant portion of the woodland nuts. In spite of this, ecobotanical data indicate that we can probably reject the hypothesis that these hominids were year-round gnathic nut-cracking specialists. Both the indirect and direct evidence support this conclusion. PMID:3113265

  18. New Isotopic and Sedimentological Measurements of the Thabaseek Deposits (South Africa) and the Dating of the Taung Hominid

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tobias, Phillip V.; Vogel, John C.; Oschadleus, H. Dieter; Partridge, Timothy C.; McKee, Jeffrey K.

    1993-11-01

    Earlier attempts to date the Taung hominid type specimen of Australopithecus africanus Dart yielded conflicting results. Recent faunal studies pointed to an age of 2.3 myr. Radioisotopic results suggested 1.0 myr. New uranium studies reveal that the Thabaseek (the oldest Taung tufa) was not a closed system and that younger uranium entered the tufa after initial deposition, producing an apparent isotopic age younger than the age of deposition. The Thabaseek isotopic dates provide only a terminus ad quem and this technique is therefore not applicable to the older Taung tufas. Delson's dating (2.3 myr) of cercopithecoids from Hrdlicka's pinnacle ca. 50 m from the hominid site provides the best available approximation to the age of the hominid. In our new Taung excavation, stratigraphic analysis indicates that the hominid may somewhat predate most identified fauna. Sedimentologically the hominid matrix proves to be of fluvial deposition, and hence closely resembles one Hrdlicka deposit, both samples differing appreciably from all other Taung samples which bespeak eolian deposition. Thus, the conditions under which the hominid-bearing stratum was deposited were virtually identical to those pertaining to one of the Hrdlicka deposits. The newest results show that Taung was not the youngest South African australopithecine site and eliminate the discrepancy between the relative ages of the Taung A. africanus africanus and the Sterkfontein A. africanus transvaalensis.

  19. Australopithecine taxonomy and phylogeny in light of facial morphology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rak, Y

    1985-03-01

    The beginning of specialization characterizing the robust australopithecines is manifested in almost every aspect of the masticatory system of Australopithecus africanus. Of particular significance is the presence of two massive bony columns on both sides of the nasal aperture that support the anterior portion of the palate. These columns--the anterior pillars--are viewed as a structural response to the greater occlusal load stemming from the beginning stages of molarization of the premolars and exerted on the more anterior part of the dental arcade. In A. africanus the molarization process is, indeed, just in its initial phase, but the still considerable protrusion of the palate relative to the more peripheral facial frame increases the need for pillars. The anterior pillars and the advancement of the inferior part of the infraorbital plate (the origin of the masseter) play a major role in molding the facial topography of A. africanus. The absence of the pillars and the common position of the masseteric origin lead us to define the face of A. afarensis as the most primitive of the australopithecines and allow us to discriminate between its facial morphology and that of A. africanus. The presence of anterior pillars in the face of the latter places it clearly in the robust australopithecine clade. PMID:3920918

  20. The first australopithecine 2,500 kilometres west of the Rift Valley (Chad)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brunet, M; Beauvilain, A; Coppens, Y; Heintz, E; Moutaye, A H; Pilbeam, D

    1995-11-16

    The first sites with Pliocene and Pleistocene mammals west of the Rift Valley in Central Africa in northern Chad were reported in 1959 (ref. 1), and documented the presence of mixed savannah and woodland habitats. Further sites and a probable Homo erectus cranio-facial fragment were subsequently discovered. In 1993 a survey of Pliocene and Pleistocene formations in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Province of Chad (B.E.T.) led to the discovery of 17 new sites in the region of Bahr el Ghazal (classical Arabic for River of the Gazelles) near Koro Toro. One site, KT 12 (15 degrees 58'10"N, 18 degrees 52'46"E) yielded an australopithecine mandible associated with a fauna biochronologically estimated to be 3.0-3.5 Myr old. Australopithecine species described since 1925 are known from southern Africa and from sites spread along the eastern Rift Valley from Tanzania to Ethiopia (Fig. 1). This new find from Chad, which is most similar in morphology to Australopithecus afarensis, documents the presence of an early hominid a considerable distance, 2,500 km, west of the Rift Valley. PMID:7477344

  1. Can Chimpanzee Biology Highlight Human Origin and Evolution?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roffman, Itai; Nevo, Eviatar

    2010-01-01

    The closest living relatives of humans are their chimpanzee/bonobo (Pan) sister species, members of the same subfamily “Homininae”. This classification is supported by over 50 years of research in the fields of chimpanzee cultural diversity, language competency, genomics, anatomy, high cognition, psychology, society, self-consciousness and relation to others, tool use/production, as well as Homo level emotions, symbolic competency, memory recollection, complex multifaceted problem-solving capabilities, and interspecies communication. Language competence and symbolism can be continuously bridged from chimpanzee to man. Emotions, intercommunity aggression, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and vocalization of intonations seem to parallel between the sister taxa Homo and Pan. The shared suite of traits between Pan and Homo genus demonstrated in this article integrates old and new information on human–chimpanzee evolution, bilateral informational and cross-cultural exchange, promoting the urgent need for Pan cultures in the wild to be protected, as they are part of the cultural heritage of mankind. Also, we suggest that bonobos, Pan paniscus, based on shared traits with Australopithecus, need to be included in Australopithecine’s subgenus, and may even represent living-fossil Australopithecines. Unfolding bonobo and chimpanzee biology highlights our common genetic and cultural evolutionary origins. PMID:23908781

  2. Longitudinal study of dental development in chimpanzees of known chronological age: implications for understanding the age at death of Plio-Pleistocene hominids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anemone, R L; Mooney, M P; Siegel, M I

    1996-01-01

    Reconstruction of life history variables of fossil hominids on the basis of dental development requires understanding of and comparison with the pattern and timing of dental development among both living humans and pongids. Whether dental development among living apes or humans provides a better model for comparison with that of Plio-Pleistocene hominids of the genus Australopithecus remains a contentious point. This paper presents new data on chimpanzees documenting developmental differences in the dentitions of modern humans and apes and discusses their significance in light of recent controversies over the human or pongid nature of australopithecine dental development. Longitudinal analysis of 299 lateral head radiographs from 33 lab-reared chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) of known chronological age allows estimation of means and standard deviations for the age at first appearance of 8 developmental stages in the mandibular molar dentition. Results are compared with published studies of dental development among apes and with published standards for humans. Chimpanzees are distinctly different from humans in two important aspects of dental development. Relative to humans, chimpanzees show advanced molar development vis a vis anterior tooth development, and chimpanzees are characterized by temporal overlap in the calcification of adjacent molar crowns, while humans show moderate to long temporal gaps between the calcification of adjacent molar crowns. In combination with recent work on enamel incremental markers and CAT scans of developing dentitions of Plio-Pleistocene hominids, this evidence supports an interpretation of a rapid, essentially "apelike" ontogeny among australopithecines. PMID:8928715

  3. Subnasal morphological variation in fossil hominids: a reassessment based on new observations and recent developmental findings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCollum, M A

    2000-06-01

    Quantitative and qualitative assessments of subnasal morphology in fossil hominids yield distinct patterns which have been used both to sort robust from nonrobust australopithecine taxa and to distinguish individual species. Recently, new developmental models have been applied to hominoid subnasal morphological variation. These studies require that certain features of the fossil hominid subnasal region, in particular the topography of the nasal cavity entrance and details of vomeral morphology, be reevaluated. This study does so for the robust and nonrobust australopithecines, early Homo (H. habilis/H. rudolfensis), and African H. erectus. Results reaffirm an overall similarity of the nonrobust Australopithecus subnasal morphological pattern with that of the chimpanzee. They further indicate that a vomeral insertion above the nasal surface of the premaxilla should be added to the list of traits characteristic of the robust australopithecine subnasal morphological pattern. Finally, reassessment of subnasal morphology in the early Homo and H. erectus samples from Africa suggest that these two taxa share a similar subnasal morphological pattern. This pattern consists of a smooth nasal cavity entrance, a horizontal nasal sill whose anterior edge is demarcated by a strong nasal crest, and a well-developed horizontal spine at the posterior edge of the nasal sill. Although none of the African fossil Homo specimens preserve a vomer, indirect evidence suggests that it would have inserted above the nasal sill. PMID:10813707

  4. Hard-object feeding in sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys and interpretation of early hominin feeding ecology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David J Daegling

    Full Text Available Morphology of the dentofacial complex of early hominins has figured prominently in the inference of their dietary adaptations. Recent theoretical analysis of craniofacial morphology of Australopithecus africanus proposes that skull form in this taxon represents adaptation to feeding on large, hard objects. A modern analog for this specific dietary specialization is provided by the West African sooty mangabey, Cercocebus atys. This species habitually feeds on the large, exceptionally hard nuts of Sacoglottis gabonensis, stereotypically crushing the seed casings using their premolars and molars. This type of behavior has been inferred for A. africanus based on mathematical stress analysis and aspects of dental wear and morphology. While postcanine megadontia, premolar enlargement and thick molar enamel characterize both A. africanus and C. atys, these features are not universally associated with durophagy among living anthropoids. Occlusal microwear analysis reveals complex microwear textures in C. atys unlike those observed in A. africanus, but more closely resembling textures observed in Paranthropus robustus. Since sooty mangabeys process hard objects in a manner similar to that proposed for A. africanus, yet do so without the craniofacial buttressing characteristic of this hominin, it follows that derived features of the australopith skull are sufficient but not necessary for the consumption of large, hard objects. The adaptive significance of australopith craniofacial morphology may instead be related to the toughness, rather than the hardness, of ingested foods.

  5. A new horned crocodile from the Plio-Pleistocene hominid sites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

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    Christopher A Brochu

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The fossil record reveals surprising crocodile diversity in the Neogene of Africa, but relationships with their living relatives and the biogeographic origins of the modern African crocodylian fauna are poorly understood. A Plio-Pleistocene crocodile from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, represents a new extinct species and shows that high crocodylian diversity in Africa persisted after the Miocene. It had prominent triangular "horns" over the ears and a relatively deep snout, these resemble those of the recently extinct Malagasy crocodile Voay robustus, but the new species lacks features found among osteolaemines and shares derived similarities with living species of Crocodylus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The holotype consists of a partial skull and skeleton and was collected on the surface between two tuffs dated to approximately 1.84 million years (Ma, in the same interval near the type localities for the hominids Homo habilis and Australopithecus boisei. It was compared with previously-collected material from Olduvai Gorge referable to the same species. Phylogenetic analysis places the new form within or adjacent to crown Crocodylus. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The new crocodile species was the largest predator encountered by our ancestors at Olduvai Gorge, as indicated by hominid specimens preserving crocodile bite marks from these sites. The new species also reinforces the emerging view of high crocodylian diversity throughout the Neogene, and it represents one of the few extinct species referable to crown genus Crocodylus.

  6. 《21世紀の医学の重要課題》一文的注释、分析及翻译(十二)

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴宣刚

    2001-01-01

    @@ [接上期] 原文:自然段28 人類の歴史を、猿人(australopithecus)の時代から見てみま寸と、原生人(homo sapiens)が現われたのは10~20万年前と考之られています.仮に400万年前老1日の午前0時とし、現在を24小時としますと、農業が始まったのは早いところ、例えば中国の最も早いところで23畴57分、工業が始まったのはョ一口ッパで23畴59分24秒であ9ます.アジア諸国で工業化が進み、人口が飽食したのは、ほんの1~2秒に遇ぎません.

  7. The obstetric dilemma: an ancient game of Russian roulette, or a variable dilemma sensitive to ecology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wells, Jonathan C K; DeSilva, Jeremy M; Stock, Jay T

    2012-01-01

    The difficult birth process of humans, often described as the "obstetric dilemma," is commonly assumed to reflect antagonistic selective pressures favoring neonatal encephalization and maternal bipedal locomotion. However, cephalo-pelvic disproportion is not exclusive to humans, and is present in some primate species of smaller body size. The fossil record indicates mosaic evolution of the obstetric dilemma, involving a number of different evolutionary processes, and it appears to have shifted in magnitude between Australopithecus, Pleistocene Homo, and recent human populations. Most attention to date has focused on its generic nature, rather than on its variability between populations. We re-evaluate the nature of the human obstetric dilemma using updated hominin and primate literature, and then consider the contribution of phenotypic plasticity to variability in its magnitude. Both maternal pelvic dimensions and fetal growth patterns are sensitive to ecological factors such as diet and the thermal environment. Neonatal head girth has low plasticity, whereas neonatal mass and maternal stature have higher plasticity. Secular trends in body size may therefore exacerbate or decrease the obstetric dilemma. The emergence of agriculture may have exacerbated the dilemma, by decreasing maternal stature and increasing neonatal growth and adiposity due to dietary shifts. Paleodemographic comparisons between foragers and agriculturalists suggest that foragers have considerably lower rates of perinatal mortality. In contemporary populations, maternal stature remains strongly associated with perinatal mortality in many populations. Long-term improvements in nutrition across future generations may relieve the dilemma, but in the meantime, variability in its magnitude is likely to persist. PMID:23138755

  8. Dental microwear patterns of extant and extinct Muridae (Rodentia, Mammalia): ecological implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomes Rodrigues, Helder; Merceron, Gildas; Viriot, Laurent

    2009-04-01

    Extant species of Muridae occupy a wide array of habitats and have diverse dietary habits. Consequently, their dental microwear patterns represent a potential clue to better understand the paleoecology of their extinct relatives, which are abundant in many Old World Neogene localities. In this study, dental microwear is investigated for specimens of 17 extant species of murine and deomyine rodents in order to test the reliability of this method and infer dietary preferences on the fossil species Saïdomys afarensis. This extinct form comes from a mid-Pliocene site (AL 327) located at the Hadar Formation (Ethiopia) known to have delivered many hominid specimens of Australopithecus afarensis. A significant correlation between microwear patterns and diet is detected. Thus, grass, fruit, and insect eaters display, respectively, high amounts of fine scratches, wide scratches, and large pits. Moreover, some aspects of the paleoecology of S. afarensis, including feeding habits, could be assessed in regard to its dental microwear pattern. Indeed, it probably had feeding habits similar to that of living grass eaters. These results concur with the presence of open to woodland areas covered by an herbaceous vegetal layer, including monocotyledons, in the vicinity of this mid-Pliocene locality.

  9. DNH 109: A fragmentary hominin near-proximal ulna from Drimolen, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew Gallagher

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available We describe a fragmentary, yet significant, diminutive proximal ulna (DNH 109 from the Lower Pleistocene deposits of Drimolen, Republic of South Africa. On the basis of observable morphology and available comparative metrics, DNH 109 is definitively hominin and is the smallest African Plio-Pleistocene australopith ulna yet recovered. Mediolateral and anteroposterior dimensions of the proximal diaphysis immediately distal to the m. brachialis sulcus in DNH 109 yield an elliptical area (π/4 *m-l*a-p that is smaller than the A.L. 333-38 Australopithecus afarensis subadult from Hadar. Given the unusually broad mediolateral/anteroposterior diaphyseal proportions distal to the brachialis sulcus, the osseous development of the medial and lateral borders of the sulcus, and the overall size of the specimen relative to comparative infant, juvenile, subadult and adult comparative hominid ulnae (Gorilla, Pan and Homo, it is probable that DNH 109 samples an australopith of probable juvenile age at death. As a result of the fragmentary state of preservation and absence of association with taxonomically diagnostic craniodental remains, DNH 109 cannot be provisionally assigned to any particular hominin genus (Paranthropus or Homo at present. Nonetheless, DNH 109 increases our known sample of available Plio-Pleistocene subadult early hominin postcrania.

  10. Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, Sally C.; Gallagher, Andrew

    2012-03-01

    List of contributors; Foreword J. T. Francis Thackeray; 1. African genesis: an evolving paradigm Sally C. Reynolds; 2. Academic genealogy Peter Ungar and Phillip V. Tobias; Part I. In Search of Origins: Evolutionary Theory, New Species, and Paths into the Past: 3. Speciation in hominin evolution Colin Groves; 4. Searching for a new paradigm for hominid origins in Chad (Central Africa) Michel Brunet; 5. From hominoid arboreality to hominid bipedalism Brigitte Senut; 6. Orrorin and the African ape/hominid dichotomy Martin Pickford; 7. A brief history and results of 40 years of Sterkfontein excavations Ronald J. Clarke; Part II. Hominin Morphology Through Time: Brains, Bodies and Teeth: 8. Hominin brain evolution, 1925-2011: an emerging overview Dean Falk; 9. The issue of brain reorganisation in Australopithecus and early hominids: Dart had it right Ralph L. Holloway; 10. The mass of the human brain: is it a spandrel? Paul R. Manger, Jason Hemingway, Muhammad Spocter and Andrew Gallagher; 11. Origin and diversity of early hominin bipedalism Henry M. McHenry; 12. Forelimb adaptations in Australopithecus afarensis Michelle S. M. Drapeau; 13. Hominin proximal femur morphology from the Tugen Hills to Flores Brian G. Richmond and William L. Jungers; 14. Daily rates of dentine formation and root extension rates in Paranthropus boisei, KNM-ER 1817, from Koobi Fora, Kenya M. Christopher Dean; 15. On the evolutionary development of early hominid molar teeth and the Gondolin Paranthropus molar Kevin L. Kuykendall; 16. Digital South African fossils: morphological studies using reference-based reconstruction and electronic preparation Gerhard W. Weber, Philipp Gunz, Simon Neubauer, Philipp Mitteroecker and Fred L. Bookstein; Part III. Modern Human Origins: Patterns, and Processes: 17. Body size in African Middle Pleistocene Homo Steven E. Churchill, Lee R. Berger, Adam Hartstone-Rose and Headman Zondo; 18. The African origin of recent humanity Milford H. Wolpoff and Sang-Hee Lee

  11. The role of load-carrying in the evolution of modern body proportions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, W-J; Crompton, R H

    2004-05-01

    The first unquestionably bipedal early human ancestors, the species Australopithecus afarensis, were markedly different to ourselves in body proportions, having a long trunk and short legs. Some have argued that 'chimpanzee-like' features such as these suggest a 'bent-hip, bent-knee' (BHBK) posture would have been adopted during gait. Computer modelling studies, however, indicate that this early human ancestor could have walked in a reasonably efficient upright posture, whereas BHBK posture would have nearly doubled the mechanical energy cost of locomotion, as it does the physiological cost of locomotion in ourselves. More modern body proportions first appear at around 1.8-1.5 Ma, with Homo ergaster (early African Homo erectus), represented by the Nariokotome skeleton KNM-WT 15000, in which the legs were considerably longer in relation to the trunk than they are in human adults, although this skeleton represents an adolescent. Several authors have suggested that this morphology would have allowed faster, more endurant walking. But during the same period, the archaeological record indicates a sharp rise in distances over which stone tools or raw materials are transported. Is this coincidental, or can load-carrying also be implicated in selection for a more modern morphology? Computer simulations of loaded walking, verified against kinetic data for humans, show that BHBK gait is even more ineffective while load-carrying. However, walking erect, the Nariokotome individual could have carried loads of 10-15% body mass for less cost, relative to body size, than AL 288-1 walking erect but unloaded. In fact, to the extent that our sample of humans is typical, KNM-WT 15000 would have had better mechanical effectiveness in bearing light loads on the back than modern human adults. Thus, selection for effectiveness in load-carrying, as well as in endurant walking, is indeed likely to have been implicated in the evolution of modern body proportions. PMID:15198704

  12. The vertebral formula of the last common ancestor of African apes and humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCollum, Melanie A; Rosenman, Burt A; Suwa, Gen; Meindl, Richard S; Lovejoy, C Owen

    2010-03-15

    The modal number of lumbar vertebrae in modern humans is five. It varies between three and four in extant African apes (mean=3.5). Because both chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) possess the same distributions of thoracic, lumbar, and sacral vertebrae, it has been assumed from parsimony that the last common ancestor (LCA) of African apes and humans possessed a similarly short lower back. This "short-backed LCA" scenario has recently been viewed favorably in an analysis of the intra- and interspecific variation in axial formulas observed among African apes and humans (Pilbeam, 2004. J Exp Zool 302B:241-267). However, the number of bonobo (Pan paniscus) specimens in that study was small (N=17). Here we reconsider vertebral type and number in the LCA in light of an expanded P. paniscus sample as well as evidence provided by the human fossil record. The precaudal (pre-coccygeal) axial column of bonobos differs from those of chimpanzees and gorillas in displaying one additional vertebra as well as significantly different combinations of sacral, lumbar, and thoracic vertebrae. These findings, along with the six-segmented lumbar column of early Australopithecus and early Homo, suggest that the LCA possessed a long axial column and long lumbar spine and that reduction in the lumbar column occurred independently in humans and in each ape clade, and continued after separation of the two species of Pan as well. Such an explanation is strongly congruent with additional details of lumbar column reduction and lower back stabilization in African apes. PMID:19688850

  13. Craniofacial biomechanics and functional and dietary inferences in hominin paleontology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grine, Frederick E; Judex, Stefan; Daegling, David J; Ozcivici, Engin; Ungar, Peter S; Teaford, Mark F; Sponheimer, Matt; Scott, Jessica; Scott, Robert S; Walker, Alan

    2010-04-01

    Finite element analysis (FEA) is a potentially powerful tool by which the mechanical behaviors of different skeletal and dental designs can be investigated, and, as such, has become increasingly popular for biomechanical modeling and inferring the behavior of extinct organisms. However, the use of FEA to extrapolate from characterization of the mechanical environment to questions of trophic or ecological adaptation in a fossil taxon is both challenging and perilous. Here, we consider the problems and prospects of FEA applications in paleoanthropology, and provide a critical examination of one such study of the trophic adaptations of Australopithecus africanus. This particular FEA is evaluated with regard to 1) the nature of the A. africanus cranial composite, 2) model validation, 3) decisions made with respect to model parameters, 4) adequacy of data presentation, and 5) interpretation of the results. Each suggests that the results reflect methodological decisions as much as any underlying biological significance. Notwithstanding these issues, this model yields predictions that follow from the posited emphasis on premolar use by A. africanus. These predictions are tested with data from the paleontological record, including a phylogenetically-informed consideration of relative premolar size, and postcanine microwear fabrics and antemortem enamel chipping. In each instance, the data fail to conform to predictions from the model. This model thus serves to emphasize the need for caution in the application of FEA in paleoanthropological enquiry. Theoretical models can be instrumental in the construction of testable hypotheses; but ultimately, the studies that serve to test these hypotheses - rather than data from the models - should remain the source of information pertaining to hominin paleobiology and evolution. PMID:20227747

  14. New methods and techniques in anthropology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Recheis, W; Weber, G W; Schäfer, K; Prossinger, H; Knapp, R; Seidler, H; zur Nedden, D

    1999-12-01

    Since the discovery of the Tyrolean Iceman in 1991, advanced imaging and post-processing techniques have been successfully applied to anthropological research. Among the specific techniques are spiral computed tomography and 3-dimensional reconstructions, which include stereolithographic and fused deposition modeling of volume data sets. The Iceman's skull was the first to be produced using stereolithography; subsequently, it has been successfully applied in preoperative planning. With the advent of high-end performance graphics workstations and biomedical image processing software packages, 3-dimensional reconstructions have become established as routine tools for analyzing volume data sets. These techniques enabled dramatically new insights to be gained in the field of physical anthropology. Computed tomography became the ideal research tool to access the internal structures of various precious fossils without even touching--let alone damaging--them. Among the most precious are specimens from the genus Australopithecus (1.8 Myr-3.5 Myr), as well as representatives of Homo heidelbergensis (200 kyr-600 kyr) and Homo neanderthalensis (40 kyr-100 kyr); such fossils have been CT-scanned during the last five years. The fossils often are filled with a stone matrix or other encrustations. During the post-processing routines, highly advanced algorithms were used to remove these encrustations virtually (the concrete fossils remain untouched). Thus it has been possible to visualize the morphological structures that are hidden by the matrix layer. Some specimens have been partially destroyed, but it has been possible for the missing parts were reconstructed on the computer screen in order to get estimations of brain volume and endocranial morphology, both major fields of interest in physical anthropology. Moreover, the data in computerized form allows new descriptions of morphological structures using geometric morphometrics. Some of the results may change aspects and

  15. Virtual reconstruction of modern and fossil hominoid crania: consequences of reference sample choice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Senck, Sascha; Bookstein, Fred L; Benazzi, Stefano; Kastner, Johann; Weber, Gerhard W

    2015-05-01

    Most hominin cranial fossils are incomplete and require reconstruction prior to subsequent analyses. Missing data can be estimated by geometric morphometrics using information from complete specimens, for example, by using thin-plate splines. In this study, we estimate missing data in several virtually fragmented models of hominoid crania (Homo, Pan, Pongo) and fossil hominins (e.g., Australopithecus africanus, Homo heidelbergensis). The aim is to investigate in which way different references influence estimations of cranial shape and how this information can be employed in the reconstruction of fossils. We used a sample of 64 three-dimensional digital models of complete human, chimpanzee, and orangutan crania and a set of 758 landmarks and semilandmarks. The virtually knocked out neurocranial and facial areas that were reconstructed corresponded to those of a real case found in A.L. 444-2 (A. afarensis) cranium. Accuracy of multiple intraspecies and interspecies reconstructions was computed as the maximum square root of the mean squared difference between the original and the reconstruction (root mean square). The results show that the uncertainty in reconstructions is a function of both the geometry of the knockout area and the dissimilarity between the reference sample and the specimen(s) undergoing reconstruction. We suggest that it is possible to estimate large missing cranial areas if the shape of the reference is similar enough to the shape of the specimen reconstructed, though caution must be exercised when employing these reconstructions in subsequent analyses. We provide a potential guide for the choice of the reference by means of bending energy. PMID:25689596

  16. Late Pliocene - Early Pleistocene geologic history of Eastern Ledi-Geraru, Ethiopia: implications for the evolution of the southern Afar Depression and hominin paleoenvironments

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiMaggio, E.; Arrowsmith, R.; Campisano, C. J.; Reed, K.; Deino, A.

    2012-12-01

    During the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene (~ 3-2.5 Ma), the Afar region of Ethiopia was undergoing major structural reorganization (e.g., change in extension direction, increased spreading rate) leading to significant landscape modification. Concurrent with these changes in paleogeography, regional trends towards a cooler and drier climate coincide with a clustering of first appearance and extinction events in the faunal record, including the diversification of the early hominin genus Australopithecus and the emergence of our own genus, Homo. However, sediments that span the 3 to 2.5 Ma interval are sparse in eastern Africa, and are especially rare at paleoanthropological sites in the Afar. Here we present new geologic mapping results that indicate extensive deposits of late Pliocene sediments in a previously unmapped region of the lower Awash Valley referred to as the Eastern Ledi-Geraru (ELG). Numerous interbedded airfall tephras enable geochemical comparisons to the existing regional tephrostratigraphic framework as well as high precision 40Ar/39Ar dating of tephras with suitable feldspars. Feldspars from 8 such tephra deposits span the time period of 3.0 to 2.8 Ma, providing the first glimpse of depositional environments and associated landscapes that existed at that time. Geologic mapping and stratigraphic analysis shows that over a 100 meter thick section of lacustrine to fluvial sediments are exposed along faulted basalt flows following both the Red Sea Rift and Main Ethiopian Rift structural trends. We interpret the geology at ELG to reflect a northeastern migration of paleo Lake Hadar, possibly into a series of smaller basins responding to the migration of the triple junction, a thinning lithosphere, and an increased period of volcanism. Combined with recently collected paleontological assemblages this work provides an opportunity to test proposed links between biotic events, global/regional climate change, and local tectonic events during a critical

  17. The hominins: a very conservative tribe? Last common ancestors, plasticity and ecomorphology in Hominidae. Or, What's in a name?

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:26729562

  18. How is sagittal balance acquired during bipedal gait acquisition? Comparison of neonatal and adult pelves in three dimensions. Evolutionary implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tardieu, Christine; Bonneau, Noémie; Hecquet, Jérôme; Boulay, Christophe; Marty, Catherine; Legaye, Jean; Duval-Beaupère, Geneviève

    2013-08-01

    We compare adult and intact neonatal pelves, using a pelvic sagittal variable, the angle of sacral incidence, which presents significant correlations with vertebral curvature in adults and plays an important role in sagittal balance of the trunk on the lower limbs. Since the lumbar curvature develops in the child in association with gait acquisition, we expect a change in this angle during growth which could contribute to the acquisition of sagittal balance. To understand the mechanisms underlying the sagittal balance in the evolution of human bipedalism, we also measure the angle of incidence of hominid fossils. Fourty-seven landmarks were digitized on 50 adult and 19 intact neonatal pelves. We used a three-dimensional model of the pelvis (DE-VISU program) which calculates the angle of sacral incidence and related functional variables. Cross-sectional data from newborns and adults show that the angle of sacral incidence increases and becomes negatively correlated with the sacro-acetabular distance. During ontogeny the sacrum becomes curved, tends to sink down between the iliac blades as a wedge and moves backward in the sagittal plane relative to the acetabula, thus contributing to the backwards displacement of the center of gravity of the trunk. A chain of correlations links the degree of the sacral slope and of the angle of incidence, which is tightly linked with the lumbar lordosis. We sketch a model showing the coordinated changes occurring in the pelvis and vertebral column during the acquisition of bipedalism in infancy. In the australopithecine pelves, Sts 14 and AL 288-1, and in the Homo erectus Gona pelvis the angle of sacral incidence reaches the mean values of humans. Discussing the incomplete pelves of Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecus sediba and the Nariokotome Boy, we suggest how the functional linkage between pelvis and spine, observed in humans, could have emerged during hominid evolution. PMID:23838060

  19. Cranial morphometry of early hominids: facial region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bilsborough, A; Wood, B A

    1988-05-01

    We report here on early hominid facial diversity, as part of a more extensive morphometric survey of cranial variability in Pliocene and early Pleistocene Hominidae. Univariate and multivariate techniques are used to summarise variation in facial proportions in South and East African hominids, and later Quaternary groups are included as comparators in order to scale the variation displayed. The results indicate that "robust" australopithecines have longer, broader faces than the "gracile" form, but that all australopithecine species show comparable degrees of facial projection. "Robust" crania are characterised by anteriorly situated, deep malar processes that slope forwards and downwards. Smaller hominid specimens, formally or informally assigned to Homo (H. habilis, KNM-ER 1813, etc.), have individual facial dimensions that usually fall within the range of Australopithecus africanus, but which in combination reveal a significantly different morphological pattern; SK 847 shows similarly hominine facial proportions, which differ significantly from those of A. robustus specimens from Swartkrans. KNM-ER 1470 possesses a facial pattern that is basically hominine, but which in some respects mimics that of "robust" australopithecines. Early specimens referred to H. erectus possess facial proportions that contrast markedly with those of other Villafranchian hominids and which suggest differing masticatory forces, possibly reflecting a shift in dietary niche. Overall the results indicate two broad patterns of facial proportions in Hominidae: one is characteristic of Pliocene/basal Pleistocene forms with opposite polarities represented by A. boisei and H. habilis; the other pattern, which typifies hominids from the later Lower Pleistocene onwards, is first found in specimens widely regarded as early representatives of H. erectus, but which differ in which certain respects from the face of later members of that species. PMID:3136656

  20. AL 288-1--Lucy or Lucifer: gender confusion in the Pliocene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tague, R G; Lovejoy, C O

    1998-07-01

    Häusler & Schmid (1995) challenged the long held opinion that AL 288-1 (Australopithecus afarensis), popularly known as "Lucy", was female. They concluded that AL 288-1 was most probably male ("Lucifer") and, by extension, the hypodigm for A. afarensis consists of two species which differ from one another in body size; in their opinion, AL 288-1 was most probably a male of the smaller of the two species. Häusler & Schmid based their conclusion on an obstetric analysis of AL 288-1 and Sts 14 (A. africanus) and on a comparison of the two australopithecine pelves with those of modern humans. This study evaluates the pelvic anatomy and probable sex of AL 288-1 by both assessing the obstetric adequacy of its pelvis and critically reviewing Häusler & Schmid's (1995, 1997) analyses of australopithecine pelvic dimorphism and relative body size of AL 288-1. Three results are shown. First, using Häusler & Schmid's own data, AL-288-1's and Sts 14's pelves are seen not to be dimorphic with respect to each other, as are human males and females, but they are in fact comparable in both size and shape. Second, AL 288-1's pelvis would have been obstetrically adequate, even with an inferred newborn brain size (as suggested by Häusler & Schmid) for A. afarensis that is likely overestimated. Third, AL 288-1 is shown to be one of the smallest adult individuals in A. afarensis. We conclude that AL 288-1 and Sts 14 were the same sex, and that the name "Lucy" correctly identifies AL 288-1's gender as female. PMID:9680468

  1. Modelling the locomotor energetics of extinct hominids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kramer, P A

    1999-10-01

    Bipedality is the defining characteristic of Hominidae and, as such, an understanding of the adaptive significance and functional implications of bipedality is imperative to any study of human evolution. Hominid bipedality is, presumably, a solution to some problem for the early hominids, one that has much to do with energy expenditure. Until recently, however, little attention could be focused on the quantifiable energetic aspects of bipedality as a unique locomotor form within Primates because of the inability to measure empirically the energy expenditure of non-modern hominids. A recently published method provides a way of circumventing the empirical measurement dilemma by calculating energy expenditure directly from anatomical variables and movement profiles. Although the origins of bipedality remain clouded, two discernible forms of locomotor anatomy are present in the hominid fossil record: the australopithecine and modern configurations. The australopithecine form is best represented by AL 288-1, a partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis, and is characterized as having short legs and a wide pelvis. The modern form is represented by modern humans and has long legs and a narrow pelvis. Human walking is optimized to take advantage of the changing levels of potential and kinetic energy that occur as the body and limbs move through the stride cycle. Although this optimization minimizes energy expenditure, some energy is required to maintain motion. I quantify this energy by developing a dynamic model that uses kinematic equations to determine energy expenditure. By representing both configurations with such a model, I can compare their rates of energy expenditure. I find that the australopithecine configuration uses less energy than that of a modern human. Despite arguments presented in the anthropological literature, the shortness of the legs of AL 288-1 provides no evidence that she was burdened with a compromised or transitional locomotor anatomy

  2. Locomotor energetics and leg length in hominid bipedality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kramer, P A; Eck, G G

    2000-05-01

    Because bipedality is the quintessential characteristic of Hominidae, researchers have compared ancient forms of bipedality with modern human gait since the first clear evidence of bipedal australopithecines was unearthed over 70 years ago. Several researchers have suggested that the australopithecine form of bipedality was transitional between the quadrupedality of the African apes and modern human bipedality and, consequently, inefficient. Other researchers have maintained that australopithecine bipedality was identical to that of Homo. But is it reasonable to require that all forms of hominid bipedality must be the same in order to be optimized? Most attempts to evaluate the locomotor effectiveness of the australopithecines have, unfortunately, assumed that the locomotor anatomy of modern humans is the exemplar of consummate bipedality. Modern human anatomy is, however, the product of selective pressures present in the particular milieu in which Homo arose and it is not necessarily the only, or even the most efficient, bipedal solution possible. In this report, we investigate the locomotion of Australopithecus afarensis, as represented by AL 288-1, using standard mechanical analyses. The osteological anatomy of AL 288-1 and movement profiles derived from modern humans are applied to a dynamic model of a biped, which predicts the mechanical power required by AL 288-1 to walk at various velocities. This same procedure is used with the anatomy of a composite modern woman and a comparison made. We find that AL 288-1 expends less energy than the composite woman when locomoting at walking speeds. This energetic advantage comes, however, at a price: the preferred transition speed (from a walk to a run) of AL 288-1 was lower than that of the composite woman. Consequently, the maximum daily range of AL 288-1 may well have been substantially smaller than that of modern people. The locomotor anatomy of A. afarensis may have been optimized for a particular ecological niche

  3. Stratigraphy, artefact industries and hominid associations for Sterkfontein, member 5.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuman, K; Clarke, R J

    2000-06-01

    A revised stratigraphy for the early hominid site of Sterkfontein (Gauteng Province, South Africa) reveals a complex distribution of infills in the main excavation area between 2.8 and 1.4 m.y.a, as well as deposits dating to the mid to late Pleistocene. New research now shows that the Member 4 australopithecine breccia (2.8-2.6 Ma) extends further west than was previously thought, while a late phase of Member 4 is recognized in a southern area. The artefact-bearing breccias were defined sedimentologically as Member 5, but one supposed part of these younger breccias, the StW 53 infill, lacks in situ stone tools, although it does appear to post-date 2.6 Ma when artefacts first appear in the archaeological record. The StW 53 hominid, previously referred to Homo habilis, is here argued to be Australopithecus. The first artefact-bearing breccia of Member 5 is the Oldowan Infill, estimated at 2-1.7 Ma. It occupies a restricted distribution in Member 5 east and contains an expedient, flake-based tool industry associated with a few fossils of Paranthropos robustus. An enlarged cave opening subsequently admitted one or more Early Acheulean infills associated in Member 5 west with Homo ergaster. The artefacts attest to a larger site accumulation between ca. 1.7 and 1.4 Ma, with more intensive use of quartzite over quartz and a subtle but important shift to large flakes and heavier-duty tools. The available information on palaeoenvironments is summarized, showing an overall change from tropical to sub-tropical gallery forest, forest fringe and woodland conditions in Member 4 to more open woodland and grassland habitats in the later units, but with suggestions of a wet localized topography in the Paranthropus -bearing Oldowan Infill. PMID:10835264

  4. Comparative energetics of mammalian locomotion: humans are not different.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halsey, L G; White, C R

    2012-11-01

    Debates about the evolution of human bipedality sometimes include discussion on the energy costs of terrestrial locomotion of extinct and extant hominins. However, comparative analyses of hominin transport costs conducted to date have been limited and potentially misinforming, in part because they fail to consider phylogenetic history. In the present study, we compare the measured costs of pedestrian locomotion in humans and the estimated costs for Australopithecus afarensis (an early bipedal hominin), to a database of locomotory costs for mammals. Using data for 81 species of mammal, we demonstrate significant phylogenetic signal in both log-transformed body mass (logMass) and log-transformed net cost of transport (logNCOT), but no phylogenetic signal in residuals of the relationship between logNCOT and logMass. We then used this relationship to generate a prediction line for NCOT based on body mass, and compared this prediction with published measured data for NCOT of running and walking in humans, and estimated NCOT of walking in A. afarensis. The cost of human walking was 25% lower than predicted, while the cost of running was 27% higher. The cost of A. afarensis walking was 32% lower than predicted. However, all of these data points fall within the 95% prediction interval for mammals, indicating that they are not significantly lower or higher than predicted for other mammals of similar mass. Moreover, the difference between humans and our closest living relative the common chimpanzee is comparable to differences between other similarly closely related species. We therefore conclude that there is no evidence from metabolic data that humans, or A. afarensis, have/had a reduced energy cost of pedestrian locomotion compared to other mammals in general. PMID:22963931

  5. The evolutionary relationships and age of Homo naledi: An assessment using dated Bayesian phylogenetic methods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dembo, Mana; Radovčić, Davorka; Garvin, Heather M; Laird, Myra F; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Brophy, Juliet; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Musiba, Chares M; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Mooers, Arne Ø; Collard, Mark

    2016-08-01

    Homo naledi is a recently discovered species of fossil hominin from South Africa. A considerable amount is already known about H. naledi but some important questions remain unanswered. Here we report a study that addressed two of them: "Where does H. naledi fit in the hominin evolutionary tree?" and "How old is it?" We used a large supermatrix of craniodental characters for both early and late hominin species and Bayesian phylogenetic techniques to carry out three analyses. First, we performed a dated Bayesian analysis to generate estimates of the evolutionary relationships of fossil hominins including H. naledi. Then we employed Bayes factor tests to compare the strength of support for hypotheses about the relationships of H. naledi suggested by the best-estimate trees. Lastly, we carried out a resampling analysis to assess the accuracy of the age estimate for H. naledi yielded by the dated Bayesian analysis. The analyses strongly supported the hypothesis that H. naledi forms a clade with the other Homo species and Australopithecus sediba. The analyses were more ambiguous regarding the position of H. naledi within the (Homo, Au. sediba) clade. A number of hypotheses were rejected, but several others were not. Based on the available craniodental data, Homo antecessor, Asian Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo floresiensis, Homo sapiens, and Au. sediba could all be the sister taxon of H. naledi. According to the dated Bayesian analysis, the most likely age for H. naledi is 912 ka. This age estimate was supported by the resampling analysis. Our findings have a number of implications. Most notably, they support the assignment of the new specimens to Homo, cast doubt on the claim that H. naledi is simply a variant of H. erectus, and suggest H. naledi is younger than has been previously proposed. PMID:27457542

  6. Perikymata spacing and distribution on hominid anterior teeth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, M C; Reid, D J

    2001-11-01

    We documented the spacing and distribution of perikymata on the buccal enamel surface of fossil hominin anterior teeth with reference to a sample of modern human and modern great ape teeth. A sample of 27 anterior teeth attributed to Australopithecus (5 to A. afarensis, 22 to A. africanus) and of 33 attributed to Paranthropus (6 to P. boisei, and 27 to P. robustus) were replicated and sputter-coated with gold to enable reflected light microscopy of their surface topography. Anterior teeth were then divided into 10 equal divisions of buccal crown height. The total perikymata count in each division of crown height was recorded using a binocular microscope fitted with a vernier micrometer eyepiece. Then the mean number of perikymata per millimeter was calculated for each division. Similar comparative data for a modern sample of 115 unworn human anterior teeth and 30 African great ape anterior teeth were collected from ground sections. Perikymata counts in each taxon (together with either known or presumed periodicities of perikymata) were then used to estimate enamel formation times in each division of crown height, for all anterior tooth types combined. The distributions of these estimates of time taken to form each division of crown height follow the same trends as the actual perikymata counts and differ between taxa in the same basic way. The distinction between modern African great apes and fossil hominins is particularly clear. Finally, we calculated crown formation times for each anterior tooth type by summing cuspal and lateral enamel formation times. Estimates of average crown formation times in australopiths are shorter than those calculated for both modern human and African great ape anterior teeth. The data presented here provide a better basis for exploring differences in perikymata spacing and distribution among fossil hominins, and provide the first opportunity to describe four specimens attributed to Homo in this context. Preliminary data indicate that

  7. Evolution of M1 crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quam, Rolf; Bailey, Shara; Wood, Bernard

    2009-05-01

    Previous research into tooth crown dimensions and cusp proportions has proved to be a useful way to identify taxonomic differences in Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. The present study has identified changes in both M(1) crown size and cusp proportions within the genus Homo, with M(1) overall crown size reduction apparently occurring in two main stages. The first stage (a reduction of ca. 17%) is associated with the emergence of Homo ergaster and Homo erectus sensu stricto. The second stage (a reduction of ca. 10%) occurs in Homo sapiens, but the reduced modern human M(1) tooth crown size was only attained in Upper Paleolithic times. The absolute sizes of the individual cusps are highly positively correlated with overall crown size and dental reduction produces a reduction in the absolute size of each of the cusps. Most of the individual cusps scale isometrically with crown size, but the paracone shows a negative allometric relationship, indicating that the reduction in paracone size is less than in the other M(1) cusps. Thus, the phylogenetically oldest cusp in the upper molars also seems to be the most stable cusp (at least in the M(1)). The most striking change in M(1) cusp proportions is a change in the relative size of the areas of the paracone and metacone. The combination of a small relative paracone and a large relative metacone generally characterizes specimens attributed to early Homo, and the presence of this character state in Australopithecus and Paranthropus suggests it may represent the primitive condition for the later part of the hominin clade. In contrast, nearly all later Homo taxa, with the exception of Homo antecessor, show the opposite condition (i.e. a relatively large paracone and a relatively small metacone). This change in the relationship between the relative sizes of the paracone and metacone is related to an isometric reduction of the absolute size of the metacone. This metacone reduction occurs in the context of relative

  8. Hypoglossal canal size in living hominoids and the evolution of human speech.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jungers, William L; Pokempner, Amy A; Kay, Richard F; Cartmill, Matt

    2003-08-01

    The relative size of the hypoglossal canal has been proposed as a useful diagnostic tool for the identification of human-like speech capabilities in the hominid fossil record. Relatively large hypoglossal canals (standardized to oral cavity size) were observed in humans and assumed to correspond to relatively large hypoglossal nerves, the cranial nerve that controls motor function of the tongue. It was suggested that the human pattern of tongue motor innervation and associated speech potential are very different from those of African apes and australopithecines; the modern human condition apparently appeared by the time of Middle Pleistocene Homo. A broader interspecific analysis of hypoglossal canal size in primates conducted in 1999 has rejected this diagnostic and inferences based upon it. In an attempt to resolve these differences of opinion, which we believe are based in part on biased size-adjustments and/or unwarranted assumptions, a new data set was collected and analyzed from 298 extant hominoid skulls, including orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, siamang, gibbons, and modern humans. Data on the absolute size of the hypoglossal nerve itself were also gathered from a small sample of humans and chimpanzee cadavers. A scale-free index of relative hypoglossal canal size (RHCS) was computed as 100 x (hypoglossal canal area(0.5)/oral cavity volume(0.333)). No significant sexual dimorphism in RHCS was discovered in any species of living hominoid, but there are significant interspecific differences in both absolute and relative sizes of the hypoglossal canal. In absolute terms, humans possess significantly larger canals than any other species except gorillas, but there is considerable overlap with chimpanzees. Humans are also characterized by large values of RHCS, but gibbons possess an even larger average mean for this index; siamang and bonobos overlap appreciably with humans in RHCS. The value of RHCS in Australopithecus afarensis is well within both

  9. [The anatomical and functional origin of the first bipedalism].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coppens, Y

    1991-10-01

    with Australopithecus, it seems that the very first made tools were the invention of prehumans who did not have yet the hands completely free from locomotion. PMID:1809491

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  12. Taphonomy of fossils from the hominin-bearing deposits at Dikika, Ethiopia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Jessica C; McPherron, Shannon P; Bobe, René; Reed, Denné; Barr, W Andrew; Wynn, Jonathan G; Marean, Curtis W; Geraads, Denis; Alemseged, Zeresenay

    2015-09-01

    Two fossil specimens from the DIK-55 locality in the Hadar Formation at Dikika, Ethiopia, are contemporaneous with the earliest documented stone tools, and they collectively bear twelve marks interpreted to be characteristic of stone tool butchery damage. An alternative interpretation of the marks has been that they were caused by trampling animals and do not provide evidence of stone tool use or large ungulate exploitation by Australopithecus-grade hominins. Thus, resolving which agents created marks on fossils in deposits from Dikika is an essential step in understanding the ecological and taphonomic contexts of the hominin-bearing deposits in this region and establishing their relevance for investigations of the earliest stone tool use. This paper presents results of microscopic scrutiny of all non-hominin fossils collected from the Hadar Formation at Dikika, including additional fossils from DIK-55, and describes in detail seven assemblages from sieved surface sediment samples. The study is the first taphonomic description of Pliocene fossil assemblages from open-air deposits in Africa that were collected without using only methods that emphasize the selective retention of taxonomically-informative specimens. The sieved assemblages show distinctive differences in faunal representation and taphonomic modifications that suggest they sample a range of depositional environments in the Pliocene Hadar Lake Basin, and have implications for how landscape-based taphonomy can be used to infer past microhabitats. The surface modification data show that no marks on any other fossils resemble in size or shape those on the two specimens from DIK-55 that were interpreted to bear stone tool inflicted damage. A large sample of marks from the sieved collections has characteristics that match modern trampling damage, but these marks are significantly smaller than those on the DIK-55 specimens and have different suites of characteristics. Most are not visible without magnification

  13. Trabecular architecture in the StW 352 fossil hominin calcaneus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeininger, Angel; Patel, Biren A; Zipfel, Bernhard; Carlson, Kristian J

    2016-08-01

    Australopithecus africanus has been interpreted as having a rigid lateral foot. One mechanism contributing to a rigid foot during push-off in humans is a calcaneocuboid joint (CCJ) with limited dorsiflexion and a "close-packed" talocalcaneal joint (TCJ). In contrast, apes likely have a greater CCJ range of motion and lack a close-packed TCJ. Differences in tarsal arthrokinematics may result in different joint loading environments. In Homo sapiens, we tested the hypothesis that dorsal and plantar CCJ and the TCJ show evidence of predictable habitual loading. In Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, Gorilla beringei, and Papio ursinus, we tested the hypothesis that only the dorsal CCJ shows evidence of predictable loading. Specifically, we predicted similarity in trabecular properties across the dorsal and plantar CCJ in H. sapiens, but dissimilarity in non-humans. Additionally, we investigated trabecular properties of an A. africanus calcaneus (StW 352) to evaluate joint loading patterns in this hominin and ultimately address the evolution of these properties in H. sapiens. Contrary to predictions, the H. sapiens dorsal CCJ has a significantly higher elongation index, bone volume fraction, trabecular thickness, and trabecular number than the plantar CCJ, while trabecular properties in non-humans do not always differ as predicted between regions. H. sapiens exhibits trabecular morphology indicative of less variable TCJ loading than other groups, having the most anisotropic and rod-like struts oriented in line with predicted principal loads. Multivariate analysis shows that the StW 352 dorsal CCJ matches P. ursinus best, while the plantar CCJ matches G. beringei best and the TCJ matches that of G. gorilla best. Overall patterns suggest that the StW 352 calcaneus experienced more variable loading than H. sapiens, but less variable loading than P. troglodytes, G. gorilla, G. beringei, and P. ursinus, consistent with a large range of foot movements, probably

  14. Using (1)(0)Be cosmogenic isotopes to estimate erosion rates and landscape changes during the Plio-Pleistocene in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dirks, Paul H G M; Placzek, Christa J; Fink, David; Dosseto, Anthony; Roberts, Eric

    2016-07-01

    Concentrations of cosmogenic (10)Be, measured in quartz from chert and river sediment around the Cradle of Humankind (CoH), are used to determine basin-averaged erosion rates and estimate incision rates for local river valleys. This study focusses on the catchment area that hosts Malapa cave with Australopithecus sediba, in order to compare regional versus localized erosion rates, and better constrain the timing of cave formation and fossil entrapment. Basin-averaged erosion rates for six sub-catchments draining the CoH show a narrow range (3.00 ± 0.28 to 4.15 ± 0.37 m/Mega-annum [Ma]; ±1σ) regardless of catchment size or underlying geology; e.g. the sub-catchment with Malapa Cave (3 km(2)) underlain by dolomite erodes at the same rate (3.30 ± 0.30 m/Ma) as the upper Skeerpoort River catchment (87 km(2)) underlain by shale, chert and conglomerate (3.23 ± 0.30 m/Ma). Likewise, the Skeerpoort River catchment (147 km(2)) draining the northern CoH erodes at a rate (3.00 ± 0.28 m/Ma) similar to the Bloubank-Crocodile River catchment (627 km(2)) that drains the southern CoH (at 3.62 ± 0.33 to 4.15 ± 0.37 m/Ma). Dolomite- and siliciclastic-dominated catchments erode at similar rates, consistent with physical weathering as the rate controlling process, and a relatively dry climate in more recent times. Erosion resistant chert dykes along the Grootvleispruit River below Malapa yield an incision rate of ∼8 m/Ma at steady-state erosion rates for chert of 0.86 ± 0.54 m/Ma. Results provide better palaeo-depth estimates for Malapa Cave of 7-16 m at the time of deposition of A. sediba. Low basin-averaged erosion rates and concave river profiles indicate that the landscape across the CoH is old, and eroding slowly; i.e. the physical character of the landscape changed little in the last 3-4 Ma, and dolomite was exposed on surface probably well into the Miocene. The apparent absence of early Pliocene- or Miocene-aged cave deposits and

  15. 沂源人牙冠的几何形态学研究%Geometric and Morphometric Analysis of Middle Pleistocene Hominin Teeth from Yiyuan, Shandong Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    孙承凯; 周蜜; 邢松

    2011-01-01

    Morphometric analysis of the crowns of six teeth from the Yiyuan site were compared with those of Homo erectus, archaic and late Homo sapiens from Asia, Australopithecus, African early Homo and recent Chinese. The present study shows that the Yiyuan teeth retain some primitive traits, including their trapezoidal outline shapes of the upper premolars and the straight mesial outline of the first upper molar. Other features are apomorphic, as manifested in the extent to which outline of p3 buccal cusp expands mesially and distally, the outline shape of the P4,which is close to that of the recent Chinese, the relatively large paracone size compared to the metacone in M1 , and the roundness of the buccal outline and relatively restricted metaconid of M1. Fossil teeth of early and middle Pleistocene Chinese exhibit many similarities to each other,with no obvious differences being shown, therefore Chinese Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens could be treated as a sample group. The teeth from Yiyuan could also be placed in this group, however these teeth are quite “evolved” compared with other sample members. It is noteworthy that M1 and M1 have a very large value of BL/MD, which surpasses each of corresponding specimens used in present study and may be meaningful in interpreting evolutionary progress.%采用形态测量分析方法对上世纪80年代发现于山东沂源的6枚人类牙齿化石齿冠外轮廓形状进行了研究,并与亚洲直立人、早期智人、晚期智人、南方古猿、非洲早期人属以及现代人进行了对比.本文发现:沂源人既保留了部分原始特征,也表现出许多进步特征.颊侧尖基底轮廓原始特征主要表现在P3和P4近似蚕豆形的外轮廓及M1近中轮廓线的平直;进步特征主要体现在:P3向近远中方向的明显扩展、颊侧尖向颊侧的突出程度减弱,P4外轮廓形状处于现代人分布范围的边缘,M1前后尖比例增大,M1颊侧外轮廓的圆隆以及下后尖的

  16. Cenozoic vegetation, climate changes and hominid evolution in tropical Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonnefille, Raymonde

    2010-07-01

    Ma in East Africa, 3 Ma earlier than in West Africa where it is documented at 7 Ma. At large geographical scale, this first increase in grass pollen simultaneously to forest increase in the marine records is interpreting as reflecting wetter conditions over the continent. Indeed, under global humid conditions, savanna could spread over the desert areas in the Northern and Eastern directions. A forest phase is well documented in West Africa between 7.5 and 7 Ma, but has not been shown in East Africa, mainly because of low resolution analysis of the DSDP East African record which needs further investigation for that period. A strong vegetation change took place between 6.3 and 6 Ma. It was marked by a trend of important decrease tree cover of the vegetation, simultaneous in West and East Africa. At that time, very arid conditions shown by scarce tree cover occurred over the whole tropical region. This happened before (or at) the early beginning of the Messinian crisis. Generally arid conditions coincide with the accepted timing for the Chimpanzee/hominid split, and record of Sahelanthropus tchadensis in Chad and Orrorin tugenensis in Kenya, although these fossils were found under locally wooded environment. The period from 6 to 4 Ma saw the appearance of Ardipithecus and diversification of Australopithecines occurring during a progressive increased tree cover in the broad-scale vegetation that culminated at 3.9 Ma, during A. anamensis time and before the first appearance of Australopithecus afarensis. Important variations in the vegetation occurred between 4 and 3 Ma, and many plant ecosystems were available to A.afarensis, a hominid which had a wide geographical distribution and persisted at Hadar under temporal climatic and environmental variability. The strongest and abrupt decline of forest pollen accompanied by an increase in the grass pollen was found at 2.7 Ma, more pronounced in the West than in East Africa. It was accompanied by a significant increase in C 4