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Sample records for australopithecus bahrelghazali mio-pliocene

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Les bois fossiles mio-pliocènes de Nkondo (lac Albert, Ouganda), composition minéralogique et mode de formationThe Mio-Pliocene fossil woods from Nkondo (Lake Albert, Uganda), mineralogical composition and formation.

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    Pailler, Delphine; Flicoteaux, René; Ambrosi, Jean-Paul; Médus, Jacques

    2000-08-01

    The fossil wood samples found in the Mio-Pliocene lacustrine sediments of the Nkondo Formation, on the eastern shore of Lake Albert (Uganda), have undergone different mineralisations. The first epigenetic replacement by hematite, goethite and apatite preserved the plant structures, whereas subsequent replacement by goethite erased it. Some precipitations likely to be of microbial origin are associated with the epigenesis in apatite. The characteristics of the different mineralisations reveal that the fossilisation of the wood samples started with their transportation into the lake and continued after their deposition into the ironstone levels that have yielded the fossil woods.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. The upper limb of Australopithecus sediba.

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    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

  9. No brain expansion in Australopithecus boisei.

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    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

  10. Rodent faunas of the Mio-Pliocene continental sediments of the Teruel-Alfambra region, Spain

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    Weerd, A. van de

    1976-01-01

    In the large inland basin of Teruel-Calatayud the area around the town of Teruel is well known for its numerous remains of fossil mammals. They are found in Upper Miocene and Pliocene deposits, and some groups have already been studied in detail. Simultaneous with the collecting of fossil smaller ma

  11. Revision of the Mio-Pliocene bunodont otter-like mammals of the Indian Subcontinent

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    Pickford, M.

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available A revision of the Enhydriodontini of the Indian Subcontinent is undertaken on the basis of previously described and recently collected bunodont otter-like fossils from the sub-Himalayan Siwalik Group. It is confirmed that, with the passage of geological time spanning the period 13 – 3 Ma, there occurred a progressive increase in body size, a reduction of the anterior part of the premolar row and an increase in degree of cheek tooth bunodonty and cusp mastoidization. Functional analysis of a snout with a partly preserved incisor battery of Enhydriodon sivalensis, reveals that it was probably a molluscivore, preying principally on bivalves, while other species of enhydriodonts were more likely to have been piscivores and cancrivores. One new species of Sivaonyx is described from the base of the Late Miocene of Pakistan. Bunodont otter-like mammals from Eurasia, Africa and North America are briefly discussed in light of the revision of the Indo-Pakistan ones. The origins and phylogenetic relationships of these mammals remains obscure. The major differences in dental anatomy indicate that these Old World otter-like mammals should not be classified in Enhydrini, but in a tribe of their own Enhydriodontini new tribe.La revisión de los Enhydriontinos del subcontinente Indio se aborda, tanto en base a los fósiles de nutrias bunodontas previamente descritos, como a los hallazgos recientemente realizados en el Grupo de los Siwaliks en el sub-Himalaya. Se confirma que durante el período de tiempo comprendido entre los 13 a 3 Ma hubo un progresivo incremento en la talla corporal, una reducción de la parte anterior de la serie premolar y un incremento en el grado de bunodoncia y mastoidización de las cúspides de los dientes. El análisis funcional de un hocico de Enhydriodon sivalensis con la batería de incisivos parcialmente conservados revela que esta especie fue parcialmente malacófaga, alimentándose principalmente de bivalvos, mientras que otras especies de enhydriontinos fueron más piscívoras y cancrívoras. En el trabajo también se describe una nueva especie de Sivaonyx procedente de la base del Mioceno Terminal de Paquistán. Los mamíferos bunodontos de tipo nutria de Eurasia, África y América del Norte son brevemente discutidos a la luz de la revisión realizada para las formas paquistaníes. El origen y relaciones filogenéticas de estos mamíferos permanecen oscuros. Las importantes diferencias en anatomía dental indican que estos mamíferos de tipo nutria del Viejo Mundo no deberían ser clasificados como Enhydrini, sino en una tribu propia, Enhydriodontini nueva tribu.

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

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    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

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

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    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

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

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    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

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

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

    2013-06-01

    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 (>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.

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

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    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

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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)

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

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    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

  2. 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.

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

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    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.

  4. Studies in Neotropical Paleobotany. XV. A Mio-Pliocene palynoflora from the Eastern Cordillera, Bolivia: implications for the uplift history of the Central Andes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, A; Gregory-Wodzicki, K M; Wright, K L

    2001-09-01

    An assemblage of 33 fossil pollen and spores, recovered from the 3600-m high Pislepampa locality of E. W. Berry, Eastern Cordillera, Bolivia, adds considerably to our knowledge of three aspects of the region in late Neogene time: (1) the paleovegetation, (2) the paleoclimate, and (3) the paleoelevation of the Central Andes. The plant microfossils recognized are Isoetes, Lycopodium (three types), Cnemidaria, Cyathea (three types), Grammitis, Hymenophyllum, Pteris, trilete fern spores (two types), Danaea, monolete fern spores (four types), Podocarpus, Gramineae, Palmae, Ilex, cf. Oreopanax, Cavanillesia, cf. Pereskia, Compositae (three types), Ericaceae, Tetrorchidium, and unknowns (three types). The diversity of the Compositae suggest that this flora has a maximum age around the Miocene-Pliocene boundary, that is, 6-7 million years. All members of the paleocommunity presently grow in the bosque montano húmedo (cloud forest) along the eastern slope of the Central Andes of Bolivia, which occurs between MATs (mean annual temperatures) of ∼10° and 20°C. The Pislepampa flora probably represents the lower limits of this forest because the fossil leaves collected by Berry from the same locality all have entire margins, suggesting that the flora grew near the cloud forest-tropical forest transition. Presently, the lower limit of the cloud forest forest has MATs of ∼20°C, a mean annual precipitation between 1000 and 1500 mm, and that part containing most of the identified genera of fossil pollen is found at elevations ∼1200-1400 m. These conditions are thus inferred for the Pislepampa flora; however, because of the uncertainty of the magnitude of global climate change and of possible changes in the ecological range of plant genera, we estimate an error of at least ±1000 m for the paleoelevation estimate. When the total uplift is corrected for probable amounts of erosionally driven isostatic rebound, the paleoelevation estimate suggests that from one-third to one-half of the uplift of the Eastern Cordillera had occurred by the beginning of the Pliocene. This estimate is consistent with other paleoelevation estimates from the Central Andes. PMID:21669687

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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    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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Baboon feeding ecology informs the dietary niche of Paranthropus boisei.

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    Gabriele A Macho

    Full Text Available Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%-80% of their tissues' δ(13C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei's food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%-42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2-4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins, explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species' derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation.

  16. Evolution of brain and culture: the neurological and cognitive journey from Australopithecus to Albert Einstein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falk, Dean

    2016-06-20

    Fossil and comparative primatological evidence suggest that alterations in the development of prehistoric hominin infants kindled three consecutive evolutionary-developmental (evo-devo) trends that, ultimately, paved the way for the evolution of the human brain and cognition. In the earliest trend, infants' development of posture and locomotion became delayed because of anatomical changes that accompanied the prolonged evolution of bipedalism. Because modern humans have inherited these changes, our babies are much slower than other primates to reach developmental milestones such as standing, crawling, and walking. The delay in ancestral babies' physical development eventually precipitated an evolutionary reversal in which they became increasing unable to cling independently to their mothers. For the first time in prehistory, babies were, thus, periodically deprived of direct physical contact with their mothers. This prompted the emergence of a second evo-devo trend in which infants sought contact comfort from caregivers using evolved signals, including new ways of crying that are conserved in modern babies. Such signaling stimulated intense reciprocal interactions between prehistoric mothers and infants that seeded the eventual emergence of motherese and, subsequently, protolanguage. The third trend was for an extreme acceleration in brain growth that began prior to the last trimester of gestation and continued through infants' first postnatal year (early "brain spurt"). Conservation of this trend in modern babies explains why human brains reach adult sizes that are over three times those of chimpanzees. The fossil record of hominin cranial capacities together with comparative neuroanatomical data suggest that, around 3 million years ago, early brain spurts began to facilitate an evolutionary trajectory for increasingly large adult brains in association with neurological reorganization. The prehistoric increase in brain size eventually caused parturition to become exceedingly difficult, and this difficulty, known as the "obstetrical dilemma", is likely to constrain the future evolution of brain size and, thus, privilege ongoing evolution in neurological reorganization. In modern babies, the brain spurt is accompanied by formation and tuning (pruning) of neurological connections, and development of dynamic higher-order networks that facilitate acquisition of grammatical language and, later in development, other advanced computational abilities such as musical or mathematical perception and performance. The cumulative evidence suggests that the emergence and refinement of grammatical language was a prime mover of hominin brain evolution.

  17. Evolution of brain and culture: the neurological and cognitive journey from Australopithecus to Albert Einstein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falk, Dean

    2016-06-20

    Fossil and comparative primatological evidence suggest that alterations in the development of prehistoric hominin infants kindled three consecutive evolutionary-developmental (evo-devo) trends that, ultimately, paved the way for the evolution of the human brain and cognition. In the earliest trend, infants' development of posture and locomotion became delayed because of anatomical changes that accompanied the prolonged evolution of bipedalism. Because modern humans have inherited these changes, our babies are much slower than other primates to reach developmental milestones such as standing, crawling, and walking. The delay in ancestral babies' physical development eventually precipitated an evolutionary reversal in which they became increasing unable to cling independently to their mothers. For the first time in prehistory, babies were, thus, periodically deprived of direct physical contact with their mothers. This prompted the emergence of a second evo-devo trend in which infants sought contact comfort from caregivers using evolved signals, including new ways of crying that are conserved in modern babies. Such signaling stimulated intense reciprocal interactions between prehistoric mothers and infants that seeded the eventual emergence of motherese and, subsequently, protolanguage. The third trend was for an extreme acceleration in brain growth that began prior to the last trimester of gestation and continued through infants' first postnatal year (early "brain spurt"). Conservation of this trend in modern babies explains why human brains reach adult sizes that are over three times those of chimpanzees. The fossil record of hominin cranial capacities together with comparative neuroanatomical data suggest that, around 3 million years ago, early brain spurts began to facilitate an evolutionary trajectory for increasingly large adult brains in association with neurological reorganization. The prehistoric increase in brain size eventually caused parturition to become exceedingly difficult, and this difficulty, known as the "obstetrical dilemma", is likely to constrain the future evolution of brain size and, thus, privilege ongoing evolution in neurological reorganization. In modern babies, the brain spurt is accompanied by formation and tuning (pruning) of neurological connections, and development of dynamic higher-order networks that facilitate acquisition of grammatical language and, later in development, other advanced computational abilities such as musical or mathematical perception and performance. The cumulative evidence suggests that the emergence and refinement of grammatical language was a prime mover of hominin brain evolution. PMID:26894688

  18. Virtual reconstruction of the Australopithecus africanus pelvis Sts 65 with implications for obstetrics and locomotion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Claxton, Alexander G; Hammond, Ashley S; Romano, Julia; Oleinik, Ekaterina; DeSilva, Jeremy M

    2016-10-01

    Characterizing australopith pelvic morphology has been difficult in part because of limited fossilized pelvic material. Here, we reassess the morphology of an under-studied adult right ilium and pubis (Sts 65) from Member 4 of Sterkfontein, South Africa, and provide a hypothetical digital reconstruction of its overall pelvic morphology. The small size of the pelvis, presence of a preauricular sulcus, and shape of the sciatic notch allow us to agree with past interpretations that Sts 65 likely belonged to a female. The morphology of the iliac pillar, while not as substantial as in Homo, is more robust than in A.L. 288-1 and Sts 14. We created a reconstruction of the pelvis by digitally articulating the Sts 65 right ilium and a mirrored copy of the left ilium with the Sts 14 sacrum in Autodesk Maya. Points along the arcuate line were used to orient the ilia to the sacrum. This reconstruction of the Sts 65 pelvis looks much like a "classic" australopith pelvis, with laterally flared ilia and an inferiorly deflected pubis. An analysis of the obstetric dimensions from our reconstruction shows similarity to other australopiths, a likely transverse or oblique entrance of the neonatal cranium into the pelvic inlet, and a cephalopelvic ratio similar to that found in humans today.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Rapid Post-Miocene tectonic rotation associated with the San Gregorio Fault Zone in central California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holm, Eric J.; Horns, Daniel M.; Verosub, Kenneth L.

    1991-12-01

    Paleomagnetic measurements of samples from the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation demonstrate that the Pomponio tectonic block of central coastal California has rotated clockwise by approximately 35° to 55° within the last 2.5 million years. The most likely interpretation of this data is that the Pomponio block is broken into several small blocks which have rotated by various amounts. The data suggest that rotations contribute to vertical deformation and secondary faulting within the central San Andreas Fault System, and that they play an important role in the accommodation of shear along the fault system.

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Divergence between Antarctic and South American marine invertebrates: What molecular biology tells us about Scotia Arc geodynamics and the intensification of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poulin, Elie; González-Wevar, Claudio; Díaz, Angie; Gérard, Karin; Hüne, Mathias

    2014-12-01

    Continental drift processes such as major gateway openings have been historically advocated to explain the distribution of marine benthic taxa in the Southern Ocean (SO). The separation between Antarctic Peninsula and the southern tip of South America together with the onset of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) represent the final step for the complete isolation of the Antarctic region. However, there is still controversy concerning the timing and mode of this process, and especially about the role of the Scotia Arc geodynamics in the development of a fully deep and intensified ACC circulation. Based on mitochondrial Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I (COI) sequences obtained from different taxa, we performed molecular comparisons between Antarctic and South American relatives to provide independent time estimations of Antarctica's isolation. We include in the analyses congeneric Antarctic and Patagonian near-shore marine benthic invertebrates including indirect developers (Nacella, Yoldia, Sterechinus, and Parbolasia) and brooders (Xymenopsis and Trophonella). Considering the levels of genetic differentiation between relatives from both regions and assuming the molecular clock hypothesis, we estimated the onset of their respective divergence. On one hand, similar levels of genetic distance in broadcast-spawners (7%-8.3%) support the hypothesis that the development of an effective barrier between Antarctica and South America occurred almost simultaneously for these groups. Divergence time estimations based on specific substitution rates indicate that the separation occurred near the Mio-Pliocene transition, long after the physical separation of both continents. Genetic distance and divergence time estimation in direct developers indicate an older separation time, close to the mid-Miocene. Even when the analyzed groups included both broadcast-spawners and brooder organisms, the divergence between Antarctic and South America lineages rather than being related to

  7. The rise of ocean giants: maximum body size in Cenozoic marine mammals as an indicator for productivity in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeij, Geerat J.

    2016-01-01

    Large consumers have ecological influence disproportionate to their abundance, although this influence in food webs depends directly on productivity. Evolutionary patterns at geologic timescales inform expectations about the relationship between consumers and productivity, but it is very difficult to track productivity through time with direct, quantitative measures. Based on previous work that used the maximum body size of Cenozoic marine invertebrate assemblages as a proxy for benthic productivity, we investigated how the maximum body size of Cenozoic marine mammals, in two feeding guilds, evolved over comparable temporal and geographical scales. First, maximal size in marine herbivores remains mostly stable and occupied by two different groups (desmostylians and sirenians) over separate timeframes in the North Pacific Ocean, while sirenians exclusively dominated this ecological mode in the North Atlantic. Second, mysticete whales, which are the largest Cenozoic consumers in the filter-feeding guild, remained in the same size range until a Mio-Pliocene onset of cetacean gigantism. Both vertebrate guilds achieved very large size only recently, suggesting that different trophic mechanisms promoting gigantism in the oceans have operated in the Cenozoic than in previous eras. PMID:27381883

  8. Payenia volcanic province, southern Mendoza, Argentina

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Søager, Nina; Holm, Paul Martin; Llambias, Eduardo Jorge

    2013-01-01

    to the low thickness of the lithospheric mantle and preheating of the lower crust by earlier Mio-Pliocene volcanism. Rare earth element modelling of mantle melting calls for enriched source compositions and a beginning of melting within the garnet stability field for all Payenia basalts. The Río Colorado......The Pleistocene to Holocene Payenia volcanic province is a backarc region of 60,000 km2 in Mendoza, Argentina, which is dominated by transitional to alkaline basalts and trachybasalts. We present major and trace element compositions of 139 rocks from this area of which the majority are basaltic...... rocks with 4 to 12 wt.% MgO and 44 to 50 wt.% SiO2. The southern Payenia province is dominated by intraplate basalts and the trace element patterns of the Río Colorado and Payún Matrú lavas suggest little or no influence from subducted slab components. The mantle source of these rocks is similar to some...

  9. 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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26392383

  10. Time scales of regional circulation of saline fluids in continental aquifers (Armorican massif, Western France

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Armandine Les Landes

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available In recent decades, saline fluids have been sampled worldwide at great depths in continental basements. Although some of them have been attributed to marine transgressions the mechanisms allowing their circulation is not understood. In this paper, we describe the horizontal and vertical distribution of moderately saline fluids (60 to 1400 mg L−1 sampled at depths ranging from 41 to 200 m in aquifers at the regional scale of the Armorican Massif (northwestern France. The horizontal and vertical distributions of high chloride concentrations are in good agreement with both the altitudinal and vertical limits and succession of the three major transgressions between the Mio-Pliocene and Pleistocene ages. The mean chloride concentration for each transgression area is exponentially related to the time spanned until present. It defines the potential laws of leaching of marine waters by fresh meteoric waters. The results of the Armorican aquifers provide the first observed constraints for the time scales of seawater circulation in the continental basement and the subsequent leaching by fresh meteoric waters. The general trend of increasing chloride concentration with depth and the time frame for the flushing process provide useful information to develop conceptual models of the paleo-functionning of Armorican aquifers.

  11. 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.

  12. The rise of ocean giants: maximum body size in Cenozoic marine mammals as an indicator for productivity in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyenson, Nicholas D; Vermeij, Geerat J

    2016-07-01

    Large consumers have ecological influence disproportionate to their abundance, although this influence in food webs depends directly on productivity. Evolutionary patterns at geologic timescales inform expectations about the relationship between consumers and productivity, but it is very difficult to track productivity through time with direct, quantitative measures. Based on previous work that used the maximum body size of Cenozoic marine invertebrate assemblages as a proxy for benthic productivity, we investigated how the maximum body size of Cenozoic marine mammals, in two feeding guilds, evolved over comparable temporal and geographical scales. First, maximal size in marine herbivores remains mostly stable and occupied by two different groups (desmostylians and sirenians) over separate timeframes in the North Pacific Ocean, while sirenians exclusively dominated this ecological mode in the North Atlantic. Second, mysticete whales, which are the largest Cenozoic consumers in the filter-feeding guild, remained in the same size range until a Mio-Pliocene onset of cetacean gigantism. Both vertebrate guilds achieved very large size only recently, suggesting that different trophic mechanisms promoting gigantism in the oceans have operated in the Cenozoic than in previous eras. PMID:27381883

  13. The Cape element in the Afrotemperate flora: from Cape to Cairo?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galley, Chloe; Bytebier, Benny; Bellstedt, Dirk U; Linder, H Peter

    2007-02-22

    The build-up of biodiversity is the result of immigration and in situ speciation. We investigate these two processes for four lineages (Disa, Irideae p.p., the Pentaschistis clade and Restionaceae) that are widespread in the Afrotemperate flora. These four lineages may be representative of the numerous clades which are species rich in the Cape and also occur in the highlands of tropical Africa. It is as yet unclear in which direction the lineages spread. Three hypotheses have been proposed: (i) a tropical origin with a southward migration towards the Cape, (ii) a Cape origin with a northward migration into tropical Africa, and (iii) vicariance. None of these hypotheses has been thoroughly tested. We reconstruct the historical biogeography of the four lineages using likelihood optimization onto molecular phylogenies. We find that tropical taxa are nested within a predominantly Cape clade. There is unidirectional migration from the Cape into the Drakensberg and from there northwards into tropical Africa. The amount of in situ diversification differs between areas and clades. Dating estimates show that the migration into tropical East Africa has occurred in the last 17 Myr, consistent with the Mio-Pliocene formation of the mountains in this area.

  14. The Transylvanian Basin (Romania) and its relation to the Carpathian fold and thrust belt: Insights in gravitational salt tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Krezsek, Csaba [SNGN ROMGAZ, 4 Unirii 551025 Medias (Romania); Bally, Albert W. [Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Rice, 6100 South Main Street, Houston, TX 77005-1892 (United States)

    2006-05-15

    Interpretation of regional seismic profiles, stratigraphic and sedimentologic data improved insights in the evolution of the Transylvanian Basin. The basin evolution was coeval with the post-Mid-Cretaceous to recent deformation of the Carpathian Mts. Four tectonostratigraphic megasequences are differentiated: Upper Cretaceous (rift), Paleogene (sag), Lower Miocene (flexural basin) and Middle to Upper Miocene (backarc sequence dominated by gravitational tectonics). The Mid-Miocene continental collision in the Eastern Carpathians is associated with the rising Carpathians. This uplift enhanced the differential load, which, together with the high heat flow induced by Late Miocene to Pliocene arc volcanism, triggered large-scale Mio-Pliocene gravity spreading of the salt overburden. This 'mega-slide' comprises three structural domains, as follows: extensional weld (upslope), contractional folds (central) and contractional toe thrust (downslope). The diapirs in the east indicate a pre-shortening reactive/passive growth stage. The central folds are mostly the result of late shortening. Basement involved thrusting uplifted the toe thrust domain by the Late Pliocene. The Late Neogene to recent Carpathians uplift, backarc volcanism and gravity spreading are largely coeval. (author)

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

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    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.

  2. 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).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Haohao; Balan, Etienne; Gervais, Christel; Ségalen, Loïc; Roche, Damien; Person, Alain; Fayon, Franck; Morin, Guillaume; Babonneau, Florence

    2014-09-01

    A series of fossil tooth enamel samples was investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, (13)C and (19)F 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 2.8wt.%). FTIR spectroscopy revealed a shift of the ν1 PO4 stretching band to higher frequency. The ν2 CO3 vibrational band showed a decrease in the intensity of the primary B-type carbonate signal, which was replaced by a specific band at 864cm(-1). This last band was ascribed to a specific carbonate environment in which the carbonate group is closely associated to a fluoride ion. The occurrence of this carbonate defect was consistently attested by the observation of two different fluoride signals in the (19)F NMR spectra. One main signal, at ∼-100ppm, is related to structural F ions in the apatite channel and the other, at -88ppm, corresponds to the composite defect. These spectroscopic observations can be understood as resulting from the mixture of two phases: biogenic hydroxylapatite (bioapatite) and secondary fluorapatite. SEM observations of the most altered sample confirmed the extensive replacement of the bioapatite by fluorapatite, resulting from the dissolution of the primary bioapatite followed by the precipitation of carbonate-fluorapatite. The ν2 CO3 IR bands can be efficiently used to monitor the extent of this type of bioapatite transformation during fossilization.

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

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    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

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

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    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Extreme Erosion of the Eastern Himalayan Syntaxis Traced by Isotopic Compositions of River and Bengal Fan Sediments

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    France-Lanord, C.; Galy, V.; Pik, R.; Singh, S. K.

    2006-12-01

    Sediments of the Brahmaputra basin were collected in Assam and Bangladesh including the Siang-Tsangpo that drains the Namche Barwa syntaxis. Chemistry, and Sr and Nd isotopic compositions trace sediment provenance and erosion distribution in eastern Himalaya. Overall sediments display a large range of 87Sr/86Sr (0.705 to 0.825) and ɛNd (-20.5 to -6.9) (Singh et al. 2001). Nevertheless, sediments of the Siang and along course of the Brahmaputra show almost constant isotopic signatures. Mass balance calculations based on these data along with data available for the Tsangpo in Tibet and in Namche Barwa region show that the basin is marked with differential erosion. About half of the sediments is derived from the syntaxis, which is only 20% of the mountainous area. Zircon-He ages from the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh range from 0.4 to 77 Ma. 40% of the zircon have ages between 0.4 and 1 Ma defining a distribution peak centred at 0.5 Ma. These young ages correspond to extreme denudation rates of 5 to 7 mm/yr. Dispersed ages from 12 to 77 Ma do not define any disctinct group and the remaining 40% of the zircons have ages between 2.5 and 7 Ma, which correspond to the pool of ages recorded by on other Himalayan rivers. The Namche Barwa syntaxis shows the same type of very young zircon ages as observed in the Siang (Stewart et al., 2004). The intense erosion of the eastern syntaxis is likely sustained by the high incision potential of the Tsangpo river due to its very high water discharge prior to the Syntaxis. Sr-Nd isotopic compositions of the Brahmaputra are different from those of the Himalayan tributaries and of the Ganga due to the contribution of the Calc-alkaline formations of the Transhimalaya. This contribution is also traced on modern sediments of the delta as well as in upper Bengal fan aged between 30 and 20 000 years and suggest a rather steady erosion regime since the LGM. On a longer time scale, Mio-Pliocene sediments from the middle Bengal Fan (DSDP Site 218

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  10. Are There High Meteorite Concentrations in the Atacama Desert/Chile?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scherer, P.; Delisle, G.

    1992-07-01

    We have visited numerous regions of the Atacama desert between Copiapo (27 degrees, 15'S) and Calama (22 degrees, 25'S) to assess their potential as a high-yield meteorite concentration surface, easily exploitable by search efforts within a reasonable time frame. According to our observations, this desert is characterized by the following features: a) A high percentage of the desert consists of sloping surfaces on which soil movement occurs, presumably by very infrequent, though heavy rain. b) Vast areas of the desert are covered by a dm-thick sand layer of dark colour. Since the sand is too coarse-grained to be transported by wind it presumably resulted from in-situ weathering of rock debris derived from nearby mountains. We suspect that impacting smaller objects can easily penetrate the sand layer. c) The sand layer is typically dotted by rocks, fist-size or smaller, that are covered by a thick layer of desert paint (reddish-brown to black colour). Most country rocks are of volcanic origin (rhyolite, andesite, basalt) and are typically of grey to black colour. A noticeable colour contrast in particular to potential stony meteorites is almost nonexistent. d) Soil salts with a potential to speed up weathering processes are ubiquitous near the surface. e) The Pampa de Mejillones, 45 km north of Antofagasta, is one of the few light-coloured areas in the Atacama desert. The surface, being of Mio-Pliocene age, consists of an almost continuous layer of light-brown fossil shells (bivalves and gastropodes). Fluvially transported dark rocks from adjacent outcrops rest on top. The latter material is covered again by desert paint. Few meteorite discoveries have been reported from this area (Pampa (a),(b),(c)). f) Numerous old tire tracks, in particular around mines in operation, crisscross most areas of the Atacama. Undetected objects such as large masses of iron bodies are not likely to have remained undiscovered in great numbers any more. We conclude that the potential of

  11. Tectonic evolution of the El Salvador Fault Zone. Insights from analogue experiments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alonso-Henar, Jorge; Schreurs, Guido; Jesús Martínez-Díaz, José; Álvarez-Gómez, José Antonio

    2014-05-01

    The El Salvador Fault Zone (ESFZ) is an active, c. 150 km long and 20 km wide segmented, dextral strike-slip fault zone within the El Salvador Volcanic Arc striking N90°-100°E. Although several studies have investigated the surface expression of the ESFZ, little is known about its structure at depth and its kinematic evolution. Our analysis of structural field data, remote sensing images and morphometric indices reveals a trenchward migration of the volcanic arc and furthermore suggests that not all structures within the ESFZ can be explained within the current tectonic context, but require a phase of extension or an extensional component of deformation at some stage in the evolution of the ESFZ. Such an extension and trenchward migration of the volcanic arc could be related to subduction roll-back of the Cocos Plate beneath the Chortis Block in Mio-Pliocene times. Such a possible evolution leads to open questions that we address in our research: Is the ESFZ a neo-formed fault zone, i.e. did it form during one phase of strike-slip or transtensional deformation, or do the structures in the ESFZ reflect a two-phase evolution, i.e. an early phase of extension overprinted by a later phase of strike-slip or transtension? Did subduction roll-back occur beneath El Salvador? We carried out analogue model experiments to test whether or not an early phase of extension is required to form the present-day fault pattern in the ESFZ. Analogue modeling is an effective tool in testing various hypotheses, as it allows the experimenter to control specific parameters and to test their influence on the resulting structures. Our experiments suggest that a two-phase tectonic evolution best explains the ESFZ: an early pure extensional phase linked to a segmented volcanic arc is necessary to form the main structures of the ESFZ and can explain the shallow geometry of the fault zone. This extensional phase is followed by a strike-slip dominated regime, which results in inter

  12. Extreme extension across Seram and Ambon, eastern Indonesia: evidence for Banda slab rollback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pownall, J. M.; Hall, R.; Watkinson, I. M.

    2013-09-01

    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 and rapid N-S extension that has caused the high-temperature exhumation of lherzolites beneath low-angle lithospheric detachment faults that induced high-temperature metamorphism and melting in overlying crustal rocks. These "Kobipoto Complex" migmatites include highly residual Al-Mg-rich garnet + cordierite + sillimanite + spinel + corundum granulites (exposed in the Kobipoto Mountains) which contain coexisting spinel + quartz, indicating that peak metamorphic temperatures likely approached 900 °C. Associated with these residual granulites are voluminous Mio-Pliocene granitic diatexites, or "cordierite granites", which crop out on Ambon, western Seram, and in the Kobipoto Mountains and incorporate abundant schlieren of spinel- and sillimanite-bearing residuum. Quaternary "ambonites" (cordierite + garnet dacites) emplaced on Ambon were also evidently sourced from the Kobipoto Complex migmatites as demonstrated by granulite-inherited xenoliths. Exhumation of the hot peridotites and granulite-facies Kobipoto Complex migmatites to shallower structural levels caused greenschist- to lower-amphibolite facies metapelites and amphibolites of the Tehoru Formation to be overprinted by sillimanite-grade metamorphism, migmatisation, and limited localised anatexis to form the Taunusa Complex. The extreme extension required to have driven Kobipoto Complex exhumation evidently occurred throughout Seram and along much of the northern Banda Arc. The lherzolites must have been juxtaposed against the crust at typical

  13. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  14. Past changes of the North African monsoon intensity between 5 and 6.2 My, impact of the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ségueni, F.; Colin, C.; Siani, G.; Frank, N.; Blamart, D.; Kissel, C.; Liu, Z.; Richter, T.; Suc, J.

    2006-12-01

    A high resolution multiproxy study by oxygen isotope record (δ18O) on benthic foraminifera (Cibicides wuellerstorfii), magnetic susceptibility, clay mineralogy (DRX), major - trace elements (XRF core scanner and ICPMS) and Rb/Sr - Nd isotopes was carried out from site ODP 659 along the Cape Verde off Africa. The aim was to reconstruct variations of African Monsoon during the Mio-Pliocene in the time interval from 5 My to 6,2 My. Chronology was established by linear interpolation between 3 bio-events based on calcareous nannoplancton zones, 2 glacial stages TG12 and TG22 identified on δ18O records and by tuning the δ18O and magnetic susceptibility records to the orbital parameter of obliquity and precession. Results indicate that between 5 to 6.2 My variability in the eolian input from Sahara and the coastal upwelling intensity are anti-correlated and make it possible to retrace the evolution of northern African Monsoon. The latter co- varies mainly with the insolation received by the earth at low latitude during the summer. Maximal insolation enhance summer monsoonal effects by increasing wetter conditions on Sahel and NE dominance wind system cause a reduced eolian input and an increased biogenic sea surface productivity by coastal upwelling. On the other hand, minimal insolation reinforce winter monsoon that create a more arid climate on Sahel and stronger westward winds that increase eolian flux on Cap Verde with a reduced upwelling effect on sea surface productivity. At a longer time scale, the end of the MSC is correlated with a major change of the African Monsoon intensity. Finally, the δ18O record on C.wuellerstorfii suggests that global eustatic processes didn't play a key role in the MSC history. Nevertheless, transition between glacial stage TG12 and the interglacial TG11 seems to correspond to a major event within the MSC, and associated to the beginning of the upper evaporite deposits. Thus, the facies of the Lago Mare of the upper evaporites would

  15. The Landslides Hazard Assessment Using Gis Techniques In The Province of Macerata (marches Region, Italy)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farabollini, P.; Pambianchi, G.

    The present work illustrates the results of research aimed at identifying and assessing geological and geomorphological characteristics at preventing and/or mitigating hydrogeological hazard in an area subject to high anthropic impact. The study area is the Province of Macerata (ca 2700km2), which from the standpoint of geological, geomorphologic, hydrogeologic, and anthropic characteristics can be considered representative of the Adriatic side of central Italy. Particular attention was addressed to the surveying of active morphogenetic processes due to the gravity, above all those affecting structures and infrastructures; for each of the latter technical worksheets were prepared. The field surveys and monitoring carried out over several years allowed it to be shown how deep-seated processes, are in continuous evolution, which prompted the use of GIS-type information science instruments for setting up a databank that could be updated and easy to use in the various stages of planning the works. The analysis carried out showed that ca 10% of the study territory, and particularly the high hilly areas characterized by Mio-Pliocene terrigenous deposits, is subject to processes linked to the action of gravity. In particular ca 1700 landslides have been recognized (for each 870 landslides affected various structures or infrastructures) of which 1100 are active and 600 quiescent. If the really accident-prone areas are added to those potentially at risk, determined by means of semi-quantitative evaluation, the hydrogeological accident can be said to affect more than 35% of the study area. Moreover if the area subject to surface erosion processes (solifluction, soil creep), mostly connected with the high level of anthropic impact not supported by an adequate safeguarding of the environment, is added to that percentage, a value of ca 50% is reached for the whole study territory. The study, based on statistically significant data, confirm the scientific literature regarding

  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. Doubts and Speculation of the Use of Stone Balls%石球用途的质疑与猜测

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    司新国

    2012-01-01

    The stone ball is one of common important stoneware types in the Paleolithic site. The stone ball is the first product of labor of Australopithecus undoubtedly, But we have no reason to think of the Australopithecus creating any objects as tools. Worship of the sun and the moon and the fruit may become the power of Australopithecus building stone balls.%石球是旧石器时代遗址中常见的、重要的石器类型之一。石球无疑是古猿的最初劳动产品,但我们没有理由把古猿创造的任何器物都视为工具。对日月的崇拜、对果实的崇拜有可能成为古猿打造石球的动力。

  18. 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

  19. 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…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  1. 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

  2. Lucy's flat feet: the relationship between the ankle and rearfoot arching in early hominins.

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    Jeremy M DeSilva

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In the Plio-Pleistocene, the hominin foot evolved from a grasping appendage to a stiff, propulsive lever. Central to this transition was the development of the longitudinal arch, a structure that helps store elastic energy and stiffen the foot during bipedal locomotion. Direct evidence for arch evolution, however, has been somewhat elusive given the failure of soft-tissue to fossilize. Paleoanthropologists have relied on footprints and bony correlates of arch development, though little consensus has emerged as to when the arch evolved. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we present evidence from radiographs of modern humans (n = 261 that the set of the distal tibia in the sagittal plane, henceforth referred to as the tibial arch angle, is related to rearfoot arching. Non-human primates have a posteriorly directed tibial arch angle, while most humans have an anteriorly directed tibial arch angle. Those humans with a posteriorly directed tibial arch angle (8% have significantly lower talocalcaneal and talar declination angles, both measures of an asymptomatic flatfoot. Application of these results to the hominin fossil record reveals that a well developed rearfoot arch had evolved in Australopithecus afarensis. However, as in humans today, Australopithecus populations exhibited individual variation in foot morphology and arch development, and "Lucy" (A.L. 288-1, a 3.18 Myr-old female Australopithecus, likely possessed asymptomatic flat feet. Additional distal tibiae from the Plio-Pleistocene show variation in tibial arch angles, including two early Homo tibiae that also have slightly posteriorly directed tibial arch angles. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study finds that the rearfoot arch was present in the genus Australopithecus. However, the female Australopithecus afarensis "Lucy" has an ankle morphology consistent with non-pathological flat-footedness. This study suggests that, as in humans today, there was variation in arch

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

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    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.

  4. Histoire tertiaire de l'Arche de Brahmaputra ; son rôle dans la prospection des hydrocarbures du Haut Assam (Inde (résumé Tertiary History of Brahmaputra Arch. Its Role in Hydrocarbon Prospects of Upper Assam, India (Abstract

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    Murty K. N.

    2006-10-01

    sub-surface regional structure of the present Upper Assam Valley is a broad arch - Brahmaputra arch - parallel to and just a little south of Brahmaputra river, formed by two opposite tiltings: an initial palaeoslope towards south-east during Palaeocene-Oligocene and the other towards north-west during Mio-Pliocene. Two phases of migration of hydrocarbons con be recognised. The study enables assessment of future hydrocarbon prospects in Upper Assam. This arch has similar geological history as that of Bend-arch of north-central Texas and Huffon-Seminole-Ozark Arch of Oklahoma where rich pools have been found in nearby oil the rocks involved in the arching.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Mineralized and Barren Tourmaline Breccia at Río Blanco-Los Bronces Copper Deposit, Central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hohf, Michael; Seifert, Thomas; Ratschbacher, Lothar; Rabbia, Osvaldo; Krause, Joachim; Haser, Sabine; Cuadra, Patricio

    2014-05-01

    The Río Blanco-Los Bronces porphyry copper-molybdenum cluster (14.8-4.3 Ma) in central Chile is one of the largest mining districts of the world with more than 200 Mt of contained Cu; almost 30% of these resources are hosted by hydrothermal breccias. These breccia complexes are tourmaline-, biotite-, chlorite-, or iron oxide-cemented and are widespread in the Paleo-Eocene and Mio-Pliocene porphyry Cu-Mo belt of the central Andes. The ongoing research project aims to understand the time-space relationships between the different breccia bodies and the multiple porphyry intrusions. For this, two cross sections in the southern part of the deposit (Sur-Sur and La Americana areas) are studied. Most interesting from the economic/genetic point of view is the intermineral breccia (tourmaline- and biotite-cemented), which have high copper grades. It is under debate whether there is a vertical mineralogical zonation of the cement of the breccia body from tourmaline-rich at the top to biotite-dominated at the bottom, or there are two superimposed breccia formation events. Textural and mineralogical observations of benches- and tunnels-outcrops, drill cores, and polished-thin sections support the first hypothesis. Our work has been focused on tourmaline chemistry due to its high resistance to alteration and weathering, which allows this mineral to retain its original isotopic signature. Preliminary results of 127 microprobe measurements of tourmaline chemistry from the early mineralized breccia (BXT) and the late barren one (BXTTO) show that all the tourmalines belong to the alkali group and the composition ranges between the dravite-schorl end members. There is a pronounced negative correlation between Fe (ferric?) and Al, probably due to exchange at the Z octahedral position. The backscatter images of tourmaline show oscillatory and sector zonings, i.e., alternating light bands/zones (high CaO, FeO, Na2O) and darker ones (enriched in Al2O3 and MgO). There is no significant

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  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. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  16. Break-up of the Greater Indo-Australian Continent and accretion of blocks framing South and East Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acharyya, S. K.

    1998-09-01

    composite block. Dislocations of the 90 °E Ridge, indicate that the main compression occurred during early Eocene which was followed by movement since late Miocene. The ophiolite trail on IBA does not represent the eastern suture of the Indian continent. As a result of Late Oligocene oblique terminal collision between Sibumasu and 1BA, Mesozoic early Eocene ophiolites. their mid-Eocene cover and trench sediments occur as klippen on IBA. Oblique convergence between IBA and the Indian plate in turn produced an active subduction regime along the western margin of the Indo-Burma mobile belt and the Andaman-Java trench. The activity produced Neogcne-Quaternary volcanism. dextral strike-slip movement in Central Burma-Andaman-Sumatran region, and opened up the Andaman sea. Northward, the Shillong massif, representing NE prolongation of the Indian sub-continent, is technically juxtaposed against the northern end of IBA. The collision of these blocks might have uplifted the Shillong massif during Mio-Pliocene. Far eastward, the convergence was orthogonal between the Australian continent and the Indonesian Arc resulting emplacement of the Lolotoi continental rocks. Maubissi exotic blocks and ophiolitic rocks as nappe over the Timor shelf which possibly remained attached to the Australian continent.

  17. The Cenozoic volcanism in the Kivu rift: Assessment of the tectonic setting, geochemistry, and geochronology of the volcanic activity in the South-Kivu and Virunga regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pouclet, A.; Bellon, H.; Bram, K.

    2016-09-01

    The Kivu rift is part of the western branch of the East African Rift system. From Lake Tanganyika to Lake Albert, the Kivu rift is set in a succession of Precambrian zones of weakness trending NW-SE, NNE-SSW and NE-SW. At the NW to NNE turn of the rift direction in the Lake Kivu area, the inherited faults are crosscut by newly born N-S fractures which developed during the late Cenozoic rifting and controlled the volcanic activity. From Lake Kivu to Lake Edward, the N-S faults show a right-lateral en echelon pattern. Development of tension gashes in the Virunga area indicates a clockwise rotation of the constraint linked to dextral oblique motion of crustal blocks. The extensional direction was W-E in the Mio-Pliocene and ENE-WSW in the Pleistocene to present time. The volcanic rocks are assigned to three groups: (1) tholeiites and sodic alkali basalts in the South-Kivu, (2) sodic basalts and nephelinites in the northern Lake Kivu and western Virunga, and (3) potassic basanites and potassic nephelinites in the Virunga area. South-Kivu magmas were generated by melting of spinel + garnet lherzolite from two sources: an enriched lithospheric source and a less enriched mixed lithospheric and asthenospheric source. The latter source was implied in the genesis of the tholeiitic lavas at the beginning of the South-Kivu tectono-volcanic activity, in relationships with asthenosphere upwelling. The ensuing outpouring of alkaline basaltic lavas from the lithospheric source attests for the abortion of the asthenospheric contribution and a change of the rifting process. The sodic nephelinites of the northern Lake Kivu originated from low partial melting of garnet peridotite of the sub-continental mantle due to pressure release during swell initiation. The Virunga potassic magmas resulted from the melting of garnet peridotite with an increasing degree of melting from nephelinite to basanite. They originated from a lithospheric source enriched in both K and Rb, suggesting the

  18. 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

  19. 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. Palaeobiogeograp

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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 ...

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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...

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Anthropogeny and Intellectual Evolution%人类起源与智能进化

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吕宝忠

    2012-01-01

    The long evolutionary way for human can be traced back to about 5 million years ago, in which two "missing links", Ardipi-thecus ramidus and Australopithecus sediba , have been validated. There are two conflicted hypotheses, "out of Africa" and multire-gional origins. At present, the mixture of both hypotheses seems to be more valuable according to Neanderthal and Denisovan genome draft and other data. The ultimate explanation for being human is focused on the culture-making brain, especially in the cerebral hemisphere asymmetry, that bolsters the framework for 4 graded languages and 3 types of world.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  20. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. 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。

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

    Body size directly influences an animal's place in the natural world, including its energy requirements, home range size, relative brain size, locomotion, diet, life history, and behavior. Thus, an understanding of the biology of extinct organisms, including species in our own lineage, requires accurate estimates of body size. Since the last major review of hominin body size based on postcranial morphology over 20 years ago, new fossils have been discovered, species attributions have been clarified, and methods improved. Here, we present the most comprehensive and thoroughly vetted set of individual fossil hominin body mass predictions to date, and estimation equations based on a large (n = 220) sample of modern humans of known body masses. We also present species averages based exclusively on fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions, estimates of species averages by sex, and a metric for levels of sexual dimorphism. Finally, we identify individual traits that appear to be the most reliable for mass estimation for each fossil species, for use when only one measurement is available for a fossil. Our results show that many early hominins were generally smaller-bodied than previously thought, an outcome likely due to larger estimates in previous studies resulting from the use of large-bodied modern human reference samples. Current evidence indicates that modern human-like large size first appeared by at least 3-3.5 Ma in some Australopithecus afarensis individuals. Our results challenge an evolutionary model arguing that body size increased from Australopithecus to early Homo. Instead, we show that there is no reliable evidence that the body size of non-erectus early Homo differed from that of australopiths, and confirm that Homo erectus evolved larger average body size than earlier hominins. PMID:26094042

  17. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

    The evolutionary origin of Homo floresiensis, a diminutive hominin species previously known only by skeletal remains from Liang Bua in western Flores, Indonesia, has been intensively debated. It is a matter of controversy whether this primitive form, dated to the Late Pleistocene, evolved from early Asian Homo erectus and represents a unique and striking case of evolutionary reversal in hominin body and brain size within an insular environment. The alternative hypothesis is that H. floresiensis derived from an older, smaller-brained member of our genus, such as Homo habilis, or perhaps even late Australopithecus, signalling a hitherto undocumented dispersal of hominins from Africa into eastern Asia by two million years ago (2 Ma). Here we describe hominin fossils excavated in 2014 from an early Middle Pleistocene site (Mata Menge) in the So'a Basin of central Flores. These specimens comprise a mandible fragment and six isolated teeth belonging to at least three small-jawed and small-toothed individuals. Dating to ~0.7 Ma, these fossils now constitute the oldest hominin remains from Flores. The Mata Menge mandible and teeth are similar in dimensions and morphological characteristics to those of H. floresiensis from Liang Bua. The exception is the mandibular first molar, which retains a more primitive condition. Notably, the Mata Menge mandible and molar are even smaller in size than those of the two existing H. floresiensis individuals from Liang Bua. The Mata Menge fossils are derived compared with Australopithecus and H. habilis, and so tend to support the view that H. floresiensis is a dwarfed descendent of early Asian H. erectus. Our findings suggest that hominins on Flores had acquired extremely small body size and other morphological traits specific to H. floresiensis at an unexpectedly early time. PMID:27279221

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Unique Dental Morphology of Homo floresiensis and Its Evolutionary Implications.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yousuke Kaifu

    Full Text Available Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis' unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins.

  7. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes’ Hearing Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, J.; Loubes, J-M.; Descouens, D.; Dumoncel, J.; Thackeray, J. F.; Kahn, J-L.; de Beer, F.; Riberon, A.; Hoffman, K.; Balaresque, P.; Gilissen, E.

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species’ sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the “hypertrophied” cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  8. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes' Hearing Evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, J; Loubes, J-M; Descouens, D; Dumoncel, J; Thackeray, J F; Kahn, J-L; de Beer, F; Riberon, A; Hoffman, K; Balaresque, P; Gilissen, E

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species' sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the "hypertrophied" cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 《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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. A filogênese da linguagem: novas abordagens de antigas questões

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    FERREIRA ROBERTO GODOFREDO FABRI

    2000-01-01

    Full Text Available A filogênese e a antropogênese da linguagem tornam-se elementos fundamentais para conhecimento anatômico e fisiológico dos mecanismos da comunicação humana, bem como suas aplicações clínicas. Durante o processo de desenvolvimento primata, importantes transformações no corpo do animal, notadamente na cabeça, ocorreram a partir da vida arborícola com implicações importantes na gênese da linguagem. A aquisição de uma postura semi-vertical do corpo, o uso exploratórios das mãos e o desenvolvimento da visão em detrimento da olfação permitiram o crescimento craniano e o aumento do encéfalo. Com o retorno do primata ao chão e o desenvolvimento da bipedia nos Australopithecus, ocorreu progressivo crescimento em leque das regiões frontais, parietais e temporais, permitindo o desenvolvimento simultâneo dos centros neuroanatômicos de linguagem, expressão facial e atividade motora manual.

  15. 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

  16. A single lineage in early Pleistocene Homo: size variation continuity in early Pleistocene Homo crania from East Africa and Georgia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Arsdale, Adam P; Wolpoff, Milford H

    2013-03-01

    The relationship between Homo habilis and early African Homo erectus has been contentious because H. habilis was hypothesized to be an evolutionary stage between Australopithecus and H. erectus, more than a half-century ago. Recent work re-dating key African early Homo localities and the discovery of new fossils in East Africa and Georgia provide the opportunity for a productive re-evaluation of this topic. Here, we test the hypothesis that the cranial sample from East Africa and Georgia represents a single evolutionary lineage of Homo spanning the approximately 1.9-1.5 Mya time period, consisting of specimens attributed to H. habilis and H. erectus. To address issues of small sample sizes in each time period, and uneven representation of cranial data, we developed a novel nonparametric randomization technique based on the variance in an index of pairwise difference from a broad set of fossil comparisons. We fail to reject the hypothesis of a single lineage this period by identifying a strong, time-dependent pattern of variation throughout the sequence. These results suggest the need for a reappraisal of fossil evidence from other regions within this time period and highlight the critical nature of the Plio-Pleistocene boundary for understanding the early evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:23461332

  17. Facial morphogenesis of the earliest europeans.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo S Lacruz

    Full Text Available The modern human face differs from that of our early ancestors in that the facial profile is relatively retracted (orthognathic. This change in facial profile is associated with a characteristic spatial distribution of bone deposition and resorption: growth remodeling. For humans, surface resorption commonly dominates on anteriorly-facing areas of the subnasal region of the maxilla and mandible during development. We mapped the distribution of facial growth remodeling activities on the 900-800 ky maxilla ATD6-69 assigned to H. antecessor, and on the 1.5 My cranium KNM-WT 15000, part of an associated skeleton assigned to African H. erectus. We show that, as in H. sapiens, H. antecessor shows bone resorption over most of the subnasal region. This pattern contrasts with that seen in KNM-WT 15000 where evidence of bone deposition, not resorption, was identified. KNM-WT 15000 is similar to Australopithecus and the extant African apes in this localized area of bone deposition. These new data point to diversity of patterns of facial growth in fossil Homo. The similarities in facial growth in H. antecessor and H. sapiens suggest that one key developmental change responsible for the characteristic facial morphology of modern humans can be traced back at least to H. antecessor.

  18. Associated ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, and postcranial diversity in early Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Carol V; Feibel, Craig S; Hammond, Ashley S; Leakey, Louise N; Moffett, Elizabeth A; Plavcan, J Michael; Skinner, Matthew M; Spoor, Fred; Leakey, Meave G

    2015-04-01

    During the evolution of hominins, it is generally accepted that there was a shift in postcranial morphology between Australopithecus and the genus Homo. Given the scarcity of associated remains of early Homo, however, relatively little is known about early Homo postcranial morphology. There are hints of postcranial diversity among species, but our knowledge of the nature and extent of potential differences is limited. Here we present a new associated partial ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, dating to 1.9 Ma (millions of years ago) that is clearly attributable to the genus Homo but documents a pattern of morphology not seen in eastern African early Homo erectus. The ilium and proximal femur share distinctive anatomy found only in Homo. However, the geometry of the femoral midshaft and contour of the pelvic inlet do not resemble that of any specimens attributed to H. erectus from eastern Africa. This new fossil confirms the presence of at least two postcranial morphotypes within early Homo, and documents diversity in postcranial morphology among early Homo species that may reflect underlying body form and/or adaptive differences. PMID:25747316

  19. Facial morphogenesis of the earliest europeans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Martinón-Torres, María; O'Higgins, Paul; Paine, Michael L; Carbonell, Eudald; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bromage, Timothy G

    2013-01-01

    The modern human face differs from that of our early ancestors in that the facial profile is relatively retracted (orthognathic). This change in facial profile is associated with a characteristic spatial distribution of bone deposition and resorption: growth remodeling. For humans, surface resorption commonly dominates on anteriorly-facing areas of the subnasal region of the maxilla and mandible during development. We mapped the distribution of facial growth remodeling activities on the 900-800 ky maxilla ATD6-69 assigned to H. antecessor, and on the 1.5 My cranium KNM-WT 15000, part of an associated skeleton assigned to African H. erectus. We show that, as in H. sapiens, H. antecessor shows bone resorption over most of the subnasal region. This pattern contrasts with that seen in KNM-WT 15000 where evidence of bone deposition, not resorption, was identified. KNM-WT 15000 is similar to Australopithecus and the extant African apes in this localized area of bone deposition. These new data point to diversity of patterns of facial growth in fossil Homo. The similarities in facial growth in H. antecessor and H. sapiens suggest that one key developmental change responsible for the characteristic facial morphology of modern humans can be traced back at least to H. antecessor. PMID:23762314

  20. Unique Dental Morphology of Homo floresiensis and Its Evolutionary Implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Kono, Reiko T; Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu; Jatmiko; Due Awe, Rokus

    2015-01-01

    Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis' unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins. PMID:26624612

  1. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes' Hearing Evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, J; Loubes, J-M; Descouens, D; Dumoncel, J; Thackeray, J F; Kahn, J-L; de Beer, F; Riberon, A; Hoffman, K; Balaresque, P; Gilissen, E

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species' sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the "hypertrophied" cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record.

  2. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes' Hearing Evolution.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J Braga

    Full Text Available Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species' sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo,Gorilla and (Pan,Homo most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the "hypertrophied" cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record.

  3. Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seymour, Roger S.; Bosiocic, Vanya; Snelling, Edward P.

    2016-08-01

    The evolution of human cognition has been inferred from anthropological discoveries and estimates of brain size from fossil skulls. A more direct measure of cognition would be cerebral metabolic rate, which is proportional to cerebral blood flow rate (perfusion). The hominin cerebrum is supplied almost exclusively by the internal carotid arteries. The sizes of the foramina that transmitted these vessels in life can be measured in hominin fossil skulls and used to calculate cerebral perfusion rate. Perfusion in 11 species of hominin ancestors, from Australopithecus to archaic Homo sapiens, increases disproportionately when scaled against brain volume (the allometric exponent is 1.41). The high exponent indicates an increase in the metabolic intensity of cerebral tissue in later Homo species, rather than remaining constant (1.0) as expected by a linear increase in neuron number, or decreasing according to Kleiber's Law (0.75). During 3 Myr of hominin evolution, cerebral tissue perfusion increased 1.7-fold, which, when multiplied by a 3.5-fold increase in brain size, indicates a 6.0-fold increase in total cerebral blood flow rate. This is probably associated with increased interneuron connectivity, synaptic activity and cognitive function, which all ultimately depend on cerebral metabolic rate.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Functional morphology of the Neandertal scapular glenoid fossa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macias, Marisa E; Churchill, Steven E

    2015-01-01

    Neandertals and Homo sapiens are known to differ in scapular glenoid fossa morphology. Functional explanations may be appropriate for certain aspects of glenoid fossa morphology; however, other factors--e.g., allometry, evolutionary development--must be addressed before functional morphology is considered. Using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics, shape of the scapular glenoid fossa was compared among Neandertals, early and recent modern humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, Australopithecus afarensis, and Au. sediba. Permutation analysis revealed that side, sex, and lifestyle did not correlate with shape. Of the features we found to differ between groups, anterior glenoid rim morphology and fossa curvature did not correlate with the aforementioned shape variables; thus, a functional explanation is appropriate for these components of glenoid fossa shape. Shared morphology among recent humans and chimpanzees (to the exclusion of Neandertals and orangutans) suggests independent forces contributing to these morphological configurations. Potential explanations include adaptations to habitual behavior and locomotor adaptations in the scapulae of recent humans and chimpanzees; these explanations are supported by clinical and experimental literature. The absence of these morphological features in Neandertals may support the lack of these selective forces on their scapular glenoid fossa morphology.

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

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    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Crecimiento y desarrollo: una perspectiva evolutiva

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    Goikoetxea Zabaleta, I.

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available El estudio del patrón de crecimiento y desarrollo en las distintas especies fósiles del linaje humano permite interpretar de forma correcta el modelo de historia biológica de los individuos adultos e inmaduros y, además, ayuda a los investigadores a comprender mejor la evolución de nuestra especie. Los patrones de crecimiento y desarrollo de los humanos actuales y de los chimpancés son los que a día de hoy mejor se conocen y por eso son usados como modelos. Los restos de los individuos inmaduros del registro fósil contienen información que permite hipotetizar sobre estos patrones a lo largo de la evolución humana. En este trabajo se reúnen datos de individuos subadultos del registro fósil y se realiza una puesta al día sobre las hipótesis que hasta ahora se han propuesto para el patrón de crecimiento y desarrollo de las especies de los géneros Australopithecus, Paranthropus y Homo.

  1. Possible brucellosis in an early hominin skeleton from sterkfontein, South Africa.

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    Ruggero D'Anastasio

    Full Text Available We report on the paleopathological analysis of the partial skeleton of the late Pliocene hominin species Australopithecus africanus Stw 431 from Sterkfontein, South Africa. A previous study noted the presence of lesions on vertebral bodies diagnosed as spondylosis deformans due to trauma. Instead, we suggest that these lesions are pathological changes due to the initial phases of an infectious disease, brucellosis. The macroscopic, microscopic and radiological appearance of the lytic lesions of the lumbar vertebrae is consistent with brucellosis. The hypothesis of brucellosis (most often associated with the consumption of animal proteins in a 2.4 to 2.8 million year old hominid has a host of important implications for human evolution. The consumption of meat has been regarded an important factor in supporting, directing or altering human evolution. Perhaps the earliest (up to 2.5 million years ago paleontological evidence for meat eating consists of cut marks on animal remains and stone tools that could have made these marks. Now with the hypothesis of brucellosis in A. africanus, we may have evidence of occasional meat eating directly linked to a fossil hominin.

  2. 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

  3. Hominins, sedges, and termites: new carbon isotope data from the Sterkfontein valley and Kruger National Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sponheimer, Matt; Lee-Thorp, Julia; de Ruiter, Darryl; Codron, Daryl; Codron, Jacqui; Baugh, Alexander T; Thackeray, Francis

    2005-03-01

    Stable carbon isotope analyses have shown that South African australopiths did not have exclusively frugivorous diets, but also consumed significant quantities of C4 foods such as grasses, sedges, or animals that ate these foods. Yet, these studies have had significant limitations. For example, hominin sample sizes were relatively small, leading some to question the veracity of the claim for australopith C4 consumption. In addition, it has been difficult to determine which C4 resources were actually utilized, which is at least partially due to a lack of stable isotope data on some purported australopith foods. Here we begin to address these lacunae by presenting carbon isotope data for 14 new hominin specimens, as well as for two potential C4 foods (termites and sedges). The new data confirm that non-C3 foods were heavily utilized by australopiths, making up about 40% and 35% of Australopithecus and Paranthropus diets respectively. Most termites in the savanna-woodland biome of the Kruger National Park, South Africa, have intermediate carbon isotope compositions indicating mixed C3/C4 diets. Only 28% of the sedges in Kruger were C4, and few if any had well-developed rhizomes and tubers that make some sedges attractive foods. We conclude that although termites and sedges might have contributed to the C4 signal in South African australopiths, other C4 foods were also important. Lastly, we suggest that the consumption of C4 foods is a fundamental hominin trait that, along with bipedalism, allowed australopiths to pioneer increasingly open and seasonal environments.

  4. 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

  5. A simple rule governs the evolution and development of hominin tooth size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Alistair R; Daly, E Susanne; Catlett, Kierstin K; Paul, Kathleen S; King, Stephen J; Skinner, Matthew M; Nesse, Hans P; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Townsend, Grant C; Schwartz, Gary T; Jernvall, Jukka

    2016-02-25

    The variation in molar tooth size in humans and our closest relatives (hominins) has strongly influenced our view of human evolution. The reduction in overall size and disproportionate decrease in third molar size have been noted for over a century, and have been attributed to reduced selection for large dentitions owing to changes in diet or the acquisition of cooking. The systematic pattern of size variation along the tooth row has been described as a 'morphogenetic gradient' in mammal, and more specifically hominin, teeth since Butler and Dahlberg. However, the underlying controls of tooth size have not been well understood, with hypotheses ranging from morphogenetic fields to the clone theory. In this study we address the following question: are there rules that govern how hominin tooth size evolves? Here we propose that the inhibitory cascade, an activator-inhibitor mechanism that affects relative tooth size in mammals, produces the default pattern of tooth sizes for all lower primary postcanine teeth (deciduous premolars and permanent molars) in hominins. This configuration is also equivalent to a morphogenetic gradient, finally pointing to a mechanism that can generate this gradient. The pattern of tooth size remains constant with absolute size in australopiths (including Ardipithecus, Australopithecus and Paranthropus). However, in species of Homo, including modern humans, there is a tight link between tooth proportions and absolute size such that a single developmental parameter can explain both the relative and absolute sizes of primary postcanine teeth. On the basis of the relationship of inhibitory cascade patterning with size, we can use the size at one tooth position to predict the sizes of the remaining four primary postcanine teeth in the row for hominins. Our study provides a development-based expectation to examine the evolution of the unique proportions of human teeth.

  6. 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

  7. Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chirchir, Habiba; Kivell, Tracy L; Ruff, Christopher B; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Carlson, Kristian J; Zipfel, Bernhard; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-01-13

    Humans are unique, compared with our closest living relatives (chimpanzees) and early fossil hominins, in having an enlarged body size and lower limb joint surfaces in combination with a relatively gracile skeleton (i.e., lower bone mass for our body size). Some analyses have observed that in at least a few anatomical regions modern humans today appear to have relatively low trabecular density, but little is known about how that density varies throughout the human skeleton and across species or how and when the present trabecular patterns emerged over the course of human evolution. Here, we test the hypotheses that (i) recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the upper and lower limbs compared with other primate taxa and (ii) the reduction in trabecular density first occurred in early Homo erectus, consistent with the shift toward a modern human locomotor anatomy, or more recently in concert with diaphyseal gracilization in Holocene humans. We used peripheral quantitative CT and microtomography to measure trabecular bone of limb epiphyses (long bone articular ends) in modern humans and chimpanzees and in fossil hominins attributed to Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus/early Homo from Swartkrans, Homo neanderthalensis, and early Homo sapiens. Results show that only recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the limb joints. Extinct hominins, including pre-Holocene Homo sapiens, retain the high levels seen in nonhuman primates. Thus, the low trabecular density of the recent modern human skeleton evolved late in our evolutionary history, potentially resulting from increased sedentism and reliance on technological and cultural innovations.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Reconstructed Homo habilis type OH 7 suggests deep-rooted species diversity in early Homo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spoor, Fred; Gunz, Philipp; Neubauer, Simon; Stelzer, Stefanie; Scott, Nadia; Kwekason, Amandus; Dean, M Christopher

    2015-03-01

    Besides Homo erectus (sensu lato), the eastern African fossil record of early Homo has been interpreted as representing either a single variable species, Homo habilis, or two species. In the latter case, however, there is no consensus over the respective groupings, and which of the two includes OH 7, the 1.8-million-year-old H. habilis holotype. This partial skull and hand from Olduvai Gorge remains pivotal to evaluating the early evolution of the Homo lineage, and by priority names one or other of the two taxa. However, the distorted preservation of the diagnostically important OH 7 mandible has hindered attempts to compare this specimen with other fossils. Here we present a virtual reconstruction of the OH 7 mandible, and compare it to other early Homo fossils. The reconstructed mandible is remarkably primitive, with a long and narrow dental arcade more similar to Australopithecus afarensis than to the derived parabolic arcades of Homo sapiens or H. erectus. We find that this shape variability is not consistent with a single species of early Homo. Importantly, the jaw morphology of OH 7 is incompatible with fossils assigned to Homo rudolfensis and with the A.L. 666-1 Homo maxilla. The latter is morphologically more derived than OH 7 but 500,000 years older, suggesting that the H. habilis lineage originated before 2.3 million years ago, thus marking deep-rooted species diversity in the genus Homo. We also reconstructed the parietal bones of OH 7 and estimated its endocranial volume. At between 729 and 824 ml it is larger than any previously published value, and emphasizes the near-complete overlap in brain size among species of early Homo. Our results clarify the H. habilis hypodigm, but raise questions about its phylogenetic relationships. Differences between species of early Homo appear to be characterized more by gnathic diversity than by differences in brain size, which was highly variable within all taxa. PMID:25739632

  11. Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chirchir, Habiba; Kivell, Tracy L; Ruff, Christopher B; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Carlson, Kristian J; Zipfel, Bernhard; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-01-13

    Humans are unique, compared with our closest living relatives (chimpanzees) and early fossil hominins, in having an enlarged body size and lower limb joint surfaces in combination with a relatively gracile skeleton (i.e., lower bone mass for our body size). Some analyses have observed that in at least a few anatomical regions modern humans today appear to have relatively low trabecular density, but little is known about how that density varies throughout the human skeleton and across species or how and when the present trabecular patterns emerged over the course of human evolution. Here, we test the hypotheses that (i) recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the upper and lower limbs compared with other primate taxa and (ii) the reduction in trabecular density first occurred in early Homo erectus, consistent with the shift toward a modern human locomotor anatomy, or more recently in concert with diaphyseal gracilization in Holocene humans. We used peripheral quantitative CT and microtomography to measure trabecular bone of limb epiphyses (long bone articular ends) in modern humans and chimpanzees and in fossil hominins attributed to Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus/early Homo from Swartkrans, Homo neanderthalensis, and early Homo sapiens. Results show that only recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the limb joints. Extinct hominins, including pre-Holocene Homo sapiens, retain the high levels seen in nonhuman primates. Thus, the low trabecular density of the recent modern human skeleton evolved late in our evolutionary history, potentially resulting from increased sedentism and reliance on technological and cultural innovations. PMID:25535354

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Re-arranging the family tree: the new role of U-Pb dating flowstones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pickering, R.

    2012-04-01

    The value of speleothems as archives of palaeoclimate information is greatly enhanced by their inherent suitability to U-series dating. U-Pb dating goes beyond the 500 000 year cut off of U-Th and with the recent, major advances in this technique the possibilities are both numerous and exciting. While much U-series work has focused on dating stalagmites, in many archaeological and palaeontological settings, flowstones are useful targets as they can provide age constraints for the material associated with them. This is especially pertinent in South Africa, where the dolomite caves of the 'Cradle of Humankind' contain early human (hominin) fossils embedded in calcified cave sediments. Knowing how old these fossils are is critical to placing them in our human family tree, especially when new species are identified, such as Australopithecus sediba discovered in 2009. However, the whole dating process is subject to numerous pitfalls. Firstly, careful and thorough fieldwork is needed to identify flowstone associated with the fossils and in the best cases find flowstone layers 'sandwiching' in the fossil layers. Secondly, in many cases bulk U concentrations in flowstones are typically too low (material, further complicates dating. Finally, current age estimate errors are at best around 1% but can be as high as 10%. A suite of new U-Pb dates for flowstones from four early hominin caves in South Africa reveal a number of intriguing results. Flowstones from caves several kilometres apart have U-Pb ages within error of each other, suggesting some large scale cyclicity behind the alternating deposition of flowstone and cave sediment. The sites are now placed in chronological order and discrete fossil bearing horizons of the same age compared with each other, as well as with similarly aged deposits in East Africa. Ages can be assigned to the early hominin species and, in the case of Au. sediba, by combining the U-Pb ages with the palaeomegnetic signals preserved in the

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. [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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Biometrical studies upon hominoid teeth: the coefficient of variation, sexual dimorphism and questions of phylogenetic relationship.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blumenberg, B

    1985-01-01

    Sexual dimorphism as a function of variation in hominoid tooth metrics has been investigated for four groups of taxa: Recent great apes (two subfamilies), Dryopiths (one subfamily), Ramapiths (one subfamily) and hominids (one family). Gorilla, and to a lesser extent Pan, appear characterized by very high levels of sexual dimorphism and meet several criteria for statistical outliers. Recent great apes are the only group exhibiting consistently high levels of sexual dimorphism. Ramapiths are the only group characterized by low levels of sexual dimorphism and their relative canine length is most similar to Dryopiths. Both Dryopiths and hominids contain taxa with low and intermediate levels of sexual dimorphism. The Gingerich and Shoeninger hypothesis relating coefficients of variation to occlusal complexity is supported. Non-parametric statistics suggest that homogeneity of coefficient of variation profiles over most of the tooth row is characteristic of only the Dryopiths and a composite data set composed of the Dryopith plus Ramapith tooth measurements. Oxnard's model for the multifactorial basis of multiple sexual dimorphisms is also supported. The Dryopith and hominid patterns of sexual dimorphism are similar, an observation that suggests phylogenetic relationship. At the taxonomic level of subfamily or family, sexual dimorphism is a character of cladistic usefulness and possible phylogenetic valence. Assuming that breeding system and sexual dimorphism are functional correlates as many workers suggest, then Ramapithecus sp. China, Sivapithecus indicus and possibly Australopithecus boisei are good candidates for having possessed monogamous breeding/social structures. All Dryopith taxa, S. sivalensis, Sivapithecus sp. China, A. afarensis, Homo habilis and H. erectus emerge as the best candidates for having possessed a polygynous breeding/social structure. No biometrical affinities of Ramapiths with hominids can be demonstrated and some phylogenetic relationship with

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 巨猿牙齿釉质厚度及对食性适应与系统演化的意义%Enamel Thickness of Gigantopithecus blacki and Its Significance for Dietary Adaptation and Phylogeny

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张立召; 赵凌霞

    2013-01-01

    or extant primates,while Paranthropus,early Homo and Ouranopithecus macedoniensis possess relatively closer values with it.With considerations of body and tooth size,the enamel measurements indicate that G.blacki belongs to a category of“thick-enamel” primate along with modem humans,Cebus,Australopithecus,East African Early Homo,Asian Homo erectus and some Miocene fossil apes (eg Proconsul nyanzae and Afropithecus turkanensis),but thinner than South African early Homo,Paranthropus and Ouranopithecus macedoniensis.The extremely thick enamel of G.blacki molars are evidently well used for grinding and crushing for a long period.The dietary proclivities may primarily focus on tough or fibrous vegetation.Human ancestors probably have thick enamel.G.blacki may be a side branch of hominids during the evolution.Meanwhile,G.blacki can be also evolved from one branch of Miocene fossil ape whose teeth enamel is thick.The thick enamel,common characteristic of G.blacki and human,is the result of parallel evolution.