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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. Hypercarnivory, durophagy or generalised carnivory in the Mio-Pliocene hyaenids of South Africa?

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    Adam Hartstone-Rose

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Carnivorans, the members of the order Carnivora, exhibit wide dietary diversity – from overwhelmingly herbivorous species (like the giant and red pandas to species that specialise in the consumption of flesh (like the hypercarnivorous felids. Throughout the evolution of this order, many craniodental forms have emerged and gone extinct – notably the sabretooth felids that existed until the late Pleistocene. However, one carnivoran lineage, remarkable for its extreme masticatory adaptations, persists – the bone-cracking hyaenids. Three of the four extant members of this family (Crocuta crocuta, Hyaena hyaena and Parahyaena brunnea are among the most durophagous mammals to have ever lived. The fourth extant hyaenid – the aardwolf (Proteles cristatus – also exhibits impressive, although wholly different, masticatory adaptations as one of the most derived mammalian insectivores. How and when did the level of durophagy evident in extant bone-cracking hyenas evolve, and how do Mio-Pliocene hyenas compare to the extant members of the order in terms of their own dietary specialisations? An examination of the premolars of the Mio-Pliocene hyaenids from Langebaanweg, South Africa suggests that modern levels of durophagy appeared relatively recently. Results from an analysis of dental radii-of-curvature and premolar intercuspid notches suggest that these hyenas were neither bone crackers nor flesh specialists, but were dietary generalists.

  3. Groundwater geochemistry of a Mio-Pliocene aquifer in the northeastern Algerian Sahara (Djamaa region)

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    Houari, Idir Menad; Nezli, Imed Eddine; Belksier, Mohamed Salah

    2018-05-01

    The groundwater resources in the Northern Sahara are represented by two superimposed major aquifer systems: the Intercalary Continental (CI) and the Terminal Complex (CT). The waters of these aquifers pose serious physical and chemical quality problems; they are highly mineralized and very hard. The present work aims to describe the water's geochemical evolution of sand groundwater (Mio-Pliocene) of the Terminal Complex in the area of Djamaa, by the research of the relationship between water's chemical composition and lithology of aquifer formations through. The results obtained show that the water's chemistry is essentially governed by the dissolution of evaporate formations, which gives to, waters an excessive mineralization expressed by high concentrations of sulfates, chlorides and sodium.

  4. Mio-Pliocene aridity in the south-central Andes associated with Southern Hemisphere cold periods.

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    Amidon, William H; Fisher, G Burch; Burbank, Douglas W; Ciccioli, Patricia L; Alonso, Ricardo N; Gorin, Andrew L; Silverhart, Perri H; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R C; Christoffersen, Michael S

    2017-06-20

    Although Earth's climate history is best known through marine records, the corresponding continental climatic conditions drive the evolution of terrestrial life. Continental conditions during the latest Miocene are of particular interest because global faunal turnover is roughly synchronous with a period of global glaciation from ∼6.2-5.5 Ma and with the Messinian Salinity Crisis from ∼6.0-5.3 Ma. Despite the climatic and ecological significance of this period, the continental climatic conditions associated with it remain unclear. We address this question using erosion rates of ancient watersheds to constrain Mio-Pliocene climatic conditions in the south-central Andes near 30° S. Our results show two slowdowns in erosion rate, one from ∼6.1-5.2 Ma and another from 3.6 to 3.3 Ma, which we attribute to periods of continental aridity. This view is supported by synchrony with other regional proxies for aridity and with the timing of glacial ‟cold" periods as recorded by marine proxies, such as the M2 isotope excursion. We thus conclude that aridity in the south-central Andes is associated with cold periods at high southern latitudes, perhaps due to a northward migration of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies, which disrupted the South American Low Level Jet that delivers moisture to southeastern South America. Colder glacial periods, and possibly associated reductions in atmospheric CO 2 , thus seem to be an important driver of Mio-Pliocene ecological transitions in the central Andes. Finally, this study demonstrates that paleo-erosion rates can be a powerful proxy for ancient continental climates that lie beyond the reach of most lacustrine and glacial archives.

  5. Micromammal biostratigraphy of the Alcoy Basin (Eastern Spain): remarks on the Mio-Pliocene boundary of the Iberian Peninsula

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    Mansino, S.; Fierro, I.; Tossal, A.; Montoya, P.; Ruiz-Sánchez, F.J.

    2017-01-01

    The study of 13 micromammal localities in the southern section of the Gormaget ravine (Alcoi Basin, SE Spain) and another 4 localities in the northern section has allowed us to define four local biozones in the dawn of the Pliocene, possibly recording the Mio-Pliocene boundary. The great density of localities close to the Mio-Pliocene boundary has enabled us to achieve a great resolution in the biozonation of the earliest Pliocene, only comparable in the Iberian Peninsula to the record of the Teruel Basin (NE Spain). We interpret these biozones in the light ofthe Neogene Mammal units and the European Land Mammal Ages, and correlate them with other local biozones defined for the same time span in the Iberian Peninsula.

  6. Micromammal biostratigraphy of the Alcoy Basin (Eastern Spain): remarks on the Mio-Pliocene boundary of the Iberian Peninsula

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    Mansino, S.; Fierro, I.; Tossal, A.; Montoya, P.; Ruiz-Sánchez, F.J.

    2017-11-01

    The study of 13 micromammal localities in the southern section of the Gormaget ravine (Alcoi Basin, SE Spain) and another 4 localities in the northern section has allowed us to define four local biozones in the dawn of the Pliocene, possibly recording the Mio-Pliocene boundary. The great density of localities close to the Mio-Pliocene boundary has enabled us to achieve a great resolution in the biozonation of the earliest Pliocene, only comparable in the Iberian Peninsula to the record of the Teruel Basin (NE Spain). We interpret these biozones in the light ofthe Neogene Mammal units and the European Land Mammal Ages, and correlate them with other local biozones defined for the same time span in the Iberian Peninsula.

  7. Mio-Pliocene to Pleistocene paleotopographic evolution of Brittany (France) from a sequence stratigraphic analysis: relative influence of tectonics and climate

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    Brault, N.; Bourquin, S.; Guillocheau, F.; Dabard, M.-P.; Bonnet, S.; Courville, P.; Estéoule-Choux, J.; Stepanoff, F.

    2004-01-01

    The Mio-Pliocene in Western Europe is a period of major climatic and tectonic change with important topographic consequences. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct these topographic changes (based on sedimentological analysis and sequence stratigraphy) for the Armorican Massif (western France) and to discuss their significance. The Mio-Pliocene sands of the Armorican Massif (Red Sands) are mainly preserved in paleovalleys and are characterized by extensive fluvial sheetflood deposits with low-preservation and by-pass facies. This sedimentological study shows that the Red Sands correspond to three main sedimentary environments: fluvial (alluvial fan, low-sinuosity rivers and braided rivers), estuarine and some rare open marine deposits (marine bioclastic sands: "faluns" of French authors). Two orders of sequences have been correlated across Brittany with one or two minor A/ S cycles comprised within the retrogradational trend of a major cycle. The unconformity at the base of the lower cycle is more marked than the unconformity observed at the top, which corresponds to a re-incision of the paleovalley network. A comparison of the results of the sequence stratigraphy analysis with eustatic variations and tectonic events during the Mio-Pliocene allows (1) to discuss their influence on the evolution of the Armorican Massif and (2) to compare the stratigraphic record with other west-European basins. The unconformity observed at the base of the first minor cycle may be attributed to Serravallian-Tortonian tectonic activity and/or eustatic fall, and the unconformity of the second minor cycle may be attributed to Late Tortonian-Early Messinian tectonic activity. The earlier unconformity is coeval with the development of a "smooth" paleovalley network compared to the jagged present-day relief. A single episode of Mio-Pliocene deformation recorded in Brittany may be dated as Zanclean, thus explaining the lack of the maximum flooding surface except in isolated areas. From

  8. Magnetic record of Mio-Pliocene red clay and Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence in the Chinese Loess Plateau

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    Yougui Song

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available This article presents magnetic data of a 300-m-thick Mio-Pliocene red clay and Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence near Chaona town in the Central Chinese Loess Plateau. Detailed magnetostratigraphy shows that the aeolian red clay began to accumulate at ca. 8.1 Ma. Here, we presented a high-resolution rock magnetic data at 20–40 cm intervals within 4.5–8 ka span per sample of this section, which has been published in Song et al. (2014 [1] and (2017 [2]. The dataset including the following magnetic parameters: mass magnetic susceptibility (χ, frequency-dependent susceptibility (χfd, saturation magnetization (Ms, saturation remanent magnetization (Mrs, coercive force (Bc, remanent coercivity (Bcr, saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (SIRM and S-ratio. Magnetic susceptibility and hysteresis parameters were measured at Lanzhou University and Kyoto University, respectively. This data provides a high-resolution rock magnetic evidences for understanding East Asia Monsoon change, Asian interior aridification and tectonic effect of the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau since middle Miocene period. Keywords: Rock magnetic record, Late Miocene and Pliocene red clay, Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence, Chinese Loess Plateau

  9. Multiple tectonic mode switches indicate short-duration heat pulses in a Mio-Pliocene metamorphic core complex, West Papua, Indonesia

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    White, L. T.; Hall, R.; Gunawan, I.

    2017-12-01

    The Wandaman Peninsula is a narrow (2 km) promontory in remote western New Guinea. The peninsula is almost entirely composed of medium- to high-grade metamorphic rocks considered to be associated with a Mio-Pliocene metamorphic core complex. Previous work has shown that the uplift and exhumation of the core complex has potentially brought some extremely young eclogite to the surface. These might be comparable to the world's youngest (4.3 Ma) eclogites found in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands at the opposite end of New Guinea. We show that tectonic history of this region is complex. This is because the metamorphic sequences in the Wandaman Peninsula record multiple phases of deformation, all within the last few million years. This is demonstrated through methodical collation of cross-cutting relations from field and microstructural studies across the peninsula. The first phase of deformation and metamorphism is associated with crustal extension and partial melting that took place at 5-7 Ma according to new U-Pb data from metamorphic zircons. This extensional phase ceased after a tectonic mode switch and the region was shortened. This is demonstrated by two phases of folding (1. recumbent and 2. open) that overprint the earlier extensional fabrics. All previous structures were later overprinted by brittle extensional faults and uplift. This extensional phase is still taking place today, as is indicated by submerged forests exposed along the coastline associated with recent earthquakes and hot springs. The sequence of metamorphic rocks that are exposed in the Wandaman Peninsula show that stress and thermal conditions can change rapidly. If we consider that the present is a key to the past, then such results can identify the duration of deformation and metamorphic events more accurately than in much older orogenic systems.

  10. Mio Pliocene volcaniclastic deposits in the Famatina Ranges, southern Central Andes: A case of volcanic controls on sedimentation in broken foreland basins

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    Martina, Federico; Dávila, Federico M.; Astini, Ricardo A.

    2006-04-01

    A well-constrained record of Miocene-Pliocene explosive volcanism is preserved within the broken foreland of Western Argentina along the Famatina Ranges. This paper focuses on the volcaniclastic record known as the Río Blanco member of the El Durazno Formation. Three facies can be recognized in the study area: (1) massive tuffs; (2) volcaniclastic conglomerates and (3) pumiceous sandstones. These facies are interpreted as primary pyroclastic flow deposits (ignimbrites) and reworked volcanogenic deposits within interacting volcanic-fluvial depositional systems. Alternation between ignimbrites and volcanogenic sandstones and conglomerates suggest a recurrent pattern of sedimentation related to recurrent volcanic activity. Considering the facies mosaic and relative thicknesses of facies, short periods of syn-eruption sedimentation (volcaniclastic deposits) seem to have been separated by longer inter-eruption periods, where normal stream-flow processes were dominant. The volcaniclastic component decreases up-section, suggesting a gradual reduction in volcanic activity. The mean sedimentation rate of the Río Blanco member is higher (0.44 mm/year) than those obtained for the underlying and overlying units. This increase cannot be fully explained by foreland basement deformation and tectonic loading. Hence, we propose subsidence associated with volcanic activity as the causal mechanism. Volcanism would have triggered additional accommodation space through coeval pyroclastic deposition, modification of the stream equilibrium profile, flexural loading of volcanoes, and thermal processes. These mechanisms may have favored the preservation of volcaniclastic beds in the high-gradient foreland system of Famatina during the Mio-Pliocene. Thus, the Río Blanco member records the response of fluvial systems to large, volcanism-induced sediment loads.

  11. Ecomorphological characterization of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids (Rodentia from south-western Europe since the latest Middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary (MN 7/8–MN13

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    Ana R. Gomez Cano

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Rodents are the most speciose group of mammals and display a great ecological diversity. Despite the greater amount of ecomorphological information compiled for extant rodent species, studies usually lack of morphological data on dentition, which has led to difficulty in directly utilizing existing ecomorphological data of extant rodents for paleoecological reconstruction because teeth are the most common or often the only micromammal fossils. Here, we infer the environmental ranges of extinct rodent genera by extracting habitat information from extant relatives and linking it to extinct taxa based on the phenogram of the cluster analysis, in which variables are derived from the principal component analysis on outline shape of the upper first molars. This phenotypic “bracketing” approach is particularly useful in the study of the fossil record of small mammals, which is mostly represented by isolated teeth. As a case study, we utilize extinct genera of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids, ranging from the Iberoccitanian latest middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary, and compare our results thoroughly with previous paleoecological reconstructions inferred by different methods. The resultant phenogram shows a predominance of ubiquitous genera among the Miocene taxa, and the presence of a few forest specialists in the two rodent groups (Murinae and Cricetidae, along with the absence of open environment specialists in either group of rodents. This appears to be related to the absence of enduring grassland biomes in the Iberian Peninsula during the late Miocene. High consistency between our result and previous studies suggests that this phenotypic “bracketing” approach is a very useful tool.

  12. Ecomorphological characterization of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids (Rodentia) from south-western Europe since the latest Middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary (MN 7/8–MN13)

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    Kimura, Yuri; Blanco, Fernando; Menéndez, Iris; Álvarez-Sierra, María A.; Hernández Fernández, Manuel

    2017-01-01

    Rodents are the most speciose group of mammals and display a great ecological diversity. Despite the greater amount of ecomorphological information compiled for extant rodent species, studies usually lack of morphological data on dentition, which has led to difficulty in directly utilizing existing ecomorphological data of extant rodents for paleoecological reconstruction because teeth are the most common or often the only micromammal fossils. Here, we infer the environmental ranges of extinct rodent genera by extracting habitat information from extant relatives and linking it to extinct taxa based on the phenogram of the cluster analysis, in which variables are derived from the principal component analysis on outline shape of the upper first molars. This phenotypic “bracketing” approach is particularly useful in the study of the fossil record of small mammals, which is mostly represented by isolated teeth. As a case study, we utilize extinct genera of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids, ranging from the Iberoccitanian latest middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary, and compare our results thoroughly with previous paleoecological reconstructions inferred by different methods. The resultant phenogram shows a predominance of ubiquitous genera among the Miocene taxa, and the presence of a few forest specialists in the two rodent groups (Murinae and Cricetidae), along with the absence of open environment specialists in either group of rodents. This appears to be related to the absence of enduring grassland biomes in the Iberian Peninsula during the late Miocene. High consistency between our result and previous studies suggests that this phenotypic “bracketing” approach is a very useful tool. PMID:28966888

  13. Revised age estimates of Australopithecus-bearing deposits at Sterkfontein, South Africa.

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    Berger, Lee R; Lacruz, Rodrigo; De Ruiter, Darryl J

    2002-10-01

    The Sterkfontein fossil site in South Africa has produced the largest concentration of early hominin fossils from a single locality. Recent reports suggest that Australopithecus from this site is found within a broad paleontological age of between 2.5-3.5 Ma (Partridge [2000] The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 100-125; Partridge et al. [2000a], The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 129-130; Kuman and Clarke [2000] J Hum Evol 38:827-847). Specifically, the hominin fossil commonly referred to as the "Little Foot" skeleton from Member 2, which is arguably the most complete early hominin skeleton yet discovered, has been magnetostratigraphically dated to 3.30-3.33 Ma (Partridge [2000] The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 100-125; Partridge et al. [2000a], The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 129-130). More recent claims suggest that hominin fossils from the Jacovec Cavern are even older, being dated to approximately 3.5 Ma. Our interpretation of the fauna, the archeometric results, and the magnetostratigraphy of Sterkfontein indicate that it is unlikely that any Members yet described from Sterkfontein are in excess of 3.04 Ma in age. We estimate that Member 2, including the Little Foot skeleton, is younger than 3.0 Ma, and that Member 4, previously dated to between 2.4-2.8 Ma, is more likely to fall between 1.5-2.5 Ma. Our results suggest that Australopithecus africanus should not be considered as a temporal contemporary of Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus bahrelghazali, and Kenyanthropus platyops. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  14. Did Australopithecus and Homo co-exist

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    Vogel, J.C.

    1984-01-01

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

  15. Homo floresiensis: microcephalic, pygmoid, Australopithecus, or Homo?

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    Argue, Debbie; Donlon, Denise; Groves, Colin; Wright, Richard

    2006-10-01

    The remarkable partial adult skeleton (LB1) excavated from Liang Bua cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia, has been attributed to a new species, Homo floresiensis, based upon a unique mosaic of primitive and derived features compared to any other hominin. The announcement precipitated widespread interest, and attention quickly focused on its possible affinities. LB1 is a small-bodied hominin with an endocranial volume of 380-410 cm3, a stature of 1m, and an approximate geological age of 18,000 years. The describers [Brown, P., Sutikna, T., Morwood, M.J., Soejono, R.P., Jatmiko, Wayhu Saptomo, E., Awe Due, R., 2004. A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431, 1055-1061] originally proposed that H. floresiensis was the end product of a long period of isolation of H. erectus or early Homo on a small island, a process known as insular dwarfism. More recently Morwood, Brown, and colleagues [Morwood, M.J., Brown, P., Jatmiko, Sutikna, T., Wahyu Saptomo, E., Westaway, K.E., Awe Due, R., Roberts, R.G., Maeda, T., Wasisto, S., Djubiantono, T., 2005. Further evidence for small-bodied hominins from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 437, 1012-1017] reviewed this assessment in light of new material from the site and concluded that H. floresiensis is not likely to be descended from H. erectus, with the genealogy of the species remaining uncertain. Other interpretations, namely that LB1 is a pygmy or afflicted with microcephaly, have also been put forward. We explore the affinities of LB1 using cranial and postcranial metric and non-metric analyses. LB1 is compared to early Homo, two microcephalic humans, a 'pygmoid' excavated from another cave on Flores, H. sapiens (including African pygmies and Andaman Islanders), Australopithecus, and Paranthropus. Based on these comparisons, we conclude that it is unlikely that LB1 is a microcephalic human, and it cannot be attributed to any known species. Its attribution to a new

  16. Developmental simulation of the adult cranial morphology of Australopithecus sediba

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    Carlson, K.B.; de Ruiter, D.J.; DeWitt, T.J.; McNulty, K.P.; Carlson, K.J.; Tafforeau, P.; Berger, L.R.

    2016-01-01

    The type specimen of Australopithecus sediba (MH1) is a late juvenile, prompting some commentators to suggest that had it lived to adulthood its morphology would have changed sufficiently so as to render hypotheses regarding its phylogenetic relations suspect. Considering the potentially critical position of this species with regard to the origins of the genus Homo, a deeper understanding of this change is especially vital. As an empirical response to this critique, a developmental simulation...

  17. 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.

  18. New Australopithecus boisei calvaria from East Lake Turkana, Kenya.

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    Brown, B; Walker, A; Ward, C V; Leakey, R E

    1993-06-01

    The calvaria of an adult Australopithecus boisei from Area 104, Koobi Fora, Lake Turkana, is described. The specimen, KNM-ER 23000, comes from sediments dated to about 1.9 Ma. It consists of the frontal, both parietals, both temporals, most of the occipital as well as two small pieces of sphenoid, and a mandibular tooth root. The specimen is presumed to be an adult male, based on its size and the great development of features associated with the masticatory apparatus. KNM-ER 23000 is close in general size and shape to KNM-ER 406, KNM-ER 13750, and Olduvai Hominid 5 and it has a mixture of features seen in these three roughly contemporaneous crania. The frontal, especially the tori, resembles that of OH 5; the parietals are most like those of KNM-ER 13750; the occipital is like those of the two other Turkana specimens, and the temporals have a mixture of features from all of these, This specimen adds to our knowledge of variability in A. boisei.

  19. Developmental simulation of the adult cranial morphology of Australopithecus sediba

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    Keely B. Carlson

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available The type specimen of Australopithecus sediba (MH1 is a late juvenile, prompting some commentators to suggest that had it lived to adulthood its morphology would have changed sufficiently so as to render hypotheses regarding its phylogenetic relations suspect. Considering the potentially critical position of this species with regard to the origins of the genus Homo, a deeper understanding of this change is especially vital. As an empirical response to this critique, a developmental simulation of the MH1 cranium was carried out using geometric morphometric techniques to extrapolate adult morphology using extant male and female chimpanzees, gorillas and humans by modelling remaining development. Multivariate comparisons of the simulated adult A. sediba crania with other early hominin taxa indicate that subsequent cranial development primarily reflects development of secondary sexual characteristics and would not likely be substantial enough to alter suggested morphological affinities of A. sediba. This study also illustrates the importance of separating developmental vectors by sex when estimating ontogenetic change. Results of the ontogenetic projections concur with those from mandible morphology, and jointly affirm the taxonomic validity of A. sediba.

  20. 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.

  1. Dental topography and diets of Australopithecus afarensis and early Homo.

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    Ungar, Peter

    2004-05-01

    Diet is key to understanding the paleoecology of early hominins. We know little about the diets of these fossil taxa, however, in part because of a limited fossil record, and in part because of limitations in methods available to infer their feeding adaptations. This paper applies a new method, dental topographic analysis, to the inference of diet from fossil hominin teeth. This approach uses laser scanning to generate digital 3D models of teeth and geographic information systems software to measure surface attributes, such as slope and occlusal relief. Because it does not rely on specific landmarks that change with wear, dental topographic analysis allows measurement and comparison of variably worn teeth, greatly increasing sample sizes compared with techniques that require unworn teeth. This study involved comparison of occlusal slope and relief of the lower second molars of Australopithecus afarensis (n=15) and early Homo (n=8) with those of Gorilla gorilla gorilla (n=47) and Pan troglodytes troglodytes (n=54). Results indicate that while all groups show reduced slope and relief in progressively more worn specimens, there are consistent differences at given wear stages among the taxa. Early Homo shows steeper slopes and more relief than chimpanzees, whereas A. afarensis shows less slope and relief than any of the other groups. The differences between the two hominin taxa are on the same order as those between the extant apes, suggesting similar degrees of difference in diet. Because these chimpanzees and gorillas differ mostly in fallback foods where they are sympatric, results suggest that the early hominins may likewise have differed mostly in fallback foods, with A. afarensis emphasizing harder, more brittle foods, and early Homo relying on tougher, more elastic foods.

  2. Further evidence of periodontal bone pathology in a juvenile specimen of Australopithecus africanus from Sterkfontein, South Africa

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    Ripamonti, U

    1997-04-01

    Full Text Available The dentition and alveolar bone of a maxilla of a juvenile Australopithecus africanus have been examined using a high energy X-ray computed tomography scanner. Results indicate the presence of previously undetected severe alveolar bone loss...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rak, Yoel; Ginzburg, Avishag; Geffen, Eli

    2007-04-17

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Rak, Yoel; Ginzburg, Avishag; Geffen, Eli

    2007-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tabbutt, K.; Naeser, C.W.; Jordan, T.E.; Cerveny, P.F.

    1989-01-01

    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) [es

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-01-01

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

  7. First record of the megatoothed shark Carcharocles megalodon from the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation of Northern California.

    OpenAIRE

    Boessenecker, Robert W.

    2016-01-01

    Megatoothed sharks (Family: Otodontidae) are among the most widely reported sharks in Cenozoic marine sediments worldwide, and certain species such as the famed Carcharocles megalodon are particularly abundant in Neogene deposits on the Atlantic margin of the United States. Cenozoic marine strata on the Pacific margin of North America have yielded one of the most densely sampled marine vertebrate records anywhere, but published occurrences of shark assemblages are uncommon. Rarer yet are publ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge D Carrillo-Briceño

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carrillo-Briceño, Jorge D; Maxwell, Erin; Aguilera, Orangel A; Sánchez, Rodolfo; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meir M Barak

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

  12. Osteogenic tumour in Australopithecus sediba: Earliest hominin evidence for neoplastic disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick S. Randolph-Quinney

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available We describe the earliest evidence for neoplastic disease in the hominin lineage. This is reported from the type specimen of the extinct hominin Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa, dated to 1.98 million years ago. The affected individual was male and developmentally equivalent to a human child of 12 to 13 years of age. A penetrating lytic lesion affected the sixth thoracic vertebra. The lesion was macroscopically evaluated and internally imaged through phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography. A comprehensive differential diagnosis was undertaken based on gross- and micro-morphology of the lesion, leading to a probable diagnosis of osteoid osteoma. These neoplasms are solitary, benign, osteoid and bone-forming tumours, formed from well-vascularised connective tissue within which there is active production of osteoid and woven bone. Tumours of any kind are rare in archaeological populations, and are all but unknown in the hominin record, highlighting the importance of this discovery. The presence of this disease at Malapa predates the earliest evidence of malignant neoplasia in the hominin fossil record by perhaps 200 000 years.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Philip L. Reno

    2015-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    When hominin bipedality evolved, the forearms were free to adopt nonlocomotor tasks which may have resulted in changes to the articular surfaces of the ulna and the relative lengths of the forearm bones. Similarly, sex differences in forearm proportions may be more likely to emerge in bipeds than in the great apes given the locomotor constraints in Gorilla, Pan and Pongo. To test these assumptions, ulnar articular proportions and the antebrachial index (radius length/ulna length) in Homo sapiens (n=51), Gorilla gorilla (n=88), Pan troglodytes (n=49), Pongo pygmaeus (n=36) and Australopithecus afarensis A.L. 288-1 and A.L. 438-1 are compared. Intercept-adjusted ratios are used to control for size and minimize the effects of allometry. Canonical scores axes show that the proximally broad and elongated trochlear notch with respect to size in H. sapiens and A. afarensis is largely distinct from G. gorilla, P. troglodytes and P. pygmaeus. A cluster analysis of scaled ulnar articular dimensions groups H. sapiens males with A.L. 438-1 ulna length estimates, while one A.L. 288-1 ulna length estimate groups with Pan and another clusters most closely with H. sapiens, G. gorilla and A.L. 438-1. The relatively low antebrachial index characterizing H. sapiens and non-outlier estimates of A.L. 288-1 and A.L. 438-1 differs from those of the great apes. Unique sex differences in H. sapiens suggest a link between bipedality and forearm functional morphology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macho, Gabriele A; Shimizu, Daisuke

    2010-01-01

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

  16. Australopithecus anamensis: a finite-element approach to studying the functional adaptations of extinct hominins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macho, Gabriele A; Shimizu, Daisuke; Jiang, Yong; Spears, Iain R

    2005-04-01

    Australopithecus anamensis is the stem species of all later hominins and exhibits the suite of characters traditionally associated with hominins, i.e., bipedal locomotion when on the ground, canine reduction, and thick-enameled teeth. The functional consequences of its thick enamel are, however, unclear. Without appropriate structural reinforcement, these thick-enameled teeth may be prone to failure. This article investigates the mechanical behavior of A. anamensis enamel and represents the first in a series that will attempt to determine the functional adaptations of hominin teeth. First, the microstructural arrangement of enamel prisms in A. anamensis teeth was reconstructed using recently developed software and was compared with that of extant hominoids. Second, a finite-element model of a block of enamel containing one cycle of prism deviation was reconstructed for Homo, Pan, Gorilla, and A. anamensis and the behavior of these tissues under compressive stress was determined. Despite similarities in enamel microstructure between A. anamensis and the African great apes, the structural arrangement of prismatic enamel in A. anamensis appears to be more effective in load dissipation under these compressive loads. The findings may imply that this hominin species was well adapted to puncture crushing and are in some respects contrary to expectations based on macromorphology of teeth. Taking together, information obtained from both finite-element analyses and dental macroanatomy leads us to suggest that A. anamensis was probably adapted for habitually consuming a hard-tough diet. However, additional tests are needed to understand the functional adaptations of A. anamensis teeth fully.

  17. The Quequén Salado river basin: Geology and biochronostratigraphy of the Mio-Pliocene boundary in the southern Pampean plain, Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beilinson, E.; Gasparini, G. M.; Tomassini, R. L.; Zárate, M. A.; Deschamps, C. M.; Barendregt, R. W.; Rabassa, J.

    2017-07-01

    The Quequén Salado river basin has been the focus of several contributions since the first decades of the XX century, namely dealing with the general geological features of the deposits and with the vertebrate remains. In this paper, the Neogene geological history documented by the Quequén Salado river exposures is reconstructed by means of stratigraphic, sedimentological and paleomagnetic studies along with the paleontological analysis of vertebrate remains. The study area is a crucial setting not only to better understand the evolution of the southern Pampas basin during the late Miocene-early Pliocene interval, but also to test the validity of the biochronologic and biostratigraphic schemes, especially the "Irenense". A geological model for the Quequén Salado river valley is proposed: a case of downcutting and headward erosion that contributes with a coherent interpretation to explain the spatial distribution of facies and fossil taxa: the younger in the distal sector of the Quequén Salado middle basin and the older in the lower basin. The sedimentary record is believed to represent the distal reaches of a distributary fluvial system that drained from the Ventania ranges. The stratigraphic section of Paso del Indio Rico results a key stratigraphic site to fully understand the stratigraphic nature of the boundary between the Miocene and the Pliocene (the Huayquerian and Montehermosan stages/ages). In this sense, two stratigraphically superposed range zones have been recognized in the area: Xenodontomys ellipticus Range Zone (latest Miocene-early Pliocene; late Huayquerian), and Eumysops laeviplicatus Range Zone (early Pliocene; Montehermosan). Taking into account the available geological and paleontological evidences, the "Irenense" would not represent a valid biostratigraphic unit, since, according to the geological model here proposed, it would be represented by elements of the Xenodontomys ellipticus Range Zone in the lower QS basin and by elements of the Eumysops laeviplicatus Range Zone in the middle QS basin.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert W Boessenecker

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

  19. Mio-Pliocene glaciations of Central Patagonia: New evidence and tectonic implications Glaciaciones mio-pliocenas en Patagonia central: nueva evidencia e implicancias tectónicas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yves Lagabrielle

    2010-07-01

    Full Text Available Patagonia is well known for spectacular oceurrences of a variety of glacial-derived landforms and deposits and for a long history of ancient glaciations. In this paper, we first review the diverse evidence that demonstrates the development of glacial-related sedimentary units within the Central Patagonian Cordillera since 7 Ma. Well preserved glacial landforms at the top surface of mesetas on both sides of the Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires are described: the Meseta Guenguel to the north, and the volcanic Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires to the south. The latter meseta corresponds to a 3 Ma old, morphologically inverted paleo-piedmont, based on Ar/Ar dates of the uppermost lava flows. It shows evidence of glacier advances to the NE direction. Over a distance of 20 km, glacial landforms observed by remote sensing data and digital elevation model define glacial tongues that were fed by the Cordillera reliefs to the west. These lobes are now beheaded from their westward sources along a morpho-structural corridor that bounds the Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires to the west. These remnants can be correlated with the oldest glacial landforms recognized north of Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires, on the Meseta Guenguel that form the Chipanque moraine system. From these features it is concluded that the glacial drainage network of Central Patagonia has been strongly modified following relief inversion in response to erosion processes and to tectonic causes. Changes occurred after 3 Ma, from a smooth piedmont surface covered by an extensive ice mantle ending with ampie glacial lobes, to the current series of deeply incised glacial valleys such as the Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires depression. These new data bear important con-straints on the history and development of the first glaciations in southern South America.Patagonia es bien conocida por una espectacular geomorfología glacial y por una larga historia de antiguas glaciaciones. En este artículooprimero se describe la variada evidencia que demuestra el desarrolloo, desde hace 7 Ma, de unidades sedimentarias glacigénicas en la Cordillera Patagónica Central. Luego se describe una bien preservada geomorfología glacial en la cima de mesetas expuestas a ambos lados del lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires: en la Meseta Guenguel en el lado norte y en la meseta volcánica del lago Buenos Aires en el lado sur. Esta última corresponde a un paleo-piedemonte morfológicamente invertido de 3 Ma acorde a edades Ar/Ar de las lavas basálticas superiores. Exhibe evidencia del avance de glaciares hacia el NE. Observaciones hechas con sensores remotos y con modelos de elevación digital evidenciaron la presencia de formas glaciales a loolargo de una distancia de 20 km, las que fueron alimentadas desde los relieves cordilleranos ubicados al oeste. Estos lóbulos están ahora descabezados de su fuente ubicada al oeste a loolargo de un corredor morfoestructural que limita la Meseta del lago Buenos Aires por el oeste. Estos remanentes pueden ser correlacionados con las formas glaciales más antiguas reconocidas al norte del lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires en la Meseta Guenguel y que forman el sistema de morrenas Chipanque. Sobre la base de estos antecedentes se concluye que el sistema de drenaje de la Patagonia Central ha sido fuertemente modificado subsecuentemente a la inversion del relieve en respuesta a procesos erosivos y a causas tectónicas. Hubo cambios después de 3 Ma, desde una suave superficie de piedemonte cubierta por un extenso manto de hielooterminando con amplios lóbulos glaciales, hasta la actual serie de valles glaciales profundamente incididos tales como la depresión del lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires. Estos nuevos datos entregan importantes antecedentes a la historia y desarrolloode las primeras glaciaciones cenozoicas del sur de América del Sur.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boessenecker, Robert W; Perry, Frank A; Schmitt, James G

    2014-01-01

    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.

  1. Variations of the Indian summer monsoon over the Mio-Pliocene recorded in the Bengal Fan (IODP Exp354): implications for the evolution of the terrestrial biosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galy, Valier; Feakins, Sarah; Karkabi, Elias; Ponton, Camilo; Galy, Albert; France-Lanord, Christian

    2017-04-01

    A pressing challenge in climate research is understanding the temporal evolution of the Indian monsoon system; its response to global and regional climatic controls (including warming); as well as implications in terms of vegetation (C4 expansion), erosion of the Himalaya and carbon sequestration in the Bengal Fan. Studies on climate dynamics have recently offered new insights into the mechanistic controls on the monsoon: the tectonic boundary of the Himalaya is implicated as the major control on Indian summer monsoon dynamics today. Since this region has been uplifted since at least the late Oligocene, it is possible to test the response of monsoon precipitation to global and regional climate change, and also understand feedbacks on the climate system via carbon sequestration in the Bengal Fan. The evidence for monsoon intensity changes across the Miocene and Pliocene is currently incomplete given temporal uncertainty and diagenesis in terrestrial records; biases in the records reconstructed from the distal fan; and conflicting evidence from wind speed and aridity metrics for a stronger or weaker monsoon. Our alternative approach is therefore to study the basin-wide hydrological changes recorded in a multi-proxy, multi-site study of the marine sediments of the Bengal Fan recovered during IODP expedition 354. In turbiditic sediments of Himalayan origin, the late Miocene C4 expansion was found in all three long records recovered during expedition 354 (i.e. at sites U1451, U1450 and U1455, from East to West) based on stable carbon isotope composition of terrestrial leaf-wax compounds. Cores from sites U1455 (a reoccupation of DSDP Leg 22 Site 218) provide the highest resolution record of the C4 transition, which appears to occur abruptly within a relatively continuous series of turbiditic sequences. Bio- and magneto-stratigraphic dating of these records by members of Expedition 354 science party is underway and will provide the best stratigraphic constraint of the C4 expansion in the Himalayan system. Hemipelagic sediments generally carry 13C enriched signatures indicative of C4-dominated source areas, and based on a combination of the wind field climatology and the wetness and ecosystems of source regions today, we suggest that these would likely represent wind transport, likely from peninsular India. Interestingly we found hemipelagic horizons carrying this enriched 13C character prior to the C4 expansion recorded in turbiditic sediments, likely revealing an earlier C4 colonization of peninsular India. Based on our preliminary data we thus propose that C4 plants colonized peninsular India around 9-10 Ma. The hydrogen isotopic composition of the same leaf-wax compounds reveals a surprisingly small (on the order of 10 ‰) isotopic shift associated with the late Miocene C4 expansion. In contrast, the hydrogen isotope composition shift observed across the last deglaciation is far greater (ca. 40‰; Hein et al., in prep.). Cores from site U1451, provide a low resolution record across at least the last 26 Myr and appear to indicate a long term hydrological change from ca. 11Ma to ca. 7Ma, as inferred from progressive D enrichment in the biomarker records. These compound specific hydrogen isotope data will be discussed in the context of changing erosion patterns and attendant variations in the strength of the Indian summer monsoon as well as with respect to the mechanisms that led to the C4 expansion.

  2. Influence of the Eastern California Shear Zone on deposition of the Mio-Pliocene Bouse Formation: Insights from the Cibola area, Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorsey, Rebecca J.; O'Connell, Brennan; Homan, Mindy B.; Bennett, Scott E. K.

    2017-01-01

    The Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ) is a wide zone of late Cenozoic strike-slip faults and related diffuse deformation that currently accommodates ~20–25% of relative Pacific–North America plate motion in the lower Colorado River region (Fig. 1A; Dokka and Travis, 1990; Miller et al., 2001; Guest et al., 2007; Mahan et al., 2009). The ECSZ is kinematically linked southward to dextral faults in the northern Gulf of California (Bennett et al., 2016a), and it may have initiated ca. 8 Ma when major strike-slip faults developed in the northern Gulf and Salton Trough region (Bennett et al., 2016b; Darin et al., 2016; Woodburne, 2017). Thus deformation related to the ECSZ occurred in the lower Colorado River region during deposition of the Bouse Formation, which is commonly bracketed between 6.0 and 4.8 Ma (House et al., 2008; Sarna-Wojcicki et al., 2011; Spencer et al., 2013) and may be as old as 6–7 Ma in the south (McDougall and Miranda Martínez, 2014, 2016). Post-4.5 Ma broad sagging is recognized along the lower Colorado River (Howard et al., 2015), but the possibility that faults of the ECSZ influenced local to regional subsidence patterns during deposition of the Bouse Formation has received little attention to date (e.g., Homan, 2014; O’Connell et al., 2016). The Bouse Formation is a widespread sequence of late Miocene to early Pliocene deposits exposed discontinuously along the lower Colorado River corridor (Fig. 1A). In the southern Blythe basin it consists of three regionally correlative members: (1) Basal Carbonate, consisting of supratidal and intertidal mud-flat marls, intertidal and shallow subtidal bioclastic grainstone and conglomerate, and subtidal marl; (2) Siliciclastic member, consisting of Colorado River-derived green claystone, red mudstone and siltstone, and cross-bedded river channel sandstone; and (3) Upper Bioclastic member fossiliferous sandy calcarenite, coarse pebbly grainstone, and calcareous-matrix conglomerate (Homan, 2014; Dorsey et al., 2016; O’Connell et al., 2016, 2017). The southern Bouse Formation has been interpreted as recording deposition in either a lake (Spencer and Patchett, 1997; Spencer et al., 2008, 2013; Bright et al., 2016) or shallow marine setting (Buising, 1990; McDougall, 2008; McDougall and Miranda Martínez, 2014; O’Connell et al., 2017).In this paper we summarize key results from five field seasons of detailed stratigraphic analysis south of Cibola, Ariz. ( . 1). The data reveal systematic stratal thinning and thickening, pinch-outs, and wedging patterns in the Bouse Formation that we conclude were produced by syn-depositional tilting in response to growth of normal faults near the eastern margin of the basin. Similar stratal patterns in other nearby areas suggest widespread structural controls on deposition of the Bouse Formation. A palinspastic reconstruction of the lower Colorado River region at 5 Ma, modified from Bennett et al. (2016), provides insight to regional fault geometries in the ECSZ that may have controlled syn-depositional tilting and subsidence in Bouse depocenters shortly prior to and during initiation of the Colorado River.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gamble, John King

    1999-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Arias-Martorell

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

  5. Patterns of dental development in Homo, Australopithecus, Pan, and Gorilla.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, B H

    1994-07-01

    Smith ([1986] Nature 323:327-330) distinguished patterns of development of teeth of juvenile fossil hominids as being "more like humans" or "more like apes" based on statistical similarity to group standards. Here, this central tendency discrimination (CTD) is tested for its ability to recognize ape and human patterns of dental development in 789 subadult hominoids. Tooth development of a modern human sample (665 black southern Africans) was scored entirely by an outside investigator; pongid and fossil hominid samples (59 Pan, 50 Gorilla, and 14 fossil hominids) were scored by the author. The claim of Lampl et al. ([1993] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 90:113-127) that Smith's 1986 method succeeds in only 8% of human cases was not sustained. Figures for overall success of classification (87% humans, 68% apes) mask important effects of teeth sampled and age class. For humans, the power of CTD varied between 53% and 92% depending on the number and kind of teeth available--nearly that of a coin toss when data described only two nearby teeth, but quite successful with more teeth or distant teeth. For apes, only age class affected accuracy: "Infant" apes (M1 development or = root 1/4), however, were correctly discriminated in 87% of cases. Overall, CTD can be considered reliable (accuracy of 92% for humans and 88% for apes) when data contrast development of distant dental fields and subjects are juveniles (not infants). Restricting analysis of fossils to specimens satisfying these criteria, patterns of dental development of gracile australopithecines and Homo habilis remain classified with African apes. Those of Homo erectus and Neanderthals are classified with humans, suggesting that patterns of growth evolved substantially in the Hominidae. To standardize future research, the computer program that operationalizes CTD is now available.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Will dragonblood survive the next period of climate change? Current and future potential distribution of Dracaena cinnabari (Socotra, Yemen)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Attorre, F.; Francesconi, F.; Taleb, N.; Scholte, P.; Saed, A.; Alfo, M.; Bruno, F.

    2007-01-01

    The potential impact of climate change on Dracaena cinnabari, a spectacular relict of the Mio-Pliocene Laurasian subtropical forest in Socotra (Yemen), was analysed. Current distribution, abundance and vertical structure of D. cinnabari populations were assessed with 74 plots in nine remnant areas.

  9. 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.

  10. A morphometric analysis of hominin teeth attributed to Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Homo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Susan J. Dykes

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Teeth are the most common element in the fossil record and play a critical role in taxonomic assessments. Variability in extant hominoid species is commonly used as a basis to gauge expected ranges of variability in fossil hominin species. In this study, variability in lower first molars is visualised in morphospace for four extant hominoid species and seven fossil hominin species. A size-versus-shape-based principle component analysis plot was used to recognise spatial patterns applicable to sexual dimorphism in extant species for comparison with fossil hominin species. In three African great ape species, variability occurs predominantly according to size (rather than shape, with the gorilla sample further separating into a male and a female group according to size. A different pattern is apparent for the modern human sample, in which shape variability is more evident. There is overlap between male and female modern humans and some evidence of grouping by linguistic/tribal populations. When fossil hominin species are analysed using equivalent axes of variance, the specimens group around species holotypes in quite similar patterns to those of the extant African great apes, but six individual fossil molars fall well outside of polygons circumscribing holotype clusters; at least three of these specimens are of interest for discussion in the context of sexual dimorphism, species variability and current species classifications. An implication of this study is that, especially in the case of modern humans, great caution needs to be exercised in using extant species as analogues for assessing variability considered to be a result of sexual dimorphism in fossil hominin species.

  11. A morphometric analysis of hominin teeth attributed to Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Homo

    OpenAIRE

    Susan J. Dykes

    2016-01-01

    Teeth are the most common element in the fossil record and play a critical role in taxonomic assessments. Variability in extant hominoid species is commonly used as a basis to gauge expected ranges of variability in fossil hominin species. In this study, variability in lower first molars is visualised in morphospace for four extant hominoid species and seven fossil hominin species. A size-versus-shape-based principle component analysis plot was used to recognise spatial patterns applicable to...

  12. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Shark-Cetacean trophic interaction, Duinefontein, Koeberg, (5 Ma, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Romala Govender

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available This study forms part of a larger project to reconstruct the Mio-Pliocene marine palaeoenvironment along South Africa’s west coast. It documents the shark–cetacean trophic interaction during the Zanclean (5 Ma at Duinefontein (Koeberg. The damage described on the fragmentary cetacean bones was compared with similar damage observed on fossils from Langebaanweg, a Mio-Pliocene site on the west coast of South Africa, and data present in the literature. This comparison showed that the damage was the result of shark bites. The state of preservation makes it difficult to determine if the shark bite marks were the cause of death or as a result of scavenging. The presence of the bite marks on the bone would, however, indicate some degree of skeletonisation. Bite marks on some cranial fragments would suggest that the cetacean’s body was in an inverted position typical of a floating carcass. The preservation of the material suggests that the bones were exposed to wave action resulting in their fragmentation as well as abrasion, polishing and rolling. It also suggests that the cetacean skeletons were exposed for a long time prior to burial. The morphology of the bites suggests that the damage was inflicted by sharks with serrated and unserrated teeth. Shark teeth collected from the deposit include megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon, white (Carcharodon carcharias as well as mako (Isurus sp. and Cosmopolitodus hastalis sharks, making these sharks the most likely predators/scavengers.

  14. Geology of Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, E.F.; Wicks, Carol M.; Mylroie, J.; Troester, J.; Alexander, E.C.; Carew, J.L.

    1998-01-01

    Isla de Mona is a carbonate island located in the Mona Passage 68 km west of Puerto Rico. The tectonically uplifted island is 12 km by 5 km, with an area of 55 km2, and forms a raised flat-topped platform or meseta. The meseta tilts gently to the south and is bounded by near vertical cliffs on all sides. These cliffs rise from 80 m above sea level on the north to 20 m above the sea on the southern coast. Along the southwestern and western side of the island a three- to six-meter-high Pleistocene fossil reef abuts the base of the cliff to form a narrow coastal plain. The meseta itself consists of two Mio-Pliocene carbonate units, the lower Isla de Mona Dolomite and the upper Lirio Limestone. Numerous karst features, including a series of flank margin caves primarily developed at the Lirio Limestone/Isla de Mona Dolomite contact, literally ring the periphery of the island.

  15. Foramen magnum position in bipedal mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russo, Gabrielle A; Kirk, E Christopher

    2013-11-01

    The anterior position of the human foramen magnum is often explained as an adaptation for maintaining balance of the head atop the cervical vertebral column during bipedalism and the assumption of orthograde trunk postures. Accordingly, the relative placement of the foramen magnum on the basicranium has been used to infer bipedal locomotion and hominin status for a number of Mio-Pliocene fossil taxa. Nonetheless, previous studies have struggled to validate the functional link between foramen magnum position and bipedal locomotion. Here, we test the hypothesis that an anteriorly positioned foramen magnum is related to bipedalism through a comparison of basicranial anatomy between bipeds and quadrupeds from three mammalian clades: marsupials, rodents and primates. Additionally, we examine whether strepsirrhine primates that habitually assume orthograde trunk postures exhibit more anteriorly positioned foramina magna compared with non-orthograde strepsirrhines. Our comparative data reveal that bipedal marsupials and rodents have foramina magna that are more anteriorly located than those of quadrupedal close relatives. The foramen magnum is also situated more anteriorly in orthograde strepsirrhines than in pronograde or antipronograde strepsirrhines. Among the primates sampled, humans exhibit the most anteriorly positioned foramina magna. The results of this analysis support the utility of foramen magnum position as an indicator of bipedal locomotion in fossil hominins. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Paléointensités géomagnétiques absolues complémentaires de la Basse Californie : évaluation des données du Pliocène et du Pléistocène inférieur et moyen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morales, Juan; Goguitchaichvili, Avto; Cañon-Tapia, Edgardo; Negrete, Raquel

    2003-11-01

    From a large collection (more than 300 oriented cores) of Baja California Mio-Pliocene volcanic units, sampled for magnetostratigraphy and tectonics, 46 samples were selected for Thellier paleointensity experiments because of their low viscosity index, stable remanent magnetization and close to reversible continuous thermomagnetic curves. 19 samples, coming from 4 individual basaltic lava flows, yielded reliable paleointensity estimates with the flow-mean virtual dipole moments (VDM) ranging from 3.6 to 6.2 ×10 22 A m 2. Our results, although not numerous, are of high technical quality and comparable to other paleointensity data recently obtained on younger lava flows. The NRM fractions used for paleointensity determination range from 38 to 79% and the quality factors vary between 4.8 and 16.7, being normally greater than 5. The combination of Baja California data with the available comparable quality Plio-Plesitocene paleointensity results yields a mean VDM of 6.3 ×10 22 A m 2, which is almost 80% of the present geomagnetic axial dipole. Reliable paleointensity results for the last 5 Ma are still scarce and of dissimilar quality, which makes it hard to draw any firm conclusions regarding the Pliocene and Early/Middle Pleistocene evolution of the geomagnetic field. To cite this article: J. Morales et al., C. R. Geoscience 335 (2003).

  17. Hydrogeological geochemical and isotopic study of the coastal aquifer of Sousse Eastern, Tunisia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ben-Hamouda, M. F.; Carreira, P.; Marques, J. M.; Eggenkamp, H.

    2012-12-01

    At Sahel, near one of the seaside resort available in Tunisia, the water quantity and quality is a major problem ever at southern center of Tunisia. The Oued Laya coastal system is no exception. The levels, a shallow aquifer up to depths of about 60 m whose reservoir is mainly formed by Mio-Pliocnesediments (with some gypsum lenses dispersed within the geological formations) and deep aquifer, situated between 100 and 250 m depth, located in the Miocene sandstone formations. The results of geochemical and isotopic studies have shown that groundwater salinity seems not be linked with the increasing water well's abstraction. In contrast, water mineralization seems to acquired by dissolution of minerals in the aquifer system especially halie and gypsum. Besides ion exchange processes play also an important role in the groundwater mineralization. Therefore, it clearly appears that several sources might contribute with different mineralization to the selenization of the aquifer through the natural recharge and also through the return of water irrigation. The contamination of the Mio-Pliocene shallow aquifer by a mixture with seawater is confirmed, and stable isotopes data do not support the hypothesis of mixing with seawater. (Author)

  18. Late Pleistocene acceleration of deformation across the northern Tianshan piedmont (China) evidenced from the morpho-tectonic evolution of the Dushanzi anticline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charreau, Julien; Saint-Carlier, Dimitri; Lavé, Jérôme; Dominguez, Stéphane; Blard, Pierre-Henri; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Brown, Nathan D.; Malatesta, Luca Claude; Wang, Shengli; Rhodes, Edward J.

    2018-04-01

    We document the temporal evolution of deformation in the northern Tianshan piedmont where the deformation is partitioned across several thrusts and folds. We focus on the Dushanzi anticline, where abandoned terraces and growth strata allow us to constrain the history of folding since the Miocene. Based on subsurface seismic imaging, structural measurements and morphological analysis, we show that this anticline is associated with two decollement levels. We use kink band migration in growth strata dated by paleomagnetism to constrain the shortening from the Mio-Pliocene to the Holocene. Our results show that the Dushanzi anticline has been active since at least 8 Ma and that the fold grew at a steady shortening rate of 0.6 ± 0.1 mm/yr from 8 to 1.5 Ma with possible variations from 2.5 to 1.5 Ma. Then it accelerated rapidly to a rate of 4.3 ± 1.0 mm/yr over at least the last 100 ka. These results, together with similar temporal shortening evolutions across other structures, suggest that the deformation rate across the eastern Tianshan piedmont increased relatively recently. This may reflect either a redistribution of the deformation from the internal structures toward the borders or a general acceleration of the deformation across the entire range.

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-05-01

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

  1. 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)

  2. Autogenic Versus Allogenic Controls on the Evolution of a Coupled Fluvial Megafan-Mountainous Catchment System: Insight from Numerical Modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mouchene, M.; van der Beek, P.; Carretier, S.; Mouthereau, F.

    2017-12-01

    Alluvial megafans are sensitive recorders of landscape evolution, controlled by both autogenic processes and allogenic forcing, and they are influenced by the coupled dynamics of the fan with its mountainous catchment. The Mio-Pliocene Lannemezan megafan in the northern Pyrenean foreland (SW France) was abandoned by its mountainous feeder stream during the Quaternary and subsequently incised. The flight of alluvial terraces abandoned along the stream network may suggest a climatic control on the incision. We use a landscape evolution numerical model (CIDRE) to explore the relative roles of autogenic processes and external forcing in the building, abandonment and incision of a foreland megafan, and we compare the results with the inferred evolution of the Lannemezan megafan. Autogenic processes are sufficient to explain the building of a megafan and the long-term entrenchment of its feeding river on time and space scales that match the Lannemezan setting. Climate, through temporal variations in precipitation rate, may have played a role in the episodic pattern of incision on a shorter timescale. In contrast, base-level changes, tectonic activity in the mountain range or tilting of the foreland through flexural isostatic rebound do not appear to have played a role in the abandonment of the megafan.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fanning, C.M; Herve, F; Pankhurst, R.J; Thomson, S; Faundez, V

    2001-01-01

    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)

  4. Thallium in mineral resources extracted in Poland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bojakowska I.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Thallium concentrations in primary mineral commodities extracted in Poland and processed in high temperatures were determined by ICP-MS method. Samples of hard and brown coal, copper-silver and zinclead ores, argillaceous and calcareous rocks of different genesis and age were analyzed. The highest thallium concentrations occur in the zinc-lead ores, the average content being of 52.1 mg/kg. The copper ores contain in average 1.4 mg/kg of thallium. Hard coals from the Upper Silesian Coal Basin display higher thallium content than those exploited in the Lublin Coal Basin. Brown coals from Turow deposit distinguish by much higher values, 0.7 mg/kg Tl, than those from huge Bełchatów and smaller Konin-Turek region deposits. Average thallium concentrations in clays used for ceramic materials are lower than 1 mg/kg, except of Mio-Pliocene Slowiany deposit. The average content of thallium in the studied limestone and dolomite raw materials for cement, lime, and metallurgical flux, and refractories is very low in comparison to the average amounts in the world carbonate rocks.

  5. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants. © 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

  6. 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; Le Gal La Salle, Corinne; Barbecot, Florent

    2015-09-22

    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.

  7. Plio-quaternary deposits in the Eastern Rharb (Nw Morocco): Electrosequential characterization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al Mazini, Imane; Mridekh, Abdelaziz; Kili, Malika; El Mansouri, Bouâbid; El Bouhaddioui, Mohamed; Magrane, Bouchaib

    2018-02-01

    The Rharb basin, of which our study area is part, is located at the western extremity of the south Rif corridor. It corresponds to a subsiding zone that appeared in the Upper Miocene, between two major structural domains: the Rif to the north and east and the Meseta domain to the south. The eastern part of this basin is characterized by a Plio-Quaternary continental fill. Its geographical position and its structural and paleo-environmental contexts are reflected by a great facies heterogeneity. This work aims to image the subsurface structure and to characterize the distribution mode of Plio-Quaternary deposits of the eastern Rharb. The use of a database consisting of geo-electrical cross sections, hydrogeological drilling and wireline logging integrated in a Geographic Information System (GIS) allowed us to establish a new three-dimensional model of the top of the Mio-Pliocene substratum, new geo-electrical cross sections, as well as the isopach maps of lower, intermediate, upper and superficial geo-electric interval. This approach allowed us to characterize the Plio-Quaternary deposits of the study area and to highlight the effects of the tectonic regime and the relative sea level fluctuations on the sequential organization of these deposits. Our new model shows the development of prograding, aggrading and retrograding parasequences denoting the existence of autogenic mechanisms in the organization of plio-quaternary deposits of the eastern part of the Rharb basin. Therefore, it opens new perspectives for the exploration of water resources and monitoring their quality throughout the basin.

  8. Inherited weaknesses control deformation in the flat slab region of Central Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, A.; Carrapa, B.; Larrovere, M.; Aciar, R. H.

    2015-12-01

    The Sierras Pampeanas region of west-central Argentina has long been considered a geologic type-area for flat-slab induced thick-skinned deformation. Frictional coupling between the horizontal subducting plate and South American lithosphere from ~12 Ma to the present provides an obvious causal mechanism for the basement block uplifts that characterize this region. New low temperature thermochronometry data show basement rocks from the central Sierras Pampeanas (~ longitude 66 ̊ W) including Sierras Cadena de Paiman, Velasco and Mazan retain a cooling history of Paleozoic - Mesozoic tectonics events. Results from this study indicate that less than 2 km of basement has been exhumed since at least the Mesozoic. These trends recorded by both apatite fission track (AFT) and apatite helium (AHe) thermochronometry suggest that recent Mio-Pliocene thick-skinned deformation associated with flat-slab subduction follow inherited zones of weakness from Paleozoic terrane sutures and shear zones and Mesozoic rifting. If a Cenozoic foreland basin exisited in this region, its thickness was minimal and was controlled by paleotopography. Pre-Cenozoic cooling ages in these ranges that now reach as high as 4 km imply significant exhumation of basement rocks before the advent of flat slab subduction in the mid-late Miocene. It also suggests that thick-skinned deformation associated with flat slab subduction may at least be facilitated by inherited crustal-scale weaknesses. At the most, pre-existing zones of weakness may be required in regions of thick-skinned deformation. Although flat-slab subduction plays an important role in the exhumation of the Sierras Pampeanas, it is likely not the sole mechanism responsible for thick-skinned deformation in this region. This insight sheds light on the interpretation of modern and ancient regions of thick-skinned deformation in Cordilleran systems.

  9. Uranium exploration in Bangladesh

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Faruquee, A.R.

    1988-01-01

    The sedimentary succession of Bangladesh has continental sandstones with lignite and organic matter which are favourable host rocks for sedimentary uranium. The shield areas around Bangladesh are considered good source areas for uranium. Encouraged by this idea, the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) started an exploration programme in 1976 with the assistance of the IAEA and the United Nations Development Programme. Preliminary reconnaissance radiometric surveys carried out in 1976-1977 in the Chittagong, Chittagong hill tract and Sylhet districts identified some anomalies with 3 to 5 times the background (XBG). This was followed by regional reconnaissance radiometric surveys which were carried out between 1977 and 1985 in some of the anticlines of the Chittagong and Sylhet districts, including an airborne (helicopter) survey over the Jaldi area. These surveys resulted in the discovery of more than 300 radiometric anomalies of 3 to 60 XBG. They occur in the medium to fine grained ferruginous sandstones of the Dupitila and Tipam Formations of Mio-Pliocene age. These anomalous beds show variation in slime and heavy mineral contents. Some samples collected from the anomalous beds contain uranium and thorium ranging from 20 to 100 ppm and 100 to 1000 ppm, respectively. Exploratory drilling to a depth of about 400 ft was carried out on a very limited scale in the northeastern part of the Sylhet district. Gamma logging of these holes indicated many subsurface anomalies (3 to 21 XBG) in the Dupitila Formation. These anomalies are linked to thin layers with restricted lateral extensions. Geochemical orientation studies and radon surveys were done in some selected areas of Sylhet to test their suitability for further surveys. 9 refs, 13 figs, 4 tabs

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Contoux

    2013-07-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. Copyright © 2014 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. East African Cenozoic vegetation history.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linder, Hans Peter

    2017-11-01

    The modern vegetation of East Africa is a complex mosaic of rainforest patches; small islands of tropic-alpine vegetation; extensive savannas, ranging from almost pure grassland to wooded savannas; thickets; and montane grassland and forest. Here I trace the evolution of these vegetation types through the Cenozoic. Paleogene East Africa was most likely geomorphologically subdued and, as the few Eocene fossil sites suggest, a woodland in a seasonal climate. Woodland rather than rainforest may well have been the regional vegetation. Mountain building started with the Oligocene trap lava flows in Ethiopia, on which rainforest developed, with little evidence of grass and none of montane forests. The uplift of the East African Plateau took place during the middle Miocene. Fossil sites indicate the presence of rainforest, montane forest and thicket, and wooded grassland, often in close juxtaposition, from 17 to 10 Ma. By 10 Ma, marine deposits indicate extensive grassland in the region and isotope analysis indicates that this was a C 3 grassland. In the later Miocene rifting, first of the western Albertine Rift and then of the eastern Gregory Rift, added to the complexity of the environment. The building of the high strato-volcanos during the later Mio-Pliocene added environments suitable for tropic-alpine vegetation. During this time, the C 3 grassland was replaced by C 4 savannas, although overall the extent of grassland was reduced from the mid-Miocene high to the current low level. Lake-level fluctuations during the Quaternary indicate substantial variation in rainfall, presumably as a result of movements in the intertropical convergence zone and the Congo air boundary, but the impact of these fluctuations on the vegetation is still speculative. I argue that, overall, there was an increase in the complexity of East African vegetation complexity during the Neogene, largely as a result of orogeny. The impact of Quaternary climatic fluctuation is still poorly understood

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-21

    The early Pliocene African hominoid Ardipithecus ramidus was diagnosed as a having a unique phylogenetic relationship with the Australopithecus + Homo clade based on nonhoning canine teeth, a foreshortened cranial base, and postcranial characters related to facultative bipedality. However, pedal and pelvic traits indicating substantial arboreality have raised arguments that this taxon may instead be an example of parallel evolution of human-like traits among apes around the time of the chimpanzee-human split. Here we investigated the basicranial morphology of Ar. ramidus for additional clues to its phylogenetic position with reference to African apes, humans, and Australopithecus. Besides a relatively anterior foramen magnum, humans differ from apes in the lateral shift of the carotid foramina, mediolateral abbreviation of the lateral tympanic, and a shortened, trapezoidal basioccipital element. These traits reflect a relative broadening of the central basicranium, a derived condition associated with changes in tympanic shape and the extent of its contact with the petrous. Ar. ramidus shares with Australopithecus each of these human-like modifications. We used the preserved morphology of ARA-VP 1/500 to estimate the missing basicranial length, drawing on consistent proportional relationships in apes and humans. Ar. ramidus is confirmed to have a relatively short basicranium, as in Australopithecus and Homo. Reorganization of the central cranial base is among the earliest morphological markers of the Ardipithecus + Australopithecus + Homo clade.

  17. Phylogeography and diversification history of the day-gecko genus Phelsuma in the Seychelles islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocha, Sara; Posada, David; Harris, D James

    2013-01-05

    Lying in a shallow continental shelf cyclically affected by oscillating sea levels since the Miocene, the Seychelles islands are particularly interesting for evolutionary studies. Recent molecular studies are generating an emerging picture of the origin of its biota, yet very little is known regarding their phylogeographic structure or on the factors promoting diversification within the archipelago. Here we aimed to obtain a detailed depiction of the genetic structure and evolution of one of the most widespread vertebrate groups in the archipelago: the day-geckos of the genus Phelsuma. In parallel, we aimed to infer divergence times between species and subspecies, testing a long-standing hypothesis that argues for different time since sympatry between species as the cause of their different morphological differentiation across the archipelago. Molecular data corroborated the existence of two main lineages, corresponding to the two currently recognized species. Divergences between species likely date back to the Mio-Pliocene, while more recent, Pleistocenic, divergences are suggested within each species. Populations from outer islands share mtDNA haplotypes with inner island populations, suggesting very recent dispersals (or introductions). We found no evidence of current gene flow between species, but results pointed to the possibility of gene flow between (now allopatric) subspecies. Time estimates suggest a synchronous divergence within each species (between island groups). The geographic patterns of genetic variation agree with previous taxonomic subdivisions within each species and the origin of outer islands populations is clearly tracked. The similar intraspecific divergence time estimates obtained suggest that the differential body-size differentiation between species within each group of islands may be driven by factors other than character displacement proportional to time since sympatry, as previously suggested. These factors could include different

  18. Water-borne radon and hydrogeochemical based uranium exploration in Rajamundry sandstone, W. Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jeyagopal, A.V.; Rajaraman, H.S.; Som, Anjan

    2010-01-01

    The lithology and sedimentary structures of the Rajamundry Formation of the Mio-Pliocene age covering an area of 1100 sq.km. indicate that it may be a typical valley fill sediment. It is about 600 m thick comprising sandstone and clay with lignite as the main lithounits. It is continental in onshore and marine in the offshore and is in contact with Gondwana sediments and Rajamundry traps. Tertiary sandstones are important hosts for uranium mineralisation. The reducing gas (Methane or other volatile hydrocarbon) moving to uraniferous oxidising water has precipitated uranium in the sediments in South Texas and Northwest Colorado, USA: (a) along faults, (b) above petroliferous aquifers, (c) vertically above hydrocarbon accumulations and (d) oil-water interface at hydrocarbon accumulations i.e., at the points of introduction of reducent into oxidising ground waters. In this context, Rajamundry sandstone lying above the natural gas and petroleum bearing Krishna Godavari basin with faults is an important geological setting for uranium mineralisation. The exploration strategies of hydrogeochemical survey and water-borne Radon (Rn) surveys were selected in this soil-covered area. Hydrogeochemical survey carried out in the Rajamundry sandstone has brought out four hydro-uranium anomalous zones with water samples (10-45ppb) falling around Kadiyadda, Madhavaram, Erramalla and Chinna Malapalle areas of West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. The zones vary from 9 to 24 sq km area. Water-borne Radon was utilized as a tool for exploration of uranium in this soil covered terrain. Rn contours cluster around two zones around Kadiyadda and SW of Gollagudem wherein the Rn value is >60 counts/50 sec/500 ml. These Rn anomalies fall within the above mentioned hydrouranium anomalous zones. Gamma-ray logging of private bore wells has recorded relatively higher radioactivity in Kommugudem, which also falls in the high hydrouranium - high waterborne radon zone. These data and

  19. Burial and thermal history simulation of the Abu Rudeis-Sidri oil field, Gulf of Suez-Egypt: A 1D basin modeling study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Awadalla, Ahmed; Hegab, Omar A.; Ahmed, Mohammed A.; Hassan, Saad

    2018-02-01

    An integrated 1D model on seven wells has been performed to simulate the multi-tectonic phases and multiple thermal regimes in the Abu Rudeis-Sidri oilfield. Concordance between measured and calculated present-day temperatures is achieved with present-day heat flows in the range of 42-55 mW/m2. Reconstruction of the thermal and burial histories provides information on the paleotemperature profiles, the timing of thermal activation as well as the effect of the Oligo-Miocene rifting phases and its associated magmatic activity. The burial histories show the pre-rift subsidence was progressive but modest, whereas the syn-rift was more rapid (contemporaneous with the main rifting phases and basin formation). Finally, the early post-rift thermal subsidence was slow to moderate in contrast to the late post-rift thermal subsidence which was moderate to rapid. The simulated paleo heat flow illustrates a steady state for the pre-rift phase and non-steady state (transient) for syn-rift and postrift phases. Three geothermal regimes are recognized, each of which is associated with a specific geological domain. 1) A lower geothermal regime reflects the impact of stable tectonics (pre-rift). 2) The higher temperature distribution reflects the syn-rift high depositional rate as well as the impact of stretching and thinning (rifting phases) of the lithosphere. 3) A local higher geothermal pulse owing to the magmatic activity during the Oligo-Miocene time (ARM-1 and Sidri-7 wells). Paleoheat flow values of 100mW/m2 (Oligo-Miocene rifting phase) increased to 120mW/m2 (Miocene rifting phase) and lesser magnitude of 80mW/m2 (Mio- Pliocene reactivation phase) have been specified. These affected the thermal regime and temperature distribution by causing perturbations in subsurface temperatures. A decline in the background value of 60mW/m2 owing to conductive cooling has been assigned. The blanketing effect caused by low thermal conductivity of the basin-fill sediments has been simulated

  20. 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

  1. Geomorphological approach in karstic domain: importance of underground water in the Jura mountains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabin, Mickael; Sue, Christian; Champagnac, Jean Daniel; Bichet, Vincent; Carry, Nicolas; Eichenberger, Urs; Mudry, Jacques; Valla, Pierre

    2014-05-01

    The Jura mountain belt is the north-westernmost and one of the most recent expressions of the Alpine orogeny (i.e. Mio-Pliocene times). The Jura has been well studied from a structural framework, but still remains the source of scientific debates, especially regarding its current and recent tectonic activity [Laubscher, 1992; Burkhard and Sommaruga, 1998]. It is deemed to be always in a shortening state, according to leveling data [Jouanne et al., 1998] and neotectonic observations [Madritsch et al., 2010]. However, the few GPS data available on the Jura do not show evidence of shortening, but rather a low-magnitude extension parallel to the arc [Walpersdorf et al., 2006]. Moreover, the traditionally accepted assumption of a collisional activity of the Jura raises the question of its geodynamic origin. The Western Alps are themselves in a post-collisional regime and characterized by a noticeable isostatic-related extension, due to the interaction between buoyancy forces and external dynamics [Sue et al., 2007]. Quantitative morphotectonic approaches have been increasingly used in active mountain belts to infer relationship between climates and tectonics in landscape evolution [Whipple, 2009]. In this study, we propose to apply morphometric tools to calcareous bedrock, in a slowly deformed mountain belt. In particular, we have used watersheds metrics determination and associated river profiles analysis to allow quantifying the degree and nature of the equilibrium between the tectonic forcing and the fluvial erosional agent [Kirby and Whipple, 2001]. Indeed, long-term river profiles evolution is controlled by climatic and tectonic forcing through the following expression [Whipple and Tucker, 1999]: S = (U / K) 1/n Am/n (with U: uplift rate, K: empirical erodibility factor, function of hydrological and geological settings; A: drained area, m, n: empirical parameters). We present here a systematic analysis of river profiles applied to the main drainage system of the

  2. Post-Eocene climate change across continental Australia and the diversification of Australasian spiny trapdoor spiders (Idiopidae: Arbanitinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rix, Michael G; Cooper, Steven J B; Meusemann, Karen; Klopfstein, Seraina; Harrison, Sophie E; Harvey, Mark S; Austin, Andrew D

    2017-04-01

    -plugging in transitional arid zone taxa have evolved twice independently in Western Australia, while in Misgolas and Cataxia, burrow door-building behaviours have likely been independently lost at least three times in the eastern Australian mesic zone. We also show that the presence of idiopids in New Zealand (Cantuaria) is likely to be the result of recent dispersal from Australia, rather than ancient continental vicariance. By providing the first comprehensive, continental synopsis of arid zone biogeography in an Australian arachnid lineage, we show that the diversification of arbanitine Idiopidae was intimately associated with climate shifts during the Neogene, resulting in multiple Mio-Pliocene radiations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. The Australopithecines – An Extinct Group of Human Ancestors: My Scientific Interest in South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaszycka Katarzyna A.

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available I introduce the subject of my research interest in South Africa - the australopithecines - a group of bipedal, small-brained and large-toothed creatures from the Plio-Pleistocene, from which the human genus arose. I then briefly discuss various topics of my research, concerning: (1 Taxonomic status and morphological description of the extinct human relative from the Kromdraai site (Australopithecus robustus; (2 Graphic reconstruction of the partial skull from Kromdraai - specimen numbered TM 1517; (3 Assessment of size sexual dimorphism of the South African australopithecines (Australopithecus robustus and Australopithecus africanus, which, in terms of facial features, was pronounced - being almost gorilla-sized; (4 Social behavior of a fossil hominid species from around 2 million years ago, which, in terms of the social structure, was most likely a multimale-multifemale one; and (5 An event from the history of paleoanthropology, concerning the content of the 1924/25 photographs of the Taung Child (Australopithecus africanus - the first australopithecine skull discovered.

  4. 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…

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Michael Plavcan

    2012-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  7. 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

  8. South Turkwel: a new pliocene hominid site in Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, C V; Leakey, M G; Brown, B; Brown, F; Harris, J; Walker, A

    1999-01-01

    New fossils discovered south of the Turkwel River in northern Kenya include an associated metacarpal, capitate, hamate, lunate, pedal phalanx, mandibular fragment, and teeth. These fossils probably date to around 3.5 m.y.a. Faunal information suggests that the environment at South Turkwel was predominantly bushland. The mandibular and dental remains are fragmentary, but the postcranial fossils are informative. Comparisons with Australopithecus, modern human, chimpanzee and gorilla hand bones suggest that the Turkwel hominid was most like Australopithecus afarensis and A. africanus. Carpometacarpal articulations are intermediate between those of modern humans and African apes, suggesting enhanced gripping capabilities compared with extant apes. The hamulus was strikingly large, similar in proportion only to Neandertals and some gorillas, suggesting the presence of powerful forearms and hands. There are no indicators of adaptations to knuckle-walking or suspensory locomotion in the hand, and the pedal phalanx suggests that this hominid was habitually bipedal. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Ward, C.V.; Feibel, C.S.; Hammond, A.S.; Leakey, L.N.; Moffett, E.A.; Plavcan, J.M.; Skinner, Matthew M.; Spoor, F.; Leakey, M.G.

    2015-01-01

    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, K...

  10. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Hominin hand bone fossils from Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa (1998-2003 excavations).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pickering, Travis Rayne; Heaton, Jason L; Clarke, Ron J; Stratford, Dominic

    2018-05-01

    We describe eleven hominin metacarpals and phalanges recovered from Jacovec Cavern and Member 4 of the Sterkfontein Formation between 1998 and 2003. Collectively, the fossils date in excess of 2.0 Ma, and are probably attributable to Australopithecus africanus and/or Australopithecus prometheus. When combined with results of previous studies on Australopithecus postcranial functional morphology, the new data presented here suggest that at least some late Pliocene and/or early Pleistocene hominins from Sterkfontein were arboreally adept. This finding accords with the reconstruction of the site's >2.0 Ma catchment area as well-vegetated and containing significant woody components. In addition, most of the new specimens described here evince morphologies that indicate the hands from which they derived lacked complete modern humanlike manual dexterity, which is integral to the manufacture and use of intentionally shaped stone tools. The absence of lithic artifacts from both stratigraphic units from which the fossils were excavated is consistent with this conclusion. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. The deciduous lower dentition of Ouranopithecus macedoniensis (Primates, Hominoidea) from the late Miocene deposits of Macedonia, Greece.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koufos, George D; de Bonis, Louis

    2004-06-01

    Two mandibular fragments with associated milk teeth assigned to the late Miocene hominoid primate Ouranopithecus macedoniensis are analyzed. The fossils, which belong to a single individual, were found in the Vallesian locality of "Ravin de la Pluie" of the Axios Valley (Macedonia, Greece). The material is described here and compared with extant and extinct hominoids, allowing assessment of the evolutionary trends in the deciduous lower dentition within the Hominoidea. Hylobatids represent the more primitive pattern. Gorilla is slightly more derived than hylobatids, but less derived than Pongo and Pan, the latter being the most derived. With relatively smaller deciduous canines and more molarized deciduous premolars, Ouranopithecus is more derived than both Pan and Gorilla. Among the fossil hominoids, Proconsul, representing the primitive condition, has a very simple dp(3)and a dp(4)that has a trigonid that is taller than the talonid and which lacks a hypoconulid. Griphopithecus is more derived than Proconsul in having a dp(4) with a lower trigonid, a hypoconulid, and a less oblique cristid obliqua. Australopithecus and Paranthropus possess a similar morphology to that of Homo, while Ardipithecus appears to be more primitive than the latter genera. Ouranopithecus has a more derived lower milk dentition than Proconsul and Griphopithecus, but less derived than Australopithecus and Paranthropus. The comparison of the lower milk dentition of Ouranopithecus confirms our previous conclusions suggesting that this fossil hominoid shares derived characters with Australopithecus and Homo.

  13. Transgressive systems tract development and incised-valley fills within a quaternary estuary-shelf system: Virginia inner shelf, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foyle, A.M.; Oertel, G.F.

    1997-01-01

    High-frequency Quaternary glacioeustasy resulted in the incision of six moderate- to high-relief fluvial erosion surfaces beneath the Virginia inner shelf and coastal zone along the updip edges of the Atlantic continental margin. Fluvial valleys up to 5 km wide, with up to 37 m of relief and thalweg depths of up to 72 m below modern mean sea level, cut through underlying Pleistocene and Mio-Pliocene strata in response to drops in baselevel on the order of 100 m. Fluvially incised valleys were significantly modified during subsequent marine transgressions as fluvial drainage basins evolved into estuarine embayments (ancestral generations of the Chesapeake Bay). Complex incised-valley fill successions are bounded by, or contain, up to four stacked erosional surfaces (basal fluvial erosion surface, bay ravinement, tidal ravinement, and ebb-flood channel-base diastem) in vertical succession. These surfaces, combined with the transgressive oceanic ravinement that generally caps incised-valley fills, control the lateral and vertical development of intervening seismic facies (depositional systems). Transgressive stratigraphy characterizes the Quaternary section beneath the Virginia inner shelf where six depositional sequences (Sequences I-VI) are identified. Depositional sequences consist primarily of estuarine depositional systems (subjacent to the transgressive oceanic ravinement) and shoreface-shelf depositional systems; highstand systems tract coastal systems are thinly developed. The Quaternary section can be broadly subdivided into two parts. The upper part contains sequences consisting predominantly of inner shelf facies, whereas sequences in the lower part of the section consist predominantly of estuarine facies. Three styles of sequence preservation are identified. Style 1, represented by Sequences VI and V, is characterized by large estuarine systems (ancestral generations of the Chesapeake Bay) that are up to 40 m thick, have hemicylindrical wedge geometries

  14. 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

  15. Crustal structure of Tolfa domes complex (northern Latium - Italy) inferred from receiver functions analysis: an interplay between tectonics and magmatism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buttinelli, M.; Bianchi, I.; Anselmi, M.; Chiarabba, C.; de Rita, D.; Quattrocchi, F.

    2010-12-01

    The Tolfa-Cerite volcanic district developed along the Tyrrhenian passive margin of central Italy, as part of magmatic processes started during the middle Pliocene. In this area the uncertainties on the deep crustal structures and the definition of the intrusive bodies geometry are focal issues that still need to be addressed. After the onset of the spreading of the Tyrrhenian sea during the Late Miocene, the emplacement of the intrusive bodies of the Tolfa complex (TDC), in a general back-arc geodynamical regime, generally occurred in a low stretching rate, in correspondence of the junctions between major lithospheric discontinuities. Normal faults, located at the edge of Mio-Pliocene basins, were used as preferential pathways for the rising of magmatic masses from the mantle to the surface. We used teleseismic recordings at the TOLF and MAON broad band station of the INGV seismic network (located between the Argentario promontory and Tolfa-Ceriti dome complexes -TDC-) to image the principal seismic velocity discontinuities by receiver function analysis (RF's). Together with RF’s velocity models of the area computed using the teleseismic events recorded by a temporary network of eight stations deployed around the TDC, we achieve a general crustal model of this area. The geometry of the seismic network has been defined to focus on the crustal structure beneath the TDC, trying to define the main velocity changes attributable to the intrusive bodies, the calcareous basal complex, the deep metamorphic basement, the lower crust and the Moho. The analysis of these data show the Moho at a depth of 23 km in the TDC area and 20 km in the Argentario area. Crustal models also show an unexpected velocity decrease between 12 and 18 km, consistent with a slight dropdown of the Vp/Vs ratio, imputable to a regional mid-crustal shear zone inherited from the previous alpine orogenesis, re-activated in extensional tectonic by the early opening phases of the Tyrrhenian sea. Above

  16. Neogene Uplift and Exhumation of Plutonic Bodies in the Beni Bou Ifrour Massif (Nador, northeastern Morocco)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebret, Noëmie; Jolivet, Laurent; Branquet, Yannick; Bourdier, Jean-Louis; Jolivet, Marc; Marcoux, Eric

    2013-04-01

    In Neogene times, the whole Mediterranean Sea was the center of an intense magmatic activity. This post-collisional magmatism produced a large amount of volcanic edifices through the Alpine belts, together with some intrusives. These plutonic bodies can be associated with skarn-type mineralization, well-known in Elba Island or Serifos Island (Cyclades), where they are generally exhumed by detachment faults. In Morocco, the plutons hosted by the Beni Bou Ifrour massif are connected to the biggest skarn-type iron concentrations of the country (production > 60 Mt, reserves ≈ 25 Mt). The purpose of this work is to explain the late uplift of this massif and subsequent exhumation of the intrusives. As a final product of the Africa-Eurasia plate convergence since ca. 70 Ma, the Rif Mountains constitute the westernmost segment of the Mediterranean Alpine belts. In the oriental part of this range, volcanic summits and Paleozoic to Mesozoic massifs outcrop in the surrounding Mio-Pliocene plains. The Beni Bou Ifrour massif, in the Nador province, consists in a dome-shaped folded Mesozoic series (Domerian to Barremian) affected by a slight epizonal regional metamorphism (ca. 14-12 Ma), dislocated by Neogene NE-SW faults and eventually sealed by upper Miocene transgressive sediments. The hosted intrusives (7.58 ± 0.03 Ma; Duggen et al., 2005) are the plutonic equivalents to the potassic calc-alkaline lavas (andesites mainly) from the surrounding "satellite" volcanic massifs. They turn out to stand in higher topographic position than the younger shoshonitic lavas of the neighboring Gourougou stratovolcano (6.12 ± 0.01 Ma; Duggen et al., 2005). Previous studies have attributed this uplift to the action of normal faults (pull-apart basins; Guillemin & Houzay, 1982), thrusting (Kerchaoui, 1985; 1995) or even of a caldeira resurgence (El Bakkali, 1995). To discriminate against those exhumation mechanisms, field work has been performed, coming along with new cross-sections to

  17. Evidence of focused fluid flow associated to the gas hydrate wedge on the angolan margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casenave, Viviane; Imbert, Patrice; Gay, Aurélien

    2013-04-01

    The Lower Congo basin, offshore south west Africa, is a prolific petroleum province, which has been extensively investigated and exploited for more than 30 years. The study area is located above a producing oil and gas field, the hydrocarbons being trapped in turbidite channels on a tectonic horst. The work is based on the analysis of 3-D seismic and site survey data (2D AUV, grab samples and ROV photos) above a deeper oil and gas field called Moho. The analysis of this seismic data set reveals numerous evidence of focused fluid flow through the Mio-Pliocene interval, including present-day seafloor seep features and shallow buried paleo-seeps, indicating past activity of the system. The main fluid migration-related structures are the followings: 1. Stacked amplitude anomalies, interpreted as the result of vertical migrations of gas are pervasive. Most of these seep features seem to correspond to fossil events as they are interpreted as successive precipitation at the seafloor of patches of seep carbonates (MDAC, Methane Derived Authigenic Carbonates) stacked during the activity of a seep. 2. Another phenomenon of gas migration through the sediment pile is visible on the seismic data of the Moho area: it is the BSR (Bottom Simulating Reflector) located above a horst. The BSR is formed by 2 patches, which cover a small area about 1.5 km² for the largest and 0.5 km2 for the smallest. These two BSRs are located under a depth of water included between 600 and 700 m, into the BSR wedging area. 3. A 'spider morphology' is visible on the seafloor. It corresponds to depressions forming variable-sized furrows oriented slightly oblique to the slope dip direction, directly above the upslope limit of the BSR patches. ROV photos and movies from these furrows showed the presence of seep carbonates and of bacterial carpets, linked with methane leak at the seafloor. A similar 'spider morphology' was also identified in subsurface, at 20 ms under the seafloor, further down the slope

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

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    AB Leece

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available 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

  1. Orce y la primera colonización humana de Europa

    OpenAIRE

    Martínez Navarro, Bienvenido

    2016-01-01

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

  2. [Evolution of the pelvis and hip throughout history: from primates to modern man].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapègue, F; Jirari, M; Sethoum, S; Faruch, M; Barcelo, C; Moskovitch, G; Ponsot, A; Rabat, M-C; Labarre, D; Vial, J; Chiavassa, H; Baunin, C; Railhac, J-J; Sans, N

    2011-06-01

    The evolution to a bipedal mode of locomotion was accompanied by a verticalization of the spine and a modification in the shape of the pelvis: horizontal curvature and sagittal rotation. Phylogenesis meets ontogenesis: flat bones in fetuses similar to the monkey, australopithecus features at birth and "human-like" features by 7 or 8years of age. These anatomical modifications explain the characteristics of human bipedalism: stable, economical, with hip and knee extension in the standing position with little lateral motion. Some pathologies induce a regression to a more archaic mode of bipedal locomotion. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS and Éditions françaises de radiologie. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. Position des lignes temporales sur le cranium de «Mrs » Ples (A.africanus) : une attribution sexuelle est-elle possible ?Possible position of the temporal lines on the cranium of 'Mrs' Ples (A. africanus): is sexual determination possible?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prat, Sandrine; Thackeray, John Francis

    2001-03-01

    The cranium and associated matrix of Sts 5, a cranium of Australopithecus africanus is re-examined in the context of an unfused sagittal suture and the position of the temporal lines. These lines are not developed as a sagittal crest although they are close to the mid-sagittal line. A comparative study of the presence of sagittal crests in male, female, juvenile and adult specimens of extant great apes ( Gorilla, Pan, Pongo) suggests that the existence of a sagittal crest is influenced to a greater extent by anatomical age rather than by the sex of the individuals.

  5. 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

    2015-10-15

    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.

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

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    Isabelle Crevecoeur

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. The hypoglossal canal and the origin of human vocal behavior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kay, Richard F.; Cartmill, Matt; Balow, Michelle

    1998-01-01

    The mammalian hypoglossal canal transmits the nerve that supplies the muscles of the tongue. This canal is absolutely and relatively larger in modern humans than it is in the African apes (Pan and Gorilla). We hypothesize that the human tongue is supplied more richly with motor nerves than are those of living apes and propose that canal size in fossil hominids may provide an indication about the motor coordination of the tongue and reflect the evolution of speech and language. Canals of gracile Australopithecus, and possibly Homo habilis, fall within the range of extant Pan and are significantly smaller than those of modern Homo. The canals of Neanderthals and an early “modern” Homo sapiens (Skhul 5), as well as of African and European middle Pleistocene Homo (Kabwe and Swanscombe), fall within the range of extant Homo and are significantly larger than those of Pan troglodytes. These anatomical findings suggest that the vocal capabilities of Neanderthals were the same as those of humans today. Furthermore, the vocal abilities of Australopithecus were not advanced significantly over those of chimpanzees whereas those of Homo may have been essentially modern by at least 400,000 years ago. Thus, human vocal abilities may have appeared much earlier in time than the first archaeological evidence for symbolic behavior. PMID:9560291

  9. Ophiolite Emplacement and the Effects of the Subduction of the Active Chile Ridge System: Heterogeneous Paleostress Regimes Recorded in the Taitao Ophiolite (Southern Chile Emplazamiento de ofiolitas y los efectos de la subducción de la dorsal activa de Chile: Regímenes heterogéneos de paleostress registrados en la Oflolita Taitao (Sur de Chile

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    Eugenio E Veloso

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available The repeated north and southward migration of the Chile Triple junction, offshore the Península de Taitao, is expected to have imposed contrasting stress fields in the forearc for the last 6 Ma because of changes in convergence direction and rate of subducting plates. NNW-SSE to E-W and minor NE-SW striking brittle faults developed in the plutonic units of the Mio-Pliocene Taitao Ophiolite, whereas NNE-SSW and minor NW-SE trending faults developed in its eastern border (Bahía Barrientes fault-zone. These brittle faults are studied to elucídate the style of ophiolite emplacement and the tectonic effects resulting from the alternated migration of the Chile Triple junction in the área. Analyses of heterogeneous fault-slip data on both áreas suggest that faults were activated by different stress fields. Two different compressional stress fields were identified in the plutomc units (A and B, whereas three different stress fields, ranging from compressional to strike-slip, were identified in the BahíaBarrientos fault-zone (C, D and E. Calculated directions of Oj axes for A, C, D and E solutions are mostly E-W trending, roughly similar to the convergence direction of subducting plates, whereas that for B solution is counterclockwise rotated ca. 60° with respect to the previous E-W trend. Brittle structures related to solution B were attributed to an early deformation of the ophiolite, most probably developed shortly after its emplacement {ca. 6 Ma. These structures were further counterclockwise rotated, while new structures (related to solution A developed in the plutomc units in order to absorb the continuous deformation. In the eastern margin of the ophiolite, the stress field divided inte compressional and strike-slip components. During periods of relatively strong compression (fast subduction of the Nazca píate, the fault-zone experienced well defined compressional and strike-slip movements (solutions C and D. In contrast, during periods of

  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. Comentario: A la Presentación del Hombre de las Cavernas. De los Primeros Homínidos al Neanderthal

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    Gonzalo Correal Urrego

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available

    Luego de la ponderada exposición del doctor Mendoza, en el corto espacio de que disponemos solo nos resta recapitular algunos de los aspectos más relevantes de su disertación y resumir algunos hitos que precedieron y otros que tuvieron continuidad luego de la aparición de Homo antecesor.

    Los hallazgos paleoantropológicos de las últimas décadas han sido muy importantes. Connotadosinvestigadores discuten en la actualidad si Sahelantropus Tchadensis, Orrin Tugenensis y Ardipithecus ramidus con una antigüedad que los aproxima a los 6 millones de años pueden ser considerados como precursores de los homínidos. Mientras se acrecientan las discusiones sobre los orígenes de los Homínidos, Meave Leakey cree que el fragmento de mandíbula de 5’600.000 años desenterrado en Lothagan, Kenya, en 1967 es el fósil de homínido más antiguo que se ha descubierto hasta hoy; otros hallazgos verificados en las postrimerías de los noventa corresponden a ejemplares del antiguo homínido Australopithecus afarensis descubierto por Donald Johansson, esqueleto que fuera bautizado con el nombre de Lucy.

    Procedente de Hadar, en Etiopía, su edad se calcula en 3´900.000 años. Testimonio silencioso del paso de legendarios primates, son las huellas de pisadas impresas en el fango de la ceniza volcánica de la llanura de Laetoli en Tanzania, y que han sido fechadas en 3’600.000 años. Una mandíbula exhumada en Tanzania por Mary Leaky, fue fechada en 3’500.000 años, y con los hallazgos de Turkana en 1994 el horizonte retrocede otros 600.000 años, con Australopitecus amanensis.

    Hoy se conocen cinco especies de Australopithecus, algunos como Australopithecus garghi elaboraron artefactos líticos muy rudimentarios.

  12. Tempo and mode in human evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McHenry, H M

    1994-01-01

    The quickening pace of paleontological discovery is matched by rapid developments in geochronology. These new data show that the pattern of morphological change in the hominid lineage was mosaic. Adaptations essential to bipedalism appeared early, but some locomotor features changed much later. Relative to the highly derived postcrania of the earliest hominids, the craniodental complex was quite primitive (i.e., like the reconstructed last common ancestor with the African great apes). The pattern of craniodental change among successively younger species of Hominidae implies extensive parallel evolution between at least two lineages in features related to mastication. Relative brain size increased slightly among successively younger species of Australopithecus, expanded significantly with the appearance of Homo, but within early Homo remained at about half the size of Homo sapiens for almost a million years. Many apparent trends in human evolution may actually be due to the accumulation of relatively rapid shifts in successive species. PMID:8041697

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    2015-12-07

    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.

  15. Mudslide and/or animal attack are more plausible causes and circumstances of death for AL 288 ('Lucy'): A forensic anthropology analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charlier, Phillippe; Coppens, Yves; Augias, Anaïs; Deo, Saudamini; Froesch, Philippe; Huynh-Charlier, Isabelle

    2018-01-01

    Following a global morphological and micro-CT scan examination of the original and cast of the skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis AL 288 ('Lucy'), Kappelman et al. have recently proposed a diagnosis of a fall from a significant height (a tree) as a cause of her death. According to topographical data from the discovery site, complete re-examination of a high-quality resin cast of the whole skeleton and forensic experience, we propose that the physical process of a vertical deceleration cannot be the only cause for her observed injuries. Two different factors were involved: rolling and multiple impacts in the context of a mudslide and an animal attack with bite marks, multi-focal fractures and violent movement of the body. It is important to consider a differential diagnosis of the observed fossil lesions because environmental factors should not be excluded in this ancient archaeological context as with any modern forensic anthropological case.

  16. Estimating thumb–index finger precision grip and manipulation potential in extant and fossil primates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feix, Thomas; Kivell, Tracy L.; Pouydebat, Emmanuelle; Dollar, Aaron M.

    2015-01-01

    Primates, and particularly humans, are characterized by superior manual dexterity compared with other mammals. However, drawing the biomechanical link between hand morphology/behaviour and functional capabilities in non-human primates and fossil taxa has been challenging. We present a kinematic model of thumb–index precision grip and manipulative movement based on bony hand morphology in a broad sample of extant primates and fossil hominins. The model reveals that both joint mobility and digit proportions (scaled to hand size) are critical for determining precision grip and manipulation potential, but that having either a long thumb or great joint mobility alone does not necessarily yield high precision manipulation. The results suggest even the oldest available fossil hominins may have shared comparable precision grip manipulation with modern humans. In particular, the predicted human-like precision manipulation of Australopithecus afarensis, approximately one million years before the first stone tools, supports controversial archaeological evidence of tool-use in this taxon. PMID:25878134

  17. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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

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    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

  1. La châine andine du Pérou Central: chronologie, orientation et styles des phases tectoniques du Tertiaire Supérieur - Aperçus sur la Tectonique Quaternaire

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    1975-01-01

    fase de deformaciones quebradizas del plioceno, según una dirección de acortamiento N 090 (entre 8 y 4,5 M A. Una fase mioceno reciente (entre 14 y 10,5 M.A. con dirección N 000 en las Altas Mesetas y quizás de dirección N 045 en la Cordillera Occidental da deformaciones quebradizas pero con una ligera tectónica flexible La fase mioceno antiguo (entre 21 y 14 M.A. está caracterizada por una dirección N 045, estructuras quebradizas y anchas estructuras flexibles. La fase oligoceno inferior (entre 21,5 y 40 M.A. concierne a esfuerzos mucho más importantes en estructuras mas profundas. Las fases mioceno y plioceno están superpuestas. El estudio de la falla de Gran Bretaña confirma estos resultados sin que se pueda tener la prueba de dos fases mioceno se trata de un accidente de descolgamiento con escasos desechos horizontales. Las fallas de la zona de La Oroya-Junín-Tarma tienen una geometría semejante al accidente de Gran Bretaña: se pueden observar tres fases sin que sea posible darles una fecha pero sus características corresponden a las fases plioceno, mioceno y oligoceno inferior. Algunas observaciones en la Cordillera Blanca parecen relacionarse a las del Sur de Huancavelica, pero quedan por precisar. El cuaternario muestra una tectónica compresiva de direcciones N 130 en la Cordillera Blanca y San Ramón, N 000 y N 040 en la cuenca de Huancayo (eventualmente también N 075 siguiendo la edad de la formación Jauja. No se ha observado fallas normales mas que en la Cordillera Blanca (¿distensión? ¿subida del macizo granítico?. The mio-pliocene tectonic episodes are studied in many sectors of the Central Peruvian Andes South of Huancavelica (Choclococha, Huachocolpa, Lircay, a pliocene episode of breaking compression but with a light folding tectonic The ancient miocene episode (between 8 and 4.5 m y.. A recent miocene episode (between 14 and 105 m.y of direction N 000 in the High Plateaux and may be of direction N 045 in the western chain of

  2. Contemporary flowstone development links early hominin bearing cave deposits in South Africa

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    Pickering, Robyn; Kramers, Jan D.; Hancox, Philip John; de Ruiter, Darryl J.; Woodhead, Jon D.

    2011-06-01

    The Cradle of Humankind cave sites in South Africa preserve fossil evidence of four early hominin taxa: Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus sediba, Paranthropus robustus and early Homo. In order to integrate this record into a pan-African scenario of human evolutionary history it is critical to have reliable dates and temporal ranges for the southern African hominins. In the past a lack of precise and accurate chronological data has prevented the evaluation of the temporal relationships between the various sites. Here we report new uranium-lead (U-Pb) radiometric ages obtained from sheets of calcium carbonate flowstone inter-bedded between clastic cave sediments at the site of Swartkrans, providing bracketing ages for the fossiliferous deposits. The fossil bearing units of Swartkrans, specifically the Hanging Remnant and Lower Bank of Member 1, are underlain by flowstone layers dated to 2.25 ± 0.05 Ma and 2.25 ± 0.08 Ma and capped by layers of 1.8 ± 0.01 Ma and 1.7 ± 0.07 Ma. The age bracket of the Member 1 deposits is therefore between 2.31 and 1.64 Ma. However, by combining the U-Pb with biostratigraphic data we suggest that this can be narrowed down to between 1.9 and 1.8 Ma. These data can be compared with other recently dated sites and a radiometrically dated U-Pb age sequence formed: Sterkfontein Member 4, Swartkrans Member 1, Malapa, and Cooper's D. From this new U-Pb dataset, a pattern of contemporary flowstone development emerges, with different caves recording the same flowstone-forming event. Specifically overlapping flowstone formation takes place at Swartkrans and Sterkfontein at ~ 2.29 Ma and ~ 1.77 Ma, and at Sterkfontein and Malapa at ˜ 2.02 Ma. This suggests a regional control over the nature and timing of speleothem development in cave deposits and these flowstone layers could assist in future correlation, both internal to specific deposits and regionally between sites.

  3. Re-appraisal of the stratigraphy and determination of new U-Pb dates for the Sterkfontein hominin site, South Africa.

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    Pickering, Robyn; Kramers, Jan D

    2010-07-01

    Sterkfontein Caves is the single richest early hominin site in the world with deposits yielding one or more species of Australopithecus and possible early Homo, as well as an extensive faunal collection. The inability to date the southern African cave sites accurately or precisely has hindered attempts to integrate the hominin fossil evidence into pan-African scenarios about human evolutionary history, and especially hominin biogeography. We have used U-Pb and U-Th techniques to date sheets of calcium carbonate flowstone inter-bedded between the fossiliferous sediments. For the first time, absolute age ranges can be assigned to the fossil-bearing deposits: Member 2 is between 2.8 +/- 0.28 and 2.6 +/- 0.30 Ma and Member 4 between 2.65 +/- 0.30 and 2.01 +/- 0.05 Ma. The age of 2.01 +/- 0.05 Ma for the top of Member 4 constrains the last appearance of Australopithecus africanus to 2 Ma. In the Silberberg Grotto we have reproduced the U-Pb age of approximately 2.2 Ma of for the flowstones associated with StW573. We believe that these deposits, including the fossil and the flowstones, accumulated rapidly around 2.2 Ma. The stratigraphy of the site is complex as sediments are exposed both in the underground chambers and at surface. We present a new interpretation of the stratigraphy based on surface mapping, boreholes logs and U-Pb ages. Every effort was made to retain the Member system, however, only Members 2 and 4 are recognized in the boreholes. We propose that the deposits formally known as Member 3 are in fact the distal equivalents of Member 4. The sediments of Members 2 and 4 consisted of cone-like deposits and probably never filled up the cave. The U-Th ages show that there are substantial deposits younger than 400 ka in the underground cave, underlying the older deposits, highlighting again that these cave fills are not simple layer-cakes.

  4. A systematic reassessment and paleogeographic review of fossil xenarthra from Peru

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    2004-01-01

    exclusivamente andino presentando formas de tamaño pequeño, cuadrupedos y con tendencia a pastar perteneciente al subgénero M. (Pseudomegatherium e incluye a M. (P. tarijensis, M. (P. elenense, M. (P. urbinai y una nueva especie de la zona norandina. Las grandes especies de perezosos como M. (Megatherium americanum, Lestodon sp., y Scelidotherium leptocephalum descubiertos en las Pampas Argentinas no han sido reportados en el Perú. Un nuevo megaloníquido muy peculiar fue descubierto en la costa norte (desierto de Cupisnique y en los Andes, cerca al lago Titicaca (cueva casa del diablo. Dataciones relizadas con 14C, así como la asociación faunística indican que la mayoría de los mamíferos fósiles del Perú pertenecen al Lujanense. A lo largo de la costa y probablemente en la Amazonía, los Xenarthra han sido descubiertos en localidades abiertas, en contraste con la región andina donde la mayor parte de los especímenes se conservaron en cuevas. En el Perú y en toda Sudamérica los grandes Xenartros se extinguen al comienzo del Holoceno. A revision of Peruvian Xenarthra and the discovery of new specimens have increased our knowledge of the Order in this country. About thirty sites from three geographic regions, Amazonian Forest, the Andes, and the coast have yielded Xenarthra in Peru. The only well known Pre-Pleistocene Xenarthra is Thalassocnus from the Mio-Pliocene of the Pisco Formation. Pleistocene Phyllophaga (Megatheriidae, Nothrotheriidae, Mylodontidae, and Megalonychidae and Cingulata (Pampatheriidae and Glyptodontidae are rare in the Amazonian forest region, abundant in the coastal region and are particularly frequent in the Andes (between 2 500 and 4 500 meters. Cingulata are not as diverse and are represented only by Holmesina cf. paulacoutoi along the coast and Glyptodon clavipes in the Andes. The mylodontid Glossotherium sp. is recognized in the entire Peruvian coast and the scelidothere Scelidodon chiliensis is abundant in both the Andes and northern

  5. Description, new reconstruction, comparative anatomy, and classification of the Sterkfontein Stw 53 cranium, with discussions about the taxonomy of other southern African early Homo remains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curnoe, Darren; Tobias, Phillip V

    2006-01-01

    Specimen Stw 53 was recovered in 1976 from Member 5 of the Sterkfontein Formation. Since its incomplete initial description and comparison, the partial cranium has figured prominently in discussions about the systematics of early Homo. Despite publication of a preliminary reconstruction in 1985, Stw 53 has yet to be compared comprehensively to other Plio-Pleistocene fossils or assessed systematically. In this paper, we report on a new reconstruction of this specimen and provide a detailed description and comparison of its morphology. Our reconstruction differs in important respects from the earlier one, especially in terms of neurocranial length, breadth, and height. However, given that Stw 53 exhibits extensive damage, these dimensions are most likely prone to much error in reconstruction. In areas of well-preserved bone, Stw 53 shares many cranial features with Homo habilis, and we propose retaining it within this species. We also consider the affinities of dental remains from Sterkfontein Member 5, along with those from Swartkrans and Drimolen previously assigned to Homo. We find evidence for sympatry of H. habilis and Australopithecus robustus and possibly Plio-Pleistocene Homo sapiens sensu lato in Sterkfontein Member 5. At Swartkrans and Drimolen, we find evidence of H. habilis. We also compare the morphologies of Stw 53 and SK 847 and find compelling evidence to assign the latter specimen to H. habilis, as has been proposed.

  6. 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.

  7. Diet of Theropithecus from 4 to 1 Ma in Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerling, Thure E; Chritz, Kendra L; Jablonski, Nina G; Leakey, Meave G; Manthi, Fredrick Kyalo

    2013-06-25

    Theropithecus was a common large-bodied primate that co-occurred with hominins in many Plio-Pleistocene deposits in East and South Africa. Stable isotope analyses of tooth enamel from T. brumpti (4.0-2.5 Ma) and T. oswaldi (2.0-1.0 Ma) in Kenya show that the earliest Theropithecus at 4 Ma had a diet dominated by C4 resources. Progressively, this genus increased the proportion of C4-derived resources in its diet and by 1.0 Ma, had a diet that was nearly 100% C4-derived. It is likely that this diet was comprised of grasses or sedges; stable isotopes cannot, by themselves, give an indication of the relative importance of leaves, seeds, or underground storage organs to the diet of this primate. Theropithecus throughout the 4- to 1-Ma time range has a diet that is more C4-based than contemporaneous hominins of the genera Australopithecus, Kenyanthropus, and Homo; however, Theropithecus and Paranthropus have similar proportions of C4-based resources in their respective diets.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Can Chimpanzee Biology Highlight Human Origin and Evolution?

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    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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

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    Andrew Gallagher

    2011-05-01

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

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

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    Chardin, Pierre

    2014-10-01

    Today, gorillas and chimpanzees live in tropical forests, where acid soils do not favor fossilization. It is thus widely believed that there are no fossils of chimpanzees or gorillas. However, four teeth of a 0.5-million-year (Ma)-old chimpanzee were discovered in the rift valley of Kenya (McBrearty and Jablonski, 2005), and a handful of teeth of a 10-Ma-old gorilla-like creature were found in Ethiopia (Suwa et al., 2007), close to the major sites of Homo discoveries. These discoveries indicate that chimpanzees and gorillas once shared their range with early Homo. However, the thousands of hominin fossils discovered in the past century have all been attributed to the Homo line. Thus far, our family tree looks like a bush with many dead-branches. If one admits the possibility that the australopithecines can also be the ancestors of African great apes, one can place Paranthropus on the side of gorilla ancestors and divide the remaining Australopithecus based on the brain size into the two main lines of humans and chimpanzees, thereby resulting in a coherent family tree. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  14. Evaluating alternative gait strategies using evolutionary robotics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sellers, William I; Dennis, Louise A; W -J, Wang; Crompton, Robin H

    2004-05-01

    Evolutionary robotics is a branch of artificial intelligence concerned with the automatic generation of autonomous robots. Usually the form of the robot is predefined and various computational techniques are used to control the machine's behaviour. One aspect is the spontaneous generation of walking in legged robots and this can be used to investigate the mechanical requirements for efficient walking in bipeds. This paper demonstrates a bipedal simulator that spontaneously generates walking and running gaits. The model can be customized to represent a range of hominoid morphologies and used to predict performance parameters such as preferred speed and metabolic energy cost. Because it does not require any motion capture data it is particularly suitable for investigating locomotion in fossil animals. The predictions for modern humans are highly accurate in terms of energy cost for a given speed and thus the values predicted for other bipeds are likely to be good estimates. To illustrate this the cost of transport is calculated for Australopithecus afarensis. The model allows the degree of maximum extension at the knee to be varied causing the model to adopt walking gaits varying from chimpanzee-like to human-like. The energy costs associated with these gait choices can thus be calculated and this information used to evaluate possible locomotor strategies in early hominids.

  15. 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

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

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    Brian F Kuhn

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

  17. Estimating thumb-index finger precision grip and manipulation potential in extant and fossil primates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feix, Thomas; Kivell, Tracy L; Pouydebat, Emmanuelle; Dollar, Aaron M

    2015-05-06

    Primates, and particularly humans, are characterized by superior manual dexterity compared with other mammals. However, drawing the biomechanical link between hand morphology/behaviour and functional capabilities in non-human primates and fossil taxa has been challenging. We present a kinematic model of thumb-index precision grip and manipulative movement based on bony hand morphology in a broad sample of extant primates and fossil hominins. The model reveals that both joint mobility and digit proportions (scaled to hand size) are critical for determining precision grip and manipulation potential, but that having either a long thumb or great joint mobility alone does not necessarily yield high precision manipulation. The results suggest even the oldest available fossil hominins may have shared comparable precision grip manipulation with modern humans. In particular, the predicted human-like precision manipulation of Australopithecus afarensis, approximately one million years before the first stone tools, supports controversial archaeological evidence of tool-use in this taxon. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  19. 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

  20. Developmental identity versus typology: Lucy has only four sacral segments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machnicki, Allison L; Lovejoy, C Owen; Reno, Philip L

    2016-08-01

    Both interspecific and intraspecific variation in vertebral counts reflect the action of patterning control mechanisms such as Hox. The preserved A.L. 288-1 ("Lucy") sacrum contains five fused elements. However, the transverse processes of the most caudal element do not contact those of the segment immediately craniad to it, leaving incomplete sacral foramina on both sides. This conforms to the traditional definition of four-segmented sacra, which are very rare in humans and African apes. It was recently suggested that fossilization damage precludes interpretation of this specimen and that additional sacral-like features of its last segment (e.g., the extent of the sacral hiatus) suggest a general Australopithecus pattern of five sacral vertebrae. We provide updated descriptions of the original Lucy sacrum. We evaluate sacral/coccygeal variation in a large sample of extant hominoids and place it within the context of developmental variation in the mammalian vertebral column. We report that fossilization damage did not shorten the transverse processes of the fifth segment of Lucy's sacrum. In addition, we find that the extent of the sacral hiatus is too variable in apes and hominids to provide meaningful information on segment identity. Most importantly, a combination of sacral and coccygeal features is to be expected in vertebrae at regional boundaries. The sacral/caudal boundary appears to be displaced cranially in early hominids relative to extant African apes and humans, a condition consistent with the likely ancestral condition for Miocene hominoids. While not definitive in itself, a four-segmented sacrum accords well with the "long-back" model for the Pan/Homo last common ancestor. Am J Phys Anthropol 160:729-739, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  1. The affinities of Homo floresiensis based on phylogenetic analyses of cranial, dental, and postcranial characters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Argue, Debbie; Groves, Colin P; Lee, Michael S Y; Jungers, William L

    2017-06-01

    Although the diminutive Homo floresiensis has been known for a decade, its phylogenetic status remains highly contentious. A broad range of potential explanations for the evolution of this species has been explored. One view is that H. floresiensis is derived from Asian Homo erectus that arrived on Flores and subsequently evolved a smaller body size, perhaps to survive the constrained resources they faced in a new island environment. Fossil remains of H. erectus, well known from Java, have not yet been discovered on Flores. The second hypothesis is that H. floresiensis is directly descended from an early Homo lineage with roots in Africa, such as Homo habilis; the third is that it is Homo sapiens with pathology. We use parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic methods to test these hypotheses. Our phylogenetic data build upon those characters previously presented in support of these hypotheses by broadening the range of traits to include the crania, mandibles, dentition, and postcrania of Homo and Australopithecus. The new data and analyses support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis is an early Homo lineage: H. floresiensis is sister either to H. habilis alone or to a clade consisting of at least H. habilis, H. erectus, Homo ergaster, and H. sapiens. A close phylogenetic relationship between H. floresiensis and H. erectus or H. sapiens can be rejected; furthermore, most of the traits separating H. floresiensis from H. sapiens are not readily attributable to pathology (e.g., Down syndrome). The results suggest H. floresiensis is a long-surviving relict of an early (>1.75 Ma) hominin lineage and a hitherto unknown migration out of Africa, and not a recent derivative of either H. erectus or H. sapiens. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Analysis of the dental morphology of Plio-pleistocene hominids. I. Mandibular molars: crown area measurements and morphological traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, B A; Abbott, S A

    1983-01-01

    This study has used accurate measurements of crown area and precise assessments of the morphological traits of mandibular molars in an attempt to define the metrical and morphological characteristics of early hominid taxa. A total of 196 Plio-Pleistocene hominid molars were either allocated to one of six informal taxonomic groups or considered as individual cases. Accurate measurements of crown base area made from occlusal photographs have enabled us to estimate the effects of interproximal wear on crown areas. The average correction factor over the three molar types is around 2-4% with a maximum of 6%. The patterns of distribution of extra cusps show interesting differences between taxa. None of the M-1S in the two groups of 'gracile' hominids from East and South Africa bears a C6, but it is common in the two 'robust' taxa. The distribution of a C7 is the reverse of this, it being rare in the robust' taxa, and more common in the 'gracile' groups. There is thus no simple relationship between cusp number and tooth size. Our observations on the protostylid suggest that though it is more common in the 'robust' australopithecines than the 'graciles', when it does occur it is more strongly expressed in the 'gracile' group. The combination of simple metrical data, and the assessment of morphological traits, can help in the classification of enigmatic or incomplete specimens. Some isolated teeth from the collection at Koobi Fora can confidently be assigned to Australopithecus boisei, and useful guides have been provided for taxonomic assessment of the skull KNM-ER 1805, and the mandibles KNM-ER 1506 and 1820.

  3. 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. © 2015 Anatomical Society.

  4. A new species of great ape from the late Miocene epoch in Ethiopia.

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    Suwa, Gen; Kono, Reiko T; Katoh, Shigehiro; Asfaw, Berhane; Beyene, Yonas

    2007-08-23

    With the discovery of Ardipithecus, Orrorin and Sahelanthropus, our knowledge of hominid evolution before the emergence of Pliocene species of Australopithecus has significantly increased, extending the hominid fossil record back to at least 6 million years (Myr) ago. However, because of the dearth of fossil hominoid remains in sub-Saharan Africa spanning the period 12-7 Myr ago, nothing is known of the actual timing and mode of divergence of the African ape and hominid lineages. Most genomic-based studies suggest a late divergence date-5-6 Myr ago and 6-8 Myr ago for the human-chimp and human-gorilla splits, respectively-and some palaeontological and molecular analyses hypothesize a Eurasian origin of the African ape and hominid clade. We report here the discovery and recognition of a new species of great ape, Chororapithecus abyssinicus, from the 10-10.5-Myr-old deposits of the Chorora Formation at the southern margin of the Afar rift. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first fossils of a large-bodied Miocene ape from the African continent north of Kenya. They exhibit a gorilla-sized dentition that combines distinct shearing crests with thick enamel on its 'functional' side cusps. Visualization of the enamel-dentine junction by micro-computed tomography reveals shearing crest features that partly resemble the modern gorilla condition. These features represent genetically based structural modifications probably associated with an initial adaptation to a comparatively fibrous diet. The relatively flat cuspal enamel-dentine junction and thick enamel, however, suggest a concurrent adaptation to hard and/or abrasive food items. The combined evidence suggests that Chororapithecus may be a basal member of the gorilla clade, and that the latter exhibited some amount of adaptive and phyletic diversity at around 10-11 Myr ago.

  5. Behavioral, Ecological, and Evolutionary Aspects of Meat-Eating by Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hardus, Madeleine E; Lameira, Adriano R; Zulfa, Astri; Atmoko, S Suci Utami; de Vries, Han; Wich, Serge A

    2012-04-01

    Meat-eating is an important aspect of human evolution, but how meat became a substantial component of the human diet is still poorly understood. Meat-eating in our closest relatives, the great apes, may provide insight into the emergence of this trait, but most existing data are for chimpanzees. We report 3 rare cases of meat-eating of slow lorises, Nycticebus coucang, by 1 Sumatran orangutan mother-infant dyad in Ketambe, Indonesia, to examine how orangutans find slow lorises and share meat. We combine these 3 cases with 2 previous ones to test the hypothesis that slow loris captures by orangutans are seasonal and dependent on fruit availability. We also provide the first (to our knowledge) quantitative data and high-definition video recordings of meat chewing rates by great apes, which we use to estimate the minimum time necessary for a female Australopithecus africanus to reach its daily energy requirements when feeding partially on raw meat. Captures seemed to be opportunistic but orangutans may have used olfactory cues to detect the prey. The mother often rejected meat sharing requests and only the infant initiated meat sharing. Slow loris captures occurred only during low ripe fruit availability, suggesting that meat may represent a filler fallback food for orangutans. Orangutans ate meat more than twice as slowly as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), suggesting that group living may function as a meat intake accelerator in hominoids. Using orangutan data as a model, time spent chewing per day would not require an excessive amount of time for our social ancestors (australopithecines and hominids), as long as meat represented no more than a quarter of their diet. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10764-011-9574-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-05-01

    Most hominin cranial fossils are incomplete and require reconstruction prior to subsequent analyses. Missing data can be estimated by geometric morphometrics using information from complete specimens, for example, by using thin-plate splines. In this study, we estimate missing data in several virtually fragmented models of hominoid crania (Homo, Pan, Pongo) and fossil hominins (e.g., Australopithecus africanus, Homo heidelbergensis). The aim is to investigate in which way different references influence estimations of cranial shape and how this information can be employed in the reconstruction of fossils. We used a sample of 64 three-dimensional digital models of complete human, chimpanzee, and orangutan crania and a set of 758 landmarks and semilandmarks. The virtually knocked out neurocranial and facial areas that were reconstructed corresponded to those of a real case found in A.L. 444-2 (A. afarensis) cranium. Accuracy of multiple intraspecies and interspecies reconstructions was computed as the maximum square root of the mean squared difference between the original and the reconstruction (root mean square). The results show that the uncertainty in reconstructions is a function of both the geometry of the knockout area and the dissimilarity between the reference sample and the specimen(s) undergoing reconstruction. We suggest that it is possible to estimate large missing cranial areas if the shape of the reference is similar enough to the shape of the specimen reconstructed, though caution must be exercised when employing these reconstructions in subsequent analyses. We provide a potential guide for the choice of the reference by means of bending energy. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Limb Bone Structural Proportions and Locomotor Behavior in A.L. 288-1 ("Lucy".

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher B Ruff

    Full Text Available While there is broad agreement that early hominins practiced some form of terrestrial bipedality, there is also evidence that arboreal behavior remained a part of the locomotor repertoire in some taxa, and that bipedal locomotion may not have been identical to that of modern humans. It has been difficult to evaluate such evidence, however, because of the possibility that early hominins retained primitive traits (such as relatively long upper limbs of little contemporaneous adaptive significance. Here we examine bone structural properties of the femur and humerus in the Australopithecus afarensis A.L. 288-1 ("Lucy", 3.2 Myr that are known to be developmentally plastic, and compare them with other early hominins, modern humans, and modern chimpanzees. Cross-sectional images were obtained from micro-CT scans of the original specimens and used to derive section properties of the diaphyses, as well as superior and inferior cortical thicknesses of the femoral neck. A.L. 288-1 shows femoral/humeral diaphyseal strength proportions that are intermediate between those of modern humans and chimpanzees, indicating more mechanical loading of the forelimb than in modern humans, and by implication, a significant arboreal locomotor component. Several features of the proximal femur in A.L. 288-1 and other australopiths, including relative femoral head size, distribution of cortical bone in the femoral neck, and cross-sectional shape of the proximal shaft, support the inference of a bipedal gait pattern that differed slightly from that of modern humans, involving more lateral deviation of the body center of mass over the support limb, which would have entailed increased cost of terrestrial locomotion. There is also evidence consistent with increased muscular strength among australopiths in both the forelimb and hind limb, possibly reflecting metabolic trade-offs between muscle and brain development during hominin evolution. Together these findings imply

  8. 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. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prang, Thomas C

    2016-07-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. New wrist bones of Homo floresiensis from Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orr, Caley M; Tocheri, Matthew W; Burnett, Scott E; Awe, Rokus Due; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Sutikna, Thomas; Jatmiko; Wasisto, Sri; Morwood, Michael J; Jungers, William L

    2013-02-01

    The carpals from the Homo floresiensis type specimen (LB1) lack features that compose the shared, derived complex of the radial side of the wrist in Neandertals and modern humans. This paper comprises a description and three-dimensional morphometric analysis of new carpals from at least one other individual at Liang Bua attributed to H. floresiensis: a right capitate and two hamates. The new capitate is smaller than that of LB1 but is nearly identical in morphology. As with capitates from extant apes, species of Australopithecus, and LB1, the newly described capitate displays a deeply-excavated nonarticular area along its radial aspect, a scaphoid facet that extends into a J-hook articulation on the neck, and a more radially-oriented second metacarpal facet; it also lacks an enlarged palmarly-positioned trapezoid facet. Because there is no accommodation for the derived, palmarly blocky trapezoid that characterizes Homo sapiens and Neandertals, this individual most likely had a plesiomorphically wedge-shaped trapezoid (like LB1). Morphometric analyses confirm the close similarity of the new capitate and that of LB1, and are consistent with previous findings of an overall primitive articular geometry. In general, hamate morphology is more conserved across hominins, and the H. floresiensis specimens fall at the far edge of the range of variation for H. sapiens in a number of metrics. However, the hamate of H. floresiensis is exceptionally small and exhibits a relatively long, stout hamulus lacking the oval-shaped cross-section characteristic of human and Neandertal hamuli (variably present in australopiths). Documentation of a second individual with primitive carpal anatomy from Liang Bua, along with further analysis of trapezoid scaling relative to the capitate in LB1, refutes claims that the wrist of the type specimen represents a modern human with pathology. In total, the carpal anatomy of H. floresiensis supports the hypothesis that the lineage leading to the

  13. Variation among early Homo crania from Olduvai Gorge and the Koobi Fora region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rightmire, G P

    1993-01-01

    Fossils recognized as early Homo were discovered first at Olduvai Gorge in 1959 and 1960. Teeth, skull parts and hand bones representing three individuals were found in Bed I, and more material followed from Bed I and lower Bed II. By 1964, L.S.B. Leakey, P.V. Tobias, and J.R. Napier were ready to name Homo habilis. But almost as soon as they had, there was confusion over the hypodigm of the new species. Tobias himself suggested that OH 13 resembles Homo erectus from Java, and he noted that OH 16 has teeth as large as those of Australopithecus. By the early 1970s, however, Tobias had put these thoughts behind him and returned to the opinion that all of the Olduvai remains are Homo habilis. At about this time, important discoveries began to flow from the Koobi Fora region in Kenya. To most observers, crania such as KNM-ER 1470 confirmed the presence of Homo in East Africa at an early date. Some of the other specimens were problematical. A.C. Walker and R.E. Leakey raised the possibility that larger skulls including KNM-ER 1470 differ significantly from smaller-brained, small-toothed individuals such as KNM-ER 1813. Other workers emphasized that there are differences of shape as well as size among the hominids from Koobi Fora. There is now substantial support for the view that in the Turkana and perhaps also in the Olduvai assemblages, there is more variation than would be expected among male and female conspecifics. One way to approach this question of sorting would be to compare all of the new fossils against the original material from Olduvai which was used to characterize Homo habilis in 1964. A problem is that the Olduvai remains are fragmentary, and none of them provides much information about vault form or facial structure. An alternative is to work first with the better crania, even if these are from other sites. I have elected to treat KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 as key individuals. Comparisons are based on discrete anatomy and measurements. Metric results

  14. 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

  15. Removal of spurious normal polarity directions in the Kanapoi Formation with progressive thermal demagnetization: implications for dating Pliocene hominin fossils from the Turkana Basin of Kenya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lepre, C. J.; Kent, D.

    2017-12-01

    The Kanapoi Formation is a 75-m-thick sedimentary unit in northern Kenya whose fossil record documents the evolution of the genus Australopithecus and habitual bipedalism in Pliocene hominins. Published 40Ar/39Ar dates of 4.20 to 4.10 Ma for three aqueously reworked tuffs from the lower and middle stratigraphic intervals of the formation and a whole-rock K-Ar date of 3.4 ± 0.1 Ma on the Kalokwanya Basalt, which caps the succession, coupled with paleomagnetic data from an unpublished thesis have been used to constrain the age of the unit (McDougall+2012 J Geol Soc). Normal polarities at the base of the formation were correlated to normal subchron C3n.1n (Cochiti Subchron) and would extend the Kanapoi chronostratigraphy back to between 4.29 and 4.18 Ma. The credibility of the normal polarities at the base and elsewhere in the formation as records of the geomagnetic field at the time of deposition, however, is called into question by the ubiquity of the high-coercivity mineral hematite in the Kanapoi sediments and the alternating field demagnetization methods exclusively used to generate the polarity directions. We tested this proposed chronostratigraphy of the Kanapoi Fm by collecting nearly 70 independently orientated block samples from 10 outcrop localities, which sampled roughly two-thirds of the total stratigraphic thickness of the formation and covered the entire vertical extent of the supposed basal normal polarity magnetozone. For most every specimen, stepwise thermal demagnetization (TD) resolved well-defined characteristic magnetizations of uniformly reverse polarity and were carried by a high-temperature component consistent with hematite. TD of the Kalokwanya Basalt confirmed its reverse magnetic polarity, which implies emplacement most likely prior to the base of normal Chron C2An (Gauss Chron) at 3.58 Ma. Kanapoi sediments thus accumulated sometime during reverse subchron C2Ar (4.18-3.58 Ma) but over a period of much less than 600 kyr. Basal age control

  16. 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

  17. Evolution of the auditory ossicles in extant hominids: metric variation in African apes and humans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quam, Rolf M; Coleman, Mark N; Martínez, Ignacio

    2014-01-01

    of sexual dimorphism were found in the ossicles within each taxon, but some relationship with body size and several dimensions of the ear bones was found. Several of the metric distinctions in the incus and stapes imply a slightly different articulation of the ossicular chain within the tympanic cavity in African apes compared with humans. The limited auditory implications of these metric differences in the ossicles are also discussed. Finally, the results of this study suggest that several plesiomorphic features for apes may be retained in the ear bones of the early hominin taxa Australopithecus and Paranthropus as well as in the Neandertals. PMID:24845949

  18. Structural History of Human SRGAP2 Proteins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sporny, Michael; Guez-Haddad, Julia; Kreusch, Annett; Shakartzi, Sivan; Neznansky, Avi; Cross, Alice; Isupov, Michail N; Qualmann, Britta; Kessels, Michael M; Opatowsky, Yarden

    2017-06-01

    In the development of the human brain, human-specific genes are considered to play key roles, conferring its unique advantages and vulnerabilities. At the time of Homo lineage divergence from Australopithecus, SRGAP2C gradually emerged through a process of serial duplications and mutagenesis from ancestral SRGAP2A (3.4-2.4 Ma). Remarkably, ectopic expression of SRGAP2C endows cultured mouse brain cells, with human-like characteristics, specifically, increased dendritic spine length and density. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying this change in neuronal morphology, we determined the structure of SRGAP2A and studied the interplay between SRGAP2A and SRGAP2C. We found that: 1) SRGAP2A homo-dimerizes through a large interface that includes an F-BAR domain, a newly identified F-BAR extension (Fx), and RhoGAP-SH3 domains. 2) SRGAP2A has an unusual inverse geometry, enabling associations with lamellipodia and dendritic spine heads in vivo, and scaffolding of membrane protrusions in cell culture. 3) As a result of the initial partial duplication event (∼3.4 Ma), SRGAP2C carries a defective Fx-domain that severely compromises its solubility and membrane-scaffolding ability. Consistently, SRGAP2A:SRAGP2C hetero-dimers form, but are insoluble, inhibiting SRGAP2A activity. 4) Inactivation of SRGAP2A is sensitive to the level of hetero-dimerization with SRGAP2C. 5) The primal form of SRGAP2C (P-SRGAP2C, existing between ∼3.4 and 2.4 Ma) is less effective in hetero-dimerizing with SRGAP2A than the modern SRGAP2C, which carries several substitutions (from ∼2.4 Ma). Thus, the genetic mutagenesis phase contributed to modulation of SRGAP2A's inhibition of neuronal expansion, by introducing and improving the formation of inactive SRGAP2A:SRGAP2C hetero-dimers, indicating a stepwise involvement of SRGAP2C in human evolutionary history. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  19. The ``Problem of the quaternary'' and the taxonomic rank of the late cenozoic in the international stratigraphic scale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zubakov, V. A.

    2011-02-01

    An international scientific conflict has arisen around the International Stratigraphic Scale, the main document that regulates the rules of reading of geological records and, hence, concerns all Earth sciences. The matter of debate is the geological time scale of 2004, developed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, where the Quaternary system was abandoned. This ICS decision triggered a protest among Quaternary geologists, members of INQUA, and became the subject of much controversy. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the Quaternary problem and proposes a reasonable scientific solution that may be appropriate for both parties. The subject of Late Cenozoic geology is discussed: glaciations, human evolution, and recent deposits. In contrast to Charles Lyell's definition of the Plio-Pleistocene according to the percentage of modern mollusk species, it is defined here as a blanket formation, which is correlative to the topography and consists of mapped stratogens hosting fossils of modern biogeocenoses. Features of the description of the Plio-Pleistocene in terms of gravitational orbital tuning are considered. Four paleogeographic phases of modern environment evolution are recognized and ranked as stages: (1) The Messinian evolutionary explosion involved the appearance of many biogeocenoses and the bipedal walking of our extinct ancestors armed with sticks. It was a consequence of the Early Greenland (7.6 Ma BP) and Patagonian (6.7 Ma BP) hyperglaciations. (2) The Zanclean age is marked by climatic and hydrological but not evolutionary boundaries. (3) The appearance of the Villafranchian animal assemblage and Australopithecus, who used stones as weapon: 4.0-3.6 Ma BP. Orogeny and isolation of the Arctic Ocean changed the global climate dramatically. (4) The sexual revolution became the third evolutionary jump: the appearance of the first woman, "Eve", and the genus Homo with her: 1.9 Ma BP. According to the current view, the Plio

  20. Morphometric variation in Plio-Pleistocene hominid distal humeri.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lague, M R; Jungers, W L

    1996-11-01

    The magnitude and meaning of morphological variation among Plio-Pleistocene hominid distal humeri have been recurrent points of disagreement among paleoanthropologists. Some researchers have found noteworthy differences among fossil humeri that they believe merit taxonomic separation, while others question the possibility of accurately sorting these fossils into different species and/or functional groups. Size and shape differences among fossil distal humeri are evaluated here to determine whether the magnitude and patterns of these differences can be observed within large-bodied, living hominoids. Specimens analyzed in this study have been assigned to various taxa (Australopithecus afarensis, A. africanus, A. anamensis, Paranthropus, and early Homo) and include AL 288-1m, AL 288-1s, AL 137-48a, AL 322-1, Gomboré IB 7594, TM 1517, KNM-ER 739, KNM-ER 1504, KMN-KP 271 (Kanapoi), and Stw 431. Five extant hominoid populations are sampled to provide a standard by which to consider differences found between the fossils, including two modern human groups (Native American and African American), one group of Pan troglodytes, and two subspecies of Gorilla gorilla (G.g. beringei, G.g. gorilla). All possible pairwise d values (average Euclidena distances) are calculated within each of the reference populations using an exact randomization procedure. This is done using both raw linear measurements as well as scale-free shape data created as ratios of each measurement to the geometric mean. Differences between each pair of fossil humeri are evaluated by comparing their d values to the distribution of d values found within each of the reference populations. Principal coordinate analysis and an unweighted pair group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) cluster analysis are utilized to further assess similarities and differences among the fossils. Finally, canonical variates analysis and discriminant analysis are employed using all hominoid samples in order to control for