Woody cover and hominin environments in the past 6 million years
Cerling, Thure E., Wynn, Jonathan G., Andanje, Samuel A., Bird, Michael I., Korir, David Kimutai, Levin, Naomi E., Mace, William, Macharia, Anthony N., Quade, Jay, and Remien, Christopher H. (2011) Woody cover and hominin environments in the past 6 million years. Nature, 476 . pp. 51-56.
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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10306
The role of African savannahs in the evolution of early hominins has been debated for nearly a century. Resolution of this issue has been hindered by difficulty in quantifying the fraction of woody cover in the fossil record. Here we show that the fraction of woody cover in tropical ecosystems can be quantified using stable carbon isotopes in soils. Furthermore, we use fossil soils from hominin sites in the Awash and Omo-Turkana basins in eastern Africa to reconstruct the fraction of woody cover since the Late Miocene epoch (about 7 million years ago). 13C/12C ratio data from 1,300 palaeosols at or adjacent to hominin sites dating to at least 6 million years ago show that woody cover was predominantly less than ~40% at most sites. These data point to the prevalence of open environments at the majority of hominin fossil sites in eastern Africa over the past 6 million years.
|Item Type:||Article (Refereed Research - C1)|
|FoR Codes:||04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040606 Quaternary Environments @ 100%|
|SEO Codes:||97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 100%|
|Deposited On:||13 Mar 2012 11:18|
|Last Modified:||24 May 2013 01:47|
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