Pleistocene climate variability in eastern Africa influenced hominin evolution

Foerster, Verena ORCID: 0000-0002-3480-5769, Asrat, Asfawossen ORCID: 0000-0002-6312-8082, Bronk Ramsey, Christopher ORCID: 0000-0002-8641-9309, Brown, Erik T ORCID: 0000-0001-7154-2729, Chapot, Melissa S ORCID: 0000-0001-7945-0175, Deino, Alan, Duesing, Walter, Grove, Matthew ORCID: 0000-0002-2293-8732, Hahn, Annette, Junginger, Annett ORCID: 0000-0003-3486-0888
et al (show 13 more authors) (2022) Pleistocene climate variability in eastern Africa influenced hominin evolution. Nature Geoscience, 15 (10). pp. 805-811.

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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Despite more than half a century of hominin fossil discoveries in eastern Africa, the regional environmental context of hominin evolution and dispersal is not well established due to the lack of continuous palaeoenvironmental records from one of the proven habitats of early human populations, particularly for the Pleistocene epoch. Here we present a 620,000-year environmental record from Chew Bahir, southern Ethiopia, which is proximal to key fossil sites. Our record documents the potential influence of different episodes of climatic variability on hominin biological and cultural transformation. The appearance of high anatomical diversity in hominin groups coincides with long-lasting and relatively stable humid conditions from ~620,000 to 275,000 years <jats:sc>bp</jats:sc> (episodes 1–6), interrupted by several abrupt and extreme hydroclimate perturbations. A pattern of pronounced climatic cyclicity transformed habitats during episodes 7–9 (~275,000–60,000 years <jats:sc>bp</jats:sc>), a crucial phase encompassing the gradual transition from Acheulean to Middle Stone Age technologies, the emergence of <jats:italic>Homo sapiens</jats:italic> in eastern Africa and key human social and cultural innovations. Those accumulative innovations plus the alignment of humid pulses between northeastern Africa and the eastern Mediterranean during high-frequency climate oscillations of episodes 10–12 (~60,000–10,000 years <jats:sc>bp</jats:sc>) could have facilitated the global dispersal of <jats:italic>H. sapiens</jats:italic>.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2022 08:38
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 20:37
DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-01032-y
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