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1.
Nat Ecol Evol ; 3(7): 1048-1056, 2019 Jul.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31209290

RESUMO

It has been suggested that a shift in diet is one of the key adaptations that distinguishes the genus Homo from earlier hominins, but recent stable isotopic analyses of fossils attributed to Homo in the Turkana Basin show an increase in the consumption of C4 resources circa 1.65 million years ago, significantly after the earliest evidence for Homo in the eastern African fossil record. These data are consistent with ingesting more C4 plants, more animal tissues of C4 herbivores, or both, but it is also possible that this change reflects factors unrelated to changes in the palaeobiology of the genus Homo. Here we use new and published carbon and oxygen isotopic data (n = 999) taken from large-bodied fossil mammals, and pedogenic carbonates in fossil soils, from East Turkana in northern Kenya to investigate the context of this change in the isotope signal within Homo. By targeting taxa and temporal intervals unrepresented or undersampled in previous analyses, we were able to conduct the first comprehensive analysis of the ecological context of hominin diet at East Turkana during a period crucial for detecting any dietary and related behavioural differences between early Homo (H. habilis and/or H. rudolfensis) and Homo erectus. Our analyses suggest that the genus Homo underwent a dietary shift (as indicated by δ13Cena and δ18Oena values) that is (1) unrelated to changes in the East Turkana vegetation community and (2) unlike patterns found in other East Turkana large mammals, including Paranthropus and Theropithecus. These data suggest that within the Turkana Basin a dietary shift occurred well after we see the first evidence of early Homo in the region.

2.
J Hum Evol ; 130: 1-20, 2019 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31010537

RESUMO

Most authors recognize six baboon species: hamadryas (Papio hamadryas), Guinea (Papio papio), olive (Papio anubis), yellow (Papio cynocephalus), chacma (Papio ursinus), and Kinda (Papio kindae). However, there is still debate regarding the taxonomic status, phylogenetic relationships, and the amount of gene flow occurring between species. Here, we present ongoing research on baboon morphological diversity in Gorongosa National Park (GNP), located in central Mozambique, south of the Zambezi River, at the southern end of the East African Rift System. The park exhibits outstanding ecological diversity and hosts more than 200 baboon troops. Gorongosa National Park baboons have previously been classified as chacma baboons (P. ursinus). In accordance with this, two mtDNA samples from the park have been placed in the same mtDNA clade as the northern chacma baboons. However, GNP baboons exhibit morphological features common in yellow baboons (e.g., yellow fur color), suggesting that parapatric gene flow between chacma and yellow baboons might have occurred in the past or could be ongoing. We investigated the phenostructure of the Gorongosa baboons using two approaches: 1) description of external phenotypic features, such as coloration and body size, and 2) 3D geometric morphometric analysis of 43 craniofacial landmarks on 11 specimens from Gorongosa compared to a pan-African sample of 352 baboons. The results show that Gorongosa baboons exhibit a mosaic of features shared with southern P. cynocephalus and P. ursinus griseipes. The GNP baboon phenotype fits within a geographic clinal pattern of replacing allotaxa. We put forward the hypothesis of either past and/or ongoing hybridization between the gray-footed chacma and southern yellow baboons in Gorongosa or an isolation-by-distance scenario in which the GNP baboons are geographically and morphologically intermediate. These two scenarios are not mutually exclusive. We highlight the potential of baboons as a useful model to understand speciation and hybridization in early human evolution.

3.
J Hum Evol ; 2019 Jan 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30638945

RESUMO

The Pliocene site of Kanapoi is key to our understanding of the environmental context of the earliest species of Australopithecus. Various approaches have been used to reconstruct the environments of this site, and here we contribute new data and analyses using mesowear and hypsodonty. The dental traits of 98 bovids, suids and rhinocerotids from Kanapoi were analyzed using these proxies. Results indicate that most of the animals analyzed had a relatively abrasive diet. Bovids in the assemblage incorporated more grass into their diet than do modern species of the same tribe or genus. Although Pliocene Kanapoi likely had complex environments, our analysis indicates that grassy habitats were a dominant component of the ecosystem, a conclusion that supports the results of previous investigations of the paleoecology of the site.

4.
J Hum Evol ; 126: 91-105, 2019 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30583846

RESUMO

The newly described partial skeleton of Paranthropus boisei KNM-ER 47000 as well as the FwJj14E Ileret footprints provide new evidence on the paleobiology and diversity of hominins from the Okote Member of the Koobi Fora Formation at East Turkana about 1.5 Ma. To better understand the ecological context of the Okote hominins, it is necessary to broaden the geographical focus of the analysis to include the entire Omo-Turkana ecosystem, and the temporal focus to encompass the early Pleistocene. Previous work has shown that important changes in the regional vegetation occurred after 2 Ma, and that there was a peak in mammalian turnover and diversity close to 1.8 Ma. This peak in diversity included the Hominini, with the species P. boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, and Homo erectus co-occurring at around 1.8 Ma. There is considerable debate about whether H. habilis and H. rudolfensis indeed constitute separate species, but even if we consider them both as H. habilis sensu lato, the co-occurrence of three hominin species at any one time and place is rather unusually high diversity for hominin standards (even if not so for other mammalian groups such as suids, bovids, or cercopithecids). Here we use mammalian faunal abundance data to place confidence intervals on first and last appearances of hominin species in the early Pleistocene of the Omo-Turkana Basin, and use these estimates to discuss hominin diversity in the Okote Member. We suggest that in the early Pleistocene a wide range of depositional environments and vegetation types, along with a high frequency of volcanism, likely maintained high levels of environmental variability both in time and space across the Omo-Turkana region, and provided ecological opportunities for the coexistence of at least three hominin species alongside a diverse mammalian fauna.

5.
Science ; 362(6417): 892-893, 2018 11 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30467156
6.
J R Soc Interface ; 15(146)2018 Sep 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30257926

RESUMO

The talus is one of the most commonly preserved post-cranial elements in the platyrrhine fossil record. Talar morphology can provide information about postural adaptations because it is the anatomical structure responsible for transmitting body mass forces from the leg to the foot. The aim of this study is to test whether the locomotor behaviour of fossil Miocene platyrrhines could be inferred from their talus morphology. The extant sample was classified into three different locomotor categories and then talar strength was compared using finite-element analysis. Geometric morphometrics were used to quantify talar shape and to assess its association with biomechanical strength. Finally, several machine-learning (ML) algorithms were trained using both the biomechanical and morphometric data from the extant taxa to infer the possible locomotor behaviour of the Miocene fossil sample. The obtained results show that the different locomotor categories are distinguishable using either biomechanical or morphometric data. The ML algorithms categorized most of the fossil sample as arboreal quadrupeds. This study has shown that a combined approach can contribute to the understanding of platyrrhine talar morphology and its relationship with locomotion. This approach is likely to be beneficial for determining the locomotor habits in other fossil taxa.

7.
J Hum Evol ; 2017 Oct 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28992952

RESUMO

We update here our recent revision of the Kanapoi ruminants and describe recently collected material. We now regard the occurrence of reduncins as doubtful, we revise the identification of a large raphicerin as being more probably Gazella, and we add Gazella cf. janenschi and the Cephalophini to the faunal list. New material of Tragelaphus kyaloi suggests that this species held its head unlike other tragelaphins, and was not an exclusive dedicated browser, but Kanapoi pre-dates the Pliocene change of Sivatherium, Aepyceros, Alcelaphini, and even Tragelaphini toward more grazing diets. Kanapoi shares several ruminant taxa with sites in Ethiopia and Tanzania, attesting to latitudinal exchanges.

8.
J Hum Evol ; 2017 Oct 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29031820

RESUMO

The whole collection of Suidae from Kanapoi is revised in the context of the systematics and evolution of Nyanzachoerus in the Pliocene of Eastern Africa. It contains only two species, Nyanzachoerus kanamensis and Notochoerus jaegeri. The size and morphology of their premolars overlap, but not those of their m3s. No transitional form between them is known in Kenya, but some populations from Uganda and Ethiopia display intermediate characters, suggesting that No. jaegeri could be descended from a kanamensis-like ancestor. However, the cranial remains of No. jaegeri from Kanapoi are insufficient to formally establish the affinities of the species. On the basis of the dentition, Notochoerus euilus could be descended from No. jaegeri. The noticeable absence of Kolpochoerus at Kanapoi (and in the whole Turkana Basin at that time) remains unexplained. The presence of a species with affinity to Nyanzachoerus tulotos at Ekora raises the possibility that uppermost Miocene sediments occur there.

9.
J Hum Evol ; 111: 179-201, 2017 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28874270

RESUMO

Platyrrhines are a diverse group of primates that presently occupy a broad range of tropical-equatorial environments in the Americas. However, most of the fossil platyrrhine species of the early Miocene have been found at middle and high latitudes. Although the fossil record of New World monkeys has improved considerably over the past several years, it is still difficult to trace the origin of major modern clades. One of the most commonly preserved anatomical structures of early platyrrhines is the talus. This work provides an analysis of the phenetic affinities of extant platyrrhine tali and their Miocene counterparts through geometric morphometrics and a series of phylogenetic comparative analyses. Geometric morphometrics was used to quantify talar shape affinities, while locomotor mode percentages (LMPs) were used to test if talar shape is associated with locomotion. Comparative analyses were used to test if there was convergence in talar morphology, as well as different models that could explain the evolution of talar shape and size in platyrrhines. Body mass predictions for the fossil sample were also computed using the available articular surfaces. The results showed that most analyzed fossils exhibit a generalized morphology that is similar to some 'generalist' modern species. It was found that talar shape covaries with LMPs, thus allowing the inference of locomotion from talar morphology. The results further suggest that talar shape diversification can be explained by invoking a model of shifts in adaptive peak to three optima representing a phylogenetic hypothesis in which each platyrrhine family occupied a separate adaptive peak. The analyses indicate that platyrrhine talar centroid size diversification was characterized by an early differentiation related to a multidimensional niche model. Finally, the ancestral platyrrhine condition was reconstructed as a medium-sized, generalized, arboreal, quadruped.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Platirrinos/anatomia & histologia , Tálus/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Filogenia , Platirrinos/classificação , Especificidade da Espécie
10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27298463

RESUMO

Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Meio Ambiente , Fósseis , Mamíferos/fisiologia , Animais , Biodiversidade , Hominidae , Quênia , Modelos Biológicos , Paleontologia , Chuva , Temperatura Ambiente
11.
J Hum Evol ; 94: 28-44, 2016 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27178456

RESUMO

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


Assuntos
Distribuição Animal , Evolução Biológica , Fósseis , Hominidae/fisiologia , Animais , Meio Ambiente , Geologia , Quênia
12.
Evol Anthropol ; 24(6): 238-49, 2015 Nov-Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26662947

RESUMO

Understanding patterns of human evolution across space and time requires synthesizing data collected by independent research teams, and this effort is part of a larger trend to develop cyber infrastructure and e-science initiatives. At present, paleoanthropology cannot easily answer basic questions about the total number of fossils and artifacts that have been discovered, or exactly how those items were collected. In this paper, we examine the methodological challenges to data integration, with the hope that mitigating the technical obstacles will further promote data sharing. At a minimum, data integration efforts must document what data exist and how the data were collected (discovery), after which we can begin standardizing data collection practices with the aim of achieving combined analyses (synthesis). This paper outlines a digital data collection system for paleoanthropology. We review the relevant data management principles for a general audience and supplement this with technical details drawn from over 15 years of paleontological and archeological field experience in Africa and Europe. The system outlined here emphasizes free open-source software (FOSS) solutions that work on multiple computer platforms; it builds on recent advances in open-source geospatial software and mobile computing.


Assuntos
Antropologia/métodos , Arqueologia/métodos , Coleta de Dados/métodos , Humanos , Paleontologia/métodos
13.
J Hum Evol ; 86: 112-35, 2015 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26277305

RESUMO

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


Assuntos
Osso e Ossos/patologia , Fósseis , Hominidae/fisiologia , Comportamento de Utilização de Ferramentas , Animais , Etiópia , Humanos
14.
J Hum Evol ; 88: 108-126, 2015 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26208956

RESUMO

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.


Assuntos
Antílopes/fisiologia , Meio Ambiente , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Hominidae/fisiologia , Locomoção , Tálus/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Antílopes/anatomia & histologia , Biodiversidade , Ecossistema , Etiópia , Paleontologia , Ruminantes/anatomia & histologia , Ruminantes/fisiologia
15.
Trends Ecol Evol ; 30(4): 215-22, 2015 Apr.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25766059

RESUMO

We are in a new epoch, the Anthropocene, and research into our closest living relatives, the great apes, must keep pace with the rate that our species is driving change. While a goal of many studies is to understand how great apes behave in natural contexts, the impact of human activities must increasingly be taken into account. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, which can importantly inform research in three diverse fields: cognition, human evolution, and conservation. No long-term great ape research site is wholly unaffected by human influence, but research at those that are especially affected by human activity is particularly important for ensuring that our great ape kin survive the Anthropocene.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Hominidae/fisiologia , Atividades Humanas , Animais , Comportamento Animal , Cognição , Humanos , Pesquisa
16.
PLoS One ; 9(11): e113856, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25415303

RESUMO

Percussive technology continues to play an increasingly important role in understanding the evolution of tool use. Comparing the archaeological record with extractive foraging behaviors in nonhuman primates has focused on percussive implements as a key to investigating the origins of lithic technology. Despite this, archaeological approaches towards percussive tools have been obscured by a lack of standardized methodologies. Central to this issue have been the use of qualitative, non-diagnostic techniques to identify percussive tools from archaeological contexts. Here we describe a new morphometric method for distinguishing anthropogenically-generated damage patterns on percussive tools from naturally damaged river cobbles. We employ a geomatic approach through the use of three-dimensional scanning and geographical information systems software to statistically quantify the identification process in percussive technology research. This will strengthen current technological analyses of percussive tools in archaeological frameworks and open new avenues for translating behavioral inferences of early hominins from percussive damage patterns.


Assuntos
Comportamento Animal/fisiologia , Fósseis , Primatas/fisiologia , Animais
17.
J Hum Evol ; 75: 64-79, 2014 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25150896

RESUMO

Dating to more than four million years ago (Ma), the Mursi Formation is among the oldest of the Plio-Pleistocene Omo Group deposits in the lower Omo Valley of southwestern Ethiopia. The sedimentary sequence is exposed along a strip ∼35 km by 4 km, but it has received relatively little attention due to the difficult access to this area. Although expeditions to the lower Omo Valley between 1968 and 1973 focused primarily on the Usno and Shungura Formations, survey of the Mursi Formation produced a faunal collection of about 250 specimens deriving exclusively from the Yellow Sands area at the southern extent of the exposures. In 2009, we reinitiated an investigation of the formation by focusing on the most northern exposures, and a new fossil site, Cholo, was identified. Cholo is depositionally similar to the lowermost exposures at the Yellow Sands, although no stratigraphic correlation between the two localities has yet been made. The fossiliferous sediments at Cholo are capped by a prominent vitric tuff that is compositionally distinct from any other known tephra preserved in East African rift basins, including the only known vitric tuff at the Yellow Sands. The faunal assemblage of the Yellow Sands area presents interesting characteristics: the fossils generally show little weathering and include a large proportion of suids (44% of the mammalian fauna) and a small proportion of bovids (14%) compared with other Pliocene African sites. The sample is also unusual in the high frequency of deinotheres (7%). Taxon-specific stable carbon isotopic composition of the Mursi mammals tends to show generally higher proportions of C3 diets compared with other Pliocene sites in East Africa and Chad. This and the particular faunal proportions suggest that the environments represented by the Mursi Formation were more closed than those of other Pliocene sites.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Fósseis , Vertebrados , África Oriental , Animais , Isótopos de Carbono/análise , História Antiga , Paleontologia , Dente/anatomia & histologia , Vertebrados/anatomia & histologia , Vertebrados/fisiologia
18.
Evol Anthropol ; 20(6): 254-63, 2011 Nov-Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22170694

RESUMO

Although best known for its fossil hominins, the Omo-Turkana Basin of Kenya and Ethiopia is the source of one of the best records of vertebrate evolution from the Late Cenozoic of Africa. Located near the heart of the East African Rift Valley, the basin serves as an important frame of reference for the continent. The fossil record from this region plays a key role in our efforts to understand the environmental and ecological context of human evolution in Africa. The Omo-Turkana faunal data shed light on key questions of human evolution: What kinds of environments did early humans inhabit? How did these environments change over time? What is the relationship between faunal change in East Africa and broader patterns of climatic change?


Assuntos
Clima , Ecossistema , Fósseis , Mamíferos/fisiologia , Animais , Evolução Biológica , Etiópia , Sedimentos Geológicos , Hominidae , Quênia , Ruminantes
20.
Nature ; 466(7308): 857-60, 2010 Aug 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20703305

RESUMO

The oldest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture comes from Gona (Ethiopia) and dates to between 2.6 and 2.5 million years (Myr) ago. At the nearby Bouri site several cut-marked bones also show stone tool use approximately 2.5 Myr ago. Here we report stone-tool-inflicted marks on bones found during recent survey work in Dikika, Ethiopia, a research area close to Gona and Bouri. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. The bones derive from the Sidi Hakoma Member of the Hadar Formation. Established (40)Ar-(39)Ar dates on the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between 3.42 and 3.24 Myr ago, and stratigraphic scaling between these units and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than 3.39 Myr ago. Our discovery extends by approximately 800,000 years the antiquity of stone tools and of stone-tool-assisted consumption of ungulates by hominins; furthermore, this behaviour can now be attributed to Australopithecus afarensis.


Assuntos
Dieta/história , Alimentos/história , Hominidae , Tecnologia/história , Comportamento de Utilização de Ferramentas , Animais , Osso e Ossos , Etiópia , Fósseis , História Antiga , Carne/história , Ruminantes/anatomia & histologia , Tecnologia/instrumentação
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