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1.
Sci Adv ; 8(27): eabo2811, 2022 Jul 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35857471

RESUMO

We describe the first occurrence of diamond-facies ultrahigh pressure metamorphism along the Gondwana-Pacific margin of the Terra Australis Orogen. Metamorphic garnet grains from Ordovician metasediments along the Clarke River Fault in northeastern Queensland contain inclusions of diamond and quartz after coesite, as well as exsolution lamellae of rutile, apatite, amphibole, and silica. These features constrain minimum pressure-temperature conditions to >3.5 gigapascals and ~860°C, although peak pressure conditions may have exceeded 5 gigapascals. On the basis of these data, we interpret the Clarke River Fault to represent a Paleozoic suture zone and at least parts of the Terra Australis Orogen to have formed through classic Wilson cycle processes. The growth of the Terra Australis Orogen during the Paleozoic is largely attributed to accretionary style tectonics. These previously unknown findings indicate that the Terra Australis Orogen was not just a simple accretionary style orogen but rather a complex system with multiple tectonic styles operating in tandem including collisional tectonics.

2.
J Hum Evol ; 96: 19-34, 2016 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27343770

RESUMO

Concentrations of cosmogenic (10)Be, measured in quartz from chert and river sediment around the Cradle of Humankind (CoH), are used to determine basin-averaged erosion rates and estimate incision rates for local river valleys. This study focusses on the catchment area that hosts Malapa cave with Australopithecus sediba, in order to compare regional versus localized erosion rates, and better constrain the timing of cave formation and fossil entrapment. Basin-averaged erosion rates for six sub-catchments draining the CoH show a narrow range (3.00 ± 0.28 to 4.15 ± 0.37 m/Mega-annum [Ma]; ±1σ) regardless of catchment size or underlying geology; e.g. the sub-catchment with Malapa Cave (3 km(2)) underlain by dolomite erodes at the same rate (3.30 ± 0.30 m/Ma) as the upper Skeerpoort River catchment (87 km(2)) underlain by shale, chert and conglomerate (3.23 ± 0.30 m/Ma). Likewise, the Skeerpoort River catchment (147 km(2)) draining the northern CoH erodes at a rate (3.00 ± 0.28 m/Ma) similar to the Bloubank-Crocodile River catchment (627 km(2)) that drains the southern CoH (at 3.62 ± 0.33 to 4.15 ± 0.37 m/Ma). Dolomite- and siliciclastic-dominated catchments erode at similar rates, consistent with physical weathering as the rate controlling process, and a relatively dry climate in more recent times. Erosion resistant chert dykes along the Grootvleispruit River below Malapa yield an incision rate of ∼8 m/Ma at steady-state erosion rates for chert of 0.86 ± 0.54 m/Ma. Results provide better palaeo-depth estimates for Malapa Cave of 7-16 m at the time of deposition of A. sediba. Low basin-averaged erosion rates and concave river profiles indicate that the landscape across the CoH is old, and eroding slowly; i.e. the physical character of the landscape changed little in the last 3-4 Ma, and dolomite was exposed on surface probably well into the Miocene. The apparent absence of early Pliocene- or Miocene-aged cave deposits and fossils in the CoH suggests that caves only started forming from 4 Ma onwards. Therefore, whilst the landscape in the CoH is old, cavities are a relatively young phenomenon, thus controlling the maximum age of fossils that can potentially be preserved in caves in the CoH.


Assuntos
Berílio/análise , Evolução Biológica , Sedimentos Geológicos/análise , Fenômenos Geológicos , Hominidae , Radioisótopos/análise , Animais , Geologia , África do Sul
3.
Elife ; 42015 Sep 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26354289

RESUMO

We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date.


Assuntos
Fenômenos Químicos , Fósseis , Sedimentos Geológicos , Hominidae/classificação , Animais , Humanos , África do Sul
4.
PLoS One ; 10(6): e0126904, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26061082

RESUMO

Here we present the results of a taphonomic study of the faunal assemblage associated with the hominin fossils (Australopithecus sediba) from the Malapa site. Results include estimation of body part representation, mortality profiles, type of fragmentation, identification of breakage patterns, and microscopic analysis of bone surfaces. The diversity of the faunal spectrum, presence of animals with climbing proclivities, abundance of complete and/or articulated specimens, occurrence of antimeric sets of elements, and lack of carnivore-modified bones, indicate that animals accumulated via a natural death trap leading to an area of the cave system with no access to mammalian scavengers. The co-occurrence of well preserved fossils, carnivore coprolites, deciduous teeth of brown hyaena, and some highly fragmented and poorly preserved remains supports the hypothesis of a mixing of sediments coming from distinct chambers, which collected at the bottom of the cave system through the action of periodic water flow. This combination of taphonomic features explains the remarkable state of preservation of the hominin fossils as well as some of the associated faunal material.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Animais , África do Sul
5.
Science ; 333(6048): 1421-3, 2011 Sep 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-21903808

RESUMO

Newly exposed cave sediments at the Malapa site include a flowstone layer capping the sedimentary unit containing the Australopithecus sediba fossils. Uranium-lead dating of the flowstone, combined with paleomagnetic and stratigraphic analysis of the flowstone and underlying sediments, provides a tightly constrained date of 1.977 ± 0.002 million years ago (Ma) for these fossils. This refined dating suggests that Au. sediba from Malapa predates the earliest uncontested evidence for Homo in Africa.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Sedimentos Geológicos , Hominidae , Animais , Geologia/métodos , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Hominidae/classificação , Magnetismo , Datação Radiométrica , África do Sul , Tempo , Urânio
6.
Science ; 328(5975): 195-204, 2010 Apr 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20378811

RESUMO

Despite a rich African Plio-Pleistocene hominin fossil record, the ancestry of Homo and its relation to earlier australopithecines remain unresolved. Here we report on two partial skeletons with an age of 1.95 to 1.78 million years. The fossils were encased in cave deposits at the Malapa site in South Africa. The skeletons were found close together and are directly associated with craniodental remains. Together they represent a new species of Australopithecus that is probably descended from Australopithecus africanus. Combined craniodental and postcranial evidence demonstrates that this new species shares more derived features with early Homo than any other australopith species and thus might help reveal the ancestor of that genus.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Hominidae/classificação , Animais , Evolução Biológica , Tamanho Corporal , Osso e Ossos/anatomia & histologia , Dentição , Feminino , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Masculino , Mandíbula/anatomia & histologia , Esqueleto , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , África do Sul
7.
Science ; 328(5975): 205-8, 2010 Apr 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20378812

RESUMO

We describe the geological, geochronological, geomorphological, and faunal context of the Malapa site and the fossils of Australopithecus sediba. The hominins occur with a macrofauna assemblage that existed in Africa between 2.36 and 1.50 million years ago (Ma). The fossils are encased in water-laid, clastic sediments that were deposited along the lower parts of what is now a deeply eroded cave system, immediately above a flowstone layer with a U-Pb date of 2.026 +/- 0.021 Ma. The flowstone has a reversed paleomagnetic signature and the overlying hominin-bearing sediments are of normal polarity, indicating deposition during the 1.95- to 1.78-Ma Olduvai Subchron. The two hominin specimens were buried together in a single debris flow that lithified soon after deposition in a phreatic environment inaccessible to scavengers.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Sedimentos Geológicos , Hominidae , Animais , Fenômenos Geológicos , Datação Radiométrica , África do Sul
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