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1.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0270104, 2022.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35857764

RESUMO

Detailed, well-dated palaeoclimate and archaeological records are critical for understanding the impact of environmental change on human evolution. Ga-Mohana Hill, in the southern Kalahari, South Africa, preserves a Pleistocene archaeological sequence. Relict tufas at the site are evidence of past flowing streams, waterfalls, and shallow pools. Here, we use laser ablation screening to target material suitable for uranium-thorium dating. We obtained 33 ages covering the last 110 thousand years (ka) and identify five tufa formation episodes at 114-100 ka, 73-48 ka, 44-32 ka, 15-6 ka, and ~3 ka. Three tufa episodes are coincident with the archaeological units at Ga-Mohana Hill dating to ~105 ka, ~31 ka, and ~15 ka. Based on our data and the coincidence of dated layers from other local records, we argue that in the southern Kalahari, from ~240 ka to ~71 ka wet phases and human occupation are coupled, but by ~20 ka during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), they are decoupled.


Assuntos
Arqueologia , Água , Idoso de 80 Anos ou mais , Botsuana , Fósseis , Humanos , Ocupações , Tório/análise
2.
Sci Adv ; 7(33)2021 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34389535

RESUMO

Oxalate-rich mineral accretions, often found in rock shelters around the world, offer important opportunities for radiocarbon dating of associated rock art. Here, sample characterization and chemical pretreatment techniques are used to characterize the accretions, prescreen for evidence of open-system behavior, and address potential contamination. The results provide stratigraphically consistent sequences of radiocarbon dates in millimeter-scale laminated accretions, demonstrating their reliability for dating rock art, particularly symbolic markings commonly engraved into these relatively soft deposits. The age sequences are also consistent with correlations between distinctive patterns in the layer sequences visible in shelters up to 90 km apart in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia, suggesting their synchronized formation is not entirely shelter specific but broadly controlled by variations in regional environmental conditions. Consequently, these accretions also offer potential as paleoenvironmental archives, with radiocarbon dating of layers in nine accretions indicating four, approximately synchronous growth intervals covering the past 43 ka.

4.
Nature ; 592(7853): 248-252, 2021 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33790469

RESUMO

The archaeological record of Africa provides the earliest evidence for the emergence of the complex symbolic and technological behaviours that characterize Homo sapiens1-7. The coastal setting of many archaeological sites of the Late Pleistocene epoch, and the abundant shellfish remains recovered from them, has led to a dominant narrative in which modern human origins in southern Africa are intrinsically tied to the coast and marine resources8-12, and behavioural innovations in the interior lag behind. However, stratified Late Pleistocene sites with good preservation and robust chronologies are rare in the interior of southern Africa, and the coastal hypothesis therefore remains untested. Here we show that early human innovations that are similar to those dated to around 105 thousand years ago (ka) in coastal southern Africa existed at around the same time among humans who lived over 600 km inland. We report evidence for the intentional collection of non-utilitarian objects (calcite crystals) and ostrich eggshell from excavations of a stratified rockshelter deposit in the southern Kalahari Basin, which we date by optically stimulated luminescence to around 105 ka. Uranium-thorium dating of relict tufa deposits indicates sporadic periods of substantial volumes of fresh, flowing water; the oldest of these episodes is dated to between 110 and 100 ka and is coeval with the archaeological deposit. Our results suggest that behavioural innovations among humans in the interior of southern Africa did not lag behind those of populations near the coast, and that these innovations may have developed within a wet savannah environment. Models that tie the emergence of behavioural innovations to the exploitation of coastal resources by our species may therefore require revision.


Assuntos
Arqueologia , Carbonato de Cálcio/análise , Casca de Ovo , Pradaria , Invenções/história , Chuva , Struthioniformes , África Austral , Animais , Carbonato de Cálcio/química , Cavernas , História Antiga , Humanos , Magnésio , Tório , Urânio
5.
Evol Anthropol ; 30(1): 50-62, 2021 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33604991

RESUMO

Despite advances in our understanding of the geographic and temporal scope of the Paleolithic record, we know remarkably little about the evolutionary and ecological consequences of changes in human behavior. Recent inquiries suggest that human evolution reflects a long history of interconnections between the behavior of humans and their surrounding ecosystems (e.g., niche construction). Developing expectations to identify such phenomena is remarkably difficult because it requires understanding the multi-generational impacts of changes in behavior. These long-term dynamics require insights into the emergent phenomena that alter selective pressures over longer time periods which are not possible to observe, and are also not intuitive based on observations derived from ethnographic time scales. Generative models show promise for probing these potentially unexpected consequences of human-environment interaction. Changes in the uses of landscapes may have long term implications for the environments that hominins occupied. We explore other potential proxies of behavior and examine how modeling may provide expectations for a variety of phenomena.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Ecossistema , Animais , Arqueologia , Dieta , Hominidae/fisiologia , Humanos , África do Sul
6.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5447, 2020 10 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33116129

RESUMO

Atmospheric circulation is a fundamental component of Earth's climate system, transporting energy poleward to partially offset the latitudinal imbalance in insolation. Changes in the latitudinal distribution of insolation thus force variations in atmospheric circulation, in turn altering regional hydroclimates. Here we demonstrate that regional hydroclimates controlled by the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude storm tracks and the African and South American Monsoons changed synchronously during the last 10 kyrs. We argue that these regional hydroclimate variations are connected and reflect the adjustment of the atmospheric poleward energy transport to the evolving differential heating of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These results indicate that changes in latitudinal insolation gradients and associated variations in latitudinal temperature gradients exert important control on atmospheric circulation and regional hydroclimates. Since the current episode of global warming strongly affects latitudinal temperature gradients through Arctic amplification, our results can inform projections of likely inter-hemispheric precipitation changes in the future.

7.
Science ; 368(6486)2020 04 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32241925

RESUMO

Understanding the extinction of Australopithecus and origins of Paranthropus and Homo in South Africa has been hampered by the perceived complex geological context of hominin fossils, poor chronological resolution, and a lack of well-preserved early Homo specimens. We describe, date, and contextualize the discovery of two hominin crania from Drimolen Main Quarry in South Africa. At ~2.04 million to 1.95 million years old, DNH 152 represents the earliest definitive occurrence of Paranthropus robustus, and DNH 134 represents the earliest occurrence of a cranium with clear affinities to Homo erectus These crania also show that Homo, Paranthropus, and Australopithecus were contemporaneous at ~2 million years ago. This high taxonomic diversity is also reflected in non-hominin species and provides evidence of endemic evolution and dispersal during a period of climatic variability.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Extinção Biológica , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Hominidae/classificação , Animais , Cavernas , Classificação , Humanos , Crânio , África do Sul
8.
PeerJ ; 7: e6202, 2019.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30656072

RESUMO

Bolt's Farm is a Plio-Pleistocene fossil site located within the southwestern corner of the UNESCO Hominid Fossil Sites of South Africa World Heritage Site. The site is a complex of active caves and more than 20 palaeokarst deposits or pits, many of which were exposed through the action of lime mining in the early 20th century. The pits represent heavily eroded cave systems, and as such associating the palaeocave sediments within and between the pits is difficult, especially as little geochronological data exists. These pits and the associated lime miner's rubble were first explored by palaeoanthropologists in the late 1930s, but as yet no hominin material has been recovered. The first systematic mapping was undertaken by Frank Peabody as part of the University of California Africa Expedition (UCAE) in 1947-1948. A redrawn version of the map was not published until 1991 by Basil Cooke and this has subsequently been used and modified by recent researchers. Renewed work in the 2000s used Cooke's map to try and relocate the original fossil deposits. However, Peabody's map does not include all the pits and caves, and thus in some cases this was successful, while in others previously sampled pits were inadvertently given new names. This was compounded by the fact that new fossil bearing deposits were discovered in this new phase, causing confusion in associating the 1940s fossils with the deposits from which they originated; as well as associating them with the recently excavated material. To address this, we have used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to compare Peabody's original map with subsequently published maps. This highlighted transcription errors between maps, most notably the location of Pit 23, an important palaeontological deposit given the recovery of well-preserved primate crania (Parapapio, Cercopithecoides) and partial skeletons of the extinct felid Dinofelis. We conducted the first drone and Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey of Bolt's Farm. Using legacy data, high-resolution aerial imagery, accurate DGPS survey and GIS, we relocate the original fossil deposits and propose a definitive and transparent naming strategy for Bolt's Farm, based on the original UCAE Pit numbers. We provide datum points and a new comprehensive, georectified map to facilitate spatially accurate fossil collection for all future work. Additionally, we have collated recently published faunal data with historic fossil data to evaluate the biochronological potential of the various deposits. This suggests that the palaeocave deposits in different pits formed at different times with the occurrence of Equus in some pits implying ages of <2.3 Ma, whereas more primitive suids (Metridiochoerus) hint at a terminal Pliocene age for other deposits. This study highlights that Bolt's Farm contains rare South African terminal Pliocene fossil deposits and creates a framework for future studies of the deposits and previously excavated material.

9.
Nature ; 565(7738): 226-229, 2019 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30464348

RESUMO

The Cradle of Humankind (Cradle) in South Africa preserves a rich collection of fossil hominins representing Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Homo1. The ages of these fossils are contentious2-4 and have compromised the degree to which the South African hominin record can be used to test hypotheses of human evolution. However, uranium-lead (U-Pb) analyses of horizontally bedded layers of calcium carbonate (flowstone) provide a potential opportunity to obtain a robust chronology5. Flowstones are ubiquitous cave features and provide a palaeoclimatic context, because they grow only during phases of increased effective precipitation6,7, ideally in closed caves. Here we show that flowstones from eight Cradle caves date to six narrow time intervals between 3.2 and 1.3 million years ago. We use a kernel density estimate to combine 29 U-Pb ages into a single record of flowstone growth intervals. We interpret these as major wet phases, when an increased water supply, more extensive vegetation cover and at least partially closed caves allowed for undisturbed, semi-continuous growth of the flowstones. The intervening times represent substantially drier phases, during which fossils of hominins and other fossils accumulated in open caves. Fossil preservation, restricted to drier intervals, thus biases the view of hominin evolutionary history and behaviour, and places the hominins in a community of comparatively dry-adapted fauna. Although the periods of cave closure leave temporal gaps in the South African fossil record, the flowstones themselves provide valuable insights into both local and pan-African climate variability.


Assuntos
Carbonato de Cálcio/química , Clima , Fósseis , Hominidae , Chumbo/análise , Datação Radiométrica , Urânio/análise , África Oriental , Animais , Cavernas , Chuva , África do Sul
10.
J Hum Evol ; 88: 85-96, 2015 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26321147

RESUMO

Endemic New World monkeys are an important element of the extinct mammal faunas of the Caribbean's Greater Antilles. Here we report the first geochronometric evidence that the primate Antillothrix bernensis existed in the Dominican Republic during the Pleistocene, based on the uranium-series age of carbonate speleothem that encased a tibia when it was collected in a flooded cave. Three-dimensional geometric morphometrics of laser-scanned living and extinct samples provide evidence to support the hypothesis that this specimen and other Dominican primate tibial remains belong to that same species. U-Th dating of the host cave carbonate returns ages consistently at the 600 ka upper limit of the technique. However, U-Pb, capable of resolving ages of greater antiquity, is more robust in this context, returning a secure age of 1.32 ± 0.11 Ma, which is the oldest chronometric age recorded for a Hispaniolan mammal. While its origins and manner and time of arrival are obscure, the morphometric studies are consistent with phylogenetic analyses that place A. bernensis within the pitheciid clade of the platyrrhines. The species apparently endured for over 1 million years during the climatic perturbations of the Pleistocene, as a frugivorous climbing quadruped, one of two known primate species occupying the hazard prone island of Hispaniola.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Pitheciidae/classificação , Tíbia/química , Animais , Evolução Biológica , República Dominicana , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Filogenia , Pitheciidae/anatomia & histologia , Datação Radiométrica/instrumentação
11.
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
12.
J Hum Evol ; 59(1): 70-86, 2010 Jul.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20605190

RESUMO

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.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Sedimentos Geológicos/química , Chumbo/análise , Tório/análise , Urânio/análise , Animais , Hominidae , Humanos , Espectrometria de Massas , Paleontologia/métodos , África do Sul
13.
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
14.
J Hum Evol ; 57(6): 688-96, 2009 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19683788

RESUMO

We report on new research at Swartkrans Cave, South Africa, that provides evidence of two previously unrealized artifact- and fossil-bearing deposits. These deposits underlie a speleothem dated by the uranium-thorium disequilibrium technique to 110,000+/-1,980 years old, the first tightly constrained, geochronological date available for the site. Recovered fauna from the two underlying deposits-including, prominently, the dental remains of Paranthropus (Australopithecus) robustus from the uppermost layer (Talus Cone Deposit)-indicate a significantly older, late Pliocene or early Pleistocene age for these units. The lowest unit (LB East Extension) is inferred to be an eastward extension of the well-known Lower Bank of Member 1, the earliest surviving infill represented at the site. The date acquired from the speleothem also sets the maximum age of a rich Middle Stone Age lithic assemblage.


Assuntos
Arqueologia , Fósseis , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Dente/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Datação Radiométrica , África do Sul , Tório/análise , Urânio/análise
15.
J Hum Evol ; 56(5): 497-513, 2009 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19443017

RESUMO

Australopithecus robustus is one of the best represented hominin taxa in Africa, with hundreds of specimens recovered from six fossil localities in the Bloubank Valley area of Gauteng Province, South Africa. However, precise geochronological ages are presently lacking for these fossil cave infills. In this paper, we provide a detailed geological background to a series of hominin fossils retrieved from the newly investigated deposit of Cooper's D (located partway between Sterkfontein and Kromdraai in the Bloubank Valley), including uranium-lead (U-Pb) ages for speleothem material associated with A. robustus. U-Pb dating of a basal speleothem underlying the entire deposit results in a maximum age of 1.526 (+/-0.088) Ma for Cooper's D. A second U-Pb date of ca. 1.4 Ma is produced from a flowstone layer above this basal speleothem; since this upper flowstone is not a capping flowstone, and fossiliferous sediments are preserved above this layer, some of the hominins might be slightly younger than the calculated age. As a result, we can broadly constrain the age of the hominins from Cooper's D to between 1.5 and approximately 1.4 Ma. Extinct fauna recorded in this comparatively young deposit raise the possibility that the Bloubank Valley region of South Africa represented a more stable environmental refugium for taxa relative to tectonically more active East Africa. The sediments of the deposit likely infilled rapidly during periods when arid conditions prevailed in the paleoenvironment, although it is unclear whether sediment deposition and bone deposition were necessarily contemporaneous occurrences. We reconstruct the paleoenvironment of Cooper's D as predominantly grassland, with nearby woodlands and a permanent water source. The hominin teeth recovered from Cooper's D are all from juveniles and can be confidently assigned to A. robustus. In addition, two juvenile mandibular fragments and an adult thoracic vertebra are tentatively attributed to A. robustus.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Hominidae/genética , Datação Radiométrica , Animais , Geologia , África do Sul
16.
J Hum Evol ; 53(5): 602-19, 2007 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17920104

RESUMO

Gladysvale Cave is one of the few Plio-Pleistocene hominin-bearing cave sites in South Africa that contains a well-stratified cave fill with clastic sediments interspersed with flowstones. The clastic sediments can be divided into units based on the presence of intercalated flowstones, forming flowstone bounded units (FBU). Ten MC-ICP-MS uranium-series dates on several flowstone horizons in the Gladysvale Internal Deposit fan indicate deposition from the late mid-Pleistocene ( approximately 570 ka) to Holocene ( approximately 7 ka) during limited periods of higher effective moisture. Clastic sedimentation occurred during the interceding, presumably more arid, periods. This sequence is not consistent with earlier models for South African caves that simply assumed interglacial sedimentation and glacial erosion. (13)C/(12)C data suggest that flowstone tended to form during periods with higher proportions of C(3) plants in the local vegetation, while clastic sediments reflect higher proportions of C(4) grasses, although this is not always the case. We argue that flowstones are precipitated during periods of higher effective precipitation and restricted cave entrances, while clastic sediments accumulated during periods with more open vegetation. The sedimentary fill of the fossiliferous deposits are, therefore, highly episodic in nature, with large periods of time unlikely to be represented. This has serious implications for the other hominin-bearing caves close by, as these deposits are likely to be similarly episodic. This is especially pertinent when addressing extinction events and reconstructions of paleoenvironments, as large periods of time may be unrecorded. The Gladysvale Cave fill sediments may serve as a climatically forced chronostratigraphic model for these less well-stratified and well-dated Plio-Pleistocene sites.


Assuntos
Clima , Sedimentos Geológicos/química , Hominidae/genética , Paleontologia , Tório/análise , Urânio/análise , Animais , Isótopos de Carbono/análise , Fósseis , Sistemas de Informação Geográfica , Isótopos de Oxigênio/análise , Caramujos/química , África do Sul
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