Reconstructing high-resolution paleoenvironmental contexts of hominin evolution through core records at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Non-FAU Project

Start date : 01.09.2016

End date : 30.11.2019

Project details

Scientific Abstract

The environmental hypotheses of human evolution postulate that climate-derived environmental
changes and tectonic forcing were the driving factors of the evolution of African fauna, including
early humans. In these models, major evolutionary events were associated with African climate
change at 2.7-2.5 Ma, 1.9-1.6 Ma and 1-0.7 Ma intervals, which appear to coincide with the
timing of key evolutionary milestones in human history. Recent scientific drilling in various
paleolakes of the East African Rift has produced multiple high-resolution records of climate
variability, which can be used to reconstruct the regional climate history. However, previous
attempts to test the environmental hypotheses by applying this record directly to human evolution
have been limited by the difficulty of linking core records directly to time-equivalent outcrops
containing the fossil and archaeological record. We will therefore apply a novel approach
in archaeology - a combination of tephrostratigraphic and sequence stratigraphic concepts.


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