Posted on October 16, 2014 by Afarensis, FCD
Laetoli, for those who don’t know, is the home of hominin footprints that are around 3.6 million years old. The footprints have posed a preservation problem to the paleoanthropology community – something I have written about here and here. Phys.Org has a press release on the subject:
In many ways the museum is the brainchild of Musiba, a Tanzanian-born anthropologist who has been studying the footprints since 1996 and has long championed protecting them while making the collection available to the public. Currently, the footprints are preserved by keeping them buried.
“Right now the footprints are covered up and the only way to study them is to re-excavate them, which could be damaging,” he said. “We would like to excavate half of the site and build the museum over it. We can then control the ambient air, the moisture and pH levels inside to protect the prints.”
Musiba and Lockley will advise Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on how best to protect the Laetoli Conservation Project. The $35 million project will develop the Laetoli World Heritage Site into a state-of-the-art complex that will include a museum, research facility with labs and accommodation for 35 scientists and an education center that can host 50 students and six teachers.
The new facility is expected to be completed in about five years and will have a laboratory dedicated specifically for students and researchers from CU Denver, the premier public research university in Denver.
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Posted on August 4, 2013 by Afarensis, FCD
A.L. 666-1 was discovered in 1994 in Hadar, Ethiopia. It dates to ~2·33 MYA and has been attributed to Homo habilis. A number of Oldowan flakes and choppers were found as well.
(From Kimbel et al 1996)
Kimbel et al 1996 Late Pliocene Homo and Oldowan Tools from the Hadar Formation (Kada Hadar Member), Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 31: 549–561
Kimbel et al 1997 Systematic Assessment of a Maxilla of Homo From Hadar, Ethiopia. AJPA 103:235–262
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Posted on June 9, 2013 by Afarensis, FCD
Current Anthropology Vol 53 Supplement 6 is open access. For those who haven’t seen it, it was published in December of 2012, the articles come out of a Wenner-Gren Symposium titled “Human Biology and the Origins of Homo.”
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Posted on April 11, 2013 by Afarensis, FCD
Posted on February 24, 2013 by Afarensis, FCD
OH-65 was found in 1995 in the Upper Bed I at Olduvai Gorge. It dates to 1.942-1.785 mya. OH-65 is a nearly complete maxilla that has been attributed to Homo habilis. It’s morpholoogy is similar to that of KNM-ER 1470 and the authors of the paper announcing the find use that similary to make two arguments.
This overall concordance of the ER 1470 and OH 65 morphologies with that of the type specimen of H. habilis casts doubt on H. rudolfensis as a biologically valid taxon. Consequently, H. rudolfensis (Alexeev) Groves would be a junior synonym for H. habilis Leakey, Tobias, and Napier …
The architectural similarities between OH-65 and ER 1470 support the judgement that late Pliocene hominids from Olduvai Gorge and East Lake Turkana usually assigned to H. habilis instead represent more than one species…
On the surface these seem to be contradictory arguments unless they are arguing that because H. rudolfensis is a junior synonym for H. habilis the species in the H. rudolfensis group have to be named something else. At any rate, below is a picture of OH-65.
Blumenschine et al 2003 Late Pliocene Homo and Hominid Land Use from Western Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Blumenschine et al 2003 Late Pliocene Homo and Hominid Land Use from Western Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania Supplemental Online Material
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Posted on August 25, 2012 by Afarensis, FCD
Regourdou 1 is a partial neanderthal skeleton discovered in 1957 near Lascaux. Also discovered were the pedal remains of a second individual.
Volpato et al (2012) Hand to Mouth in a Neandertal: Right-Handedness in Regourdou 1
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Posted on June 27, 2012 by Afarensis, FCD
The answer may surprise you, or not. A new paper in Nature provides some insight into Australopithecus sediba’s diet. I don’t have access to Nature but Science Daily has the press release where we learn:
The researchers concluded from their scientific tests that bark and other fracture-resistant foods were at least a seasonal part of the A. sediba diet. While bark and woody tissues had not been previously documented as a dietary component of any other ancient African hominids, such foods are consumed by many contemporary primates and contain both protein and soluble sugars. The diet of A. sediba may have been similar to that of today’s African savanna chimpanzees, Sandberg said.
Researchers performed stable isotope analysis, analyzed phytoliths trapped in dental plaque, and examined microwear on the teeth of Au. sediba to arrive at those conclusions. I have to agree with Matt Sponheimer on this:
“What fascinates me is that these individuals are oddballs,” said CU-Boulder’s Sponheimer. “I had pretty much convinced myself that after four million years ago most of our hominid kin had diets that were different from living apes, but now I am not so sure. And while our sample is too small to be conclusive, the rate at which Malapa is spewing hominid fossils makes me reasonably certain we won’t have to wait another two million years to augment our data set. “
As mentioned above I don’t have access to Nature so can some one send me a copy of the article? My email address is on the “about” tab and the article can be found at DOI: 10.1038/nature11185.
Filed under: Australopithecus sediba | 2 Comments »