High-resolution vegetation and climate change associated with Pliocene Australopithecus afarensis

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doi: 10.1073/pnas.0401709101
Author(s): Bonnefille, R.; Potts, R.; Chalié, F.; Jolly, D.; Peyron, O.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre Européen de Recherche et Enseisgnement des Géosciences de l'Environnement, Aix-en-Provence, France
Smithsonian Institution, United States
Université Montpellier II, France
Université de Franche Compté, France
Volume Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(33), p.12125-12129. Publisher: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0027-8424 CODEN: PNASA6
Note: In English. 32 refs.; illus., incl. charts, sketch map
Summary: Plio-Pleistocene global climate change is believed to have had an important influence on local habitats and early human evolution in Africa. Responses of hominin lineages to climate change have been difficult to test, however, because this procedure requires well documented evidence for connections between global climate and hominin environment. Through high-resolution pollen data from Hadar, Ethiopia, we show that the hominin Australopithecus afarensis accommodated to substantial environmental variability between 3.4 and 2.9 million years ago. A large biome shift, up to 5°C cooling, and a 200- to 300-mm/yr rainfall increase occurred just before 3.3 million years ago, which is consistent with a global marine δ18O isotopic shift.
Year of Publication: 2004
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; Adaptation; Africa; Angiospermae; Arabian Sea; Australopithecinae; Australopithecus; Australopithecus afarensis; Biologic evolution; C-13/C-12; Carbon; Cenozoic; Chordata; Clastic rocks; Clastic sediments; Climate; Climate change; Cyperaceae; Dicotyledoneae; Dust; East Africa; Ethiopia; Eutheria; Gramineae; Hadar; Hadar Formation; High-resolution methods; Hominidae; Igneous rocks; Indian Ocean; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Lacustrine environment; Leg 117; Liliopsida; Magnoliophyta; Mammalia; Marl; Microfossils; Miospores; Monocotyledoneae; Neogene; North-central Ethiopia; O-18/O-16; ODP Site 721; ODP Site 722; Ocean Drilling Program; Owen Ridge; Oxygen; Paleoclimatology; Paludal environment; Palynomorphs; Plantae; Pliocene; Pollen; Primates; Pyroclastics; Sedimentary rocks; Sediments; Spermatophyta; Stable isotopes; Terrestrial environment; Tertiary; Tetrapoda; Theria; Tuff; Typha; Vegetation; Vertebrata; Volcanic rocks
Coordinates: N110600 N110900 E0403900 E0403500
Record ID: 2007109680
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