A two-million-year-long hydroclimatic context for hominin evolution in southeastern Africa

  title={A two-million-year-long hydroclimatic context for hominin evolution in southeastern Africa},
  author={Thibaut Caley and Thomas Extier and James A. Collins and Enno Schefu{\ss} and Lydie M. Dupont and B. Malaiz{\'e} and L. Rossignol and Antoine Souron and Erin L. McClymont and Francisco Jose Jim{\'e}nez-Espejo and Carmen Garc{\'i}a-Comas and Fr{\'e}d{\'e}rique Eynaud and Philippe Martinez and Didier M. Roche and Stephan J. Jorry and Karine Charlier and M{\'e}lanie Wary and Pierre-Yves Gourves and Isabelle Billy and Jacques Giraudeau},
The past two million years of eastern African climate variability is currently poorly constrained, despite interest in understanding its assumed role in early human evolution1–4. Rare palaeoclimate records from northeastern Africa suggest progressively drier conditions2,5 or a stable hydroclimate6. By contrast, records from Lake Malawi in tropical southeastern Africa reveal a trend of a progressively wetter climate over the past 1.3 million years7,8. The climatic forcings that controlled these… 

The climate and vegetation backdrop to hominin evolution in Africa

The most profound shift in the African hydroclimate of the last 1 million years occurred around 300 thousand years (ka) ago. This change in African hydroclimate is manifest as an east-west change in

Paleo-ENSO influence on African environments and early modern humans

It is argued that low-latitude insolation was a prominent driver of pan-African climate change during the Middle to Late Pleistocene and governed the dispersion and evolution of vegetation and mammals in eastern and western Africa by increasing resource-rich and stable ecotonal settings thought to have been important to early modern humans.

Regional impacts of climate change and its relevance to human evolution

Abstract Abstract The traditional concept of long and gradual, glacial–interglacial climate changes during the Quaternary has been challenged since the 1980s. High temporal resolution analysis of

The transient impact of the African monsoon on Plio-Pleistocene Mediterranean sediments

Abstract. Over the Plio-Pleistocene interval a strong linkage exists between northern African climate changes and the supply of dust over the surrounding oceans and continental runoff towards the

Glacial to interglacial climate variability in the southeastern African subtropics (25–20° S)

Abstract. We present a continuous and well-resolved record of climatic variability for the past 100 000 years from a marine sediment core taken in Delagoa Bight, off southeastern Africa. In addition

Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr

Across the glacial-interglacial cycles of the late Pleistocene (∼700 k.y.), temperature variability at low latitudes is often considered to have been negligible compared to changes in

Orbital forcing in southern Africa: Towards a conceptual model for predicting deep time environmental change from an incomplete proxy record

  • B. Chase
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Quaternary Science Reviews
  • 2021

Reconstructing the Environmental Context of Human Origins in Eastern Africa Through Scientific Drilling

Paleoanthropologists have long speculated about the role of environmental change in shaping human evolution in Africa. In recent years, drill cores of late Neogene lacustrine sedimentary rocks have



A progressively wetter climate in southern East Africa over the past 1.3 million years

The temperature history of the Malawi basin, at least for the past 500,000 years, strongly resembles past changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and terrigenous dust flux in the tropical Pacific Ocean, but not in global ice volume.

Forcing of wet phases in southeast Africa over the past 17,000 years

It is shown that remote atmospheric forcing by cold events in the northern high latitudes appears to have been the main driver of hydro-climatology in southeast Africa during rapid climate changes over the past 17,000 years.

Eastern South African hydroclimate over the past 270,000 years

Numerical modelling results reveal that higher precipitation in the KwaZulu-Natal province during precession maxima is driven by a combination of increased local evaporation and elevated moisture transport into eastern South Africa from the coast of Mozambique.

Climatic controls on central African hydrology during the past 20,000 years

It is concluded that changes in ocean circulation, and hence sea surface temperature patterns, were important in modulating atmospheric moisture transport onto the central African continent.

Continuous 1.3-million-year record of East African hydroclimate, and implications for patterns of evolution and biodiversity

A continuous, first-of-its-kind 1.3-My record of continental hydroclimate and lake-level variability derived from drill core data from Lake Malawi is presented, resulting in large-scale changes in one of the world’s largest lakes and most diverse freshwater ecosystems.

African vegetation controlled by tropical sea surface temperatures in the mid-Pleistocene period

It is concluded that, in the mid-Pleistocene, changes in atmospheric moisture content—driven by tropical sea surface temperature changes and the strength of the African monsoon—controlled aridity on the African continent, and hence large-scale vegetation changes.

Plio-Pleistocene African Climate

Major steps in the evolution of African hominids and other vertebrates are coincident with shifts to more arid, open conditions near 2.8 Ma, suggesting that some Pliocene (Plio)-Pleistocene speciation events may have been climatically mediated.

Glacial-interglacial vegetation dynamics in South Eastern Africa coupled to sea surface temperature variations in the Western Indian Ocean

Abstract. Glacial-interglacial fluctuations in the vegetation of South Africa might elucidate the climate system at the edge of the tropics between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. However, vegetation