Strontium isotope evidence for landscape use by early hominins

  title={Strontium isotope evidence for landscape use by early hominins},
  author={Sandi R. Copeland and Matt Sponheimer and Darryl J. de Ruiter and Julia A Lee-Thorp and Daryl Codron and Petrus le Roux and Vaughan Grimes and Michael P. Richards},
Ranging and residence patterns among early hominins have been indirectly inferred from morphology, stone-tool sourcing, referential models and phylogenetic models. However, the highly uncertain nature of such reconstructions limits our understanding of early hominin ecology, biology, social structure and evolution. We investigated landscape use in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus from the Sterkfontein and Swartkrans cave sites in South Africa using strontium isotope analysis… 
Evidence for dietary change but not landscape use in South African early hominins
It is shown that the home range area was of similar size for species of the three hominin genera but that the dietary breadth was much higher in Australopithecus africanus than in Paranthropus robustus and early Homo, and that P. robustus relied more on plant-based foodstuffs than early Homo.
Palaeoanthropology: In search of the australopithecines
A strontium-isotope study of Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus specimens from South Africa shows that the smaller individuals, inferred to have been females, ranged further than the males, suggesting that females tended to move away from their natal groups and joined others, whereas males tend to stay at home.
Chapter 7 – Early Hominin Ecology
  • J. Sept
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2015
Elemental signatures of Australopithecus africanus teeth reveal seasonal dietary stress
Insight is provided into the dietary cycles and ecological behaviours of A. africanus in response to food availability, including the potential cyclical resurgence of milk intake during times of nutritional challenge (as observed in modern wild orangutans5).
Viewpoints: feeding mechanics, diet, and dietary adaptations in early hominins.
Microwear and stable isotope analysis together suggest that australopiths are not united by a single, increasingly specialized dietary adaptation, and finite element analysis is limited in its ability to identify adaptation in paleobiological contexts.
Investigating equid mobility in Miocene Florida, USA using strontium isotope ratios
Male philopatry and female dispersal amongst two species of early hominins from the Sterkfontein valley
© 2011. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS OpenJournals. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License. An article by Sandi Copeland and colleagues,1 which appeared in Nature on 02


An ecomorphological model of the initial hominid dispersal from Africa.
Two independent datasets provide a means of quantifying aspects of the dispersal of early Homo and suggest that rapid rates of dispersal appear to have been promoted by changes in foraging strategy and body size in H. erectus facilitated byChanges in ecosystem structure during the Plio-Pleistocene.
The Characterization of Biologically Available Strontium Isotope Ratios for the Study of Prehistoric Migration
Strontium isotope analysis of bone and tooth enamel from prehistoric human skeletons is an important new technique used to address questions regarding migration. Two problems arise in such
Body proportions of Australopithecus afarensis and A. africanus and the origin of the genus Homo.
New discoveries of A. africanus fossils from Member 4 Sterkfontein reveal a body form quite unlike earlier Australopithecus species, and postcranial material reveals an apparently primitive morphology of relatively large forelimb and small hindlimb joints resembling more the pongid than the human pattern.
The ecology of social transitions in human evolution
  • R. Foley, C. Gamble
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
The underlying model that is developed is that the evolution of ‘human society’ is underpinned by ecological factors, but these are influenced as much by technological and behavioural innovations as external environmental change.
Interpreting hominid behavior on the basis of sexual dimorphism.
A joint comparison of recent models for the behavioral correlates of both canine dimorphism and body sizeDimorphism of Australopithecus afarensis and A. robustus can be reconciled with a mating system characterized by low-intensity male-male competition.
Australopithecus to Homo: Transformations in Body and Mind
▪ Abstract Significant changes occurred in human evolution between 2.5 and 1.8 million years ago. Stone tools first appeared, brains expanded, bodies enlarged, sexual dimorphism in body size
Social structure and life‐history patterns in western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
New data on western gorilla social structure and life histories from four study sites are presented, and comparisons with eastern gorilla populations are made, showing no significant differences in birth rates between western gorillas and mountain gorillas.
Extended Male Growth in a Fossil Hominin Species
Extended male development in a hominin species, Paranthropus robustus, is described, suggesting that male reproductive strategy focused on monopolizing groups of females, in a manner similar to that of silverback gorillas.