U–Pb-dated flowstones restrict South African early hominin record to dry climate phases

  title={U–Pb-dated flowstones restrict South African early hominin record to dry climate phases},
  author={R. Pickering and A. Herries and J. Woodhead and J. Hellstrom and Helen Green and Bence Paul and Terrence B. Ritzman and D. Strait and Benjamin J Schoville and P. Hancox},
The Cradle of Humankind (Cradle) in South Africa preserves a rich collection of fossil hominins representing Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Homo1. The ages of these fossils are contentious2–4 and have compromised the degree to which the South African hominin record can be used to test hypotheses of human evolution. However, uranium–lead (U–Pb) analyses of horizontally bedded layers of calcium carbonate (flowstone) provide a potential opportunity to obtain a robust chronology5. Flowstones… Expand
Factors controlling age quality in UPb dated Plio-Pleistocene speleothems from South Africa: The good, the bad and the ugly.
Abstract Caves in South Africa preserve a rich record of early hominin and early modern human development and have been the subject of much research. U Pb dating of speleothems, particularlyExpand
Reconstructing the depositional history and age of fossil-bearing palaeokarst: A multidisciplinary example from the terminal Pliocene Aves Cave Complex, Bolt's farm, South Africa
Abstract The region ∼40 km north-west of Johannesburg, South Africa, known locally as the Cradle of Humankind, is of global significance as the caves preserve Plio-Pleistocene faunal and earlyExpand
Hominin site distributions and behaviours across the Mid-Pleistocene climate transition in China
Abstract Knowledge about the Early and Middle Pleistocene hominin record of China is steadily increasing owing to the on-going implementation of palaeoanthropological surveys and excavations. Yet,Expand
Providing context to the Homo naledi fossils: Constraints from flowstones on the age of sediment deposits in Rising Star Cave, South Africa
Abstract Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, contains one of the richest hominin-bearing deposits in the world, and is the type locality for the Homo naledi fossils. This paperExpand
Environmental drivers of megafauna and hominin extinction in Southeast Asia.
A large-scale dataset of stable isotope data for Southeast Asian mammals that spans the Quaternary period is presented, demonstrating that the forests of the Early Pleistocene had given way to savannahs by the Middle pleistocene, which led to the spread of grazers and extinction of browsers-although geochronological limitations mean that not all samples can be resolved to glacial or interglacial periods. Expand
Complexities of assessing palaeocave stratigraphy: reconstructing site formation of the ∼2.61 Ma Drimolen Makondo fossil site
Contextual data presented within this study, testifies to a relatively rapid infill with greater fluvial activity when compared to adjacent deposits at the younger ∼2.04–1.95 Ma Drimolen Main Quarry. Expand
A Window into Africa’s Past Hydroclimates: The SISAL_v1 Database Contribution
Africa spans the hemispheres from temperate region to temperate region and has a long history of hominin evolution. Although the number of Quaternary palaeoclimatic records from the continent isExpand
Drimolen cranium DNH 155 documents microevolution in an early hominin species
An approximately 2-million-year-old male Paranthropus robustus cranium from Drimolen Main Quarry in South Africa refutes influential ideas of sexual dimorphism in this taxon and instead suggests local microevolution within robust australopiths. Expand
Combining legacy data with new drone and DGPS mapping to identify the provenance of Plio-Pleistocene fossils from Bolt’s Farm, Cradle of Humankind (South Africa)
Using legacy data, high-resolution aerial imagery, accurate DGPS survey and GIS, the original fossil deposits are relocated and a definitive and transparent naming strategy is proposed for Bolt’s Farm, based on the original UCAE Pit numbers. Expand
Baboon biogeography, divergence, and evolution: Morphological and paleoecological perspectives.
Bayesian modeling of cercopithecid body mass data allowed reconstruction of ancestral body mass and showed a pattern of accelerating body mass evolution in a number of lineages, including Papio, which appears to be related to exploitation of terrestrial niches in the Pliocene. Expand


Contemporary flowstone development links early hominin bearing cave deposits in South Africa
The Cradle of Humankind cave sites in South Africa preserve fossil evidence of four early hominin taxa: Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus sediba, Paranthropus robustus and early Homo. InExpand
Stratigraphy, U-Th chronology, and paleoenvironments at Gladysvale Cave: insights into the climatic control of South African hominin-bearing cave deposits.
It is argued that flowstones are precipitated during periods of higher effective precipitation and restricted cave entrances, while clastic sediments accumulated during periods with more open vegetation, which means that the sedimentary fill of the fossiliferous deposits are, therefore, highly episodic in nature. Expand
New Australopithecus robustus fossils and associated U-Pb dates from Cooper's Cave (Gauteng, South Africa).
A detailed geological background to a series of hominin fossils retrieved from the newly investigated deposit of Cooper's D is provided, including uranium-lead ages for speleothem material associated with A. robustus and the paleoenvironment is reconstructed as predominantly grassland, with nearby woodlands and a permanent water source. Expand
Influence of Plio-Pleistocene aridification on human evolution: evidence from paleosols of the Turkana Basin, Kenya.
  • J. Wynn
  • Geography, Medicine
  • American journal of physical anthropology
  • 2004
The hypothesis that hominins evolved in savanna mosaics that changed through time, and suggest that the evolution of bovids and hom inins was driven by shifts in climatic instability and habitat variability, both diachronic and synchronic, is supported. Expand
Faunal assemblage composition and paleoenvironment of Plovers Lake, a Middle Stone Age locality in Gauteng Province, South Africa.
The paleoenvironment of Plovers Lake is reconstructed as predominantly grassland, though it was colder, moister, and more wooded than at present, pointing to greater environmental heterogeneity than has previously been documented for the region in the later Pleistocene. Expand
Geological Setting and Age of Australopithecus sediba from Southern Africa
Two partial skeletons of a new species of Australopithecus, about 1.9 million years old, are described, which imply that the transition to Homo was in stages and shows many derived features with Homo, helping to reveal its evolution. Expand
U–Pb dating of calcite–aragonite layers in speleothems from hominin sites in South Africa by MC-ICP-MS
Abstract Speleothems are found in association with hominin fossil-bearing cave deposits in South Africa and can be used to provide valuable chronological constraints. Such material is generally tooExpand
New cosmogenic burial ages for Sterkfontein Member 2 Australopithecus and Member 5 Oldowan
The isochron burial dating with cosmogenic aluminium-26 and beryllium-10 is used to show that the breccia containing StW 573 did not undergo significant reworking, and that it was deposited 3.67 ± 0.16 million years ago, far earlier than the 2.2 million year flowstones found within it. Expand
Beyond 500 ka: Progress and prospects in the UPb chronology of speleothems, and their application to studies in palaeoclimate, human evolution, biodiversity and tectonics
Abstract This review summarises current research aimed at extending the chronology and thus scientific utility of speleothems beyond the 500 ka limit previously imposed by conventional U Th datingExpand
Palaeomagnetic analysis of the Sterkfontein palaeocave deposits: implications for the age of the hominin fossils and stone tool industries.
Palaeomagnetic analysis of siltstone and speleothem from the bulk of Member 4 indicate a reversed magnetic polarity that dates the deposits and its Australopithecus africanus fossils to between 2.58 and ~2.16 Ma, which supports the uranium lead age estimates of 2.3-2.2 Ma for the StW 573 fossil. Expand