Navigation Links
Study to reveal link between climate and early human evolution
Date:10/6/2010

Olduvai Gorge is a steep-sided ravine on the edge of the Serengeti Plain, East Africa, and is home to some of the world's most important fossil hominins. Geologists are investigating the chemical composition of carbonate rocks that lie beneath the surfaces where early human fossils have been uncovered. The data will help an international team of geologists, paleoanthropologists and archaeologists understand how environmental pressures may have influenced the development of human ancestors and their use of the land.

Professor Ian Stanistreet, from the School of Environmental Sciences, said: "Research findings so far suggest that environmental changes, such as very dry conditions to very wet, were more extreme and took place more frequently than previously thought. It is currently unclear how these changes might have contributed to human evolution, but evidence indicates that an ability to cope with hostile and rapidly changing environments may have characterised and shaped the development of the human race."

The team is investigating elements in the mineral calcium carbonate, which were deposited in the mud and soil in and around a lake between two and 1.7 million years ago. Carbonates formed in the semi-arid environment of the Olduvai Gorge through evaporation and concentration of soil and lake water. The chemical makeup of calcium carbonate mirrors the chemical composition of the water from which it came, allowing scientists to understand what the original soil water was like and what influenced it, such as climate and vegetation growth.

Elisabeth Rushworth explains: "We are looking at deposits of calcium carbonates, from the oldest samples to the youngest, over a period of 300,000 years. Geochemical analyses allow us to build a picture of what the environment was like and the kind of land that our ancestors would have lived and worked on."

Professor Jim Marshall added: "There are times when the climate was very wet and the soil may show signs of rainwater and at other times there will be traces of water from the lake which was very alkaline. The lake is now extinct, but our ancestors would have depended on the water and vegetation that grew around it. By understanding the chemical signals in the rocks we aim to learn more about the environmental stresses that would have affected our early ancestors."

Archeological finds in the Olduvai Gorge include stone tools, and skeletal remains of Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus, as well as bones of, now extinct, wild animals.

The Liverpool team's research is funded by the Leakey Foundation, the National Environment Research Council (NERC), and the International Association of Sedimentologists. The Olduvai Landscape and Paleo-anthropology Project (OLAPP) includes scientists from institutions in the UK, US, Tanzania, South Africa, Germany and Spain.


'/>"/>

Contact: Samantha Martin
samantha.martin@liv.ac.uk
01-517-942-248
University of Liverpool
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016   ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited ... of its soon to be launched online site for ... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide potential shareholders a ... DNA technology to an industry that is notorious for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The Ankle Plating System 3 and Small ... fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This system marks Acumed's continued commitment ... is composed of seven plate families that span the lateral, medial, and posterior ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The American Medical Informatics Association ... the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) outlining a measurement approach to interoperability ... available when and where it was needed. The organization of health informatics professionals ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on the use ... W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as WEDI’s president ... executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association management and ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. (Biohaven) ... company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 for the treatment of Spinocerebellar Ataxia ... , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that is estimated ...
Breaking Biology Technology: