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:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 with ... ... Relations section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com  under "SEC ... . 2016 Year Highlights: Acquisition ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/21/2017)... Arbor, MI (PRWEB) , ... August 21, 2017 ... ... Innovation Awards: Healthcare Edition 2017. The awards recognize medical centers that have implemented ... by their efficiency of patient care protocols, competitive advantages, financial impact/value, and market ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... August 21, 2017 , ... Today Aether announced that Aether and ... a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant, to pursue a 3D ... Foundation, also known as the Gates Foundation, is said to be the largest transparently ...
(Date:8/17/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... August 17, 2017 , ... ... for cancer research and personalized medicine, today announced the launch of a new ... City, Missouri. The study’s goal is to evaluate the potential for early detection ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... While ... they are much more closely connected than one might think. A Mesh Is ... will open at the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) on August ...
Breaking Biology Technology: