Essay on The Environments of the Earliest Australopithecus

789 Words4 Pages
Background and goals

The conditions in which bipedal locomotion emerged are still unresolved. However they are all closely dependent on environment reconstructions. This project will contribute to the scientific community's understanding of the environments of the earliest Australopithecine.

Australopithecus anamensis is the earliest species of the genus and the first indisputably bipedal hominid. According to paleoecological analyses (isotopes, fauna, soils, etc) (2,3), these hominids were generalists who lived in mosaic environments , e.g. a mix of habitat types. However, the specifics of the exploitation of the environments by the hominids need to be further explored.Understanding the conditions of local environments is essential
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Also, it has been reported that a number of bones of the Kanapoi collection show carnivore-induced damage . In addition, Allia Bay and Kanapoi yielded A. anamensis remains, but Mursi has not. Does the Mursi collection differ from the two others, and if so how?

Methods

Because of the antiquity of the Pliocene environments, the only remaining witnesses of the behaviours are the bones and the stones. One of the main approaches to this type of issue is using the faunal remains. They are more abundant than the hominid fossils, and some indicator species are excellent proxies for paleoecological inferences. In addition, we can study their taphonomic signature, i.e. the processes that affect a bone between the death of the animal and its discovery as a fossil, and how these processes affect information in the fossil record (6). By looking at the different kinds of traces (grooves, cuts, abrasions, or any physical or chemical deformation) on a bone, a researcher can study its individual history. By identifying these traces on all animal fossils collected from a particular site, we can address the question of what the local environment was like. To evaluate taphonomy, the researcher looks at the surface of each bone with a handheld magnifying lens and records the type and intensity of the traces on each bone. Extant floral and geological data will also be exploited.

Schedule and Materials

Taphonomy is unique among

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