Increased ecological resource variability during a critical transition in hominin evolution
Moerman, Jessica W
Behrensmeyer, Anna K
Deino, Alan L
Beverly, Emily J
Brown, Erik T
Owen, R Bernhart
Russell, James M
Faith, J Tyler
Scott, Jennifer J
Clark, Jennifer B
Cohen, Andrew S
Keller, C Brehnin
Levin, Naomi E
Brady Shannon, Kristina
Renaut, Robin W
Rucina, Stephen M
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Geosci
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE
CitationPotts, R., Dommain, R., Moerman, J. W., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Deino, A. L., Riedl, S., ... & Uno, K. (2020). Increased ecological resource variability during a critical transition in hominin evolution. Science advances, 6(43), eabc8975.
RightsCopyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractAlthough climate change is considered to have been a large-scale driver of African human evolution, landscape-scale shifts in ecological resources that may have shaped novel hominin adaptations are rarely investigated. We use well-dated, high-resolution, drill-core datasets to understand ecological dynamics associated with a major adaptive transition in the archeological record ~24 km from the coring site. Outcrops preserve evidence of the replacement of Acheulean by Middle Stone Age (MSA) technological, cognitive, and social innovations between 500 and 300 thousand years (ka) ago, contemporaneous with large-scale taxonomic and adaptive turnover in mammal herbivores. Beginning ~400 ka ago, tectonic, hydrological, and ecological changes combined to disrupt a relatively stable resource base, prompting fluctuations of increasing magnitude in freshwater availability, grassland communities, and woody plant cover. Interaction of these factors offers a resource-oriented hypothesis for the evolutionary success of MSA adaptations, which likely contributed to the ecological flexibility typical of Homo sapiens foragers.
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
- Eastern African environmental variation and its role in the evolution and cultural change of Homo over the last 1 million years.
- Authors: Lupien RL, Russell JM, Subramanian A, Kinyanjui R, Beverly EJ, Uno KT, de Menocal P, Dommain R, Potts R
- Issue date: 2021 Aug
- Alternating high and low climate variability: The context of natural selection and speciation in Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution.
- Authors: Potts R, Faith JT
- Issue date: 2015 Oct
- Flaked stones and old bones: biological and cultural evolution at the dawn of technology.
- Authors: Plummer T
- Issue date: 2004
- Environmental dynamics during the onset of the Middle Stone Age in eastern Africa.
- Authors: Potts R, Behrensmeyer AK, Faith JT, Tryon CA, Brooks AS, Yellen JE, Deino AL, Kinyanjui R, Clark JB, Haradon CM, Levin NE, Meijer HJM, Veatch EG, Owen RB, Renaut RW
- Issue date: 2018 Apr 6
- Chronology of the Acheulean to Middle Stone Age transition in eastern Africa.
- Authors: Deino AL, Behrensmeyer AK, Brooks AS, Yellen JE, Sharp WD, Potts R
- Issue date: 2018 Apr 6