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Landscape stability and paleoecology at East Turkana, northern Kenya: A spatial and temporal analysis of paleosol gross morphology and stable carbon isotopes during the Upper Burgi, KBS, and Okote Members (2-1.4 Ma)

Author(s): Sarah Himes ; Maryse Beirnat ; Fikremariam Sissay ; David Patterson ; David Braun

Year: 2016

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Summary

The Upper Burgi, KBS and Okote Members of the Koobi Fora Fm. in northern Kenya span the period between 2 and 1.4 million years ago and document some of the most important events in hominin evolution. Although previous archaeological and paleoecological investigations suggest hominins occupied specific niches within this ecosystem, we understand little about relationships between landscape variability and hominin adaptation. In this study, we combine stable carbon isotope data from fossil soils and enamel with a high-resolution reconstruction of landscape variability from the gross characterization of paleosols from 30 localities. These data assess hominin resource use and landscape dynamics through time and across space. More specifically, we focus on fossil- and artifact-rich areas of Ileret and the Karari Escarpment and find that the landscape within these two regions was extremely diverse across space, yet relatively static temporally as supported by statistically significant differences in soil morphology. Emerging patterns are mirrored in enamel isotopic ratios between these regions with taxa, particularly suids, reflecting differing dietary adaptations across space. Finally, our analyses suggest that the East Turkana landscape was highly variable in terms of landscape stability and vegetation structure, which would have resulted in a distinct adaptive scenario for Pleistocene hominins.


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Landscape stability and paleoecology at East Turkana, northern Kenya: A spatial and temporal analysis of paleosol gross morphology and stable carbon isotopes during the Upper Burgi, KBS, and Okote Members (2-1.4 Ma). Sarah Himes, Maryse Beirnat, Fikremariam Sissay, David Patterson, David Braun. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404492)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America