P314 Earlier Prehistory of Africa

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Week 3: ESA Archaeological research in East Africa: new data & new questions

Map of East African early hominid sites

Work began at Olduvai Gorge

Burial in lake and river sediments = potential data for understanding hominid activity patterns

Multiple methods for DATING:

Example: Turkana Basin sites (northern Kenya and Ethiopia):

KBS Tuff dating controversy

First season at Turkana in 1969 found first A. boisei skull + early Homo + tools embedded in volcanic ash by Kay Behrensmeyer called "KBS tuff" The the "1470" skull identified as Homo habilis was found at a locality buried just below the KBS tuff.

KBS site and HAS site associated with it (about 1 km apart)

Feldspar from tuff dated by Fitch and Miller with K/Ar and Ar/Ar to 2.42 mya , then 2.6 + 0.26 my

(later presented 41 separate age determinations, ranging from 223 my to 0.91 only 7 close to original)

Basil Cooke, Time White, John Harris and the PIGS

Pig teeth are a kind of paleonological clock increase in length and height through time. KBS pigs matched pigs from ~2 my at Omo and Olduvai, as did the OTHER fauna antelopes, zebras, etc

KBS team argued initially that fauna at Koobi For a looked younger because of a "faunal barrier" ... species in different parts of the basin evolved at different rates... but this proved to be wishful thinking. Pigs win.+ new dates @ 1.87 +/- 0.04mya, based on single crystal fusion Ar/Ar method.


 Professor Jeanne Sept
 (812) 855-5395 ; email: SEPT  
 Office Hours Student Bldg 038

TH 1:00-3:00, or by appt.

   Lectures: Student Bldg 150

TuTh 11:15-12:30

 

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Human Origins in Africa | African Resources | Archaeology Links |
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Last updated: 15 September, 2000
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~origins/teach/p314/xxx.html
Comments: sept@indiana.edu
Copyright Jeanne Sept 1998 : do not cite without permission

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