Laetoli revisited: Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania

Terry Harrison

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Laetoli, one of the key paleontological and paleoanthropological localities in Africa, is renowned for the recovery of fossil remains of early hominins belonging to Australopithecus afarensis and for the remarkable trails of hominin footprints. In addition, the faunas from the Upper Laetolil Beds (3.63–3.85 Ma) and Upper Ndolanya Beds (2.66 Ma) are from time periods that are generally poorly represented at other paleontological sites in East Africa. Fossils from these stratigraphic units provide important insights into the faunal and floral diversity during the Pliocene, and they serve as reliably dated reference faunas for comparison with other Plio-Pleistocene sites in Africa. The paleoecology of Laetoli is unusual for early hominin sites in East Africa in the absence of evidence for extensive or permanent bodies of water, and in having habitats that are reconstructed as being less densely wooded. Therefore, Laetoli provides key evidence for interpreting the possible diversity of hominin habitat preferences and for understanding ecological changes in East Africa during the Pliocene. The main goal of renewed fieldwork at Laetoli, starting in 1998, was to recover additional fossil hominid specimens and to obtain more detailed contextual information on the paleontology, geology, dating, and paleoecology. The substantially expanded fossil collections have added significantly to our understanding of the systematics and paleobiology of Pliocene East African faunas. The recovery of new Australopithecus afarensis specimens from the Upper Laetolil Beds has contributed information on the morphology, variation and evolutionary status of this taxon. Fossil hominins have been recovered for the first time from the Upper Ndolanya Beds. These include the first specimen of Paranthropus aethiopicus to be recovered from outside the Turkana Basin, and one of the oldest securely dated specimens definitively attributable to this taxon.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
    PublisherSpringer
    Pages1-15
    Number of pages15
    Edition9789048199556
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

    Publication series

    NameVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
    Number9789048199556
    ISSN (Print)1877-9077

    Fingerprint

    Tanzania
    plateaus
    fossils
    plateau
    fossil
    Eastern Africa
    Pliocene
    paleoecology
    fauna
    paleobiology
    paleontology
    hominid
    Hominidae
    geology
    habitat preferences
    habitat selection
    footprint
    fieldwork
    body water
    Pleistocene

    Keywords

    • Australopithecus afarensis
    • Fossil
    • Garusi
    • Laetolil beds
    • Ndolanya beds
    • Paranthropus aethiopicus
    • Pliocene

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Palaeontology
    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Ecology

    Cite this

    Harrison, T. (2011). Laetoli revisited: Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania. In Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology (9789048199556 ed., pp. 1-15). (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology; No. 9789048199556). Springer . https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_1

    Laetoli revisited : Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania. / Harrison, Terry.

    Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. 9789048199556. ed. Springer , 2011. p. 1-15 (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology; No. 9789048199556).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Harrison, T 2011, Laetoli revisited: Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania. in Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. 9789048199556 edn, Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, no. 9789048199556, Springer , pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_1
    Harrison T. Laetoli revisited: Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania. In Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. 9789048199556 ed. Springer . 2011. p. 1-15. (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology; 9789048199556). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_1
    Harrison, Terry. / Laetoli revisited : Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. 9789048199556. ed. Springer , 2011. pp. 1-15 (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology; 9789048199556).
    @inbook{e0d9c02a5c304662b908f755b0f6ed01,
    title = "Laetoli revisited: Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania",
    abstract = "Laetoli, one of the key paleontological and paleoanthropological localities in Africa, is renowned for the recovery of fossil remains of early hominins belonging to Australopithecus afarensis and for the remarkable trails of hominin footprints. In addition, the faunas from the Upper Laetolil Beds (3.63–3.85 Ma) and Upper Ndolanya Beds (2.66 Ma) are from time periods that are generally poorly represented at other paleontological sites in East Africa. Fossils from these stratigraphic units provide important insights into the faunal and floral diversity during the Pliocene, and they serve as reliably dated reference faunas for comparison with other Plio-Pleistocene sites in Africa. The paleoecology of Laetoli is unusual for early hominin sites in East Africa in the absence of evidence for extensive or permanent bodies of water, and in having habitats that are reconstructed as being less densely wooded. Therefore, Laetoli provides key evidence for interpreting the possible diversity of hominin habitat preferences and for understanding ecological changes in East Africa during the Pliocene. The main goal of renewed fieldwork at Laetoli, starting in 1998, was to recover additional fossil hominid specimens and to obtain more detailed contextual information on the paleontology, geology, dating, and paleoecology. The substantially expanded fossil collections have added significantly to our understanding of the systematics and paleobiology of Pliocene East African faunas. The recovery of new Australopithecus afarensis specimens from the Upper Laetolil Beds has contributed information on the morphology, variation and evolutionary status of this taxon. Fossil hominins have been recovered for the first time from the Upper Ndolanya Beds. These include the first specimen of Paranthropus aethiopicus to be recovered from outside the Turkana Basin, and one of the oldest securely dated specimens definitively attributable to this taxon.",
    keywords = "Australopithecus afarensis, Fossil, Garusi, Laetolil beds, Ndolanya beds, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Pliocene",
    author = "Terry Harrison",
    year = "2011",
    month = "1",
    day = "1",
    doi = "10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_1",
    language = "English (US)",
    series = "Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology",
    publisher = "Springer",
    number = "9789048199556",
    pages = "1--15",
    booktitle = "Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology",
    edition = "9789048199556",

    }

    TY - CHAP

    T1 - Laetoli revisited

    T2 - Renewed paleontological and geological investigations at localities on the eyasi plateau in northern Tanzania

    AU - Harrison, Terry

    PY - 2011/1/1

    Y1 - 2011/1/1

    N2 - Laetoli, one of the key paleontological and paleoanthropological localities in Africa, is renowned for the recovery of fossil remains of early hominins belonging to Australopithecus afarensis and for the remarkable trails of hominin footprints. In addition, the faunas from the Upper Laetolil Beds (3.63–3.85 Ma) and Upper Ndolanya Beds (2.66 Ma) are from time periods that are generally poorly represented at other paleontological sites in East Africa. Fossils from these stratigraphic units provide important insights into the faunal and floral diversity during the Pliocene, and they serve as reliably dated reference faunas for comparison with other Plio-Pleistocene sites in Africa. The paleoecology of Laetoli is unusual for early hominin sites in East Africa in the absence of evidence for extensive or permanent bodies of water, and in having habitats that are reconstructed as being less densely wooded. Therefore, Laetoli provides key evidence for interpreting the possible diversity of hominin habitat preferences and for understanding ecological changes in East Africa during the Pliocene. The main goal of renewed fieldwork at Laetoli, starting in 1998, was to recover additional fossil hominid specimens and to obtain more detailed contextual information on the paleontology, geology, dating, and paleoecology. The substantially expanded fossil collections have added significantly to our understanding of the systematics and paleobiology of Pliocene East African faunas. The recovery of new Australopithecus afarensis specimens from the Upper Laetolil Beds has contributed information on the morphology, variation and evolutionary status of this taxon. Fossil hominins have been recovered for the first time from the Upper Ndolanya Beds. These include the first specimen of Paranthropus aethiopicus to be recovered from outside the Turkana Basin, and one of the oldest securely dated specimens definitively attributable to this taxon.

    AB - Laetoli, one of the key paleontological and paleoanthropological localities in Africa, is renowned for the recovery of fossil remains of early hominins belonging to Australopithecus afarensis and for the remarkable trails of hominin footprints. In addition, the faunas from the Upper Laetolil Beds (3.63–3.85 Ma) and Upper Ndolanya Beds (2.66 Ma) are from time periods that are generally poorly represented at other paleontological sites in East Africa. Fossils from these stratigraphic units provide important insights into the faunal and floral diversity during the Pliocene, and they serve as reliably dated reference faunas for comparison with other Plio-Pleistocene sites in Africa. The paleoecology of Laetoli is unusual for early hominin sites in East Africa in the absence of evidence for extensive or permanent bodies of water, and in having habitats that are reconstructed as being less densely wooded. Therefore, Laetoli provides key evidence for interpreting the possible diversity of hominin habitat preferences and for understanding ecological changes in East Africa during the Pliocene. The main goal of renewed fieldwork at Laetoli, starting in 1998, was to recover additional fossil hominid specimens and to obtain more detailed contextual information on the paleontology, geology, dating, and paleoecology. The substantially expanded fossil collections have added significantly to our understanding of the systematics and paleobiology of Pliocene East African faunas. The recovery of new Australopithecus afarensis specimens from the Upper Laetolil Beds has contributed information on the morphology, variation and evolutionary status of this taxon. Fossil hominins have been recovered for the first time from the Upper Ndolanya Beds. These include the first specimen of Paranthropus aethiopicus to be recovered from outside the Turkana Basin, and one of the oldest securely dated specimens definitively attributable to this taxon.

    KW - Australopithecus afarensis

    KW - Fossil

    KW - Garusi

    KW - Laetolil beds

    KW - Ndolanya beds

    KW - Paranthropus aethiopicus

    KW - Pliocene

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84867438156&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84867438156&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_1

    DO - 10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_1

    M3 - Chapter

    T3 - Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology

    SP - 1

    EP - 15

    BT - Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology

    PB - Springer

    ER -