Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya

Josephine C.A. Joordens, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Craig S. Feibel, Fred Spoor, Mark J. Sier, Jeroen H.J.L. van der Lubbe, Trine Kellberg Nielsen, Monika V. Knul, Gareth R. Davies, Hubert B. Vonhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To address questions regarding the evolutionary origin, radiation and dispersal of the genus Homo, it is crucial to be able to place the occurrence of hominin fossils in a high-resolution chronological framework. The period around 2Ma (millions of years ago) in eastern Africa is of particular interest as it is at this time that a more substantial fossil record of the genus Homo is first found. Here we combine magnetostratigraphy and strontium (Sr) isotope stratigraphy to improve age control on hominin-bearing upper Burgi (UBU) deposits in Areas 105 and 131 on the Karari Ridge in the eastern Turkana Basin (Kenya). We identify the base of the Olduvai subchron (bC2n) plus a short isolated interval of consistently normal polarity that we interpret to be the Pre-Olduvai event. Combined with precession-forced (~20kyr [thousands of years]) wet-dry climate cycles resolved by Sr isotope ratios, the magnetostratigraphic data allow us to construct an age model for the UBU deposits. We provide detailed age constraints for 15 hominin fossils from Area 131, showing that key specimens such as cranium KNM-ER 1470, partial face KNM-ER 62000 and mandibles KNM-ER 1482, KNM-ER 1801, and KNM-ER 1802 can be constrained between 1.945±0.004 and 2.058±0.034Ma, and thus older than previously estimated. The new ages are consistent with a temporal overlap of two species of early Homo that can be distinguished by their facial morphology. Further, our results show that in this time interval, hominins occurred throughout the wet-dry climate cycles, supporting the hypothesis that the lacustrine Turkana Basin was a refugium during regionally dry periods. By establishing the observed first appearance datum of a marine-derived stingray in UBU deposits at 2.058±0.034Ma, we show that at this time the Turkana Basin was hydrographically connected to the Indian Ocean, facilitating dispersal of fauna between these areas. From a biogeographical perspective, we propose that the Indian Ocean coastal strip should be considered as a possible source area for one or more of the multiple Homo species in the Turkana Basin from over 2Ma onwards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-745
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume65
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Eccentricity
  • Magnetostratigraphy
  • Olduvai chron
  • Pre-Olduvai event
  • Precession
  • Source area
  • Strontium isotope ratios
  • Turkana Basin

Cite this

Joordens, J. C. A., Dupont-Nivet, G., Feibel, C. S., Spoor, F., Sier, M. J., van der Lubbe, J. H. J. L., ... Vonhof, H. B. (2013). Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya. 65(6), 731-745. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.09.002
Joordens, Josephine C.A. ; Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume ; Feibel, Craig S. ; Spoor, Fred ; Sier, Mark J. ; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H.J.L. ; Nielsen, Trine Kellberg ; Knul, Monika V. ; Davies, Gareth R. ; Vonhof, Hubert B. / Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya. 2013 ; Vol. 65, No. 6. pp. 731-745.
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Joordens, JCA, Dupont-Nivet, G, Feibel, CS, Spoor, F, Sier, MJ, van der Lubbe, JHJL, Nielsen, TK, Knul, MV, Davies, GR & Vonhof, HB 2013, 'Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya' vol. 65, no. 6, pp. 731-745. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.09.002

Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya. / Joordens, Josephine C.A.; Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume; Feibel, Craig S.; Spoor, Fred; Sier, Mark J.; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H.J.L.; Nielsen, Trine Kellberg; Knul, Monika V.; Davies, Gareth R.; Vonhof, Hubert B.

Vol. 65, No. 6, 14.10.2013, p. 731-745.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume

AU - Feibel, Craig S.

AU - Spoor, Fred

AU - Sier, Mark J.

AU - van der Lubbe, Jeroen H.J.L.

AU - Nielsen, Trine Kellberg

AU - Knul, Monika V.

AU - Davies, Gareth R.

AU - Vonhof, Hubert B.

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N2 - To address questions regarding the evolutionary origin, radiation and dispersal of the genus Homo, it is crucial to be able to place the occurrence of hominin fossils in a high-resolution chronological framework. The period around 2Ma (millions of years ago) in eastern Africa is of particular interest as it is at this time that a more substantial fossil record of the genus Homo is first found. Here we combine magnetostratigraphy and strontium (Sr) isotope stratigraphy to improve age control on hominin-bearing upper Burgi (UBU) deposits in Areas 105 and 131 on the Karari Ridge in the eastern Turkana Basin (Kenya). We identify the base of the Olduvai subchron (bC2n) plus a short isolated interval of consistently normal polarity that we interpret to be the Pre-Olduvai event. Combined with precession-forced (~20kyr [thousands of years]) wet-dry climate cycles resolved by Sr isotope ratios, the magnetostratigraphic data allow us to construct an age model for the UBU deposits. We provide detailed age constraints for 15 hominin fossils from Area 131, showing that key specimens such as cranium KNM-ER 1470, partial face KNM-ER 62000 and mandibles KNM-ER 1482, KNM-ER 1801, and KNM-ER 1802 can be constrained between 1.945±0.004 and 2.058±0.034Ma, and thus older than previously estimated. The new ages are consistent with a temporal overlap of two species of early Homo that can be distinguished by their facial morphology. Further, our results show that in this time interval, hominins occurred throughout the wet-dry climate cycles, supporting the hypothesis that the lacustrine Turkana Basin was a refugium during regionally dry periods. By establishing the observed first appearance datum of a marine-derived stingray in UBU deposits at 2.058±0.034Ma, we show that at this time the Turkana Basin was hydrographically connected to the Indian Ocean, facilitating dispersal of fauna between these areas. From a biogeographical perspective, we propose that the Indian Ocean coastal strip should be considered as a possible source area for one or more of the multiple Homo species in the Turkana Basin from over 2Ma onwards.

AB - To address questions regarding the evolutionary origin, radiation and dispersal of the genus Homo, it is crucial to be able to place the occurrence of hominin fossils in a high-resolution chronological framework. The period around 2Ma (millions of years ago) in eastern Africa is of particular interest as it is at this time that a more substantial fossil record of the genus Homo is first found. Here we combine magnetostratigraphy and strontium (Sr) isotope stratigraphy to improve age control on hominin-bearing upper Burgi (UBU) deposits in Areas 105 and 131 on the Karari Ridge in the eastern Turkana Basin (Kenya). We identify the base of the Olduvai subchron (bC2n) plus a short isolated interval of consistently normal polarity that we interpret to be the Pre-Olduvai event. Combined with precession-forced (~20kyr [thousands of years]) wet-dry climate cycles resolved by Sr isotope ratios, the magnetostratigraphic data allow us to construct an age model for the UBU deposits. We provide detailed age constraints for 15 hominin fossils from Area 131, showing that key specimens such as cranium KNM-ER 1470, partial face KNM-ER 62000 and mandibles KNM-ER 1482, KNM-ER 1801, and KNM-ER 1802 can be constrained between 1.945±0.004 and 2.058±0.034Ma, and thus older than previously estimated. The new ages are consistent with a temporal overlap of two species of early Homo that can be distinguished by their facial morphology. Further, our results show that in this time interval, hominins occurred throughout the wet-dry climate cycles, supporting the hypothesis that the lacustrine Turkana Basin was a refugium during regionally dry periods. By establishing the observed first appearance datum of a marine-derived stingray in UBU deposits at 2.058±0.034Ma, we show that at this time the Turkana Basin was hydrographically connected to the Indian Ocean, facilitating dispersal of fauna between these areas. From a biogeographical perspective, we propose that the Indian Ocean coastal strip should be considered as a possible source area for one or more of the multiple Homo species in the Turkana Basin from over 2Ma onwards.

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KW - Magnetostratigraphy

KW - Olduvai chron

KW - Pre-Olduvai event

KW - Precession

KW - Source area

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Joordens JCA, Dupont-Nivet G, Feibel CS, Spoor F, Sier MJ, van der Lubbe JHJL et al. Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya. 2013 Oct 14;65(6):731-745. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.09.002