African Climate and Human Evolution

Environmental hypotheses of African faunal evolution propose that major faunal speciation, extinction, and innovation events during the Pliocene-Pleistocene were mediated by changes in African climate or shifts in climate variability. Marine and terrestrial sediment sequences demonstrate that subtropical African climate periodically oscillated between markedly wetter and drier conditions, paced by earth orbital precession cycles recurring roughly every 20 kyr (Lourens et al., 1996). Earth eccentricity cycles modulate the amplitude of precessional forcing of the African monsoonal rains (see upper right panel), and deep lake conditions are observed in several East African basins during some (not all) eccentricity maxima over the 5 Ma (deMenocal, 2011; Trauth et al., 2005; Kingston et al., 2007)

Location

United States
8° 42' 40.8924" N, 39° 51' 30.2328" E