African Climate and Faunal Evolution

Geoscience 205 Seminar Room

Alternate Mondays, 12-1 PM

February 11: Posing the question.

These papers are some of the first that discuss hypotheses linking early hominin evolution and adaptation to changes in African vegetation and climate. Some hypotheses not covered in these papers are discussed briefly in the Potts, 1998 summary.

Dart, R., 1925, Australopithecus africanus: The Man-Ape of South Africa: Nature, v. 115, p. 195-199. Dart.1925.pdf

Brain, C. K., 1981, The evolution of man in Africa: was it the result of Cainozoic cooling?: Annex. Transv. Geol. Soc. S. Afr. J. Sci., v. 84, p. 1-19. Brain 1981 Geol. Soc. S. Afr..pdf

Vrba, E. S., 1985, Ecological and adaptive changes associated with early hominid evolution, in Delson, E., ed., Ancestors: The Hard Evidence: New York, NY, A.R. Liss, p. 63-71. no PDF

Potts, R., 1998, Environmental Hypotheses of Hominin Evolution: Yearbook Phys. Anthropol., v. 41, no. 93-136. (pp. 106-109 only) Potts.1998.pdf

deMenocal, P., 2004, African climate change and faunal evolution during the Pliocene-Pleistocene: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 6976, p. 1-22. (pp. 1-4 only) deMenocal.2004.pdf

February 25: When climate shaped evolution

These readings cover some classic examples of when life was shaped by climate, as marked by changes in speciation, extinction, adaptation, and immigration. The NeoProterozoic (Snowball Earth), the K-T event, The Paleocene-Eocene event (PETM), the Eocene-Oligocene cooling event, the Middle Miocene cooling event, and the Pliocene-Pleistocene. There are many examples, too, of trophic resilience to climate change.

Blois, J. L., and Hadley, J. L., 2009, Mammalian response to Cenozoic climatic change: Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., v. 37, p. 181-208. Blois.Hadley.2009.pdf

MacFadden, B. J., 2000, Cenozoic mammalian herbivores from the Americas: Reconstructing ancient diets and terrestrial communities: Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, v. 31, p. 33-59. MacFadden.2000.pdf

Zachos, J., Pagani, M., Sloan, L., Thomas, E., and Billups, K., 2001, Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present: Science, v. 292, p. 686-693. Zachos.2001.pdf

Erwin, D.H.2009, Climate as a driver of evolutionary change. Current Biology, 19, R575-583. Erwin.2009.pdf

add’l reading

Blois, J. L., McGuire, J. L., and Hadly, E. A., 2010, Small mammal diversity loss in response to late-Pleistocene climatic change: Nature, v. 465, no. 7299, p. 771-U775. Blois.etal.2010.pdf

March 11: Controls on East African Climate

Goddard, L., and Graham, N. E., 1999, Importance of the Indian Ocean for simulating rainfall anomalies over eastern and southern Africa: J. Geophys. Res., v. 104, p. 19,099-019,116.Goddard.Grahm.1999.pdf - Yoni

Tierney, J. E., Smerdon, J. E., Anchukaitis, K. J., and Seager, R., 2013, Multidecadal variability in East African hydroclimate controlled by the Indian Ocean: Nature, v. 493, no. 7432, p. 389-392. Tierney.etal.2013.pdf - Kevin

Nicholson, S. E., 1996, A review of climate dynamics anclimate variability in eastern Africa. Nicholson, 1996.pdf

Brierley, C. M., and Fedorov, A. V., 2010, Relative importance of meridional and zonal sea surface temperature gradients for the onset of the ice ages and Pliocene‐Pleistocene climate evolution: Paleoceanogr., v. 25, no. PA2214. Brierley and Fedorov.2010.pdf  - Cassy

March 25: Major events in African bovid evolution

Vrba, E., 1995, The fossil record of African antelopes (Mammalia, Bovidae) in relation to human evolution and paleoclimate, in Vrba, E., Denton, G., Burckle, L., and Partridge, T., eds., Paleoclimate and Evolution With Emphasis on Human Origins: New Haven, Yale Univ. Press, p. 385-424.Vrba 1995 Fossil Rec Antelopes.pdf

Behrensmeyer, A. K., Todd, N. E., Potts, R., and McBrinn, G. E., 1997, Late Pliocene faunal turnover in the Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia: Science, v. 278, p. 1589-1594.Behrensmeyer.etal.1997.pdf

Reed, K. E., 1997, Early hominid evolution and ecological change through the African Plio-Pleistocene: J. Human Evol., v. 32, no. 2-3, p. 289-322.Reed_1997.pdf

Bobe, R., and Behrensmeyer, K., 2004, The expansion of grassland ecosystems in Africa in relation to mammalian evolution and the origins of the genus Homo: Paleogeog., Paleoclim., Paleoecol., v. 207, p. 399-420.Bobe.2006.pdf

April 8: Terrestrial paleoclimate records

Levin, N. E., Brown, F. H., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Bobe, R., and Cerling, T. E., 2011, Paleosol carbonates from the Omo Group: Isotopic records of local and regional environmental change in East Africa: Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, v. 307, no. 1-4, p. 75-89. Levin.etal.2011.pdf

Magill, C. R., Ashley, G. M., and Freeman, K. H., 2013, Ecosystem variability and early human habitats in eastern Africa: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, v. 110, no. 4, p. 1167-1174. Magill et al, 2012 PNAS d13C .pdf

Trauth, M. H., Maslin, M. A., Deino, A., and Strecker, M. R., 2005, Late Cenozoic Moisture History of East Africa: Science, p. 10.1126/Science.1112964. Trauth.etal.2005.pdf

May 13: Marine paleoclimate records

Other topics

African Mammalian paleodiets

Hominin paleodiets