Plio-Pleistocene hominin habitat occupation change through time: Insights from the Koobi Fora Formation, Omo Group

Silindokuhle Mavuso from WITS University, will present the Department of Geological Sciences seminar with a talk entitled, "Plio-Pleistocene hominin habitat occupation change through time: Insights from the Koobi Fora Formation, Omo Group"

The Turkana Basin in northern Kenya represents a vertically and laterally extensive Plio-Pleistocene sedimentological record. The north-eastern limb, Koobi Fora Formation, is a mostly continuous sequence of fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian deposits that is well dated due to volcanic ash beds. This presents a high-resolution chronostratigraphic framework that allows for a unique opportunity to study early human evolution (both morphologically and behaviourally) over time. A key set of events documented in the sequence occurs in the Pleistocene; this is the emergence, diversity and success of the genus Homo.

Two important hallmarks of this genus are represented the Koobi Fora Formation, namely the early Pleistocene and mid-late Pleistocene. First, the emergence of Homo ergaster in the early Pleistocene. The work presented here shows a preliminary application of sedimentary basin analysis (sequence stratigraphic modelling) of the upper Burgi Member (~1.9Ma) in reconstructing lake level fluctuations on faunal assemblages and their effect on hominin habitat effect and change. The other study will focus on stratigraphically placing and reconstructing the emergence and success of Homo sapiens (particularly their material culture) in the fragmentary mid-Late Pleistocene Chari Member sediments; this is particularly important for understanding and detailing our own species’ evolution. The work here highlights the crucial role of basin history studies in documenting, detailing and explaining African hominin evolution through time.

Tue, 08 Oct 2019 - 13:00

Simpson Lecture Theatre, Geological Sciences Building, 13 University Avenue, Upper Campus UCT