(RHOI-supported) A special issue on the geology and paleontology of
the Late MioceneEarly Pliocene site of As Sahabi, Libya has recently
been published in the Garyounis Scientific Bulletin (Boaz, N. T., A.
El-Arnauti, P. Pavlakis, and M. J. Salem. (2008) Circum-Mediterranean
Geology and Biotic Evolution during the Neogene Period: The Perspective
from Libya. Garyounis Scientific Bulletin, Special Issue No. 5. Benghazi,
Libya: University of Garyounis.) An analysis of material recovered from
fieldwork dating as far back as the 1930s is presented including fossils
recovered during the RHOI-supported 2007 field season.
2008, a total of 30 large mammal taxa have been recovered from the Sahabi
Formation, dated biochronologically and geochronologically to 7.2-7.5 Ma. In
depth discussions of the development of the Sirt Basin and the role of North
Africa as a biogeographic crossroads are presented. The final chapter discusses
the paleoecology of Sahabi and compares it with the site of Toros Menalla, Chad
(where Sahelanthropus tchadensis was discovered in 2001), to evaluate the
potential of finding hominid remains within the Sahabi sediments.
University of Garyounis)
A special issue on paleontological and geological work at the
late Miocene site of Lemudong’o, Kenya has been published in the
journal Kirtlandia (Number 56, December 2007). The seventeen
articles within this issue detail the history of research at Lemudong’o
and describe some of the 1268 vertebrate specimens in 48 taxa
found over the course of fieldwork spanning 1994-2005.
Among the finds is a new species of Paracolobus (P.
enkorikae) described in detail by L. Hlusko (L. Hlusko (2007)
A new late Miocene species of Paracolobus and other Cercopithecoidea
(Mammalia: Primates) fossils from Lemudong’o, Kenya. Kirtlandia
56: 72-85). Though research at Lemudong’o yielded no hominid fossils,
an understanding of the paleoenvironment of the Narok district,
Kenya at 6.1 Ma is invaluable for understanding habitat preferences
of the earliest members of the human lineage.
to monitor this newsfeed for further updates of research on the
evolution and paleobiology of early hominids.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History)
P.I. Sileshi Semaw and colleagues announced in the January 20 edition
of Nature new material of Ardipithecus ramidus
from As Duma, Gona Western Margin, Afar, Ethiopia. As Duma, dated
to between 4.51 and 4.32 million years, is now the second locality
to yield Ar. ramidus, after Aramis, dated to 4.4 million
years. RHOI-sponsored fieldwork is continuing in the Gona Western
Ethiopia (Image: Sileshi Semaw)
Three RHOI supported field missions took place in the Lake Chad
basin in 2003 and 2004. These efforts focused on the upper Miocene
site of Toros-Menalla (TM), and saw the collection of sediment samples
and the systematic collection of micro and macrovetebrates at hominid
localities. RHOI supported laboratory work reconstruction the cranium
of Sahelanthropus using CT imagery and paleozoological
analyses of several taxa from the Toros-Menalla assemblage. Look
for publications in the near future. link
WESTERN MARGIN, ETHIOPIA
Exploration of the northwest quadrant of the Middle Awash study
area during the 2003 field season was focused on the area near the
Jara/Borkana river junction, and on the plateau above Dallifage
where new localities were found and named, and overlying basalt
flows were sampled for Ar/Ar dating. Limited vertebrate remains
were found on these outcrops. Exploration was extended into the
western tributaries of the Wallia drainage where major basalt-capped
blocks tilting synthetically into the rift at attitudes of >35
degrees were found. The area was found to be bushy, steep, and therefore
only poorly accessible compared to more southerly outcrops at Alayla
and Saitune Dora. Foot and vehicle survey was suspended after this
result. Further survey is indicated for the 2004 field season in
the headwaters of the Jara River.
RHOI supported field research was conducted in July, 2004. Dr. L.
Hlusko, Dr. S. Ambrose, and Dr. C. Nyamai led a group that worked
at Lemudong'o, Enamon Kewon, and at Kasiole near the Ntuka River.
At Lemudong'o they conducted extensive sieving of secondary deposits
to recover previously eroded specimens. They collected data to devise
a site map of the collection areas and to constrain provenience.
Extensive sampling from the geological strata was conducted in order
to build a comprehensive stratigraphic column of Lemudong'o and
the surrounding fossiliferous sites. RHOI supported laboratory research
was performed primarily by two researchers, F. Kyalo and L. Hlusko.
The Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project undertook research
in upper Miocene and lower Pliocene deposits in the Awash Basin
of Ethiopia, collecting a large number of vertebrate specimens.
Stratigraphic work and geochronological sample collection progressed,
and arrangements have been made for Ar/Ar dating. RHOI funding contributed
to organization and storage of the large number of fossils turned
over to the National Museum of Ethiopia by the Gona Project. link