TitlePaleoecology and taphonomy of a hominid-bearing site
NameHagemann, Sabine I. (author), Feibel, Craig (chair), Blumenschine, Robert (internal member), Lewis, Margaret (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis thesis describes the controlled taphonomic study undertaken at Allia Bay, northern Kenya in 1997, and new information about the paleoecology of our early ancestor Australopithecus anamensis. The investigation of a highly fossiliferous channel-fill accumulation included taxonomic assessment, body part identification, bone weathering stages, bone surface modification, abrasion and polish levels for 2,194 specimens. Taxonomic representation was diverse, with twenty five species, ranging from fish and reptiles to primates and large mammals. While non-mammals dominated the collection, mammals contributed the greatest diversity. Despite the rolled and broken nature of the elements, the sample provided impressive taphonomic information including indication of pre and post fossilization weathering as well as high levels of abrasion and low levels of polish.
The sedimentology of the channel deposit was also investigated based on three new profiles. An 864-member modern mammalian comparative database was created against which the study assemblage was examined. Four broadly contemporaneous East African Plio-Pleistocene localities, examined and compared to the study, displayed similar paleoecological results. All of the localities are a mosaic of habitats from forested areas to open grasslands with three of them showing strong similarities with Allia Bay. The Allia Bay 261-1 locality displayed evidence of open grassland along with open/closed savanna woodland, indicating a range of habitats available to Austalopithecus anamensis.
This study, while small in scope, supports the value of taphonomic assessment in paleoenvironmental reconstruction.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. -129)
Noteby Sabine I. Hagemann
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.