TitleThe paleoenvironmental utility of fossil birds from bed I and lowermost bed II (Plio-Pleistocene), Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
NamePrassack, Kari Alyssa (author), Scott, Robert C (chair), Harris, Jack W (internal member), Schrire, Carmel (internal member), Hill, Andrew (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Birds, Fossil--Tanzania--Olduvai Gorge,
Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania)--Antiquities
DescriptionThis dissertation uses the taxonomic distributions and taphonomic profiles of fossil birds to test the Olduvai Landscape Paleoanthropology Projects (OLAPP) predictions of landscape composition and heterogeneity at the Plio-Pleistocene hominin site of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. The distributions of avian taxa across the paleolandscape are compared to modern avifaunal communities in East Africa, providing evidence of specific environments at Olduvai. This taxonomic analysis provides much needed data on avian paleontology in East Africa and increases the paleobiogeographic range of several taxa. Environmental reconstructions are also independently tested through concurrent taphonomic modeling. The taphonomic component of this analysis is partially based on my own field research on bird bone survivorship in modern environments of Tanzania. This novel data provides information necessary for understanding preservation bias in saline-alkaline lake basin systems, which are important environments in East Africa and elsewhere for the preservation of hominin fossils and archaeological remains. The Olduvai fossil birds partially validate the current predictive paleolandscape models proposed by OLAPP and further refine our understanding of the potential resources and dangers hominins may have encountered across those landscapes. This study validates using birds for reconstructing past environments, including those hominin-bearing localities so important towards understanding our own evolution. As well, this dissertation explores expansion of modern taphonomic studies to address a wider range of landscape facets, organisms, and potential taphonomic agents.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Kari Alyssa Prassack
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.