The East African rift region contains some of the world's best known hominid fossils and span a time frame which is of major interest for paleoanthropologists.
According to several workers the period between 4.5 and 1.0 million years ago was a period of major climatic change.
It is not yet sure if these changes in the climate resulted in the diversity of our human ancestors and the origin of the oldest known tools.
New research in a wide variety of fields related to the study of human evolution is trying to shed light on this possible relation between climatic change and increased diversity of African fauna.

Main Goals:
  • Detailed stratigraphic descriptions and correlations through geologic mapping.
  • Dating sediments using all possible tools at hand (magnetostratigraphy, radio-isotopic dating and stratigraphic and geochemical correlations).
  • Collect and correlate fossils to the dated paleoenvironment reconstruction.
  • Measure a variety of proxies for getting a grip on the climatic signal in the sampled sediments.
  • Reconstruct the paleoenvironments to provide constraints to paleoanthropologists trying to decipher the role that environmental changes may have had on human evolution.

Ledi-Geraru project (Hadar Basin, Ethiopia)

This project with the aims at collecting new data from various locations reported to span the 4.5-1.0 Ma period. The lacustrine sediments from these areas offer ideal distal settings to study climate evolution.


ampling and measuring Ledi-Geraru section: Chris Campisano, Ramon Arrowsmith, Erin DiMaggio and Bruno; Institute of Human Origin at the Arizona State University.

Sampling and measuring Ledi-Geraru sections. Left: Chris Campisano measuring section at cm accuracy, Ramon Arrowsmith, Erin DiMaggio and Bruno collecting precious samples. Right: Guillaume Dupont-Nivet collecting paleomagnetic sample with an air-cooled electric drill.

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Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP)

  • Andy Cohen on ICDP project (University of Arizona).
  • Over 50 international mumtidisciplinary scientists.
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Left: Map of the 5 drill carefully chosen drill sites. NA North Awash; CB Chew Bahir; WT West Turkana; BT Baringo Tugen Hills; LM Lake Magadi. Right: Drilling North Awash at slant angle to recover paleomagnetic inclination for magnetostratigraphy.

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Turkana Basin Project

  • Craig Feibel
  • Jose Joordens (Naturalis)
  • Mark Sier
  • Jeroen van der Lubbe
  • Cor Langereis

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