HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Soil suggests early humans lived in forests instead of grasslands

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Carbon isotope evidence in almost 6-million-year-old soils suggests that the earliest humans already were evolving in and likely preferred humid forests rather than grasslands, report a team of scientists working in Ethiopia.

The discovery challenges long-held beliefs, beginning with Darwin, that humans did not evolve into upright beings and thrive until expanding tropical grasslands forced our chimpanzee-like ancestors out of dwindling forests about 4 million to 8 million years ago.

Hominid fossil sites from the later Pliocene period (2.5 million to 4.2 million years ago) previously had been found in savanna habitats. Researchers had been confident that the slightly earlier hominids living in the late Miocene also would be found in the savanna.

The expectation was that we would find hominids in savanna grassland sites that date back to about 8 million years ago. That hasnt happened, said anthropologist Stanley H. Ambrose of the University of Illinois. All older hominids have been found in forested environments.

The analysis was of fossil soils from paleontological sites in the Middle Awash region of Ethiopias rift valley, where the remains of a new subspecies of Ardipithecus ramidus have been discovered. They date to the late Miocene period (5.4 million to 5.8 million years ago). Scientists from four institutions report their findings in a pair of papers that appear in the July 12 issue of the journal Nature.

Ambrose collected fossil soil samples from the layers containing the newly found hominids. One of the fossils was found by team member Leslea Hlusko, also a UI professor of anthropology. Ambrose performed geochemical studies on the samples in his UI laboratory.

The region where the fossils were found is now a hot, dry semi-desert occupied by nomadic camel herders. At the time the area formed, it was higher in elevation, cooler, wetter and more forested.

Ambroses geochemical technique allows for a
'"/>

Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
b-james3@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
11-Jul-2001


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Research suggests new avenue for stopping, preventing colon cancer
2. New sign language suggests children create languages fundamentals through learning
3. New research suggests early diet may play key role in protecting against childhood leukaemia
4. New research suggests link between maternal diet and childhood leukemia risk
5. Research suggests unborn children may be at risk from environmental pollution
6. Study suggests cell-cycle triggers might be cancer drug targets
7. Computer imaging of Archeopteryx skull suggests this dinosaur-bird link could fly
8. Study suggests humans can speed evolution
9. Droughts like 1930s Dust Bowl may have been unexceptional in prehistoric times, new study suggests
10. Genetic model for devastating form of paraplegia suggests new treatments
11. New research suggests previously unrecognized mechanism by which blood vessels are patterned

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Soil suggests early humans lived forests instead grasslands

(Date:7/24/2014)... 24, 2014) Scientists at The New York ... step closer to creating a viable cell replacement ... cells. , For the first time, NYSCF ... from skin samples of patients with primary progressive ... protocol to induce these stem cells into becoming ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... 2014) Scientists at The New York Stem ... closer to creating a viable cell replacement therapy ... , For the first time, NYSCF scientists ... skin samples of patients with primary progressive multiple ... to induce these stem cells into becoming oligodendrocytes, ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... identified two factors that characterize sustainable university and ... highly qualified physics teachers. Specifically, one or more ... education in combination with institutional motivation and commitment ... Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher shortages are ... the way for institutions seeking to increase the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):NYSCF scientists one step closer to cell therapy for multiple sclerosis patients 2NYSCF scientists 1 step closer to cell therapy for multiple sclerosis patients 2Creating sustainable STEM teacher preparation programs 2
(Date:7/24/2014)... 2014 -- A novel combination of microscopy and data ... Oak Ridge National Laboratory an unprecedented look at the ... and electrochemical properties. , The research team led ... surface of a perovskite manganite, a complex material that ... to understand surface behavior could benefit researchers who are ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... BURLINGAME, Calif. , July 24, 2014  ECC ... Denver, Colorado with University College Hospital ... of a development project to finance, design, construct, and ... Ibadan, Nigeria . Under the first ... and prepare scoping documents and funding applications. UCH Ibadan ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, ... problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics. ... porous rock with a well-defined, crystalline structure. At ... precisely decided that zeolites can separate molecules with ... angstrom (one-tenth of a nanometer), making them useful ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... 2014 Your cell phone may ... lithium-ion battery storage capacity. , New research indicates ... model created at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ... how carbon components will perform as electrodes. , ... urgent need for higher-performance batteries. Several key characteristics ...
Breaking Biology Technology:ORNL study reveals new characteristics of complex oxide surfaces 2ECC Signs a Contract for the Finance, Design, and Construction of a Premier Cancer Institute in Ibadan, Nigeria 2University of Delaware researcher describes new approach for creating organic zeolites 2Getting More Life out of Lithium-ion Batteries 2
Cached News: