Anthropology Colloquium

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Date(s) - 03/11/2017
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Anthropology Dept. AP 367


Yohannes Haile-Selassie, PhD,  Department of Physical Anthropology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Middle Pliocene Hominin Diversity: the fossil evidence from Woranso-Mille (Central Afar, Ethiopia)

There is a consensus among paleoanthropologists that multiple related hominin species co-existed in Africa between 2 and 2.5 million years ago. In light of new fossil discoveries, they are now debating whether this was also the case between 3 and 4 million years ago. Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy’s species) was the only known hominin species from this time period until 1995 when the 3.5-million-year-old Australopithecus bahrelghazali was named from Chad, followed by the naming of Kenyanthropus platyops from Kenya in 2001. Although the validity of these two taxa has been questioned, largely due to small sample size, recent fossil discoveries from a relatively new Pliocene site in Ethiopia have rekindled the debate. Woranso-Mille, a paleontological site located in the central Afar region of Ethiopia, is now yielding incontrovertible fossil evidence indicating that there were at least two, if not three, hominin species in the Afar region during the middle Pliocene.


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