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Geological Setting and Age of Australopithecus sediba from Southern Africa

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anne-Sophie Meriaux

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Abstract

We describe the geological, geochronological, geomorphological, and faunal context of the Malapa site and the fossils of Australopithecus sediba. The hominins occur with a macrofauna assemblage that existed in Africa between 2.36 and 1.50 million years ago (Ma). The fossils are encased in water-laid, clastic sediments that were deposited along the lower parts of what is now a deeply eroded cave system, immediately above a flowstone layer with a U-Pb date of 2.026 +/- 0.021 Ma. The flowstone has a reversed paleomagnetic signature and the overlying hominin-bearing sediments are of normal polarity, indicating deposition during the 1.95- to 1.78-Ma Olduvai Subchron. The two hominin specimens were buried together in a single debris flow that lithified soon after deposition in a phreatic environment inaccessible to scavengers.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Dirks PHGM, Kibii JM, Kuhn BF, Steininger C, Churchill SE, Kramers JD, Pickering R, Farber DL, Mériaux A-S, Herries AIR, King GCP, Berger LR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2010

Volume: 328

Issue: 5975

Pages: 205-208

Print publication date: 09/04/2010

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1184950

DOI: 10.1126/science.1184950


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