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Dietary and paleoenvironmental reconstruction using stable isotopes of herbivore tooth enamel from middle Pliocene Dikika, Ethiopia: Implication for Australopithecus afarensis habitat and food resources.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23199576     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Carbon and oxygen isotopes of mammalian tooth enamel were used to reconstruct paleoenvironments of Australopithecus afarensis from the middle Pliocene locality of Dikika, Ethiopia. Isotopic analyses were conducted on 210 mammalian herbivore teeth from 15 different taxa collected from the Basal Member (∼3.8-3.42 Ma) and Sidi Hakoma Member (3.42-3.24 Ma) of the Hadar Formation. The isotopic analyses aim specifically at reconstructing shifts in the relative abundance of C(4) grasses in mammalian diets, and more generally at paleoclimate factors such as aridity and seasonality, as well as habitat structure. Carbon isotopic data suggest a wide range of foraging strategies, characterized by mixed C(3)/C(4) to C(4)-dominated diets in wooded grasslands to open woodlands. Weighted average C(4) dietary proportions range between 60% and 86% in the Basal Member and 49% and 74% in the Sidi Hakoma Member. Paleoclimatic conditions based on the reconstructed mean annual water deficit from the δ(18)O(enamel) values indicate a wetter climate as compared to either the early Pliocene or the Pleistocene nearby. The middle Pliocene habitat structure at Dikika could be as diverse as open grassland and wooded grassland, and woodland to forest in the Sidi Hakoma Member while wooded grassland, woodland to grassland are evident in the Basal Member. All habitats except closed woodland and forest are persistent through both members; however, the relative proportion of individual habitats changed through time. These changes could have put the fauna in competition for preferred habitats and food resources, which could have forced migration, adaptation to other resources and/or extinction. Thus, the existence of A. afarensis throughout the middle Pliocene indicates either this species might have adapted to a wide range of habitats, or its preferred habitat was not affected by the observed environmental changes.
Authors:
Zelalem K Bedaso; Jonathan G Wynn; Zeresenay Alemseged; Denis Geraads
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-27
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of human evolution     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1095-8606     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Hum. Evol.     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-12-3     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0337330     Medline TA:  J Hum Evol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave. SCA 528, Tampa, FL 33620, USA. Electronic address: zbedaso@mail.usf.edu.
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