Early Hominid Population Densities: New Estimates

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Science  02 Nov 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4418, pp. 592-595
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4418.592


Proportional faunal representations in excavated fossil occurrences (Shungura Formation, Omo, Ethiopia) are very similar to modern sub-Saharan mammalian faunal proportions in a variety of environments. Early hominids comprise between 0.6 and 1.6 percent of the excavated assemblage, corrected to reflect numbers of individuals. With allochthonous faunal localities for comparison, direct analogies to modern fauna suggest early hominid population densities of between 0.006 to 1.7 individuals per square kilometer. Calculations based on population densities of modern large mammals indicate that population densities of early hominids were between 0.001 and 2.48 individuals per square kilometer.