Research Article

The Geological, Isotopic, Botanical, Invertebrate, and Lower Vertebrate Surroundings of Ardipithecus ramidus

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Science  02 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5949, pp. 65-65e5
DOI: 10.1126/science.1175817

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Abstract

Sediments containing Ardipithecus ramidus were deposited 4.4 million years ago on an alluvial floodplain in Ethiopia’s western Afar rift. The Lower Aramis Member hominid-bearing unit, now exposed across a >9-kilometer structural arc, is sandwiched between two volcanic tuffs that have nearly identical 40Ar/39Ar ages. Geological data presented here, along with floral, invertebrate, and vertebrate paleontological and taphonomic evidence associated with the hominids, suggest that they occupied a wooded biotope over the western three-fourths of the paleotransect. Phytoliths and oxygen and carbon stable isotopes of pedogenic carbonates provide evidence of humid cool woodlands with a grassy substrate.

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