Andrew Cohen | Implications of African Paleoclimates for Human History

The Laboratory of Paleolimnology at the University of Arizona has a long history of playing a leading role in the application of high resolution paleoenvironmental records from African lake deposits to understanding the environmental context of human origins (Cohen et al., 2007 ;;NRC, 2010Blome et al., 2014; Jackson et al., 2015). Increasingly these records are based on long sedimentary drill cores from ancient but extant lakes, as well as outcrops of lake deposits from paleolakes. We are currently leading a $10 million dollar investigation, the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project, involving over 150 scientists from 8 countries, using sediment drill cores from lake deposits to understand the paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic context of human origins Cohen and Umer, 2009;Cohen et al. 2016, plus a complete and regularly updated list of all HSPDP publications is available at the project website link above. Through the collection of specifically targeted drill cores from ancient lake deposits in Kenya and Ethiopia we hope to transform our understanding of how environmental change and variability may have impacted the evolution, diversification and extinction of our ancestors and near relatives. In addition to the website link above see our project HSPDP Facebook page for more information.


 

pliocene lake beds

C. The West Turkana Drill Site, with Lake Turkana and North Island in the background. This site was drilled to collect early Pleistocene lake beds near important fossil hominin and archaeological sites of northern Kenya. Photo credit Andrew Cohen.

 

HSPDP team

B. HSPDP team scientists Anders Noren (U. Minnesota-left) and John Kingston (U. Michigan-right) wrapping and labeling core at the Tugen Hills, Kenya site. Photo credit Andrew Cohen.

 

west turkana

C. The West Turkana Drill Site, with Lake Turkana and North Island in the background. This site was drilled to collect early Pleistocene lake beds near important fossil hominin and archaeological sites of northern Kenya. Photo credit Andrew Cohen.

 

multisensor core logger
D. Former project graduate students Chad Yost (U. Arizona) and Leslie Dullo (U. Nairobi) operating the field Multisensor Core Logger in our field laboratory at the West Turkana site. Photo credit Andrew Cohen.