© 2011

Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context

Volume 1: Geology, Geochronology, Paleoecology and Paleoenvironment

  • Terry Harrison
  • This volume is an authoritative and comprehensive account of the important fossil hominin site of Laetoli in northern Tanzania

  • Provides a compendium of research papers dealing with the geology, geochronology, paleoecology, taphonomy and paleobotany

  • Presents new information on the modern-day Serengeti ecosystem to help provide baseline data for modeling Laetoli during the Pliocene


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Terry Harrison, Amandus Kweka
    Pages 17-45
  3. Alan L. Deino
    Pages 77-97
  4. Godwin F. Mollel, Carl C. Swisher III, Mark D. Feigenson, Michael J. Carr
    Pages 99-119
  5. Katherine A. Adelsberger, Karl R. Wirth, Audax Z. P. Mabulla, Daniel C. Bowman
    Pages 143-165
  6. Peter Andrews, Marion K. Bamford, Efrem-Fred Njau, Godson Leliyo
    Pages 167-200
  7. Marion K. Bamford
    Pages 217-233
  8. Marion K. Bamford
    Pages 235-252
  9. Laura C. Bishop, Thomas W. Plummer, Fritz Hertel, Kris Kovarovic
    Pages 355-366

About this book


This volume 1 and its companion volume 2 present the results of new investigations into the geology, paleontology and paleoecology of the early hominin site of Laetoli in northern Tanzania. The site is one of the most important paleontological and paleoanthropological sites in Africa, worldrenowned for the discovery of fossils of the early hominin Australopithecus afarensis, as well as remarkable trails of its footprints. The first volume provides new evidence on the geology, geochronology, ecology, ecomorphology and taphonomy of the site. The second volume describes newly discovered fossil hominins from Laetoli, belonging to Australopithecus afarensis and Paranthropus aethiopicus, and presents detailed information on the systematics and paleobiology of the diverse associated fauna. Together, these contributions provide one of the most comprehensive accounts of a fossil hominin site, and they offer important new insights into the early stages of human evolution and its context.


Evolution Geology Hominins Paleoecology Vertebrate Paleontology

Editors and affiliations

  • Terry Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of AnthropologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


From the reviews:

“Volume 1 begins with a review of the most recent paleontological and geological investigations in the Laetoli area, including a reassessment of the best-known fossil localities; it then sorts through the geology of the region. … should be in any library with natural history collections. … provide a critical resource for human evolution studies, and will appeal to geologists, paleontologists, and anthropologists alike. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic and professional audiences, all levels.” (M. A. Wilson, Choice, Vol. 48 (11), July, 2011)

“Harrison has compiled a large number of generally impressive reports stemming from this renewed work at Laetoli into a handsome two-volume set. … Volume 1 comprises 19 chapters devoted largely to geology, geochronology, paleoecology, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. … Harrison is to be congratulated for having assembled an extraordinary team of research collaborators to investigate (or reinvestigate) it to its full extent. … It will be an indispensible resource for students of African Neogene paleontology, geology, and (especially) paleoanthropology.” (Frederick E. Grine, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 87, March, 2012)