Paleoecology and Taphonomy of Fossil Localities in the Manonga Valley, Tanzania

  • Terry Harrison
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 14)


One of the major objectives of paleontological fieldwork in the Manonga Valley has been to obtain data that would be relevant for reconstructing the paleoecology and depositional setting of the fossil localities in the region (see Harrison & Mbago, this volume, Chapter 1). It is has become evident in recent years that a sound appreciation of the environmental context is of paramount importance in understanding observed changes in the adaptive strategies of individual mammalian lineages or in the structure of the faunal community in general. Information of this kind might contribute significantly, for example, to the proposal and testing of hypotheses or models that seek to understand the critical environmental factors that underlie the divergence and differentiation of the earliest hominids (see Harrison, this volume, Chapter 14). Traditionally, paleoanthropologists have viewed the unique specializations of hominids as adaptations to open country habitats, and this has led to the development of various scenarios in which human ancestors diverged from the forest-dwelling last common ancestor of the African hominoids by exploiting an entirely new set of resources that were available on the grasslands (see Brain, 1981; Vrba, 1985; Hill and Ward, 1988; Hill, 1994).


Late Miocene Lake Basin Cheek Tooth Mammalian Fauna Early Hominid 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Paleoanthropology LaboratoryNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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