Abstract: Great uncertainty exists surrounding the link between climate change and hominin evolution, cultural development, and dispersal in and out of Africa. Several hypotheses have been proposed about how environmental conditions in Africa might have driven important developments in human origins over the last 4 million years. These findings link important evolutionary events with environmental change including cooling, drying, and wider climate fluctuations over time. However, key questions remain on the type, speed and driver of climate variability in Africa and how it affected evolution and development, e.g., did changing environment affect resources which consequently lead humans to develop new tools, why did so many early hominin species persist, evolve and/or go extinct, why did our species (Homo sapiens) emerge and survive, and how have we shaped our own environment either intentionally or unintentionally? In this session we look to bring together researchers focused on reconstructing past environments in Africa on the basis of empirical data (palaeoclimatic, palaeoecological, archaeological records) with researchers using modelling approaches (climate, vegetation, dispersal and cultural models). We hope to stimulate research and debate on how past change (climate, ecological, behavioral) shaped modern humans and the role of human niche construction on African environments. This session is linked to the INQUA “Mapping Ancient Africa” project, but we welcome all submissions.
On behalf of Manu Chevalier, Anne Dallmeyer, Ulrike Herzschuh, Thomas Hickler, Yoshi Maezumi and Martin Claussen I would like to draw your attention to a special issue of Climate of the Past entitled: “Past vegetation dynamics and their role in past climate changes”. The call for papers for this special issue is now open (closing date: December 2024). See below for full details and how to submit.
I would like to draw your attention to SKOPE (Synthesizing Knowledge of the Past Environments) project run by R. Kyle Bocinsky, Andrew Gillreath-Brown, Keith Kintigh, Ann Kinzig, Timothy A. Kohler, Allen Lee, Bertram Ludaescher, and Timothy McPhillips and funded by National Science Foundation (USA). They have just launched an online tool that allows the exploration of past environmental change data aimed at archaeologists, ecologists, historians, geographers and planners. Check out the details on their web site:
I am pleased to announce the next seminar series from the Palynologische Kring“Dutch Palynologists Then and Now: A brief history or Frans Florschütz, and new research from scientists who have been working abroad”
The meeting will take place on the afternoon of the 19th May at the Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (University of Amsterdam); if you are not a member of the society and want to follow the talk online or attend in person please contact me for details.Full program below.
There is a new PhD opportunity at Ecole doctorale Environnements-Santé (France) working with Boris Vannière (Director of Research, CNRS, University Bourgogne Franche-Comté, University of Bern), Richard Vachula (Assistant Professor, Auburn University, USA), and Elisabeth Dietze (Professor, University of Göttingen, Germany). The project is entitled: Leverage the meaning of paleofire data through metadata mining. Case studies in mediterranean, tropical and arctic ecosystems, closing date 9 May 2022.
I wanted to share the details of Scholars at Risk Network with people today. This is an organisation that the University of Amsterdam is working with to provide support to scholars around the world who find themselves in difficult situations. The university is currently working with Scholars at Risk to see if there are additional possibilities to support people effected by the current crisis in Ukraine.