Mapping Ancient Africa: Video of Seminar 12

April 14, 2023
WDG

The seminar delivered by Emma Mbua (National Museums of Kenya) on the 13th April 2023 was the twelfth in the Mapping Ancient Africa series. The seminar highlighted new finds from archaeological sites in eastern Africa that have yielded bones of various animals, including early humans.

Details of this seminar can be found here. You can find more Mapping Ancient Africa seminar videos on the “Ecology of the Past” YouTube channel.

To find out more and keep up to date with new insights from this research visit the project web sit here.

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Mapping Ancient Africa: Seminar 12

March 27, 2023
WDG

The twelfth Mapping Ancient Africa online seminar will take place on 13 April 2023 (17:00 CEST – Please note switch to European summer time).

  • Speaker: Emma Mbua (National Museums of Kenya)
  • Title: Newly discovered fossil sites in Kenya and their implications in human evolution discussions
  • Related publication: Mbua, E., Kusaka, S., Kunimatsu, Y., Geraads, D., Sawada, Y., Brown, F.H., Sakai, T., Boisserie, J., Saneyoshi, M., Omuombo, C., Muteti, S., Hirata, T., Hayashida, A., Iwano, H., Danhara, T., Bobe, R., Jicha, B. & Nakatsukasa, M. (2016) Kantis: A new Australopithecus site on the shoulders of the Rift Valley near Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 94, 28-44. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.01.006
  • Find out more about Emma’s work by visiting her “Trowel Blazers” profile.

The seminar will be delivered via Zoom. The link for the seminar can be obtained from the MAA Slack channel or by contacting the chair of this seminar Rahab Kinyanjui. If you want to know more about the Mapping Ancient Africa project visit our web pages and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you want to get involved.

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Mapping Ancient Africa: Video of Seminar 9

January 23, 2023
WDG

The 9th Mapping Ancient Africa seminar, and first of 2023, took place on Thursday 19 January. The seminar was delivered by Celine Vidal (University of Cambridge) and showcased recent work on the dating of volcanic deposits to constrain the age of hominin fossils in eastern Africa.

Details of this seminar can be found here. You can find more Mapping Ancient Africa seminar videos on the “Ecology of the Past” YouTube channel.

References

  • Vidal, C.M., Lane, C.S., Asrat, A., Barfod, D.N., Mark, D.F., Tomlinson, E.L., Tadesse, A.Z., Yirgu, G., Deino, A., Hutchison, W., Mounier, A. & Oppenheimer, C. (2022) Age of the oldest known Homo sapiens from eastern Africa. Nature 601, 579-583. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04275-8
  • Vidal, C.M., Fontijn, K., Lane, C.S., Asrat, A., Barfod, D., Tomlinson, E.L., Piermattei, A., Hutchison, W., Tadesse, A.Z., Yirgu, G., Deino, A., Moussallam, Y., Mohr, P., Williams, F., Mather, T.A., Pyle, D.M. & Oppenheimer, C. (2022) Geochronology and glass geochemistry of major Pleistocene eruptions in the Main Ethiopian Rift: Towards a regional tephrostratigraphy. Quaternary Science Reviews 290, 107601. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107601
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PoA 35: Research Articles

December 15, 2021
WDG

The second in my series highlighting papers in the recent volume of Palaeoecology of Africa (published entirely open access online) focuses on the research articles. The research articles make up the ‘guts’ of the volume, comprising 10 of the 24 papers. Three of these are from western Africa (Dinies et al.; Gosling et al.; Lemonnier & Lézine), two from eastern Africa (Githumbi et al.; Kinyanjui et al.), two from central Africa (Richards; Gaillard et al.), and three from southern Africa (Chevalier et al.; Hill & Finch, Hill et al.). These research articles present new data and key insights into past environmental change in Africa, which fall into two broad categories, providing information on: (i) how we can extract information from pollen data sets, and (ii) the processes operating to drive vegetation.

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Revealing pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Kenya

June 29, 2020
WDG

Rahab Kinyanjui

USING PALAEOECOLOGICAL PROXIES TO DETERMINE ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT ON VEGETATION DURING PRE-COLONIAL, COLONIAL AND POST-COLONIAL PERIOD IN KENYA’S HIGHLANDS-CASE STUDY ABERDARE RANGES

By Rahab KINYANJUI (National Museums of Kenya: Nairobi)

In spite of the challenges and uncertainties that the larger scientific community is currently facing, I am delighted and humbled to accept one of the British Ecological Society’s Ecologist in Africa research grant for 2020. The grant will support my historical ecology project whose main goal is to apply palaeoecological and archaeological proxies to investigate the extent of anthropogenic impacts on vegetation structure and composition of one of the Kenyan Central highlands before, during, and after the colonial period.

The Aberdare range forest provide an ideal setting for this study because they have been farmed by local populations since long before colonialism, and they were heavily impacted during colonial times because of their fertile soils. This pilot project aims to reveal the land-use and land-cover dynamics of the Aberdare range forest, and it is hoped that eventually similar studies will be undertaken in other parts of the Kenyan highland forests.

AFQUA 2018 – day 1

July 15, 2018
WDG

AFQUA: The African Quaternary environments, ecology and humans
2ndInternational Conference and Workshops
14-22 July 2018-07-15 National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya

My first AFQUA conference really began the day before the conference proper started in the Kenyan immigration queue where I met a number of fellow delegates who were flying in from all over the world.  It was great to start to put faces to names of people who’s work I had read for many years. Once out of the airport transfer to the hotel was smooth, and it was with some excitement that the following morning I made the short walk from the hotel to the famous Nairobi National Museum for the start of the conference.

Day 1

Prof. Andy Cohen (one of my fellow delegates in the immigration line) kicked off the AFQUA conference with a plenary giving an overview of African continental drilling projects. He traced the dream of the recovery of long continental records back to Daniel Livingstone and Neil Opdyke’s workshop from 1980 that set out the dream of obtaining long records from the continent. He then went on to give examples of how multi-millennial lake records, including Lake Malawi, can be used to understand the tempo of ecological change.

The first session of the conference, entitled “East Africa”, included: exciting evidence of Deinotherium the largest land mammal of the Quaternary (J.-P. Brugal), the use of d13C in determining homonin ecology (V.M. Iminjili), and evidence from a new c. 200,000 year old site at Natodomeri (Kenya) that contains evidence of homonids, elephids, giant lions and pigmy hippos (F.K. Manthi).

The second session of AFQUA covered “The environmental context for homonin evolution and dispersal”. This started with geochemical data from Chew Bahir that sheds light on potential drivers of climatic shifts (F. Schabitz), and included examination of changes climate between c. 500,000 and 320,000 years ago that coincided with the shift from hominid use of large cutting tools to smaller implements (R. Potts), and discussion of the environment the route which hominids took out of Africa (F. Henselowsky).

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