Chapter

The Postcranial Anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis

Part of the series Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology pp 25-37

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The Taphonomy and Paleoecology of Korsi Dora Vertebrate Locality 1, Woranso-Mille Study Area, Ethiopia

  • Denise F. SuAffiliated withDepartment of Paleobotany and Paleoecology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History Email author 

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Abstract

Korsi Dora Vertebrate Locality 1 (KSD-VP-1), located in the Woranso-Mille paleontological study area in Ethiopia, records one of the least-sampled temporal periods of Australopithecus and is one of the few to sample the earlier period of the known time range of Au. afarensis. It has yielded one of the most complete skeletons of Au. afarensis known thus far. In this paper, the taphonomy and paleoenvironment of KSD-VP-1 are explored through the collected faunal specimens. In addition to descriptive accounts of the surface modifications on the bones, data on several taphonomic factors were also collected and analyzed, the results of which suggest that the KSD-VP-1 faunal assemblage is autochthonous and that there was minimal transport and disturbance of bones. The focus of the paleoenvironmental analysis is the use of the presence and relative abundances of indicator taxa along with other lines of evidence, such as ruminant dietary adaptation and geology. The combined evidence suggests that the paleohabitat at KSD-VP-1 was likely medium to dense woodland with some open areas of grassland or shrubland distal to the locality.

Keywords

KSD-VP-1/1 Taphonomy Paleoenvironment Indicator species