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Early Pleistocene Mammals of Africa: Background to Dispersal

  • Meave LeakeyEmail author
  • Lars Werdelin
Chapter
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)

Abstract

The initial dispersal of humans out of Africa was a significant event in human evolution raising many questions. Why did this happen at this particular time? Was it part of a major migration of mammals out of Africa and did any species move into Africa at the same time? Were climate and habitat changes taking place that might have been contributing factors? With the advent of culture at 2.6 Ma, hominins moved from the primate to the carnivore feeding niche, thus avoiding constraints that had previously determined their distribution. Here we look at fossil carnivores and cercopithecids for factors that provide a background to this significant event in our evolutionary history and we also look at herbivore diversity as a potential source of prey for meat-eating hominins.

Keywords

Carnivore Dispersal Catarrhine Homo erectus 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Turkana Basin Institute, Department of AnthropologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of PalaeozoologySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden

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