Gail Ashley cropWhat was the climate like during the early days of hominid emergence in Africa? Ask a geologist.

Gail Ashley, professor of Earth and Planetary Science at Rutgers University, and her students have been studying this question for many years, and she will present a seminar on the topic “The Paleoclimatic Framework of Human Evolution: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania” on Thursday (March 28) at 3:30 p.m.

The Olduvai Gorge area was the local for Mary and Louis Leakey’s discoveries of several primitive human forms including the well-publicized Homo habilis and thousands of their stone tools. These discoveries made the Leakeys and the Olduvai itself famous and spurred questions concerning in what ways this area and its climate might have been favorable for human evolution.

New findings now are allowing reconstruction of features of the changing landscape and an estimate of the food and water resources over time as well as clues to some of the challenges faced by these early hominids.

Ashley is a geoscientist who has published widely and has earned an international reputation. She has been president of the Geological Society of America and the Society for Sedimentary Geologists and editor in chief of the Journal of Sedimentary Research and has received several awards for her research and teaching.

Submitted by Wayne Magee, Academy Village volunteer

Geologist Links Climate, Hominid Evolution: March 2013
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