Contemporary flowstone development links early hominin bearing cave deposits in South Africa
- Permanent Link:
- Contemporary flowstone development links early hominin bearing cave deposits in South Africa
- Series Title:
- Earth and Planetary Science Letters
- Pickering, Robyn
Kramers, Jan D.
Hancox, Phillip John
de Ruiter, Darryl J.
Woodhead, Jon D.
- Publication Date:
- Subjects / Keywords:
- Stratigraphy ( local )
Cave Sediments ( local )
Swartkrans ( local )
Sterkfontein ( local )
U-Pb Dating ( local )
Speleothems ( local )
Australopithecus Africanus ( local )
Paranthropus Robustus ( local )
Australopithecus Sediba ( local )
Early Homo ( local )
- serial ( sobekcm )
- The Cradle of Humankind cave sites in South Africa preserve fossil evidence of four early hominin taxa: Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus sediba, Paranthropus robustus and early Homo. In order to integrate this record into a pan-African scenario of human evolutionary history it is critical to have reliable dates and temporal ranges for the southern African hominins. In the past a lack of precise and accurate chronological data has prevented the evaluation of the temporal relationships between the various sites. Here we report new uraniumâ€“lead (Uâ€“Pb) radiometric ages obtained from sheets of calcium carbonate flowstone inter-bedded between clastic cave sediments at the site of Swartkrans, providing bracketing ages for the fossiliferous deposits. The fossil bearing units of Swartkrans, specifically the Hanging Remnant and Lower Bank of Member 1, are underlain by flowstone layers dated to 2.25 ± 0.05 Ma and 2.25 ± 0.08 Ma and capped by layers of 1.8 ± 0.01 Ma and 1.7 ± 0.07 Ma. The age bracket of the Member 1 deposits is therefore between 2.31 and 1.64 Ma. However, by combining the Uâ€“Pb with biostratigraphic data we suggest that this can be narrowed down to between 1.9 and 1.8 Ma. These data can be compared with other recently dated sites and a radiometrically dated Uâ€“Pb age sequence formed: Sterkfontein Member 4, Swartkrans Member 1, Malapa, and Cooper's D. From this new Uâ€“Pb dataset, a pattern of contemporary flowstone development emerges, with different caves recording the same flowstone-forming event. Specifically overlapping flowstone formation takes place at Swartkrans and Sterkfontein at ~ 2.29 Ma and ~ 1.77 Ma, and at Sterkfontein and Malapa at âˆ¼ 2.02 Ma. This suggests a regional control over the nature and timing of speleothem development in cave deposits and these flowstone layers could assist in future correlation, both internal to specific deposits and regionally between sites.
- Original Version:
- Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 306 (2011-06).
- Source Institution:
- University of South Florida Library
- Holding Location:
- University of South Florida
- Rights Management:
- This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.
No images or PDF downloads are available for this resource.
Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.
Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.
Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.
Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.