Lothagam

The Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa

Edited by Meave G. Leakey and John M. Harris

Columbia University Press

Lothagam

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Pub Date: January 2003

ISBN: 9780231118705

688 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $240.00£200.00

Pub Date: January 2003

ISBN: 9780231507608

688 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $239.99£200.00

Lothagam

The Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa

Edited by Meave G. Leakey and John M. Harris

Columbia University Press

Located at the southwest corner of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, Lothagam represents one of the most important intervals in African prehistory. Early human remains are restricted in distribution to Africa and the acquisition of an upright bipedal striding gait, the hallmark of humanity, appears to be at least circumstantially linked to the reduction of equatorial forests and the spread of grasslands on that continent. The diverse Lothagam fauna documents the end-Miocene transition from forested to more open habitats that were exploited by grazing horses and antelopes, hippos, giant pigs, and true elephants. It also includes spectacularly complete fossil carnivore skeletons and some of the oldest human remains.

Enlisting a team of highly qualified specialists, this book provides the geologic context and dating framework for the Lothagam fossiliferous sequences, describes the immense diversity of vertebrate fossils recovered from the Late Miocene and Early Pliocene sediments, and synthesizes the results to interpret the changing paleoenvironments that prevailed at this site. The book will interest anthropologists, paleontologists, geologists, and anyone interested in human origins.

This well-organized, well-written treatise provides an important resource, both for raw data and its interpretation... The quality of the work described in this volume is top notch, and the data presented will be an important resource for paleontologists for years to come... Lothagam: The Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa is destined to become a classic.

Peter Ungar, University of Arkansas, The Quarterly Review of Biology

Excellent editors' summary of fauna, environments, and comparisons with contemporaneous assemblages across Africa and Eurasia; beautiful and scholarly reconstructions of individual species and landscapes.

Choice

This volume elevates Lothagam to the high status it deserves as a detailed window...I recommend this book to anyone interested in continental records from this time.

Catherine Badgley, Journal of Paleontology

Meave Leakey and co-author John Harris have edited and written a magnificent multiauthored, paleontological study... A wonderful window onto this important time.

Gil Hermann, Fossil News
Introduction, by Meave G. Leakey
Geology, Paleosols, and Dating, by Craig S. Feibel, Jonathan G. Wynn, and Ian McDougall
Crustacea and Pisces, by Joel W. Martin, Sandra Trautwein, and Kathlyn M. Stewart
Reptilia and Aves, by Roger C. Wood, Glenn W. Storrs, John M. Harris, and Meave G. Leakey
Lagomorpha and Rodentia, by Alisa J. Winkler
Primates, by Meave G. Leakey, Mark F. Teaford, Carol V. Ward, and Alan C. Walker
Carnivora, by Lars Werdelin
Proboscidea and Tubulidentata, by Pascal Tassy, John M. Harris, and Simon A. H. Milledge
Perissodactyla, by John M. Harris, Meave G. Leakey, and Raymond L. Bernor
Hippopotamidae and Suidae, by Eleanor M. Weston, John M. Harris, and Meave G. Leakey
Ruminantia, by John M. Harris
Isotopes, by Thure E. Cerling, John M. Harris, Meave G. Leakey, and Nina Mudida
Lothagam: Its Significance and Contributions, by Meave G. Leakey and John M. Harris

About the Author

Meave Leakey, formerly head of the Division of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya, has recently been in the news as the leader of the team that discovered the new hominid Kenyanthropus platyops, dating from 3.2-3.5 million years ago.

John M. Harris, also formerly head of the Division of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya, is Chief Curator and Head of Vertebrate Programs at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.