Stratigraphic context of fossil hominids from the Omo group deposits: Northern Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia



The chronometric framework developed for Plio-Pleistocene deposits of the northern Turkana Basin is reviewed in light of recent advances in lithostratigraphy, geochemical correlation, paleomagnetic stratigraphy, and isotopic dating. The sequence is tightly controlled by 20 precise ages on volcanic materials. These ages are internally consistent but are at variance with estimates for the boundaries of the magnetic polarity time scale by about 0.07 my. This discrepancy can be only partially resolved at present. Based on the established chronometric framework and stratigraphic sequences, depositional ages can be estimated for significant marker beds. These ages can in turn be used to constrain the 449 hominid specimens thus far reported from the basin. Ages for most hominid specimens can be estimated with a precision of ±0.05 my. In addition, the chronometric framework will be applicable to other paleontological collections, archeological excavations, and future discoveries in the basin.