Geoscience methods lead to paleo-anthropological discoveries in Afar Rift, Ethiopia


  • Giday WoldeGabriel,

  • Paul R. Renne,

  • William K. Hart,

  • Stanley Ambrose,

  • Berhane Asfaw,

  • Tim D. White


With few exceptions, most of the hominid evolutionary record in Africa is closely associated with the East African Rift System. The exceptions are the South African and Chadian hominids collected from the southern and west-central parts of the continent, respectively Ethiopia's Middle Awash region stands alone as the most prolific paleo-anthropological area ever discovered (Figure 1). Its paleontological record has yielded over 13,000 vertebrate fossils, including several hominid taxa, ranging in age from 5.8 Ma to the present. The uniqueness of the Middle Awash hominid sites lies in their occurrence within long, > 6 Ma volcanic and sedimentary stratigraphic records.