next week we will have Dr. Josephine Joordens from Leiden University visiting us. She will give us a talk in the club titled: “The Turkana basin: a mere marginal area in the grand theatre of African hominin evolution?”. Here is a short introduction to projects she works with:
“My premise is that hominins should be regarded as just another mammal surviving, reproducing and evolving in its environment. Therefore, it is crucial to gain detailed knowledge of hominin paleoenvironments, faunal context and ecology. An important underlying assumption in my research is that the presence of water always must have been an important factor for hominins: as drinking water, but also as a source of freshwater and marine food resources.
Presently my research consist of three ongoing projects:
TURKANA: This project focuses on reconstructing climate and environment in the Turkana Basin (Kenya) of ~2 million year ago, when two early Homo species together with Paranthropus boisei roamed the landscape. It is done in the framework of the ICDP Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), and the Turkana Cyclostratigraphy Project (see NWO and Feibel’s Lab). In 2013, a core was drilled in West Turkana paleolake deposits, and we did a complementary outcrop fieldwork near the drill site. The first articles are now in review and will be published in the course of 2017.
COASTAL ORIGINS? In 2013 I was awarded a NWO Veni Grant and started this project (see Leiden news) that aims to develop a biogeographical framework for early hominin evolution in Africa, between ~5 and 2.5 million years ago. I hypothesize that recurrent climatically stable episodes, paced by eccentricity, caused recurrent riverine connections between coastal refuge areas and inland marginal areas, including the Chad Basin in West-Central Africa. To assess occurrence and timing of such East-West dispersal corridors, we use genetic distance between extant fish populations in Lakes Turkana and Chad as proxy for past hydrographic connectivity between these basins.
TRINIL: My other research project centers on the rich fossil fauna from the Homo erectus type locality Trinil on Java (Indonesia). This unique collection, excavated by my scientific hero Eugène Dubois (1858-1940) and housed at Naturalis in Leiden, is a treasure trove that may hold many important clues to the behaviour and cognition of Javanese Homo erectus. Following our 2015 publication in Nature (on shell material from the Dubois Collection) we were invited by the National Research Center for Archaeology ARKENAS (Jakarta) to collaborate in a new field study of this classical site. In August 2016, together we successfully conducted a pilot fieldwork in Trinil that provides a key fundament for future studies.In May 2017 I have been awarded the prestigious Vidi grant from NWO to continue our research in Trinil for 5 years, starting in January 2018.“
See you on Tuesday 24.10.2017 at 16:00 in C108, Physicum!