Tag Archives: Ecometric analysis

Geoscience seminar 22.4. – Prof. Mikael Fortelius

Dear All,

The Geoscience seminar this week (Friday 22nd) will be given by professor Mikael Fortelius. Mikael will talk about his recent research from Turkana Basin (abstract below).

Friday 22.4.

Time: 14.15

Location: D114, Physicum, Kumpula Campus


All are most welcome!



Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of East Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago. We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 million years ago have acted as a ‘Species Factory’, generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS member (1.87-1.53 million years ago) may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.


Co-occurrence of pliopithecoid and hominoid primates in the fossil record: An ecometric analysis

Co-occurrence of pliopithecoid and hominoid primates in the fossil record: An ecometric analysis
Leena Sukselainen, Mikael Fortelius, Terry Harrison
Journal of Human Evolution, Available online 14 May 2015

Both pliopithecoid and hominoid primates were widely distributed throughout Eurasia during the Miocene but are known to have coexisted at only a few localities. It has been speculated that their different habitat preferences permitted only minimal overlap under special environmental conditions. Here we study the context for pliopithecoid and hominoid co-occurrence by assessing taxonomically-based palaeoecological diversity of associated fossil mammals and by direct ecometric analysis based on hypsodonty of mammalian herbivores. Our results show that pliopithecoids persistently inhabited more humid environments compared to the other primate groups studied, suggesting an inability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The opportunity for hominoids and pliopithecoids to co-occur appears to have been restricted by niche conservatism in the latter group. Our study also indicates that direct ecometric analysis gives a better separation of the ecological preferences of these primate clades than do analyses of taxonomically-based community structure.