Human Evolution @ UCL


Donald Johanson reflects on over 4 decades of palaeoanthropological research in the Afar Depression

7 March 2017

Field research at the fossil-bearing deposits in the Afar Depression began in the 1970s.

Donald Johanson Prior to this, hominin fossils older than 3.0 Mya consisted of only a handful of fragments. During Phase I, the International Afar Research Expedition to Hadar, Ethiopia collected some 240 fossil hominins from Hadar over a time range of 3.0-3.4 Mya. Along with hominin fossils from Laetoli, they were deemed a new species, Australopithecus afarensis. This taxon was posited as the last common ancestor to robust Australopithecus and the Homo lineage in eastern Africa. Phase II research under the Hadar Research Project has added strength to the Phase I results, including the first association of a Homo fossil with stone tools at 2.4 Mya. This presentation is a cursory synopsis of the importance and implications of the hominin fossils recovered at Hadar during over the last 34 years.

The paleoanthropology of Hadar, Ethiopia

Donald Johanson

DOI: 10.1016/j.crpv.2016.10.005