Julio Mercader 1 , 2 , , Pam Akuku 3 , 4 , Nicole Boivin 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , Revocatus Bugumba 7 , Pastory Bushozi 8 , Alfredo Camacho 9 , Tristan Carter 10 , Siobhán Clarke 1 , Arturo Cueva-Temprana 2 , Paul Durkin 9 , Julien Favreau 10 , Kelvin Fella 8 , Simon Haberle 11 , Stephen Hubbard 1 , , Jamie Inwood 1 , Makarius Itambu 8 , Samson Koromo 12 , Patrick Lee 13 , Abdallah Mohammed 8 , Aloyce Mwambwiga 1 , 14 , Lucas Olesilau 12 , Robert Patalano 2 , Patrick Roberts 2 , 5 , Susan Rule 11 , Palmira Saladie 3 , 4 , Gunnar Siljedal 1 , María Soto 15 , 16 , , Jonathan Umbsaar 1 , Michael Petraglia 2 , 5 , 6
7 January 2021
Rapid environmental change is a catalyst for human evolution, driving dietary innovations, habitat diversification, and dispersal. However, there is a dearth of information to assess hominin adaptions to changing physiography during key evolutionary stages such as the early Pleistocene. Here we report a multiproxy dataset from Ewass Oldupa, in the Western Plio-Pleistocene rift basin of Olduvai Gorge (now Oldupai), Tanzania, to address this lacuna and offer an ecological perspective on human adaptability two million years ago. Oldupai’s earliest hominins sequentially inhabited the floodplains of sinuous channels, then river-influenced contexts, which now comprises the oldest palaeolake setting documented regionally. Early Oldowan tools reveal a homogenous technology to utilise diverse, rapidly changing environments that ranged from fern meadows to woodland mosaics, naturally burned landscapes, to lakeside woodland/palm groves as well as hyper-xeric steppes. Hominins periodically used emerging landscapes and disturbance biomes multiple times over 235,000 years, thus predating by more than 180,000 years the earliest known hominins and Oldowan industries from the Eastern side of the basin.
Oldupai Gorge, Tanzania is a key site for understanding early human evolution. Here, the authors report a multiproxy dataset from the Western basin of Oldupai Gorge dating to 2 million years ago, enabling the in situ comparison of lithic assemblages, paleoenvironments and hominin behavioral adaptability.