New hominin remains and revised context from the earliest Homo erectus locality in East Turkana, Kenya

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Hammond, Ashley S.; Mavuso, Silindokuhle S.; Biernat, Maryse; Braun, David R.; Jinnah, Zubair; Kuo, Sharon; Melaku, Sahleselasie; Wemanya, Sylvia N.; Ndiema, Emmanuel K.; Patterson, David B.; Uno, Kevin T.; Palcu, Dan V.
Year of Publication: 2021
Journal: Nature Communications
Volume: 12
Issue: 1
Pagination: 1939
Date Published: 2021/04/13
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 2041-1723

The KNM-ER 2598 occipital is among the oldest fossils attributed to Homo erectus but questions have been raised about whether it may derive from a younger horizon. Here we report on efforts to relocate the KNM-ER 2598 locality and investigate its paleontological and geological context. Although located in a different East Turkana collection area (Area 13) than initially reported, the locality is stratigraphically positioned below the KBS Tuff and the outcrops show no evidence of deflation of a younger unit, supporting an age of >1.855 Ma. Newly recovered faunal material consists primarily of C4 grazers, further confirmed by enamel isotope data. A hominin proximal 3rd metatarsal and partial ilium were discovered <50 m from the reconstructed location where KNM-ER 2598 was originally found but these cannot be associated directly with the occipital. The postcrania are consistent with fossil Homo and may represent the earliest postcrania attributable to Homo erectus.

Short Title: Nature Communications