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This volume, the first in a series devoted to the paleoanthropological resources of the Middle Awash Valley of Ethiopia, studies Homo erectus, a close relative of Homo sapiens. Written by a team of highly regarded scholars, this book provides the first detailed descriptions, photographs, and analysis of the fossil vertebrates—from elephants and hyenas to humans—from the Daka Member of the Bouri Formation of the Afar, a place renowned for an abundant and lengthy record of human ancestors. These fossils contribute to our understanding human evolution, and the associated fauna provide new information about the distribution and variability of Pleistocene mammals in eastern Africa. The contributors are all active researchers who worked on the paleontology and geology of these unique deposits. Here they have combined their disparate efforts into a single volume, making the original research results accessible to both the specialist and the general reader. The volume synthesizes environmental backdrop and anatomical detail to open an unparalleled window on the African Pleistocene and its inhabitants.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Geology and Geochronology
Chapter 3. Bovidae
Chapter 4. Carnivora
Chapter 5. Cercopithecidae
Chapter 6. Equidae
Chapter 7. Giraffidae
Chapter 8. Hippopotamidae
Chapter 9. Elephantidae
Chapter 10. Rhinocerotidae
Chapter 11. Suidae
Chapter 12. Rare Taxa
Chapter 13. Homo erectus Cranial Anatomy
Chapter 14. Tomographic Analysis of the Daka Calvaria
Chapter 15. Hominid Systematics
Chapter 16. Daka Member Hominid Postcranial Remains
Chapter 17. Ecological and Biogeographic Context of the Daka Member
Chapter 18. Conclusions: Evolutionary Insights from the Daka Member
W. Henry Gilbert is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at California State University, East Bay, and is Assistant Researcher at the Human Evolution Research Center, University of California, Berkeley.
Berhane Asfaw is codirector of the Middle Awash research project and operates the Rift Valley Research Service in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"Reports on one of the most exciting finds in recent years and fills a major gap in the fossil record of human evolution. It is a major achievement which will be of interest to paleontologists, geologists, stratigraphers, as well as a broader readership of students, scholars, and lay persons interested in human evolution."—Eric Delson, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Lehman College, City University of New York; and Research Associate, Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History
"Certain to be an important, even a standard, resource for the investigation and interpretation of the evolution of humans."—John M. Harris, Chief Curator, George C. Page Museum