This meeting will be hybrid: in-person at Comer Seminar Room and over Zoom. Please contact the seminar organizer with your full name to be cleared from the waiting room.
Climatic influences on Pleistocene fire activity at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Morphologic evidence suggests that hominins had access to cooked foods ca. 2 million years ago, though evidence for controlled burns (e.g., hearth sites) didn't come about until ~1.2 million years later. Natural fires in Pleistocene East Africa contextualize the evolution of fire use behaviors by hominins, yet Pleistocene paleo-fire records from the region are sparse. Using organic geochemical markers of fire (PAHs), In this talk, I investigate the pacing of paleo-fire recorded by a ~100kyr sequence of lacustrine sediment deposited by the paleolake Olduvai in northern Tanzania. I will illustrate possible climatic mechanisms for the observed patterns of paleo-fire using sea surface temperature reconstructions from coeval Indian Ocean marine core sediments. I will further compare these Pleistocene records to preliminary data from an investigation of modern precipitation patterns across East Africa.