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Human evolution in a variable environment : the amplifier lakes of Eastern Africa

  • The development of rise Cenozoic East African Rift System (EARS) profoundly re-shaped the landscape and significantly increased the amplitude of short-term environmental response to climate variation. In particular, the development of amplifier lakes in rift basins after three million years ago significantly contributed to this exceptional sensitivity of East Africa to climate change compared to elsewhere on the African continent. Amplifier lakes are characterized by tectonically-formed graben morphologies in combination with an extreme contrast between high precipitation in the elevated parts of the catchment and high evaporation in the lake area. Such amplifier lakes respond rapidly to moderate, precessional-forced climate shifts, and as they do so apply dramatic environmental pressure to the biosphere. Rift basins, when either extremely dry or lake-filled, form important barriers for migration, mixing and competition of different populations of animals and hominins. Amplifier lakes link long-term, high-amplitude tectonic processesThe development of rise Cenozoic East African Rift System (EARS) profoundly re-shaped the landscape and significantly increased the amplitude of short-term environmental response to climate variation. In particular, the development of amplifier lakes in rift basins after three million years ago significantly contributed to this exceptional sensitivity of East Africa to climate change compared to elsewhere on the African continent. Amplifier lakes are characterized by tectonically-formed graben morphologies in combination with an extreme contrast between high precipitation in the elevated parts of the catchment and high evaporation in the lake area. Such amplifier lakes respond rapidly to moderate, precessional-forced climate shifts, and as they do so apply dramatic environmental pressure to the biosphere. Rift basins, when either extremely dry or lake-filled, form important barriers for migration, mixing and competition of different populations of animals and hominins. Amplifier lakes link long-term, high-amplitude tectonic processes and short-term environmental fluctuations. East Africa may have become the place where early humans evolved as a consequence of this strong link between different time scales. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Martin H. Trauth, Mark A. Maslin, Alan L. Deino, Annett Junginger, Moses Lesoloyia, Eric O. Odada, Daniel O. Olago, Lydia A. Olaka, Manfred R. StreckerORCiDGND, Ralph TiedemannORCiDGND
URL:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/02773791
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.07.007
ISSN:0277-3791
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2010
Year of Completion:2010
Release Date:2017/03/25
Source:Quaternary science reviews. - ISSN 0277-3791. - 29 (2010), 23-24, S. 2981 - 2988
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geowissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert