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Quaternary fossil fauna from the Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Bishop, LC and Barham, LS and Ditchfield, P and Elton, S and Harcourt-Smith, WH and Dawkins, P (2016) Quaternary fossil fauna from the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE. ISSN 0267-8179

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Abstract

This paper describes a large collection of Quaternary fossil fauna from the Luangwa rift valley, Zambia. Stone Age artefacts have been recovered from stratified fluvial contexts, but no in situ fossil fauna have yet been recovered. We report on 500 fossil specimens collected from the surface of point bars exposed seasonally along the banks of the main Luangwa river channel. We used non-destructive x-ray fluorescence analysis of the fossils' chemical signatures to determine whether they derive from one or many primary contexts, and the relation between chemical signature and state of preservation. Specimens are identified to taxon (genus) to reconstruct palaeoenvironments and biochronology. A relatively wide range of taxa is identified, including a fossil hominin talus, described here. None of the fossils are positively attributable to extinct species, except a femur of an extinct Theropithecus reported in 2003 (Elton et al., 2003). Although no additional extinct taxa were identified, some of the remains were attributable to genera which are not currently found in this region. The results suggest that the majority of the assemblage derives from sediments which are Middle Pleistocene or later, and that past environments in the Luangwa Valley may have differed from the habitat availability found today.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0403 Geology, 0406 Physical Geography And Environmental Geoscience, 2101 Archaeology
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2016 09:57
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 17:13
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3334

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