Our forefathers chose to live in volcanic zonesMarch 4th, 2011 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS
London, March 4 (IANS) Our ancestors chose to settle in locations that sat on risky quake prone or volcanic zones. This was because regions vulnerable to earthquake and volcanic activity often create landscapes with long-term benefits for human settlement, says a new study.
A team of scientists has established a link between the shape of the landscape and the habitats preferred by our earliest ancestors, the Journal of Human Evolution reports.
The research was led by scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, the University of York and the Institut de Physique du Globe Paris (IPGP), according to an IPGP release.
The four-year study examined the geomorphology (the shape of the landscape) around ancient sites in southern Africa.
Sally Reynolds, South African palaeoanthropologist, who conducted the research at IPGP, said: “We were stunned when Professor Geoffrey King and I discovered evidence that hominin sites such as Taung, Sterkfontein and Makapansgat, (South Africa), showed landscape features… that result from tectonic motions, such as earthquakes.”
Several lines of scientific evidence suggest that Australopithecus africanus was adapted to mixed, or mosaic habitats - landscapes with trees and open grassland, with some wetland marshy areas.
The study suggests that it was the type of mosaic environment created by tectonic earth movements near rivers or lakes.
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Tags: africanus, earth movements, geoffrey king, human settlement, institut de physique du globe, journal of human evolution, landscape features, london march, makapansgat, marshy areas, open grassland, physique du globe, professor geoffrey, sterkfontein, taung, tectonic motions, university of the witwatersrand, university of the witwatersrand south africa, volcanic activity, volcanic zones