About this Project

The study of human evolution is one of the most exciting and intriguing scientific topics and is of great interest to scientists and the public at large. Research in paleoanthropology aims to unravel the tempo and mode of the main events in our evolutionary history that led to the emergence of Homo sapiens and how we became one of the most widespread and successful animals on earth. Knowing how and when this occurred is inherently relevant to our understanding of the human condition today. In order to address some of the fundamental questions in human evolution, this research project will undertake transdisciplinary fieldwork in Ethiopia aimed at garnering much-needed geological and paleontological data. Documenting the geological and geotectonic history of the sites, where the researchers collect fossils from, is one major research agenda. Our understanding of the geology of the region and the specific sites is the foundation for the interpretation of the history of the sedimentary basin and how the ancient landscape changed through time, shaping the evolution of our ancestors. Our collaborative endeavor with geologists is therefore crucial. This fellowship will enable a collaborator and senior geologist, Dr. Mulugeta Alene Araya, from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, who takes part in our field activities, to visit the University of Chicago in order to collaboratively produce manuscripts for publication. His stay here will provide him with a stimulating research environment and access to resources that are lacking in his institution in Ethiopia while enriching our collaborative research endeavor at the University of Chicago.

Recommended ReadingAlemseged, Z., Wynn, J.G., Geraads, D. et al. Fossils from Mille-Logya, Afar, Ethiopia, elucidate the link between Pliocene environmental changes and Homo origins. Nat Commun 11, 2480 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16060-8.

IMAGE: Courtesy Zeray Alemseged

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