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Environmental change during MIS4 and MIS 3 opened corridors in the Horn of Africa for Homo sapiens expansion

Viehberg, Finn A.; Just, Janna; Dean, Jonathan R.; Wagner, Bernd; Franz, Sven Oliver; Klasen, Nicole; Kleinen, Thomas; Ludwig, Patrick; Asrat, Asfawossen; Lamb, Henry F.; Leng, Melanie J.; Rethemeyer, Janet; Milodowski, Antoni E.; Claussen, Martin; Schäbitz, Frank


Finn A. Viehberg

Janna Just

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Dr Jonathan Dean
Director of Admissions | Lecturer in Quaternary Science

Bernd Wagner

Sven Oliver Franz

Nicole Klasen

Thomas Kleinen

Patrick Ludwig

Asfawossen Asrat

Henry F. Lamb

Melanie J. Leng

Janet Rethemeyer

Antoni E. Milodowski

Martin Claussen

Frank Schäbitz


© 2018 The Authors Archaeological findings, numerical human dispersal models and genome analyses suggest several time windows in the past 200 kyr (thousands of years ago) when anatomically modern humans (AMH) dispersed out of Africa into the Levant and/or Arabia. From close to the key hominin site of Omo-Kibish, we provide near continuous proxy evidence for environmental changes in lake sediment cores from the Chew Bahir basin, south Ethiopia. The data show highly variable hydroclimate conditions from 116 to 66 kyr BP with rapid shifts from very wet to extreme aridity. The wet phases coincide with the timing of the North African Humid Periods during MIS5, as defined by Nile discharge records from the eastern Mediterranean. The subsequent record at Chew Bahir suggests stable regional hydrological setting between 58 and 32 kyr (MIS4 and 3), which facilitated the development of more habitable ecosystems, albeit in generally dry climatic conditions. This shift, from more to less variable hydroclimate, may help account for the timing of later dispersal events of AMH out of Africa.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 15, 2018
Journal Quaternary Science Reviews
Print ISSN 0277-3791
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 202
Pages 139-153
APA6 Citation Viehberg, F. A., Just, J., Dean, J. R., Wagner, B., Franz, S. O., Klasen, N., …Schäbitz, F. (2018). Environmental change during MIS4 and MIS 3 opened corridors in the Horn of Africa for Homo sapiens expansion. Quaternary science reviews, 202, 139-153.
Keywords Archaeology; Archaeology; Global and Planetary Change; Geology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
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Copyright Statement
© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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