Faunal dating

These Late Pleistocene food sources included mammoths, mastodon; giant bison, sloths, camels, and diprotodons.

Faunal dating

, more recent attempts to date the Taung site have ranged from 2·3 m.y.a.

based on cercopithecid biochronology to as recent as 1 m.y.a. Recent work by Vogel has shown that the latter date can be disregarded.

Our excavations of Taung deposits from 1988 to 1992, under the direction of P. Tobias, have revealed more fauna and geological information with which we can make a more accurate assessment of the faunal age than was possible with cercopithecids alone.

On the basis of historical records and newly exposed fossil deposits deeper within the cave-riddled Thabaseek tufa, it seems likely that the Taung hominid predates the Hrdlička deposits from which most of the fauna have been derived.

Evidence suggests that the earliest mass megafaunal extinctions occurred in Australia and about 30,000 or more years ago.

Eighty-six percent of the Australian vertebrate genera whose members weighed more than 40 kilograms became extinct.

Much smaller extinction events occurred in Africa, Asia, and Europe earlier in the Pleistocene, removing very large species such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and the largest artiodactyls.

Thus a faunal date derived from the combined samples can serve only as a for the age of the hominid deposits.

The Hrdlička fauna falls within a time range close to that of Sterkfontein Member 4, ca.

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