Periods of high environmental variability were also recorded at around 525,000 to 400,000 years ago in southern Kenya. According to the Lake Magadi sediments, the environment cycled between wet and dry periods within a backdrop of increased aridification starting at around 575,000 years ago. These intervals coincide with mammal extinctions at the South Kenya Rift and the last appearance of Acheulean stone tools (500,000 years ago), and precede the appearance of the Middle Stone Age tool kit (320,000 years ago). Thus, this high-variability environmental trend may also help explain some of the physical and cultural adaptations of our species, Homo sapiens.
Our understanding of human evolution has certainly made leaps and bounds since paleoanthropology first started. However, with these bounds come even more questions, and how human evolution was influenced by environments is one of them. High-resolution sedimentary records provided by projects such as the HSPDP have shed some light on these queries. Future analyses using these records will certainly help us better understand out evolutionary past.
Written by Eunice Lalunio