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Letters to Nature
Nature 365, 833 - 836 (28 October 1993); doi:10.1038/365833a0

Oldest Homo and Pliocene biogeography of the Malawi Rift

Friedemann Schrenk*, Timothy G. Bromage, Christian G. Betzler, Uwe Ring§ & Yusuf M. Juwayeyi

*Department of Palaeontology, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Friedensplatz 1, 64283 Darmstadt, Germany
Department of Anthropology, Hunter College, CUNY, 695 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA
Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, Universität Frankfurt, Senckenberg-Anlage 32, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
§Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
Department of Antiquities, PO Box 264, Lilongwe, Malawi

THE Malawi Rift and Pliocene palaeofaunas, which include a hominid mandible attributed to Homo rudolfensis, provide a biogeographical link between the better known Plio–Pleistocene faunal records of East and Southern Africa. The Malawi Rift is in a latitudinal position suitable for recording any hominid and faunal dispersion towards the Equator that was brought on by increased aridity of the Late Pliocene African landscape. The evidence suggests that Pliocene hominids originated in the eastern African tropical domain and dispersed to southern Africa only during more favourable ecological circumstances.

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