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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Mar 4;105(9):3226-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708015105. Epub 2008 Feb 27.

Cosmogenic nuclide dating of Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Australopithecus bahrelghazali: Mio-Pliocene hominids from Chad.

Author information

1
Institut International de Paléoprimatologie, Paléontologie Humaine: Evolution et Paléoenvironnements, Unité Mixte de Recherche Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 6046, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Poitiers, Poitiers Cedex, France.

Abstract

Ages were determined at two hominid localities from the Chad Basin in the Djurab Desert (Northern Chad). In the Koro Toro fossiliferous area, KT 12 locality (16 degrees 00'N, 18 degrees 53'E) was the site of discovery of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) and in the Toros-Menalla fossiliferous area, TM 266 locality (16 degrees 15'N, 17 degrees 29'E) was the site of discovery of Sahelanthropus tchadensis (Toumaï). At both localities, the evolutive degree of the associated fossil mammal assemblages allowed a biochronological estimation of the hominid remains: early Pliocene (3-3.5 Ma) at KT 12 and late Miocene ( approximately 7 Ma) at TM 266. Atmospheric (10)Be, a cosmogenic nuclide, was used to quasicontinuously date these sedimentary units. The authigenic (10)Be/(9)Be dating of a pelite relic within the sedimentary level containing Abel yields an age of 3.58 +/- 0.27 Ma that points to the contemporaneity of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) with Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy). The 28 (10)Be/(9)Be ages obtained within the anthracotheriid unit containing Toumaï bracket, by absolute dating, the age of Sahelanthropus tchadensis to lie between 6.8 and 7.2 Ma. This chronological constraint is an important cornerstone both for establishing the earliest stages of hominid evolution and for new calibrations of the molecular clock.

PMID:
18305174
PMCID:
PMC2265126
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0708015105
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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