Dr. Martin Pickford – Vortragsexposé – Sommersemester 2007

Die DFG-Forschergruppe "Riftlink" im Institut für Geowissenschaften und das Studium generale laden zu folgendem Gastvortrag ein:

Prof. Dr. Martin Pickford (Paris)

How the Discovery of Millennium Man Changed our Thinking about Hominid Origins

Montag, 2. Juli 2007, 18.15 Uhr, Hörsaal N 3 (Muschel)

Prior to 2000, the dominant paradigms of hominid origins can be summarised as a) the African ape/human (AAH) dichotomy occurred about 5 Ma, perhaps 6 Ma for some authors, or as young as 2.5 Ma for others, b) the precursors of hominids were probably quadrupedal terrestrial apes, c) the AAH transition likely took place in the savannah, d) the last common ancestor of African apes and humans (LCA) looked like a chimpanzee (prolonged face, enlarged canines in males, knuckle-walking locomotion (black body coats)) and e) there was an australopithecine stage between the LCA and the genus Homo.
The discovery of the 6 million-year-old bipedal hominid Orrorin in the Lukeino Formation, Kenya, in 2000, in particular its femora which showed that it was fully bipedal, was bound to pose serious challenges to all these paradigms. Given that Orrorin is almost twice as old as Lucy (AL 288-01, Australopithecus antiquus) (Ferguson, 1984) and almost 2 million years older than Ardipithecus ramidus ramidus, it would be surprising if it didn’t upset the apple cart to some extent. Further studies in the Lukeino Formation reveal that most previous ideas concerning remote hominid origins outlined above need to be modified or refined. Not only their biological aspects, but also their chronological and environmental aspects require rethinking.

Selected reading
Pickford, M., 2006 - Palaeoenvironments, palaeoecology, adaptations and the origins of bipedalism in Homi¬nidae. In: H. Ishida, R. Tuttle, M. Pickford, et al. (Eds). Human Origins and Environmental Back¬grounds, pp. 175-198, Chicago, Springer. Sawada, Y., Saneyoshi, M., et al., 2006, The ages and geolo¬gical backgrounds of Miocene hominoids Nacholapithecus, Samburupithecus, and Orrorin from Kenya. In: H. Ishida, R. Tuttle, M. Pickford, N. Ogihara & M. Nakatsukasa (Eds). Human Origins and Environmental Backgrounds, pp. 175-198, USA, Springer. H. Ishida, R. Tuttle, M. Pickford, N. et al., 2006 - Human Origins and Environmental Backgrounds, 281 pp. USA, Springer. Pickford, M., 2006 Bibliography of African Cainozoic Continental Macropalaeontology. Orléans, CIFEG & UNESCO (6325 refs, no pagination).

Date of birth: 18 October 1943, Wiltshire, England
1967-1971 - Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, (BSc (Hons). 1975 - University of London, PhD.

1978-2003: Nairobi, Kenya (Kenya National Museums), Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Fellow at the University of Mainz, Germany.
Various visiting Professorships in Europe and overseas.