Paleoanthropology in the Ethiopian Highlands

Recent work in the northwestern highlands of Ethiopia by Prof. Tab Rasmussen and his colleagues has yielded a startling new fossil fauna of 27-million-year old archaic African mammals, including this superficially rhino-like beast called an arsinoithere, an extinct group of herbivores related to elephants. The new fauna illuminates early stages of mammal evolution and diversification in Africa, and will help reconstruct climates and habitats (Kappelman et al. 2003). Ape-like primates, including the ancestors of humans, were part of some archaic African faunas.

This research was recently reported in Nature.

Image by Trent L. Schindler, NSF.