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Lothagam [Hardcover]

Meave G. Leakey , John M. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

February 15, 2003 0231118708 978-0231118705

Located at the southwest corner of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, Lothagam represents one of the most important intervals in African prehistory. Early human remains are restricted in distribution to Africa and the acquisition of an upright bipedal striding gait, the hallmark of humanity, appears to be at least circumstantially linked to the reduction of equatorial forests and the spread of grasslands on that continent. The diverse Lothagam fauna documents the end-Miocene transition from forested to more open habitats that were exploited by grazing horses and antelopes, hippos, giant pigs, and true elephants. It also includes spectacularly complete fossil carnivore skeletons and some of the oldest human remains.

Enlisting a team of highly qualified specialists, this book provides the geologic context and dating framework for the Lothagam fossiliferous sequences, describes the immense diversity of vertebrate fossils recovered from the Late Miocene and Early Pliocene sediments, and synthesizes the results to interpret the changing paleoenvironments that prevailed at this site. The book will interest anthropologists, paleontologists, geologists, and anyone interested in human origins.

Editorial Reviews


This well-organized, well-written treatise provides an important resource, both for raw data and its interpretation... The quality of the work described in this volume is top notch, and the data presented will be an important resource for paleontologists for years to come... Lothagam: The Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa is destined to become a classic.

(Peter Ungar, University of Arkansas The Quarterly Review of Biology)

Excellent editors' summary of fauna, environments, and comparisons with contemporaneous assemblages across Africa and Eurasia; beautiful and scholarly reconstructions of individual species and landscapes.


This volume elevates Lothagam to the high status it deserves as a detailed window...I recommend this book to anyone interested in continental records from this time.

(Catherine Badgley Journal of Paleontology)

Meave Leakey and co-author John Harris have edited and written a magnificent multiauthored, paleontological study... A wonderful window onto this important time.

(Gil Hermann Fossil News)

About the Author

Meave Leakey, formerly head of the Division of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya, has recently been in the news as the leader of the team that discovered the new hominid Kenyanthropus platyops, dating from 3.2-3.5 million years ago.

John M. Harris, also formerly head of the Division of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya, is Chief Curator and Head of Vertebrate Programs at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (February 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231118708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231118705
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,001,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lothagam December 30, 2009
By V. Ward
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent volume with plenty of information and excellent illustrations. A must have for any paleontology collector.
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