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Department of Archaeology


Our understanding of the origins of our species, Homo sapiens, has undergone a major shift. New fossils, dates and genomic studies have consolidated our African origin. Yet, they also indicate a deeper past, involving multiple events. These events stretch to nearly three quarters of a million years ago (Ma), and take the problem of modern human origins into an entirely different climatic and ecological context. From 1.4 Ma, climate dynamics changed, initiating a 1 million-year period known as the Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition, or EMPT, during which, besides greater climatic variability, there was a prolonged arid phase, profoundly affecting African environments. By the end of the EMPT, the structure of the large mammal community in East Africa had changed significantly. The first modern humans are part of this change. The recognition of this older, drier context for the evolution of our species drives NG’IPALAJEM. Our aim is that NG’IPALAJEM will bring a new understanding of how the evolution of our species is part of a broader and longer African evolutionary landscape.

Further information can be found here

Team Members
  • Marta Mirazon Lahr
  • Robert Foley
  • Marina Zafra Granados
  • Carlo Mologni
  • Juliën Kavish Lubeek
  • Chris-Alexander Plastiras
  • Philip Hopley


Project Tags

Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Human Evolution
Biological Anthropology
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