Evaluating the relationships between climate, the environment, and human traits is a key part of human origins research because changes in Earth's atmosphere, oceans, landscapes, and ecosystems over the past 10 Myr shaped the selection pressures experienced by early humans. In Africa, these relationships have been influenced by a combination of high-latitude ice distributions, sea surface temperatures, and low-latitude orbital forcing that resulted in large oscillations in vegetation and moisture availability that were modulated by local basin dynamics. The importance of both climate and tectonics in shaping African landscapes means that integrated views of the ecological, environmental, and tectonic histories of a region are necessary in order to understand the relationships between climate and human evolution.


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