Paleo-Primate Project, Mozambique

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Located at the southern edge of the Rift Valley, Gorongosa is one of the missing pieces in the puzzle of human origins. The park combines geological characteristics of East and South Africa where key evidence of human evolution has been found.

We are starting a new long-term field project – (PPP) PaleoPrimateProject Gorongosa – at one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in Africa, Gorongosa National Park. With habitats ranging from forest to grassland, and with about 200 troops of unstudied baboons, Gorongosa offers a unique opportunity for us to learn about primate adaptations to complex landscapes. The study of the non-human primates of Gorongosa will provide insights into how human ancestors adapted to similar landscapes in the past. Gorongosa is also likely to provide direct evidence of human ancestors and their adaptations. The study of living primates and the potential fossil sites provide a powerful impetus for long-term research and the establishment of a field school for students and staff at Oxford and elsewhere.