Conclusions

There is a copious and informative fossil record of soils at most of the fossil ape and human ancestor sites in Africa, and study of these paleosols is now giving important insights into the long evolutionary career of our ancestors. The primate evolutionary radiation of the Neogene has been a long saga of changing habitats and adaptations. The fossil record of soils now allows us to address its complexity on a scale appropriate to primate home ranges and to recognize nonanalog habitats of the past. Our ancestors have run an evolutionary gauntlet of changing climate and vegetation that have spawned many evolutionary innovations, some of them lasting only to the next shift in climate and vegetation, but others of them proven to be of lasting value.

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