DFG RU BaleExile | Publication in Science

 · 1 min read

In the News

Our DFG Research Unit BaleExile made ground breaking news by discovering the world’s earliest High Mountain occupation at the Fincha Habera rock shelter in 3850 m a.s.l. Middle Stone Age foragers intruded and occupied the Bale Mountains between 47,000-31,000 years BP and are thus among the earliest records of humans using resources of an alpine and glaciated ecosystem world-wide. These results refute the common perception of a late intrusion into alpine ecosystems.

After publication of these results in the August 9th edition of Science, international media broadly reported about these findings - e.g. in the New York Times, Der Spiegel, and CNN.

The future challenge for Research Unit 2358 is to investigate if the afroalpine ecosystem of the Bale Mountains is a fire-managed Middle Stone Age cultural heritage or a largely natural microclimatic and edaphic pattern as result of Holocene paludification or/and desiccation.

Project Background

The interdisziplinary DFG Research Unit 2358 aims at i) reconstructing the natural and the anthropogenic history especially the onset of the afroalpine Anthropocene in space and time, ii) determining the drivers and processes of environmental change and to quantify their impacts from the molecular to the landscape scale including abiotic factors (climatic change, geomorphological / geological processes, fire), biotic factors (landscape engineering animals) and the human impact, and iii) determining the magnitude of human induced long-term ecological and evolutionary changes both at a landscape level and on keystone plant and animal species and associated organisms at various trophic levels.

After our successfull first phase the German research council granted a second phase until the end of 2021. My lab will lead C2 Central Scientific Services and Synthesis coordinating all genomic analyses including ancient DNA analyses as well as P3 Ecology, Paleoecology and Evolutionary Ecology.