PRAT Sandrine – INEE UMR 7194 – HNHP PaléoFED – MNHN, Paris –

Sandrine PRAT

CNRS senior Researcher

MNHN, Paris


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My research focuses on the morphological diversity of Pliocene hominins and the emergence of our genus (the genus Homo) from a taxonomic and phylogenetic perspective, the relationship between hominins and material culture, and the dynamics of settlement both between East Africa and South Africa, and outside the Africa. The chronological framework of my research extends from 3.5 to 1.5 million years ago.

I develop a bioarchaeological field approach, linking morphology, function, cultural and subsistence behaviors and paleoenvironmental data. Since 1998, I have been involved in the West Turkana Archaeological Project (dir. H. Roche then S. Harmand) where we are conducting fieldwork in the Nachukui Formation, west of Lake Turkana in Kenya. This region of the East African Rift (EAR), by its richness (in number of sites) and its chronological distribution (from more than 3 million years to 700,000 years) is remarkable for multidisciplinary research concerning paleo-environments, hominin diversity (evolution and variability) and their techno-economic behaviors. I also focus on testing the importance of the EAR, as a lithospheric tear and biodiversity catalyst, in (1) adaptation of hominins to their environment (by assessing the relationship between environmental modifications, hydrological changes and hominin biodiversity), (2) their mode of expansion and (3) whether the EAR was a barrier to this diversity and to the mobility of past populations by studying the variability within the same taxon on a local (Turkana Basin, Kenya) and regional (East Africa (in EAR) / South Africa (outside EAR)) scales.

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