Tyler Faith

Tyler Faith
University of Utah | UOU · Department of Anthropology

PhD

About

174
Publications
74,202
Reads
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3,879
Citations
Citations since 2016
116 Research Items
2996 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
July 2017 - July 2022
Natural History Museum of Utah
Position
  • Curator of Archaeology
Education
September 2005 - June 2011
George Washington University
Field of study
  • Hominid Paleobiology

Publications

Publications (174)
Article
A central goal of paleoanthropology is understanding the role of ecological change in hominin evolution. Over the past several decades researchers have expanded the hominin fossil record and assembled detailed late Cenozoic paleoclimatic, paleoenvironmental, and paleoecological archives. However, effective use of these data is precluded by the limi...
Article
Significance Testing ecological hypotheses of human evolution requires an understanding of the ancient plant and animal communities within which our ancestors lived. Though present-day ecosystems provide the baseline for reconstructing the ecological context of human evolution, the extent to which modern ecosystems are representative of past ones i...
Article
Full-text available
Megaherbivore extinctions in Africa Human ancestors have been proposed as drivers of extinctions of Africa's diverse large mammal communities. Faith et al. challenge this view with an analysis of eastern African herbivore communities spanning the past ∼7 million years (see the Perspective by Bobe and Carvalho). Megaherbivores (for example, elephant...
Article
A growing body of literature proposes that our ancestors contributed to large mammal extinctions in Africa long before the appearance of Homo sapiens, with some arguing that premodern hominins (e.g., Homo erectus) triggered the demise of Afri-ca's largest herbivores and the loss of carnivoran diversity. Though such arguments have been around for de...
Article
Full-text available
The blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) is the only large African mammal species to have become extinct in historical times, yet no nuclear genomic information is available for this species. A recent study showed that many alleged blue antelope museum specimens are either roan (H. equinus) or sable (H. niger) antelopes, further reducing the pos...
Article
Full-text available
El Niño has profound influences on ecosystem dynamics. However, we know little about how it shapes vertebrate faunal community composition over centennial time scales, and this limits our ability to forecast change under projections of future El Niño events. On the basis of correlations between geological records of past El Niño frequency and the s...
Article
Globally, fire is a primary agent for modifying environments through the long-term coupling of human and natural systems. In southern Africa, control of fire by humans has been documented since the late Middle Pleistocene, though it is unclear when or if anthropogenic burning led to fundamental shifts in the region's fire regimes. To identify poten...
Preprint
Full-text available
The blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) is the only large African mammal species to have become extinct in historical times, yet no nuclear genomic information is available for this species. A recent study showed that many alleged blue antelope museum specimens are either roan (H. equinus) or sable (H. niger) antelopes, further reducing the pos...
Article
Full-text available
Biotic homogenization—increasing similarity of species composition among ecological communities—has been linked to anthropogenic processes operating over the last century. Fossil evidence, however, suggests that humans have had impacts on ecosystems for millennia. We quantify biotic homogenization of North American mammalian assemblages during the...
Chapter
Humans evolved in the dynamic landscapes of Africa under conditions of pronounced climatic, geological and environmental change during the past 7 million years. This book brings together detailed records of the paleontological and archaeological sites in Africa that provide the basic evidence for understanding the environments in which we evolved....
Preprint
Full-text available
The blue antelope ( Hippotragus leucophaeus ) is the only large African mammal to have become extinct in historical times, yet no nuclear genomic information is available for this species. A recent study showed that many alleged blue antelope museum specimens are either roan ( H. equinus ) or sable ( H. niger ) antelopes, further reducing the possi...
Article
Full-text available
The late Holocene was a period of cultural change along the west coast of South Africa, with widespread archaeological evidence for shifts in settlement patterns and economic activity. With these changes, we expect variability in the movement patterns of resident populations. In this proof-of-concept paper, we use lithic assemblages from Spring Cav...
Article
The archaeological record of Late Pleistocene Africa is characterized by behavioral diversity and change, notably the technological shift from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) to Later Stone Age (LSA). Recent research shows the MSA-LSA transition was a spatially and temporally complex process. Understanding this transition requires a composite record of...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Many quintessential human traits (e.g., larger brains) first appear in Homo erectus . The evolution of these traits is commonly linked to a major dietary shift involving increased consumption of animal tissues. Early archaeological sites preserving evidence of carnivory predate the appearance of H. erectus , but larger, well-preserved...
Article
Seasonal diet shifts and migration are key components of large herbivore population dynamics, but we lack a systematic understanding of how these behaviours are distributed on a macroecological scale. The prevalence of seasonal strategies is likely related to herbivore body size and feeding guild, and may also be influenced by properties of the env...
Article
Extinctions and grassland fire Grassland herbivores are known to play a role in limiting wildfires by consuming potentially flammable material. Karp et al . present evidence that that herbivore-fire interactions affected fire on a global scale in the past. They compared the severity of late Quaternary continent-level megaherbivore extinctions with...
Article
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Our paper about the impacts of the Laschamps Geomagnetic Excursion 42,000 years ago has provoked considerable scientific and public interest, particularly in the so-called Adams Event associated with the initial transition of the magnetic poles. Although we welcome the opportunity to discuss our new ideas, Hawks’ assertions of misrepresentation are...
Article
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Our study on the exact timing and the potential climatic, environmental, and evolutionary consequences of the Laschamps Geomagnetic Excursion has generated the hypothesis that geomagnetism represents an unrecognized driver in environmental and evolutionary change. It is important for this hypothesis to be tested with new data, and encouragingly, no...
Article
The Koora Basin (south Kenya Rift) preserves a continental, tropical, one-million-year record of environmental change driven by global climate, regional tectonism and volcanism. Diatom-based reconstructions from Olorgesailie Drilling Project (ODP) cores indicate lakes that expanded and contracted with conductivities ranging between ∼200 and > 25,00...
Preprint
Full-text available
The flora of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR) of South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot of global significance, and its archaeological record has contributed substantially to the understanding of modern human origins. For both reasons, the climate and vegetation history of south-western South Africa is of interest to numerous fields. Curren...
Article
Herbivory is a key process structuring vegetation in savannas, especially in Africa where large mammal herbivore communities remain intact. Exclusion experiments consistently show that herbivores impact savanna vegetation, but effect size variation has resisted explanation, limiting our understanding of the past, present, and future roles of herbiv...
Article
Full-text available
African forest hogs (genus Hylochoerus) are extant Afro-tropical suids that inhabit a variety of forest environments and thick bushlands and are predominantly herbivores. Hylochoerus likely evolved from a Pleistocene Kolpochoerus majus-like ancestor, but its recent evolutionary history is virtually unknown. Here, we describe a partial right lower t...
Article
Modern human evolution in Africa over the last ∼300 kyr is complex, with a variety of behavioral and biological changes appearing at different times and places. Explaining this pattern, as well as its relationship to paleoenvironmental circumstances, requires chronological and stratigraphic control of the paleoanthropological record. This study emp...
Article
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Reversing the field Do terrestrial geomagnetic field reversals have an effect on Earth's climate? Cooper et al. created a precisely dated radiocarbon record around the time of the Laschamps geomagnetic reversal about 41,000 years ago from the rings of New Zealand swamp kauri trees. This record reveals a substantial increase in the carbon-14 content...
Article
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Supplementary Material for 'A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago' Geological archives record multiple reversals of Earth’s magnetic poles, but the global impacts of these events, if any, remain unclear. Uncertain radiocarbon calibration has limited investigation of the potential effects of the last major magnetic inversion, known as the...
Article
Despite advances in our understanding of the geographic and temporal scope of the Paleolithic record, we know remarkably little about the evolutionary and ecological consequences of changes in human behavior. Recent inquiries suggest that human evolution reflects a long history of interconnections between the behavior of humans and their surroundin...
Article
Grevy's zebra (Equus grevyi) has been reported from fossil sites spanning the past 2.3 Myr and covering a wide geographic range. However, no currently published reports dating to >200 ka can be confidently attributed to E. grevyi, with most specimens better allocated to another taxon or lacking diagnostic characteristics aligning them with E. grevy...
Article
Stone tools represent the largest source of information about past human behaviors on the planet. Much of the information about stone tools remains untranslated because we have little understanding about what the variation in artifact form means. One component of stone tool production that has less ambiguity is the reductive nature of the technolog...
Article
Full-text available
Native to southern Africa, the blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) is the only large African mammal species known to have become extinct in historical times. However, it was poorly documented prior to its extinction ~ 1800 AD, and many of the small number of museum specimens attributed to it are taxonomically contentious. This places limitation...
Article
Rusingoryx atopocranion is an extinct alcelaphin bovid from the late Pleistocene of Kenya, known for its distinctive hollow nasal crest. A bonebed of R. atopocranion from the Lake Victoria Basin provides a unique opportunity to examine the nearly complete postcranial ecomorphology of an extinct species, and yields data that are important to studyin...
Article
We report on the Late Pleistocene (36-12 ka) mammals from Kibogo in the Nyanza Rift of western Kenya, providing (1) a systematic description of the mammal remains, (2) an assessment of their paleoenvironmental implications, and (3) an analysis of the biogeographic implications of non-analog species associations. Kibogo has yielded one of the larges...
Article
The Pleistocene ungulate communities from the western coastal plains of South Africa's Cape Floristic Region (CFR) are diverse and dominated by grazers, in contrast to the region's Holocene and historical faunas, which are relatively species-poor and dominated by small-bodied browsers and mixed feeders. An expansion of grassy habitats is clearly im...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent renewed interest in using fossil data to understand how biotic interactions have shaped the evolution of life is challenging the widely held assumption that long-term climate changes are the primary drivers of biodiversity change. New approaches go beyond traditional richness and co-occurrence studies to explicitly model biotic interactions...
Article
Full-text available
Although climate change is considered to have been a large-scale driver of African human evolution, landscape scale shifts in ecological resources that may have shaped novel hominin adaptations are rarely investigated. We use well-dated, high-resolution, drill-core datasets to understand ecological dynamics associated with a major adaptive transiti...
Article
In 2010, a hominin right humerus fragment (KNM-RU 58330) was surface collected in a small gully at Nyamita North in the Late Pleistocene Wasiriya Beds of Rusinga Island, Kenya. A combination of stratigraphic and geochronological evidence suggests the specimen is likely between ∼49 and 36 ka in age. The associated fauna is diverse and dominated by s...
Article
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Lithic miniaturization is a multivariate and evolutionarily significant technological phenomenon involving backed tools, bladelets, small retouched tools, flakes, and small cores. This paper investigates the proximate causes for variability in lithic miniaturization processes during Marine Isotope Stage 2 (c. 29–12 ka) in southern Africa. We test t...
Article
Late Quaternary micromammals and the precipitation history of the southern Cape, South Africa: response to comments by F. Thackeray, Quaternary Research 95, 154–156 - Volume 95 - J. Tyler Faith, Brian M. Chase, D. Margaret Avery
Chapter
Full-text available
As recently as ~50,000 years ago, a great diversity of large-bodied mammalian herbivores (species >44 kg) occupied nearly all of Earth’s terrestrial realms. Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of these species had disappeared by the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary ~11,700 years ago, either from human impacts, climate change, or some comb...
Article
The effects of precipitation changes on tropical East African ecosystems and human populations is poorly understood due to the complex interplay between global and regional processes and missing data from key regions and time periods. We generate a water-budget model for Lake Victoria, the largest tropical lake in the world, the source of the White...
Article
Full-text available
Drivers of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions are relevant to modern conservation policy in a world of growing human population density, climate change, and faunal decline. Traditional debates tend toward global solutions, blaming either dramatic climate change or dispersals of Homo sapiens to new regions. Inherent limitations to archaeological...
Article
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We measured δ¹³Cenamel and δ¹⁸Oenamel in 213 archaeological bovid teeth from Nelson Bay Cave (NBC), spanning the last 22 ka. We also recorded dental mesowear (occlusal relief [high versus low] and cusp shape [sharp, round, or blunt]) of all maxillary first and second molars from NBC. We use these values to explore glacial/interglacial shifts in bov...
Article
Full-text available
Extinction leads to restructuring By most accounts, human activities are resulting in Earth's sixth major extinction event, and large-bodied mammals are among those at greatest risk. Loss of such vital ecosystem components can have substantial impacts on the structure and function of ecological systems, yet fully understanding these effects is chal...
Article
Obtaining precise and accurate dates for late Quaternary terrestrial sequences containing Middle Stone Age or Middle Paleolithic archaeological materials (ca. 30e300 ka) can be challenging. Many such sequences lie beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating (~50 ka) and lack volcanic ashes suitable for 40Ar/39Ar dating. We report a dating approach with...
Article
Ecometric analysis involves the examination of quantifiable functional traits across the taxa in a biotic community. Well-documented relationships between certain functional traits and environmental gradients in the present provide the empirical framework for a large body of research that uses ecometrics to reconstruct environments in the fossil re...
Book
Paleozoology and Paleoenvironments outlines the reconstruction of ancient climates, floras, and habitats on the basis of animal fossil remains recovered from archaeological and paleontological sites. In addition to outlining the ecological fundamentals and analytical assumptions attending such analyzes, J. Tyler Faith and R. Lee Lyman describe and...
Article
The southern Cape of South Africa is important to understanding regional climate because it straddles the transition between the winter and summer rainfall zones. We examine late Quaternary changes in rainfall seasonality and aridity through analysis of micromammal assemblages from three sites: Boomplaas Cave and Nelson Bay Cave in the aseasonal ra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Middle to Later Stone Age (MSA-­-LSA) transition in Eastern Africa (variably ~60-­-30 ka) has been linked to cooler, drier environments with greater short-­-term variability, but precisely dated local environmental records from archaeological contexts are needed to test this hypothesis. Ostrich eggshell (OES) fragments are commonly found in Afr...
Article
Full-text available
Zooarchaeologists frequently measure taxonomic evenness to document subsistence change and to understand the response of faunal communities to paleoenvironmental change. Although the measurement of evenness is commonplace, there are numerous challenges involved. Evenness indices are sensitive to changing richness, and by extension sample size, and...