Africa

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Ancient Humans Left Africa to Escape Drying Climate, Says Study

Ancient humans migrated out of Africa to escape a drying climate, says a new study—a finding that contradicts previous suggestions that ancient people were able to leave because a then-wet climate allowed them to cross the generally arid Horn of Africa and Middle East.

by |October 5, 2017
Despite a strict ban on ivory trafficking in NY, these pieces were found for sale in 2016.

Fighting Ivory Trafficking with Forensic Science

Last week, just days before Central Park’s big Ivory Crush, a Lamont-Doherty geochemist and his colleague sawed off samples of the confiscated ivory for DNA testing and radiocarbon dating. Their results could determine where and when each elephant was killed—which could help catch the poachers responsible.

by |August 11, 2017
Africa's Sahel region could suddenly get far more rainfall as global warming proceeds, says a new study. Here, farmers in Mali, one of the countries potentially affected, harvest okra. (Francesco Fiondella/International Research Institute for Climate and Society)

Warming Climate Could Abruptly Increase Rain in Africa’s Sahel

Climate change could turn one of Africa’s driest regions wet, according to a new study. Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change in the Sahel, a region long characterized by aridity and political instability. In the study, just published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, the authors detected a self-amplifying… read more

by |July 5, 2017
Photo Credit: Leo Douglas

Students Design Communications Plan for Conservation Organization

Students in the MPA Environmental Science and Policy program consulted with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to create a strategic communications plan, raising awareness of elephant and rhino conservation efforts.

by |May 23, 2017
Elephant ivory confiscated in the bust.

Student Writing Project Exposes NYC’s Illegal Ivory Trade

For a term project, Wendy Hapgood, MSSM ’16, investigated the possible illegal sale of ivory at shops in Manhattan. She found evidence for the largest ivory bust in New York state history.

by |March 29, 2017
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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2017 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and other subjects with direct applications to the challenges facing humanity.

by |March 6, 2017
18334609 - african savanna landscape, namibia, south africa

Green Sahara’s Ancient Rainfall Regime Revealed

Rainfall patterns in the Sahara during the six-thousand-year “Green Sahara” period have been revealed by analyzing marine sediments, according to new research.

by |January 18, 2017
soildoc video snip

Linking Climate Forecasts, Soil Testing for Smarter Farming

A new project combines cutting edge climate science and mobile soil labs for African farmers and service providers.

by |July 12, 2016
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Photo Essay: Seeking Humanity’s Roots

East Africa’s rift valley is considered by many to be the cradle of humanity. In the Turkana region of northwest Kenya, researchers Christopher Lepre and Tanzhuo Liu of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are cooperating with colleagues to study questions of human evolution, from the creation of the earliest stone tools to climate swings that have affected developing civilizations.

by |June 8, 2016
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Seeking Humanity’s Roots

Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.

by |June 8, 2016