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Lithic technology of anatomically modern humans
What were the technology and behaviors of our species before its ultimately successful global dispersal during the Late Pleistocene? What role did these play in such critical evolutionary events? As it stands, investigating whether complex technological and behavioral innovations triggered/enabled the dispersal of modern humans within and out of Africa requires data from new excavations (as well as nuanced analyses of available assemblages) spanning the Late Pleistocene. In collaboration with Ethiopian-based archaeologist Dr. Yonas Beyene, Dr. Yonatan Sahle currently studies one of the few assemblages in the region found in association with early anatomically modern human fossils. Recent excavations in Late Pleistocene contexts at Halibee (Middle Awash, Ethiopia) have recovered thousands of such artifacts.

Field explorations in the Afar Rift region of Ethiopia
In addition to known sites, Sahle is also conducting exploration of additional Late Pleistocene occurrences in the Afar Rift and adjoining escarpments. These explorations promise a more detailed understanding of the context in which technological and behavioral patterns that are considered complex and “enabling” evolved in a region critical to our understanding of modern human origins.