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Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has a great diversity of programs and intersecting disciplines, with faculty and students studying in fields such as Tectonics, Geophysics, Atmospheric Dynamics and Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Biogeochemistry, Climate Change, Severe Weather, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology, Data Science, and many other areas. We are committed to strategic initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion, Education, Interconnections between the Earth’s interior and surface, climate and sustainability, planetary exploration and spacecraft missions, and the development of emerging fields of study.

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Early human fossils found in cave are a million years older than expected

CNN — Fossils of early human ancestors from a South African cave are 3.4 million to 3.6 million years old – making them a million years older than previously suspected and shaking up the way researchers understand human origins and evolution. This new date makes the Sterkfontein Cave fossils older than the famed Lucy fossil (also known as Dinkinesh) from Ethiopia. Found in 1979, Lucy represented the species Australopithecus afarensis and lived 3.2 million years ago. “Sterkfontein has more Australopithecus fossils than anywhere else in the world,” said lead study author Darryl Granger, professor of Purdue EAPS.

'Cradle of Humankind' Fossils Are 1 Million Years Older Than We Thought, Scientists Say

Scientists, led by Darryl Granger of Purdue EAPS, have used the signatures of particles from outer space to discover that the bones of early human ancestors found in the “Cradle of Humankind,” a major fossil site in South Africa, are one million years older than previously assumed. This suggests that the progenitors to humans lived in this area between 3.4 to 3.6 million years ago, reports a new study.

Fossils in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ may be more than a million years older than previously thought

The earth doesn’t give up its secrets easily – not even in the “Cradle of Humankind” in South Africa, where a wealth of fossils relating to human evolution have been found. For decades, scientists have studied these fossils of early human ancestors and their long-lost relatives. Now, a dating method developed by Purdue University geologist Darryl Granger just pushed the age of some of these fossils found at the site of Sterkfontein Caves back more than a million years. This would make them older than Dinkinesh, also called Lucy, the world’s most famous Australopithecus fossil.

A “fake Mars” on the Purdue campus yields ORAU award for EAPS professor

Dr. Ali Bramson, Assistant Professor for Purdue EAPS, has been awarded an Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award for her planetary research focusing on Mars. This award, which provides funds to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty, recognizes a faculty member’s work in any of five sciences and technology disciplines: engineering/applied science, life sciences, mathematics/computer science, physical sciences, and policy/management/education.

Leading ‘instrumental’ research on Mars: Purdue EAPS welcomes new faculty member Roger Wiens

The Purdue University Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) welcomes Professor Roger Wiens to a growing list of faculty who passionately pursue planetary science. Wiens brings with him an extensive list of accomplishments which he acquired while working for NASA at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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