Reconstruction of the palaeoenvironment in which faunal evolution occurred is a focus of ongoing research, with a strong emphasis on the early human history. Numerous studies, applying different methods, have documented the impact of longterm environmental change on the evolution of hominids with a regional focus on East African sites in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania (e.g., Wesselman, 1985; Cerling and Hay, 1986; Cerling et al., 1988; Cerling, 1992; Plummer and Bishop, 1994; Sikes, 1994; Behrensmeyer et al., 1997; de Heinzelin et al., 1999; Sikes et al., 1999; Wynn, 2000; Levin et al., 2004 and 2011; Ségalen et al., 2007; Cerling et al., 2011; Magill et al., 2012a and 2012b; Feakins et al., 2013). Plio-Pleistocene sediments in the Karonga-Chilumba

area in northern Malawi are located in the south of the East African Rift System (EARS; see Figure 1) between the ‘classical’ eastern and southern African hominid localities. Therefore, the study area fills an important spatial gap for understanding the development of our early ancestors in a time during substantial junctures in human evolution. Field relationships, sediment characteristics and heavy minerals (HM) were

analyzed to gain information about palaeoecological and palaeoclimatic conditions during deposition of the Chiwondo Beds.