Eyasi Plateau Paleontological Expedition, Laetoli (Tanzania) fossil specimen database 1998-2005

The Eyasi Plateau Paleontological Expedition (EPPE) Laetoli specimen database contains 13716 records of plant and animal fossils (ca. 28248 specimens) collected by EPPE field teams working at Laetoli, Tanzania between 1998 and 2005. This dataset is a digital version of the original hard-copy specimen catalogue and it documents the discovery, stratigraphic provenience and taxonomic diversity of Pliocene and Pleistocene fauna and flora in northern Tanzania in the time range between 4.4 Ma and >200 ka. Laetoli is renowned for the discovery of important hominin fossils, including the lectotype for Australopithecus afarensis, one of our early hominin ancestors, the first record of Paranthropus aethiopicus outside Kenya-Ethiopia, and an early record of our own species Homo sapiens. This database is one of the few publicly available palaeoanthropological fossil datasets and serves as an example for expanding open access to primary fossil occurrence data in palaeoanthropology. The taxonomic identifications appearing in this dataset are the original field identifications and are provisional. Any taxonomic analysis employing this dataset should refer to updated taxonomic identifications published by specialists.