Finlayson, C. & Carrion, J. S. Rapid ecological turnover and its impact on Neanderthal and other human populations. Trends Ecol. Evol. 22, 213-222

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Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Impact Factor: 16.2). 05/2007; 22(4):213-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2007.02.001
Source: PubMed


The latter part of the last glaciation, 50,000-12,000 years ago (kya), was characterized by a rapidly changing climate, cold conditions and corresponding vegetation and faunal turnover. It also coincided with the extinction of the Neanderthals and the expansion of modern human populations. Established views of modern human superiority over Neanderthals as the cause of their extinction are under attack as recent work shows that Neanderthals were capable of behaviour that is regarded as modern. As we discuss here, the exact nature of biological and cultural interactions between Neanderthals and other human groups between 50 kya and 30 kya is currently hotly contested. The extinction of the Neanderthals, and other modern human lineages, now appears to have been a drawn-out, climate-related affair.

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Available from: José Sebastián Carrión, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "Such differences could emphasise the role of body mass and shape as well as the nutritional and climatic constraints necessary to provide an accurate picture of body composition. During the long occupation of Eurasia by Neandertals in the Late Pleistocene (van Andel and Tzedakis, 1996; van Andel and Davies, 2003), there were sustained periods of climatic cold (Aiello and Wheeler, 2003) as well as warmer periods (Finlayson and Carrion, 2007; Wales, 2012). However, during an enormous time span, Neandertals were under the selection pressure of confronting the thermal stress caused by low environmental temperatures, at least during the winter season (Steegmann et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Energetic approaches have been increasingly used to address key issues in Neandertal palaeoecology and palaeobiology. Previous research has focused exclusively on the energy requirements of adults and highlights the high energy demands of these individuals compared with modern humans. Less attention has been paid to the energy requirements of sub-adult Neandertals, even though this age group could provide clues for a better understanding of Neandertal life history. Accordingly, herein, we estimate the energy costs of maintenance and growth in Neandertal infants and children from one to six years of age and compare these costs with values for modern humans. Statural growth models for two modern human populations (Beasain and Evenki) and an average Neandertal model population are used to establish weight growth models. In turn, these models of body weight growth are used to estimate key components of energetic variables (basal metabolic rate, total energy expenditure, energy of growth and daily energy requirements). Between three and six years of age, Neandertal children have slightly lower basal and growth energy costs than do modern humans of the same age, due primarily to their smaller body mass and slower growth rates. The reduction in energy allocated to growth is likely the result of metabolic adaptations to other somatic factors and thermal stress. Data from contemporary human infants and children suggest that even mild cold stress increases non-shivering thermogenesis, thus elevating metabolic needs by 50% or more. These results suggest that thermal stress likely played a strong role in shaping the delayed developmental patterns and lower energy allocated to growth during early life in Neandertals relative to Homo sapiens.
    Journal of Human Evolution 10/2014; 77. DOI:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.09.003 · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    • "Delagnes and Rendu, 2011); -the replacement of the last Neanderthals by anatomically modern humans in Western Europe (e.g. Bocquet-Appel and Demars, 2000; d'Errico and Sánchez Goñi, 2003; van Andel and Davies, 2003; Finlayson and Carrión, 2007; Sepulchre et al., 2007; Banks et al., 2008; Morin, 2008); -the cultural innovations of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition (appearance of new lithic technologies, diversification of organic tools, emergence of symbolic behavior.) that are often considered as representative of a " behavioral modernity " (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: From MIS 5 to 3, Western Europe has seen important climate changes that shaped the environments inhabited by past human societies. As a consequence, climate is often considered as a key factor in explaining the cultural and biological events of the Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic (e.g. changes in lithic technology and mobility strategies during the Mousterian, Neanderthal extinction, emergence of “modern” behavior, onset of the Upper Paleolithic). However, the exact impact of Upper Pleistocene global climatic changes on terrestrial ecosystems is still poorly documented. Remarkably, large predators can be affected by changes in herbivore communities because they result in fluctuations of the ecosystem's carrying capacity. Paleoenvironmental reconstructions that include data on faunal dynamics are still rare, so that questions concerning human–environment interactions cannot be properly discussed.
    Quaternary International 07/2014; 337:64-79. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.07.046 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    • "As the frequency of change intensified in the Middle and Late Pleistocene the ability to respond in this manner appears to be significantly reduced and extinction dominated over speciation. In the Late Pleistocene Palaearctic we observe significant range reduction amongst warmtemperate herbivores of forested and wooded environments and concomitant range expansions of steppe-tundra herbivores (Finlayson and Carrión, 2007; Carrión et al., 2008). Once the ice receded it was the turn of the steppe-tundra species to survive in reduced geographical areas. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper deals with the so-called Middle Pleistocene revolution, that is, the transition between the Early and Middle Pleistocene between 1.2 and 0.5million years ago. Our knowledge about biotic changes during this transition has been so far largely based on studies of large mammals. Here we address the issue whether all faunal groups were equally affected. Three datasets have been used: (a) European large mammals present in the Middle and Late Pleistocene, (b) European fossil bird species recorded from the Early, Middle and Late Pleistocene of Europe, and (c) present-day birds currently classified in subfamilies that contain at least one Palaearctic representative species. Each species was allocated to all those geographical areas, climates, habitats in which it is present today; migratory status was also recorded. These datasets serve to undertake a biochronological analysis of mammal and bird groups, thus establishing patterns and processes of extinction and survival at the genus and species levels. The end of the Middle Pleistocene appears to have been a significant boundary in respect of herbivorous mammals, which suffered considerable depletion. In contrast, most genera and species of European birds in the Middle Pleistocene survived into the Late Pleistocene, even to the present day. Furthermore, at least 58% of the Middle–Pleistocene bird species were already present in the Early Pleistocene record. The most successful survivors in the Palaearctic Pleistocene were species from genera that had been the most climatically-tolerant during the late Cenozoic, usually from speciose and widely-distributed genera. We conclude that major transitions in Earth history have leant largely on biochronology and the perceived turnovers of faunas. Boundaries have usually depended heavily on changes to specific taxa of organisms. In this paper we show that what may appear as epic boundaries are largely scale- and taxon-dependent. Their usefulness must therefore be open to question. Here we advocate an individualistic and taxon specific approach in understanding the major ecological changes that have marked the history organisms.
    Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 10/2013; 329-330:1-9. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.04.002 · 2.34 Impact Factor
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