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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    • "During MIS3, approximately ten Dansgaard/Oeschger cycles (GI 14 to 3) and three Heinrich Events (H5 to H3) have been identified. The extreme variability of these periods and the questions raised by archaeological research into the extinction of the Neanderthals and their substitution by Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) (D'Errico and S anchez Go~ ni, 2003; Mellars, 2004; Van Andel and Davies, 2004; Stewart, 2005; Finlayson and Carri on, 2007; Higham et al., 2014; among others) have stimulated particular interest in MIS3. This is the cultural and climatic context of the late Pleistocene (Middle to Upper Palaeolithic) archaeological sequence of Fumane cave (in the northeastern region of Italy). "
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    ABSTRACT: Fumane cave, located at an altitude of 350 m.a.s.l. in the Monti Lessini in the Veneto Pre-Alps, northeastern Italy, is a reference site for southern Europe for the study of the behaviour of Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) from Marine Isotope Stages 5 to 2 (MIS5-MIS2). It is one of the few well-dated and closely studied sites in the Italian Peninsula, with a finely layered sedimentary sequence from the Mousterian to Gravettian. In this paper we present for the first time a palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction of the MIS3 and MIS2 sequence based on the small mammal (insectivore, bat and rodent) assemblages. The environmental and climatic results, coupled with the radiocarbon dating together with previous studies on large mammals, birds and charcoal and other studies on small mammals and pollen for the same time-span in Italy, enable us clearly to identify distinct climatic periods within our data: Heinrich Event 5 in units A7 to A6, Greenland Interstadial 12 in units A5 + A6 to A4, Heinrich Event 4 in units A3 to A1, and Heinrich Event 3 in unit D1e. Finally, the study shows that Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans were well adapted to the different climatic and environmental conditions of MIS3 at the foot of the Alps.
    Quaternary Science Reviews 11/2015; 128:1-13. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.09.013 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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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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