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Last Neanderthals and first Anatomically Modern Humans in the NW Iberian Peninsula: Climatic and environmental conditions inferred from the Cova Eirós small-vertebrate assemblage during MIS 3

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... Regarding the values obtained in the present work, all the methods point to a colder scenario for the past than nowadays, which is in accordance with other smallmammal studies for the second third of the Late Pleistocene (L opez-García and Cuenca-Besc os, 2010; L opez-García, 2011; L opez- García et al., 2011aGarcía et al., , 2011bGarcía et al., , 2012aGarcía et al., , 2012bGarcía et al., , 2013García et al., , 2014García et al., , 2015Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Fern andez-García et al., 2018). Moreover, in general, wetter conditions than today are indicated, which is also in accordance with the above-cited works. ...
... As set forth in numerous works, the late Middle Pleistocene to Late Pleistocene of Iberia is characterized by a wetter and colder climate than at present in the areas around the sites under study, the subsistence of Neanderthals being linked mainly to open woodland formations (L opez-García and Cuenca-Besc os, 2010;L opez-García et al., 2011aL opez-García et al., , 2011bL opez-García et al., , 2012aL opez-García et al., , 2012bL opez-García et al., , 2013L opez-García et al., , 2014L opez-García et al., , 2015Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Fern andez-García et al., 2018) (Table 11). ...
... However, a standardization of the methods applied for the different sites is needed in order to provide comparable results. Table 11 Values for MAT ( C) and MAP (mm) for the sites Abric del Pastor, Abric Romaní (this work), Arbreda, Canyars, Cova Eir os, Cueva del Conde, El Salt, Galls Carboners, Teixoneres, and Cova dels Xaragalls (L opez- García et al., 2012aGarcía et al., , 2012bGarcía et al., , 2013García et al., , 2014García et al., , 2015García et al., , 2022aFagoaga et al., 2018Fagoaga et al., , 2019aFagoaga et al., , 2019bFagoaga, 2020;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). DMAT and DMAP show the differences between values from the different layers and the current values for the area where the site is located. ...
... Compared to other MIS 3 Iberian archaeological sites (Abric Romaní, L'Arbreda Cave, Canyars, Teixoneres, Cova dels Xaragalls, Cova del Gegant, Goram's Cave and Cova Eirós) (López- García et al., 2008Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016), available palaeoenvironmental data are in agreement with our results: landscapes were dominated by open-forest formations in all cases. Overall, previous research has led to interpretation of NE Iberia MIS 3 palaeoenvironments featuring a transition from more forested conditions at the beginning of this period to more open and colder environments towards the end (López- . ...
... Tabla 12. Yacimientos ibéricos, niveles y su asignación climática, de cronología similar a las Unidades de los yacimientos estudiados. Los valores de temperatura media anual (MAT) y precipitación media anual (MAP), obtenidos a través del MER se muestran solamente para aquellos yacimientos disponibles (López- García et al., 2011aGarcía et al., , 2011b, 2015Fernández-García y López-García, 2013;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016 Para la Unidad V superior, más moderna y datada alrededor de 45 ka, los resultados obtenidos del estudio de su fauna de micromamíferos arrojan como resultado que las temperaturas son algo superiores a las de la Unidad X, aunque se mantienen bastante más frías que en la actualidad (Tabla 11). En cuanto a las precipitaciones, las inferidas para la Unidad V superior también son mayores que las registradas hoy en día, pero inferiores a las de la Unidad X. Dentro de la Unidad V y para los levantamientos estudiados es posible observar una tendencia, aunque sutil, hacia temperaturas medias más cálidas, unas mínimas del mes más frío más bajas, temperaturas máximas más cálidas para el mes más cálido y una menor pluviosidad, lo que se traduce en un clima más árido y continental (Figura 45c). ...
... El análisis climático a partir de los pequeños mamíferos (MER, Modelo Bioclimático, UDA-ODA discrimination methodology) de varios yacimientos de la península para el segundo tercio del Pleistoceno Superior, siempre muestra un clima más lluvioso y frío que el actualmente presente en las diferentes áreas donde están ubicados (López- López-García, 2011a, 2011b, 2014b, 2015Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;) (Tabla 12). Para el área mediterránea, durante los eventos fríos H5, H4 y H3, las precipitaciones anuales y las temperaturas mínimas del mes más frío serían 400 mm y entre 6 y 13 ºC inferiores a las actuales, respectivamente (Sánchez-Goñi y d 'Errico 2005). ...
Thesis
La caracterización del contexto climático pasado, así como sus mecanismos de cambio constituyen uno de los mayores retos en la prehistoria, siendo necesario su conocimiento para entender la dispersión y la extinción de los grupos humanos pretéritos. La historia climática del Cuaternario ha sido inferida a partir de múltiples evidencias. Las reconstrucciones a gran escala aportan información muy valiosa para conocer el contexto global, pero son necesarias aproximaciones a pequeña escala, cercanas a los yacimientos con evidencias humanas, para precisar las condiciones de los ecosistemas. Concretamente, los pequeños mamíferos y sobre todo los roedores constituyen importantes herramientas en las aproximaciones climáticas y ambientales, debido a que presentan requerimientos ecológicos precisos. El cambio climático constituye una de las hipótesis planteadas para la extinción de los neandertales. Diferentes registros y modelizaciones muestran cambios significativos en la precipitación y en las temperaturas, que según algunos autores debieron influir en los patrones de asentamiento, las estrategias de subsistencia y la demografía de los grupos neandertales y humanos anatómicamente modernos. Los avances metodológicos y las últimas investigaciones apuntan a un evento diacrónico, a un proceso de desaparición regional en diferentes momentos para los neandertales ibéricos coincidente con un cambio climático global. Los yacimientos de El Salt y Abric del Pastor (Alcoi, Alicante) se presentan como claros referentes en la región sureste de la península ibérica para abordar esta cuestión. En estos yacimientos, el estudio de las faunas de mayor tamaño y los enfoques zooarqueológicos han recibido una mayor atención que los que se centran en el estudio de los microvertebrados. Multitud de estudios sobre estas faunas en otras regiones han demostrado el gran potencial de este grupo de cara a conocer, no solo la diversidad faunística de los diferentes yacimientos, sino también como fuente de información paleogeográfica, paleoclimática o paleoambiental. De esta manera, el estudio de los restos de micromamíferos de estos yacimientos ha permitido conocer en profundidad la diversidad de las especies que habitaron esta región, y derivadas de éstas, las condiciones ambientales y climáticas de los poblamientos humanos que quedaron registrados en estos enclaves pleistocenos de la montaña alcoyana. Asimismo, la mejora de metodologías de reconstrucción climática realizadas en esta Tesis Doctoral ha permitido la obtención de resultados más precisos y que ponen en evidencia unas condiciones generalmente más frías y húmedas para el MIS 3 y finales del MIS 4 para la región sureste de la península ibérica.
... Some of the main barriers to past research in this region have included limited surface exposures of Plio-Pleistocene sediments, difficulties with dating the deposits using traditional techniques, the absence of preserved faunal remains, and controversies surrounding the age and identification of Palaeolithic occupation sites (Vidal Romani, 1989). In recent years, Quaternary research has intensified in the region, overcoming some of the aforementioned problems and enabling an extensive volume of data to be amassed across interdisciplinary fields such as Palaeolithic archaeology (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Steelman et al., 2017;Vaquero et al., 2017;Méndez-Quintas et al., 2018bDemuro et al., 2020), glacial geomorphology (Pérez-Alberti et al., 2004;Oliva et al., 2019) and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions (Desprat et al., 2006(Desprat et al., , 2009. ...
... At present there is no extensive archaeological data for the time period after MIS 6 in the Miño River basin, although there is evidence for the presence of Neanderthal populations with Middle Palaeolithic technology, which survived in NW Iberia until MIS 3 (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). Likewise, there is currently no data on Upper Palaeolithic sites in the lower basin, in contrast to what has been observed in neighbouring areas (Villar Quinteiro, 1996;Mercier et al., 2009;Vaquero Rodríguez et al., 2009;De Lombera Hermida et al., 2013;Gaspar et al., 2015Gaspar et al., , 2016Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). ...
... At present there is no extensive archaeological data for the time period after MIS 6 in the Miño River basin, although there is evidence for the presence of Neanderthal populations with Middle Palaeolithic technology, which survived in NW Iberia until MIS 3 (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). Likewise, there is currently no data on Upper Palaeolithic sites in the lower basin, in contrast to what has been observed in neighbouring areas (Villar Quinteiro, 1996;Mercier et al., 2009;Vaquero Rodríguez et al., 2009;De Lombera Hermida et al., 2013;Gaspar et al., 2015Gaspar et al., , 2016Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). ...
Article
The Miño River basin represents one of the main fluvial catchments draining the Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula. The extensive sedimentary deposits of this basin have been documented since the 19th century, but limited research has been undertaken on these features historically, and the Quaternary record of the basin has remained understudied until recently. Research carried out over the last decade on the Spanish margin of the Miño River has enabled more detailed classification and mapping of the main fluvial landforms, as well as numerical (luminescence, electron spin resonance, cosmogenic) dating of some of the deposits associated with Palaeolithic archaeological sites. Here we synthesise the existing Quaternary fluvial record for the basin, and present new geospatial and chronological analyses for the lower catchment area. Our latest examination has enabled the identification of nine fluvial terrace levels and other regionally significant sedimentary features (e.g., alluvial fans) formed in response to tectonics, eustatic changes and associated global climate changes. The chronological data and calculated incision rates indicate that the various fluvial terraces were formed during the Early to Late Pleistocene. Numerous Palaeolithic sites have been found in association with the middle terrace levels (between +40 and + 13 m above present-day river level). Primarily, these archaeological sites preserve assemblages that feature large flake Acheulean (LFA) tools, though a number of Middle Palaeolithic sites have also been documented. Direct dating of these sites, together with morphostratigraphic correlations across the terrace system, suggest that the basin has been extensively occupied by human populations during the last 300 thousand years.
... Paleoenvironmental inferences using herps and small mammals together are known from the literature [22,43,44,[53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65]. The paleoclimatic reconstruction obtained with the all-vertebrates group is compared with respect to using the reptile and small mammal results. ...
... In this study, small mammals and reptiles together are a good paleoclimatic proxy. This situation also has been the case for the Iberian Peninsula [53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65], Mexico [22,43], and Argentina [44]. In these cases, the paleoclimatic reconstructions are in agreement with other proxies, such as pollen, isotopes, diatoms, and soils studies. ...
Article
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Advances in technology have equipped paleobiologists with new analytical tools to assess the fossil record. The functional traits of vertebrates have been used to infer paleoenvironmental conditions. In Quaternary deposits, birds are the second-most-studied group after mammals. They are considered a poor paleoambiental proxy because their high vagility and phenotypic plasticity allow them to respond more effectively to climate change. Investigating multiple groups is important, but it is not often attempted. Biogeographical and climatic niche information concerning small mammals, reptiles, and birds have been used to infer the paleoclimatic conditions present during the Late Pleistocene at San Josecito Cave (~28,000 14C years BP), Mexico. Warmer and dryer conditions are inferred with respect to the present. The use of all of the groups of small vertebrates is recommended because they represent an assemblage of species that have gone through a series of environmental filters in the past. Individually, different vertebrate groups provide different paleoclimatic information. Birds are a good proxy for inferring paleoprecipitation but not paleotemperature. Together, reptiles and small mammals are a good proxy for inferring paleoprecipitation and paleotemperature, but reptiles alone are a bad proxy, and mammals alone are a good proxy for inferring paleotemperature and precipitation. The current paleoclimatic results coupled with those of a previous vegetation structure analysis indicate the presence of non-analog paleoenvironmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene in the San Josecito Cave area. This situation would explain the presence of a disharmonious fauna and the extinction of several taxa when these conditions later disappeared and do not reappear again.
... Despite the potential strength of this method in reconstructing past climatic variables, it has been sparsely applied to contexts outside of Spain. However, since 2005, a number of small mammal researchers have used the Bioclimatic Method to estimate the local paleoecology of Paleolithic sites from Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Poland (Fernández et al. 2007;Gąsiorowski et al. 2014;Socha 2014;López-García 2015, 2016, 2017a, 2017b, 2018a, 2018bPinero et al. 2016;Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016;Discamps and Royer 2017;Berto et al. 2018Berto et al. , 2019Fagoaga et al. 2018;Wong et al. 2017;Royer 2020;Wong et al. 2020a). In this paper, we apply both the Qualitative Bioclimatic Model (QlBM) and the Quantitative Bioclimatic Model (QnBM) to recently complied rodent data from the sites of Geißenklösterle and Hohle Fels in the Ach valley of the Swabian Jura (Rhodes et al. 2018Rhodes 2019). ...
... Claims that the OIS 3 ecology was non-analogue in nature are far from new (Guthrie 2001(Guthrie , 2013Stewart et al. 2003Stewart et al. , 2019Stewart 2005). Although the likelihood of non-analogous environments may increase with age (Stewart 2008), the QlBM and QnBM model has been successfully applied to wide number of archaeological assemblages ranging in age from OIS 7 to the Holocene (Socha, 2014;López-García et al. 2015, 2016, 2017a, 2017b, 2018a, 2018bPinero et al. 2016;Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016;Discamps and Royer 2017;Berto et al. 2018Berto et al. , 2019Fagoaga et al. 2018). The results of these studies successfully correlate with paleontological, paleobotanical, and geoarchaeological evidence for past environment, for the most part. ...
Article
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Ensuring comparability between results is a key goal of all paleoecological reconstructions. Quantitative estimates of meteorological variables, as opposed to relative qualitative descriptions, provide the opportunity to compare local paleoenvironmental records against global estimates and incrementally build regional paleoclimatic records. The Bioclimatic Method provides quantitative and qualitative estimates of past landscape composition and climate along with measures of statistical accuracy by applying linear discriminant functions analysis and transfer functions to faunal taxonomic abundance data. By applying this method to the rodent data from Geißenklösterle and Hohle Fels, two Paleolithic cave sites located in the Ach Valley of southwestern Germany, we classify the regional vegetation according to Walters’ zonobiome model. We also present new estimates of meteorological variables including mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, and vegetative activity period of the Ach Valley for the period spanning ~ 60,000 to 35,000 cal BP. The results suggest the Ach Valley contained a non-analogous landscape of arctic tundra and temperate deciduous woodland with occasional arid steppe expansion. Meteorological estimates suggest the climate was significantly colder during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic than today, with higher annual precipitation and dramatic temperature shifts between seasons. These results fit well with climatic reconstructions from Switzerland and the Netherlands based on a variety of proxies. They also provide further evidence of a localized climatic response within southwestern Germany to the stadial-interstadial shifts preceding the Heinrich 4 event. Finally, these results reinforce our previous claims that climatic volatility was not a driving force in the loss of Neanderthal groups throughout the Swabian Jura during OIS 3.
... Therefore, numerous studies have examined on the palaeoclimatic and palaeoecological implications of both herpetofaunal and/or small mammal assemblages (e.g. López-García et al., 2011a, 2012a, 2012b, 2012cBlain et al., 2013;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Marquina et al., 2017) in order to elucidate the local context of the Neanderthals demise. ...
... Subsequently, all of these scores are related to the minimum number of individuals (MNI) to obtain the percentage weight of each species in the various assemblages. The distribution data are taken from multiple studies in the Iberian Peninsula (Pleguezuelos et al., 2002;Loureiro et al., 2008) and from palaeonvironmental reconstructions based on HWM (Blain et al., , 2011bLópez-García et al., 2011a, 2012a, 2012b, 2012cBurjachs et al., 2012;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Garcia-Ibaibarriaga et al., 2018). ...
Article
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The locality of El Salt (Alcoi, Spain) is a key site for understanding the extirpation of Neanderthals in the eastern part of Iberia. In this paper, we analyse an assemblage of amphibians and reptiles from Stratigraphic Unit V (45.2 ± 3.4 ka to 44.7 ± 3.4 ka), which corresponds to one of the last regional records of Neanderthals, to improve knowledge of the palaeoecology and palaeoclimate of this event. The assemblage comprises three anurans (Pelodytes sp., Alytes obstetricans, and Epidalea calamita), two lizards (Lacertidae indet. and Chalcides bedriagai), and five snakes (Colubridae indet., Coronella sp., Coronella sp./Zamenis sp., Natrix maura, and Vipera latastei). Palaeoclimatic reconstruction, based on the Mutual Ecogeographic Range method, indicates that climate was cooler and slightly wetter climate than the present day climate of the Alcoi area. Applying the Habitat Weighting Method, we infer that the area surrounding El Salt was dominated by open dry regions, alternating with rocky areas with scarce scrubs and forest patches that would have developed under mesomediterranean conditions. These results are not entirely consistent with those obtained with other proxies (charcoal and small mammal assemblages) from the same site, which suggest slightly warmer and drier conditions. We hypothesise that these divergences may be partly related to the current wide distribution of reptiles and amphibians across Iberia. A key finding is that the extirpation of the Neanderthals in Iberia coincided with aridification.
... At other coeval records from the West of the Cantabrian Region, such as Cova Eirós (level 3, 41.3-38.4 cal kyr BP, Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016), Microtus arvalis is the most abundant species, probably because this is the most continental site of those reviewed in this work. At El Conde (e.g. level 20a, dated to 42.9-41.4 ...
... Recently, a new species of the genus has been recognized in the Iberian Peninsula and south of France, where the modern populations of Talpa europaea have been ascribed to Talpa aquitania (Aquitanian mole) (Nicolas et al., 2015;Nicolas et al., 2017;Wilson et al., 2017). The smaller size morphotype recognized in the Cantabrian Region corresponds to Talpa occidentalis and has been identified in Cova Eirós (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016); the bigger morphotype, which has been ascribed to Talpa europaea, has been reported at Cueva del Conde (López- García et al., 2011b), El Castillo (Sesé, 2017), andEl Mirón (Cuenca-Bescós et al., 2009). In the central area of the Cantabrian Region, the co-occurrence of both species has been documented at the sites of Cueto de la Mina (Castro-Bernárdez, 1986), El Castillo (Sánchez, 1983) and Torca del León (Álvarez-Lao et al., 2020a), where the bigger morphotype (considering the new species T. aquitania) has been ascribed to Talpa europaea-aquitania. ...
Article
La Güelga Cave (Asturias, NW Spain) contains a stratigraphic succession dating from 47.2 ± 2.2 to 38.6 ± 0.5 cal kyr BP. Evidence of Mousterian, Châtelperronian and Aurignacian occupations in the succession documents the transition from Neanderthals to Early Modern Humans. To better understand the palaeoenvironmental context of this transition, we analyzed a rich small-mammal assemblage, comprising a minimum number of 2227 individuals and 20 taxa, in a high-resolution stratigraphic context, using the Bioclimatic Model, the Habitat Weighting Method, and biodiversity measures. Results identify a climate-cooling phase at the end of the Mousterian occupations (~45 ka), which transformed a mosaic of patchy forest and humid meadows into a more arid open landscape. Another cooling event, matching Heinrich stadial 4 (H4), coincided with the arrival of the Aurignacians (~39 ka). Comparison with regional and global records shows that the alternating cool-wet and arid events documented at La Güelga Cave are coeval with the advance and retreat of the Picos de Europa glaciers, and with global climatic events recorded in marine and ice cores. The impact of these environmental changes on the human cultural and biologic transitions is discussed.
... This pattern is recorded at Lezetxiki II, Askondo, Cueva del Conde, Vanguard cave and Gorham's cave (López-García et al., 2011b, 2011cMurelaga et al., 2012;Blain et al., 2013;Garcia-Ibaibarriaga, 2015;Finlayson et al., 2016). Similar environmental characteristics are also in evidence in level 3 of Cova Eirós (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016), subunit Xb of El Salt (Fagoaga et al., 2017) and Cova del Coll Verdaguer (Daura et al., 2017), three sites with chronologies close to Level O but geographically and climatically different. ...
... 25 Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Sánchez-Chillón, B., Andrews, P., Fernández-López, S., Alcalá Martínez, L., 2002 (Barroso et al., 2014;Daura et al., 2017;Fagoaga et al., 2017;Finlayson et al., 2016;García-Ibaibarriaga, 2015;López-García, 2011;López-García et al., 2011b, 2011c, 2012b, 2012c, 2014b, 2015Murelaga et al., 2012;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Talamo et al., 2016) provided by previous small vertebrate studies (López-García, 2011;López-García et al., 2015, 2014b, 2012b, 2012cTalamo et al., 2016). The assemblages are correlated with the NorthGRIP δ 18 O curve, published by Svensson et al. (2008). ...
Article
The Abric Romaní site (Capellades, Barcelona, Spain) constitutes a key site for understanding the latest Neanderthal occupations in Western Europe. Here we present a comprehensive systematic and taphonomic analysis of a small-mammal assemblage from Level O of the Abric Romaní site, with the aim of reconstructing the paleoecological context in which the Neanderthals lived. The assemblage, which probably dates from a stadial episode between Interstadial 15 and Interstadial 14, contains fifteen small mammal species, including species uncommon for the northeast of Iberia, such as Sciurus vulgaris, Nyctalus lasiopterus and Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Taphonomic studies suggest a predatory origin for the assemblage, probably related to Strix aluco, and paleoecological inferences suggest lower temperatures (−3/−4 °C) and higher rainfall (+70/+170 mm) than at present and a landscape dominated by an open forest with watercourses. The new data improve our knowledge of trends associated with Marine Isotope Stage 3 that affected Neanderthal populations in the Iberian Peninsula, showing that the Neanderthals were well adapted to cooler and wetter conditions across Iberia.
... A third, highly divergent lineage (Portuguese) was subsequently identified ( Giménez et al. 2012;Paupério et al. 2012), its distribution area located in the western Iberian Peninsula (including Galicia); the proposed time for its separation from the combined northern-southern group is 70 ka ± 30 ( Paupério et al. 2012). Our data suggest that this Portuguese lineage might already be morphometrically and morphologically well characterized at least 40 ka BP (level 3 -Eirós Cave; Rey- Rodríguez et al. 2016), and the causes for this divergence might be ascribed to the relative geographical isolation provided by the Iberian Peninsula and to the climatic difference between Galicia and the rest of northern Spain. In the western Iberian Peninsula, the climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. ...
... The samples analysed in this study come from 14 archaeological and palaeontological sites located in the northern Iberian Peninsula. Valdavara-1, Valdavara-3 (Vaquero Rodríguez et al. 2009;) and Eirós Cave (Rey- Rodríguez et al. 2016) are located in Galicia, in the NW Atlantic region of the Iberian Peninsula. Mollet Cave ( Maroto et al. 2012; López-García, Blain, Julià, Alcover, et al. 2014), Teixoneres ( Rosell et al. 2008;López-García, Blain, Burjachs, et al. 2012;Luzi et al. 2016;Talamo et al. 2016), Xaragalls ( López-García, Blain, Bennàsar, et al. 2012 ...
Article
Fifteen paired fossil populations of Microtus arvalis and Microtus agrestis from southwestern Europe have been analysed from a morphological and morphometric point of view. The sites under consideration are located in the northern Iberian Peninsula and southern France, from the Middle Pleistocene to the end of the Late Pleistocene. The aim of this study is to stress once again the importance of keeping these two species separated in the fossil record in order to recognize specific trends of evolution and divergence and to obtain more precise information on palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental conditions. It was possible to observe remarkable intraspecific differences between Middle and Late Pleistocene populations of both species. Furthermore, in synchronic co-specific populations from the Late Pleistocene, climatic and geographic conditions seem to exert a major influence in shaping intraspecific changes in dental pattern.
... It is a basin that has large flat surfaces and better conditions for its occupation. Regarding potential hydrology and wetland areas, climatic fluctuations must be taken into account, since during the more temperate and humid periods it is very likely that the immediate streams had more stable flows, as has been reported in some previous paleoclimatic approaches ( Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). However, it is logical to think that the archaeological sites should be in the vicinity of areas with abundant water, where they can be supplied with this resource and that at the same time would act as areas of attraction for animals that would go to these areas and that could be hunted by these individuals. ...
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Although a theoretical model for the settlement patterns of Galician Palaeolithic has been proposed in the last decades, it has not been statistically tested. The present paper aims to check whether this previous theoretical model can be verified statistically. For this purpose, a methodology based on the creation of a predictive model has been used in which the main environmental variables were analysed and their suitability for predicting the location of Palaeolithic sites statistically verified. The predictive model shows that the most accurate variables are elevation, slope, cost to potential hydrology, the cost to wetland areas, and visual prominence. The results demonstrated that the theoretical model was fulfilled in some of the variables previously proposed. Thus, we have shown the usefulness of this approach to test hypotheses and the results obtained open new possibilities of analysis in the study of the Palaeolithic sites in NW Iberia.
... However, due to a change in land use caused by the development of lucerne crops, this vole has come to colonise the totality of the Northern Plateau (Rey, 1973;Luque-Larena et al., 2013;Jareño et al., 2014). Although Mi. arvalis is not found at present in the studied zone, its presence has been registered during the Pleistocene and Holocene in geographic expansions linked to cold episodes, such as MIS 2 or Greenland and Heinrich Stadials (e.g., Cuenca-Bescós et al., 2009;García-Ibaibarriaga et al., 2012Laplana et al., 2017;Álvarez-Vena et al., 2021), alternating with regressions linked to warm periods, such as MIS 3 interstadials , when the populations were restricted to sites with a more continental climate (e.g., López-García et al., 2011;García-Ibaibarriaga et al., 2015a, 2015bRey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Navazo Ruiz et al., 2021). As it is a species of continental affinities (Dienske, 1979;Nores, 1989;Paupério et al., 2012;Álvarez-Vena et al., 2021), its presence in a site with an oceanic climate where it is not found nowadays, suggests that Level 0 was accumulated under cooler conditions than the current. ...
Article
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The Cueva del Hueso is located in Castrillón, Asturias. In this work, we carried out a taxonomic, palaeoecological and biochronological study of the micromammals that inhabited the cave environment during the genesis of its most recent level, Level 0. The recovered assemblage presents considerable diversity, yielding a minimum of 286 individuals belonging to 16 taxa. This species association indicates that the landscape would be dominated by open areas and forested patches, with cooler climatic conditions than the current. The presence of Rattus sp. and Mus musculus, along with the climatic inferences, have allowed estimating a relative chronology for Level 0 between 450 AD and 1850 AD.
... It is in this context that the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition (MUPT; ca. 50-40ka) occurred and the last Neanderthals, probably facing a demographic decrease while occupying smaller and smaller areas, were replaced by the first Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHs) (Higham et al., 2014;Benazzi et al., 2015;Hublin 2015;Been et al., 2017;Douka & Higham 2017; but see also Slimak et al., 2022) How this transition occurred is widely debated (Mellars, 2006;Hoffecker, 2009;Higham et al., 2014;Villa & Roebroeks, 2014;Benazzi et al., 2015;Hublin, 2015;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Greenbaum et al., 2019;Timmermann, 2020). Mediterranean Europe, particularly the Italian peninsula, is a key region for understanding the dynamics of AMHs peopling and the disappearance of the Neanderthals . ...
Article
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Due to its geography, the Liguria region represented an obligatory pathway for animals and human groups that moved along the northern Mediterranean route, connecting the central Italian peninsula to the South-eastern France. Among the several Ligurian sites yielding traces of palaeolithic human activities, Riparo Mochi is a key site to understand the human peopling dynamics occurred during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition (MUPT). Its archaeological deposit is in fact one of the most complete and well dated MUPT sequences in this region. This study will contribute to increase our knowledge about the behavioural differences between the last Neanderthals and the first Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHs) who inhabited the sites as well as the palaeoenvironmental changes that occurred from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 to 3. To do so, our study is focused on the zooarchaeological analysis of faunal remains coming from the Mousterian (Unit I), Protoaurignacian (Units H and G), and Aurignacian (Unit F) units of the site. Neanderthals inhabited the site during the early phases (MIS 5-4), hunting mainly Cervus elaphus and other middle-large size ungulates. A great variability in the faunal spectrum is shown during the coldest phases of the Mousterian. A decrease in variability is observed in the upper layers of Unit H, corresponding to the first AMHs occupation of the site. Despite the warmer climatic conditions, a decrease in diversity of faunas is observed, maybe due to a different hunting strategy operated by the Protoaurignacian occupants. Red deer is still the most common prey, but hunting seems also oriented on alpine taxa, such as Capra ibex. Deer hunting in the Proto- and Aurignacian economy might be highlighted by the production of antler tools founded only in the Upper Palaeolithic (UP) layers. Zooarchaeological and palaeoenvironmental data from Riparo Mochi shows a region characterized by an overall climatic and biological stability, reflected in the almost constant presence of certain species of large mammals during the MUPT. Nevertheless, the variations observed since the beginning of the UP appear to be related to an economic behavioural change attributable to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the arrival of AMHs at the site.
... El resultado obtenido para Koskobilo (media: 82,6;rango: 72,9;n: 11), se relaciona con un esmalte de tipo Microtus, que dentro del género Arvicola es atribuible a la especie A. terrestris, especie muy común en los yacimientos del norte peninsular durante el Pleistoceno Superior (Arribas, 2004;López-García, 2011;Sesé, 2017). Tanto el valor de SDQ como la longitud de los m1s (media: 3,91mm; rango: 3,6-4,1 mm; n:11), son próximos a yacimientos europeos del MIS3, como Marie Jeanne, Eglise, Moula VIII-IV o Cova Eirós (ca.60-30 ka;Cuenca-Bescós et al., 2010a;Maul et al., 2014;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;López-García et al., 2017). ...
... Blain et al. 2018 and references therein). Regarding small vertebrates, MER method has been used with birds (Núñez-Lahuerta et al. 2016), herpetofauna (Blain, 2009;Blain et al. 2009Blain et al. , 2013, in which the authors named the method as MCR; Marquina-Blasco et al. 2017, 2021a, small mammals (López-García et al. 2014Fagoaga et al. 2018;Fernández-García et al., 2020;Álvarez-Vena et al., 2020) and a combination of the two latter (López-García et al. 2014, 2021Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016;Connolly et al. 2019). ...
Article
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El Salt (Middle Palaeolithic; Alcoi, Spain) is a key site for understanding the disappearance of Neanderthals in the eastern Iberian Peninsula, a process that is observed along its stratigraphic sequence. To improve our understanding of the palaeoclimatic context in which this process took place, we applied the UDA-ODA discrimination technique to the fossil herpetological assemblages from Stratigraphic Units (SU) Xb (52.3 ± 4.6 ka) and V (45.2 ± 3.4/44.7 ± 3.4 ka). This method is based in the application of an ecological criterion, the maximum altitude of each species on each Iberian range, to discern and remove those areas that do not meet their ecological requirements (UDA) from those that do (ODA), which are included in its distribution from Atlases from which the common distribution species is going to be extracted. Results indicate the existence of an alternation between “cold and wet” moments with “warm and dry” ones, all of them in a more humid context than nowadays. Climate was slightly warmer than nowadays in SU Xb, whereas was cooler in SU V. Regarding MAP, our results show less variation between SUs than it has been provided by previous studies. These results do not fully agree with those provided by small mammals from the same SUs, which indicate an increase of the temperatures whereas rainfall experienced the contrary. These differences could be related with the wider distribution of the Iberian herpetofauna, and some differences in the applied ecological criterion. Furthermore, herpetofaunal palaeoclimatic reconstruction shows that the abandonment of the site by Neanderthals seems to have occurred during an arid phase.
... It is especially visible in the case of Palaeolithic sites from Europe (e.g. Carbonell et al. 2008;Belmaker et al. 2016;Luzi et al. 2016;Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016;López-García et al. 2015, Africa (Avery 1982A and B;Stoetzel 2013;Reynard et al. 2016) or Americas (Benton 1999;Teta et al. 2005;López et al. 2016) where assemblages made by hominid activity often mix with natural depositions or predatory remains over a long period of time. ...
Thesis
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Micromammals (e.g. rodents, shrews), characterised by their small size, short lifespan and high reproduction rate, are known for rapid adaptability to changing conditions, inhabiting all environments besides the most frigid. They form a variety of relationships with other animals as well as humans, from being prey up to mutualism, commensalism and even taming and domestication. Changes occurring short or long-term within micromammal populations can be a useful proxy for natural as well as human-induced changes. However, their remains from archaeological contexts have seldom been investigated, with a scarcity of methodological studies and incomparability of published data often discouraging research. Human impact on the environment is especially noticeable in the case of insular environments where humans are responsible for the majority of species introductions. This thesis examines a series of case studies from the Orkney islands off north-east Scotland to develop a micromammal zooarchaeological methodology and investigate the micromammal relationships with predators and human activity in this context. Specifically it has two main aims: 1) perform methodological research on obtained data to investigate established methods as well as to suggest new approaches to data analysis given what data are retrievable from studied assemblages; 2) apply the revised methodology to investigate a range of Orcadian sites, covering two main time periods of intensification of maritime contacts: Neolithic (4000 – 2000 BC) and Norse/mediaeval (600 – 1500 AD) ages. Analysis standardisation and reproducibility through coding in R is also introduced to deal with the large breath of obtained data. The study provides conclusive results, broadening the understanding of micromammal taphonomy and a range of different assemblages and deposition patterns present within and around anthropic contexts. The breath of utilizable data retrievable from micromammal assemblages is comparable with typical zooarchaeological research on the remains of bigger species, for example including information on age of death or non-predatory taphonomic factors. Spatial and contextual data, particularly, proves to be crucial for understanding the impact of dispersal and burial processes on micromammal accumulations. Moreover, the necessity for consistent sieving is confirmed, lower effort sampling or sieving regimes failing to provide representative and comparable samples. The obtained data can be effectively analysed through statistical methods, including classifying algorithms, bypassing problems encountered in the case of multiple comparisons and deposition patterns. However, the results also show that actualistic research may not be directly comparable with archaeological material without considering non-predatory taphonomic factors and their impact on data representativeness. Assemblages identified within the studied sites seem to be formed by a variety of factors. Identifiable predatory depositions could be attributed to both owls and diurnal raptors, taxa expected to be found considering modern Orkney fauna and dominant micromammal predators. Cases of non-predatory depositions included deaths of commensal species living and/or nesting within the anthropic environment, self-entrapment in anthropic features such as trenches or pits of single individuals and secondary accumulation in similar features due to dispersal. In general, each site shows multiple different patterns being present, with certain areas or context types (e.g. open/enclosed, natural/usage period/abandonment) exhibiting a predominance of a specific deposition. Intrusiveness is surprisingly rare and, where identified, is characterised by multiple intrusive species within the contexts, with singular species intrusiveness rarely being noted. Some evidence for human interaction with micromammals, direct or indirect, can be noted through additional taphonomic marks such as burning. However, a definitive interpretation of these marks, as of now, cannot be achieved.
... La hidrología potencial no da indicios de jugar un papel destacado, localizándose a 1 hora de proximidad al cauce de mayor entidad, aunque la tendencia que existiría en los entornos más próximos al yacimiento, reduce este tiempo a partir de las 4 horas, cuando el terreno es más llano. De nuevo debemos tener en cuenta las fluctuaciones climáticas ya que durante los periodos más templados y húmedos es muy probable que los riachuelos inmediatos tuvieran caudales más estables, tal y como indican las aproximaciones paleoclimáticas (Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016). En lo tocante a la litología, se trata de una variable que cobra cierta importancia. ...
Article
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In this paper, we deal with the locational analysis of the Cova Eirós site (Triacastela, Lugo), occupied from the Middle Palaeolithic to the present. From GIS and statistics, we intend to approach those environmental factors that define its importance as a place of occupation over time and on a recurring basis. Once we have analysed the variables that characterize the site’s patterns of use, we have verified that Cova Eirós is an important, prominent and strategic point. The place is very close to the potential transit routes and has great visibility. It is also protected and set on a steep slope. Moreover, the site has hunting resources and raw materials sources nearby. So it is a settlement that presents ideal living conditions for hunter-gatherer groups.
... It has been intensively studied from the mid-70 s to practically the present (Díaz Rodríguez, 2017;Díaz Rodríguez and Carrero Pazos, 2019;Fernández Rodríguez et al., 1995;Llana Rodríguez et al., 1992;López Cordeiro, 2003;Ramil Rego et al., 2016;Ramil Rego and Ramil Soneira, 1992;Ramil Soneira and Vázquez Varela, 1976). Finally, there exists another area that has received much attention in recent years (García-Diez et al., 2021;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Steelman et al., 2017;Vaquero Rodríguez et al., 2018;2009): the Eastern mountain ranges (Fig. 1g), but whose density and dispersion of sites does not allow these places to be clustered and therefore this area is not expected to be one of the concentration areas for archaeological sites in this study. ...
Article
The present paper aims to offer an evaluation of the cluster method analysis to settlement distribution of archaeological sites (k-means, DBSCAN, percolation analysis) and to show the potentiality of such methods on a regional scale. We analyse the distribution of Palaeolithic sites in Galician territory (NW Iberia) in order to identify the clustering areas and verify if these areas correspond with the traditional research zones. The results showed that the percolation analysis and, to a lesser extent, DBSCAN, worked best. We observe that the traditionally researched areas on the Galician Palaeolithic actually fit with the cluster pattern of points employing a 6–8 km threshold.
... One of the major issues in recent prehistory is the replacement of the Neanderthals by Anatomically Modern Humans (i.e., the so-called Middle to Late Paleolithic transition). No significant differences are observed in the paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental range between Mousterian and Aurignacian samples (Figs. 7 and 8), as has already been demonstrated in the southern peninsulas of Europe (e.g., López-García et al. 2011, 2015Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016;Jovanovic et al. 2020). Interestingly, however, the last sample to be considered Middle Paleolithic (Tables 1-12) has been reconstructed as potentially having a very reduced extension of woodland under cold conditions. ...
Article
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The Meuse and its tributary valleys contain numerous Late Pleistocene cave sites that have yielded one of the largest collections of Neanderthal and Mousterian lithic industries in Europe. Today, it is an important north–south migratory corridor for flora and fauna, generating rich biotopes. The Quaternary collections of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Brussels, Belgium) are here used to complement our knowledge of the successive herpetofaunal assemblages in Belgium during the last interglacial-glacial cycle (marine isotope stages 5 to 1). Herpetofauna from 18 caves are described for the first time. In total, 17 taxa (10 amphibians and seven reptiles) are identified, three of which correspond to their first fossil record for Belgium (Alytes obstetricans, Pelobates fuscus, and Hyla arborea). The thermophilic snake Zamenis longissimus is documented for the first time in the Holocene (Atlantic/Subboreal period) of Belgium. After marine isotope stage (MIS) 5, the Belgian herpetofauna was still reasonably diverse during MIS 3, but it seems to be represented only by the common frog Rana temporaria and a viper during MIS 2. Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions are proposed for a selection of the chronologically best-constrained sites, using the quantified ecology method. More specifically, the late Magdalenian of the Trou de Chaleux is reconstructed as particularly cold and dry. The seasonal contrast reaches its maximum during this period. The quantitative parameters calculated in this study provide a new paleoecological context for understanding the conditions with which the successive human species had to cope in Northwestern Europe during the last interglacial-glacial cycle.
... Compared to other MIS 3 Iberian archaeological sites (Abric Romaní, L'Arbreda Cave, Canyars, Teixoneres, Cova dels Xaragalls, Cova del Gegant, Goram's Cave and Cova Eirós) (López-García et al., 2008González-Sampériz et al., 2010;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016), available palaeoenvironmental data are in agreement with our results: landscapes were dominated by open-forest formations in all cases. Overall, previous research has led to interpretation of NE Iberia MIS 3 palaeoenvironments featuring a transition from more forested conditions at the beginning of this period to more open and colder environments towards the end López-García et al., 2014;López-García et al., 2015;Fernández-García et al., 2016). ...
Article
El Salt is an important reference site for understanding the extinction of Neanderthal populations in the eastern Iberian Peninsula during MIS 3. In this paper, we describe the small mammal assemblage from Stratigraphic Unit V, the youngest unit with evidence of human presence, based on nearly 1300 specimens. A total of seven rodents (Microtus arvalis, Microtus duodecimcostatus, Microtus cabrerae, Sciurus vulgaris, Arvicola sapidus, Eliomys quercinus and Apodemus sylvaticus), three insectivores (Talpa occidentalis, Crocidura sp., Sorex sp.) and one lagomorph (Oryctolagus cf. cuniculus) were identified. Palaeocological analyses point to drier conditions in this part of the stratigraphic sequence, supporting the hypothesis that an aridification scenario may have played a role in the extinction of the Neanderthal groups inhabiting this region of the Iberian Peninsula.
... On techno-typological and geochronological grounds, the Upper Paleolithic levels can be ascribed to the Aurignacian (Level 2), Gravettian (Level 1) and Final Magdalenian (Level B) (de Lombera et al., 2014;Rey et al., 2016;Rodríguez et al., 2011). Symbolic and portable art was also found in these levels: a pendant (on a perforated canine) was recovered from Level 1, and two other examples come from disturbed layers, the more relevant a bone assegai showing a composite zigzag on both faces (de Lombera and Fábregas, 2013). ...
Article
Our knowledge about Paleolithic art has been changing substantially and new discoveries and dates are modifying some traditionally accepted considerations. In this context, the geographic spread and the end of this graphic-artistic cycle are two of the main topics of the current scientific debate. The discovery and study of rock art in Cova Eirós, located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, whose walls display geometric / stylized animals with linear interior fills, widens the territory of Paleolithic rock art in North Iberia beyond the traditional Franco-Cantabrian core. This find is framed in the successive discoveries made in the last 20 years that break with the perception of the Franco-Cantabrian region as being the core of the Paleolithic art. Moreover, the formal and stylistic features of some motifs from Cova Eirós allow to ascribe them to the final stages of the Paleolithic-style portable and rock art, classified as Style V or fini-Paleolithic; a pan-European tradition that began ~ 12,000-11,500 BP and lasted up to ~9,500-9,000 BP, in correspondence with the last hunter-gatherer groups.
... The speleothem formation implies that part of the Koskobilo assemblage was accumulated during or before MIS 7d, and some of the species would be consistent with this chronology. Despite the presence of some species that appeared during the Early Pleistocene (Castor fiber, Marmota marmota, Talpa sp.) or the Middle Pleistocene (Microtus arvalis, Microtus agrestis, Pliomys coronensis), they are especially abundant in the Late Pleistocene (Cuenca-Bescós et al., 2010, 2017López-García, 2011;Sesé, 2017 Rodríguez et al., 2016). Indeed, all these species can be found nowadays in northern Iberia (Blanco, 1998), with the sole exception of Pliomys coronensis, which went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene (Cuenca-Bescós et al., 2010;López-García et al., 2012). ...
Article
The destroyed site(s) of Koskobilo (Olazti, Navarre, Northern Iberian Peninsula) have yielded unique archaeopaleontological evidence in the Western Pyrenees region. The quarry uncovered a karstic site with faunal remains in 1940, and fossils were recovered both in situ and from the quarry dump. Ten years later, while the quarry was still working, a new visit to the dump yielded a large lithic assemblage and additional fossil remains with a different taphonomic pattern, which has been interpreted as the remains coming from a different site or zone within the same karst system. Here we re-study the paleontological evidence and provide new dating on a speleothem covering a Stephanorhinus hemitoechus tooth, which has yielded a minimum date of c. 220 ka for part of the assemblage. In total, the fossil assemblage comprises 38 mammal and six avian taxa and three fish remains. The faunal evidence indicates that in 1940 a mix of taxa from both the Middle and Upper Pleistocene were recovered, and it is difficult to assign most of them to a concrete period. However, based on biochronological criteria some of the identified taxa (e.g., Ursus thibetanus, Ursus cf. deningeri, Cuon cf. priscus, Macaca sylvanus, cf. Megaceroides) could be roughly contemporaneous with the dated rhino tooth, which would provide a new window to the Middle Pleistocene of the region, with deposits from MIS 7d and/or older. Despite thedifficulties in studying this collection, recovered without stratigraphic context and in a salvage operation, Koskobilo has yielded an important paleontological assemblage which helps to understand the paleoecology of the Middle Pleistocene human occupations in the Western Pyrenees.
... Moreover, ancient human communities occupied only small portions of land with ideal settlement conditions, and the gradual climatic deterioration of the last glacial period probably reduced the extent of these optimal Neanderthal habitats 6 . Because the 2,600-5,400-year-long interval of Neanderthal-MH coexistence was probably unevenly distributed spatially 12 , climate-related hypotheses should be based on records from the same area where Neanderthals-MH actually cohabitated, but these records are scarce 13 . ...
... Moreover, ancient human communities occupied only small portions of land with ideal settlement conditions, and the gradual climatic deterioration of the last glacial period probably reduced the extent of these optimal Neanderthal habitats 6 . Because the 2,600-5,400-year-long interval of Neanderthal-MH coexistence was probably unevenly distributed spatially 12 , climate-related hypotheses should be based on records from the same area where Neanderthals-MH actually cohabitated, but these records are scarce 13 . ...
Article
Full-text available
The causes of Neanderthal–modern human (MH) turnover are ambiguous. While potential biocultural interactions between the two groups are still little known, it is clear that Neanderthals in southern Europe disappeared about 42 thousand years ago (ka) after cohabitation for ~3,000 years with MH. Among a plethora of hypotheses on Neanderthal extinction, rapid climate changes during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition (MUPT) are regarded as a primary factor. Here we show evidence for stable climatic and environmental conditions during the MUPT in a region (Apulia) where Neanderthals and MH coexisted. We base our findings on a rare glacial stalagmite deposited between ~106 and ~27 ka, providing the first continuous western Mediterranean speleothem palaeoclimate archive for this period. The uninterrupted growth of the stalagmite attests to the constant availability of rainfall and vegetated soils, while its δ13C–δ18O palaeoclimate proxies demonstrate that Apulia was not affected by dramatic climate oscillations during the MUPT. Our results imply that, because climate did not play a key role in the disappearance of Neanderthals in this area, Neanderthal–MH turnover must be approached from a perspective that takes into account climatic and environmental conditions favourable for both species. Unstable and harsh climates have been implicated as partial causes of Neanderthal demise. Here a speleothem palaeoenvironmental record spanning the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition attests to stable and moderate conditions in the Mediterranean during this time suggesting a more complicated picture than previously thought.
... Fedele et al., 2003;Guillevic et al., 2014 and references therein). Several hypotheses have been proposed about Neandertal extinction and AMHs replacement, and the debate is still unresolved (e.g., Mellars, 2006;Hoffecker, 2009;Benazzi et al., 2011Benazzi et al., , 2015Villa and Roebroeks, 2014;Higham et al., 2014;Hublin, 2015;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Greenbaum et al., 2019). ...
Preprint
This paper summarizes the current state of knowledge about the millennial scale climate variability characterizing Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) in S-Europe and the Mediterranean area and its effects on terrestrial ecosystems. The sequence of Dansgaard-Oeschger events, as recorded by Greenland ice cores and recognizable in isotope profiles from speleothems and high-resolution palaeoecological records, led to dramatic variations in glacier extent and sea level configuration with major impacts on the physiography and vegetation patterns, both latitudinally and altitudinally. The recurrent succession of (open) woodlands, including temperate taxa, and grasslands with xerophytic elements, have been tentatively correlated to GIs in Greenland ice cores. Concerning colder phases, the Greenland Stadials (GSs) related to Heinrich events (HEs) appear to have a more pronounced effect than other GSs on woodland withdrawal and xerophytes expansion. Notably, GS 9-HE4 phase corresponds to the most severe reduction of tree cover in a number of Mediterranean records. On a long-term scale, a reduction/opening in forests throughout MIS 3 took place since Greenland Interstadials (GIs) 14/ 13 (ca. 55-48 ka), showing a maximum in woodland density. At that time, natural environments were favourable for Anatomically Modern Humans (MHs) to migrate from Africa into Europe as documented by industries associated to modern hominin remains in the Levant. Afterwards, a variety of early Upper Palaeolithic cultures emerged (e.g., Uluzzian and Proto-Aurignacian). In this chronostratigraphic framework, attention is paid to the Campanian Ignimbrite tephra marker, as a pivotal tool for deciphering and correlating several temporal-spatial issues crucial for understanding the interaction between MHs and Neandertals at the time of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition.
... During this local maximum, glaciers covered Picos de Europa above 600e900 m altitude (e.g. Rodríguez-Rodríguez et al., 2014;Serrano et al., 2016). Thus, the mature forest that surrounded TL was located at~15 km north of the glaciers fronts. ...
Article
The Torca del León site (Asturias, NW Spain), discovered in 2014, provided an interesting fossil assemblage including a P. spelaea partial skeleton and a rich micro-mammal community with palaeoenvironmental significance. The bone accumulation was formed in a karstic cave that acted as a natural trap, as indicated by the geomorphology of the cavity (connected to a 16 m deep shaft) and the lack of signs of human or carnivore activity on the bones. The large-mammal assemblage is composed of carnivores, of which the most striking is the partial skeleton of the cave lion, an exceptional find for this region, which allowed a detailed comparative study. Its skull and teeth retained features of systematic relevance, which agree with its ascription to P. spelaea. Sexing of the specimen points to it possibly being from a male, whose body weight was estimated at 360 kg. Other identified large mammals in the site include P. pardus and Canis lupus. The rich small mammal assemblage, comprising 14 taxa, allowed inferring that the environment during site formation corresponded to a mature forest developed under humid and temperate conditions, located at just 15 km from the glacial fronts of the Cantabrian Mountains. AMS dating yielded 43.0 ± 0.5 cal ka BP, coinciding with Greenland Interstadial GI-11, a warming event poorly known in NW Iberia, coeval with the onset of the regional glacial retreat occurred after the local glacial maximum of ∼45 ka. This episode is also coeval with the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Northwestern Iberia.
... During this local maximum, glaciers covered Picos de Europa above 600e900 m altitude (e.g. Rodríguez-Rodríguez et al., 2014;Serrano et al., 2016). Thus, the mature forest that surrounded TL was located at~15 km north of the glaciers fronts. ...
Article
The Torca del León site (Asturias, NW Spain), discovered in 2014, provided an interesting fossil assemblage including a P. spelaea partial skeleton and a rich micro-mammal community with palaeoenvironmental significance. The bone accumulation was formed in a karstic cave that acted as a natural trap, as indicated by the geomorphology of the cavity (connected to a 16 m deep shaft) and the lack of signs of human or carnivore activity on the bones. The large-mammal assemblage is composed of carnivores, of which the most striking is the partial skeleton of the cave lion, an exceptional find for this region, which allowed a detailed comparative study. Its skull and teeth retained features of systematic relevance, which agree with its ascription to P. spelaea. Sexing of the specimen points to it possibly being from a male, whose body weight was estimated at 360 kg. Other identified large mammals in the site include P. pardus and Canis lupus. The rich small mammal assemblage, comprising 14 taxa, allowed inferring that the environment during site formation corresponded to a mature forest developed under humid and temperate conditions, located at just 15 km from the glacial fronts of the Cantabrian Mountains. AMS dating yielded 43.0 ± 0.5 cal ka BP, coinciding with Greenland Interstadial GI-11, a warming event poorly known in NW Iberia, coeval with the onset of the regional glacial retreat occurred after the local glacial maximum of ~45 ka. This episode is also coeval with the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Northwestern Iberia.
... Fedele et al., 2003;Guillevic et al., 2014 and references therein). Several hypotheses have been proposed about Neandertal extinction and AMHs replacement, and the debate is still unresolved (e.g., Mellars, 2006;Hoffecker, 2009;Benazzi et al., 2011Benazzi et al., , 2015Villa and Roebroeks, 2014;Higham et al., 2014;Hublin, 2015;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Greenbaum et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper summarizes the current state of knowledge about the millennial scale climate variability characterizing Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) in S-Europe and the Mediterranean area and its effects on terrestrial ecosystems. The sequence of Dansgaard-Oeschger events, as recorded by Greenland ice cores and recognizable in isotope profiles from speleothems and high-resolution palaeoecological records, led to dramatic variations in glacier extent and sea level configuration with major impacts on the physiography and vegetation patterns, both latitudinally and altitudinally. The recurrent succession of (open) woodlands, including temperate taxa, and grasslands with xerophytic elements, have been tentatively correlated to GIs in Greenland ice cores. Concerning colder phases, the Greenland Stadials (GSs) related to Heinrich events (HEs) appear to have a more pronounced effect than other GSs on woodland withdrawal and xerophytes expansion. Notably, GS 9-HE4 phase corresponds to the most severe reduction of tree cover in a number of Mediterranean records. On a long-term scale, a reduction/opening of forests throughout MIS 3 started from Greenland Interstadials (GIs) 14/13 (ca. 55–48 ka), which show a maximum in woodland density. At that time, natural environments were favourable for Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHs) to migrate from Africa into Europe as documented by industries associated with modern hominin remains in the Levant. Afterwards, a variety of early Upper Palaeolithic cultures emerged (e.g., Uluzzian and Proto-Aurignacian). In this chronostratigraphic framework, attention is paid to the Campanian Ignimbrite tephra marker, as a pivotal tool for deciphering and correlating several temporal-spatial issues crucial for understanding the interaction between AMHs and Neandertals at the time of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition.
... Cova Eirós es una cavidad localizada a una altitud de 785 m s. n. m., sobre una ladera del Macizo de monte Penedo, orientada al nornoroeste y dominando un pequeño valle en el lugar de Cancelo (Triacastela, Lugo) (Fig. 1). Este yacimiento presenta una ubicación privilegiada desde el punto de vista de las comunicaciones, ya que se encuentra cerca de una divisoria que da paso a valles que se abren hacia el Cantábrico si- Si bien la mayor cantidad de hallazgos arqueológicos en este lugar corresponde al periodo pleistoceno y, mucho más tarde, a actividades de época altomedieval (Rodríguez-Álvarez et al. 2011;Teira et al. 2012;Lombera et al. 2014;Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016), existen tanto en la entrada como en la gran sala interior de la cueva restos materiales pertenecientes a la Prehistoria Reciente, comenzando por un enterramiento dentro de la cavidad datado a mediados del IV milenio cal AC y algunos fragmentos cerámicos recuperados en el sector de la entrada que se podrían encuadrar en momentos posteriores, calcolíticos o incluso del Bronce Final (Tab. 1) (Fábregas et al. 2012b: 24;Lombera et al. 2014). Sin embargo, carecemos por ahora de materiales o estructuras que pudieran asociarse en términos cronoculturales con el recipiente cerámico que vamos a analizar a continuación. ...
Article
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The discovery of a partially preserved vessel in the course of the excavations carried out in Cova Eirós brings forth new data on the material culture of the regional Neo-lithic. The pot, both in its bottle-like shape and decoration (shell impressed), recalls strongly the cardial ware, so characteristic of the archaeological record in the Early Neolith-ic groups of South Iberia. We discuss the circumstances of the finding and the closest parallels to be found among the pottery collections from South Portugal. As a result, we suggest that the vessel found at Cova Eirós would date back to the end of the 6th Millennium BC.
... Cluster analysis (A) and correspondence analysis (B) from the El Salt assemblages.Compared to other MIS 3 Iberian archaeological sites (Abric Romaní, L'Arbreda Cave, Canyars, Teixoneres, Cova dels Xaragalls, Cova del Gegant, Goram's Cave and Cova Eirós) (López-García et al., 2008García et al., , 2012García et al., , 2014García et al., , 2015González-Sampériz et al., 2010, Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016, available palaeoenvironmental data are in agreement with our results: landscapeswere dominated by open-forest formations in all cases. Overall, previous research has led to interpretation of NE Iberia MIS 3 palaeoenvironments featuring a transition from more forested conditions at the beginning of this period to more open and colder environments towards the end (López-García et al., 2012; López-García et al 2014, López-García et al 2015; Fernández-increment of the MAT has been documented the same chronology (López-García et al., 2015). ...
Article
El Salt is emerging as a reference site for the study of the disappearance of Neanderthal populations in the Eastern Iberian Peninsula during MIS 3. The small vertebrate assemblage analysed in this work is framed within this general objective and comes from Stratigraphic Unit V, the most recent unit with human presence. Nearly 1300 small mammal remains have been studied in order to reconstruct the palaeoecological conditions of this debated period. A total of 7 rodents (Microtus arvalis, M. duodecimcostatus, Microtus cabrerae, Sciurus vulgaris, Arvicola sapidus, Eliomys quercinus and Apodemus sylvaticus), 3 insectivores (Talpa occidentalis, Crocidura sp., Sorex sp.) and 1 lagomorph (Oryctolagus cf. cuniculus) have been identified. Palaeocological analyse point to harsher conditions in the upper part (Unit V) of the stratigraphic sequence, possibly related with an aridification scenario previously described for the disappearance of the Neanderthals groups inhabiting this region of the Iberian Peninsula.
... The late contraction of H. neanderthalensis range to southern Europe coincides with the spread of AMHs, suggesting a possible instance for competitive exclusion between the two (Banks et al., 2008;Mellars & French, 2011). Negative interactions between Neanderthals and AMHs are often viewed as the potential drivers of H. neanderthalensis extinction, as an alternative to climate change hypothesis, or a combination of the two causes (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). Melchionna and colleagues (2018) used Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) to quantify and compare statistically the inferred climatic niches of Homo sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 and H. neanderthalensis in Western Eurasia during the last 8 ka of Neanderthals existence. ...
... The strong evidence for interbreeding between Neanderthals and AMHs poses a question about the real nature of the interaction between the two species, and further complicates our understanding of the role of AMHs in H. neanderthalensis extinction. As such, several studies now support the view that H. neanderthalensis extinction was likely due to a combination of factors, rather than the product of a single, dominant cause (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). ...
... This method has been applied mainly to the late Middle and Late Pleistocene-Holocene for small-mammals (e.g. L opez- García et al., 2008d;Bañuls-Cardona et al., 2012Fern andez-García and L opez-García, 2013;Fern andez-García, 2014;Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016;Fagoaga et al., 2017Fagoaga et al., , 2018 and back to the earliest Pleistocene for herpetofauna (e.g. Martínez-Solano and Sanchiz, 2005;Blain, 2005Blain, , 2009Blain et al., 2007Blain et al., , 2008a2012a;b, 2013a, b, c, 2014a, b, c, 2015, 2016a, 2017a, b, 2018 and Corch on Rodríguez, 2017;Agustí et al., 2009;Marquina et al., 2017;Villa et al., 2018a;. ...
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The pattern of the varying climatic conditions in southern Europe over the last million years is well known from isotope studies on deep-ocean sediment cores and the long pollen records that have been produced for lacustrine and marine sedimentary sequences from Greece, Italy and the Iberian margin. However, although relative glacial and interglacial intensities are well studied, there are still few proxies that permit quantitative terrestrial temperature and precipitation reconstruction. In this context, fauna-based climate reconstructions based on evidence preserved in archaeological or palaeontological sites are of great interest, even if they only document short windows of that climate variability, because (a) they provide a range of temperature and precipitation estimates that are understandable in comparison with present climate; (b) they may allow the testing of predicted temperature changes under scenarios of future climate change; and (c) quantitative temperature and precipitation estimates for past glacials and interglacials for specific regions/latitudes can help to understand their effects on flora, fauna and hominids, as they are directly associated with those cultural and/or biological events. Moreover such reconstructions can bring further arguments to the discussion about important climatic events like the Mid-Bruhnes Event, a climatic transition between moderate warmths and greater warmths during interglacials. In this paper we review a decade of amphibian- and reptile-based climate reconstructions carried out for the Iberian Peninsula using the Mutual Ecogeographic Range method in order to present a regional synthesis from MIS 22 to MIS 6, discuss the climate pattern in relation to the Mid-Bruhnes Event and the thermal amplitude suggested by these estimates and finally to identify the chronological gaps that have still to be investigated.
... The strong evidence for interbreeding between Neanderthals and AMHs poses a question about the real nature of the interaction between the two species, and further complicates our understanding of the role of AMHs in H. neanderthalensis extinction. As such, several studies now support the view that H. neanderthalensis extinction was likely due to a combination of factors, rather than the product of a single, dominant cause (Rey-Rodríguez et al., 2016). ...
Article
Neanderthals lived in Eurasia alongside anatomically modern humans (AMHs) until some 40,000 years ago. The extinction of Neanderthals is attributed to either climatic change, or to the effect of competition with AMHs. We used fossil occurrence records and paleoclimatic data to model the potential distributions of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis using Species Distribution Models, and calculated the degree of habitat quality and connectivity at successive time steps. We found that both species potential geographic ranges progressively retreated from their northeastern borders beginning with 44 ka. Although the degree of habitat loss is similar for the two species, the potential range for H. sapiens was constantly some 50% larger on average. The degree of habitat fragmentation, and the size, number, and average distance between optimal habitat patches was initially very similar for the two species. However, all these landscape metrics showed a progressive deterioration for H. neanderthalensis only over time. At the end of their existence, the most suitable habitat patches for Neanderthals were small and isolated, and their inferred climatic niche width was statistically narrower than in H. sapiens. This does not mean that climate worsening drove Neanderthals extinct, yet it suggests extinction risk for the latter markedly increased over time, towards its actual extinction date.
... At Cova Eirós, archaeological excavation at the cave entrance revealed the existence of several Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations, as well as Neolithic and Medieval ones (Rodríguez et al. 2011;Rey-Rodríguez et al. 2016). Upper Paleolithic sequences at Cova Eirós range from the Aurignacian (Level 2, 31,690 ± 240 BP, Beta-254280) to the end of the Final Magdalenian (Level B, 12,060 ± 50 BP, Beta-308859). ...
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At Cova Eirós, we discovered 13 panels with paintings and engravings that stylistically point to the final moments of the Upper Paleolithic. Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and Fourier transform Raman spectroscopy were used to identify charcoal as black pigment. Although contamination from medieval fires inside the cave complicates the dating of these pictographs, analyses of unpainted rock backgrounds allowed calculation corrections for contaminated samples. We used plasma oxidation and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to directly radiocarbon ( ¹⁴ C) date two charcoal paintings—confirming that the images are more than 9000 yr old. As these paintings superimpose engravings, these ¹⁴ C dates also provide a minimum age for an engraving at Cova Eirós that is stylistically Final Magdalenian/Epipaleolithic. This is the first known evidence of Paleolithic cave art in Galicia of NW Iberia.
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Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS 5) is well represented in palynological studies of North Atlantic marine cores but in only a handful of archeological sequences from the adjacent Iberian landmass. In this paper, we undertake a multi-proxy analysis of small mammal assemblages (insectivores, bats, and rodents) from a 6 m-thick succession, dated to MIS 5a-5b (Layers 7–22), situated in the southeastern edge of the Central Limestone massif of Estremadura at Gruta da Oliveira, near Torres Novas, Portugal. Application of quantitative (Habitat Weighting, Simpson's Diversity Index) and qualitative (Mutual Ecogeographic Range, Bioclimatic Model, Quantified Ecology) methods suggest that open woodland habitats were dominant through the time of accumulation with reconstructed mean annual temperatures (MAT) tracking the ¹⁸O curve from the NorthGRIP ice core, from the end of MIS 5c to the beginning of MIS 4. Our findings are consistent with the general trends derived from other Gruta da Oliveira proxies (wood charcoal, coprolite pollen, large mammal associations), limited evidence from other MIS 5 terrestrial sites in Iberia, and offshore marine palynological records.
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In this paper, first lower molars identified as Microtus arvalis from nine archaeological and palaeontological sites of the Italian Peninsula were analysed from a morphometric point of view, focusing on the development of the anterior part of the tooth. We used the data obtained to reveal possible patterns of evolution during the Late Pleistocene, as well as similarities and differences among the Italian samples and between Italian and European populations from the same timeframe. Factors such as the relative isolation provided by the Italian Peninsula, its milder climatic setting, intra-specific population dynamics, and the south-north displacement of Italian groups are taken into account to explain the environmental and historic causes of the peculiarities displayed by Italian samples of Microtus arvalis.
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Fish bones are common in Pleistocene cave deposits in Europe. In this paper, we report on fish remains from the Gran Dolina cave (Trinchera del Ferrocarril) in the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain, to increase what is known of the freshwater ecosystems close to the cave. The 19-m-thick section, divided into 11 stratigraphic levels, represents an Early to Middle Pleistocene time span as dated by biostratigraphy, ESR, U-series, and magnetostratigraphy. We focus on the Sondeo South site, excavated from 1993 to 1999, which has yielded 1087 fish bones comprising the following taxa: brown trout (Salmo trutta), the common European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and chub (Squalius sp.). Taphonomic studies suggest that the European eagle owl (Bubo bubo) was the most likely predator responsible for the accumulation. Changes observed in the body size of brown trout through the sequence cannot be attributed to climate change (contravening Bergmann's rule). Our study documents the presence of a pre-mountain river system characterized by permanent, oxygen-rich, relatively cold flowing waters around the Sierra de Atapuerca during Early-Middle Pleistocene times.
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El Salt is an important reference site for understanding the extinction of Neanderthal populations in the eastern Iberian Peninsula during MIS 3. In this paper, we describe the small mammal assemblage from Stratigraphic Unit V, the youngest unit with evidence of human presence, based on nearly 1300 specimens. A total of seven rodents (Microtus arvalis, Microtus duodecimcostatus, Microtus cabrerae, Sciurus vulgaris, Arvicola sapidus, Eliomys quercinus and Apodemus sylvaticus), three insectivores (Talpa occidentalis, Crocidura sp., Sorex sp.) and one lagomorph (Oryctolagus cf. cuniculus) were identified. Palaeocological analyses point to drier conditions in this part of the stratigraphic sequence, supporting the hypothesis that an aridification scenario may have played a role in the extinction of the Neanderthal groups inhabiting this region of the Iberian Peninsula.
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Marine Isotope Stage 3 is considered a period with several climate oscillations that drove the environments to rapid changes. To understand how these stadial-interstadial cycles affected southern Poland, we combined the results of eight proxies analysed in the samples from the old excavations and a new 2017 trench of Koziarnia Cave (Ojców National Park, Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, Poland) in layers related to Middle Palaeolithic, Jerzmanowician, and Early Gravettian. Among the studied proxies were charcoals, pollen record, remains of malacofauna, and vertebrates (including rodents, birds and large mammals, and ZooMS analysis of fragmented bones). Moreover, sediment samples have been analysed for lipid composition (by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, GC–MS). Despite several taphonomic issues, it was possible to recognise two oscillations. The first one, reflected in pollen record and lipid analysis, took place during Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) 14 to 8 and included Heinrich Stadial (HS) 4. The second one, recorded by rodents and bird proxies, was related to DO 8/7 to DO 6 and included HS 3. Charcoal and large mammal proxies provided the broad context of our study. The Jerzmanowician occupation was connected with a relatively cold episode in a landscape characterized mainly by grassland and periglacial environments, while the Late Middle Palaeolithic and Early Gravettian groups settled the cave during milder climatic conditions, where environments were open with sparse boreal woodlands. Such trends provide additional arguments in a broad discussion on Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Central Europe.
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El yacimiento de Cova Eirós, aunque ya conocido desde finales del siglo xx, se está erigiendo como una secuencia de referencia para el estudio del Paleolítico medio y superior del noroeste peninsular. Las intervenciones iniciadas en 2008 han proporcionado novedosos datos sobre los grupos neandertales del Paleolítico medio final. El hallazgo de arte rupestre en las galerías interiores y la datación de los motivos han permitido comprender las relaciones culturales de los grupos del Paleolítico superior con aquellos localizados en el interior peninsular
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In this book, we explore the economic wellbeing of Indigenous peoples globally through case studies that provide practical examples of how Indigenous wellbeing is premised on sustainable self- determination that is in turn dependent on a community’s evolving model for economic development, its cultural traditions, its relationship to its traditional territories and its particular spiritual practices. Adding to the richness, geographically these chapters cover North, Central and South America, Northern Europe, the Circumpolar Arctic, Southern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania and a resulting diverse set of Indigenous peoples. The book addresses key issues related to economic, environmental, social and cultural value creation activities and provides numerous examples and case studies of Indigenous communities globally which have successfully used entrepreneurship in the pursuit of sustainable development and wellbeing. Readers will gain practical understandings of the nature of sustainable economic development from a cross- section of case studies of Indigenous perspectives globally. The chapters map out the international development of Indigenous rights and the influence that this has had on Indigenous communities globally in asserting their sovereignty and acting on their rights to develop sustainable governance and economic development practices. Readers will develop insights into the intersection of Indigenous governance with sustainable practice and community wellbeing through practical case studies that explain the need for Indigenous- led economic development and governance strategies, which are responsive to local, regional, national and international realities in developing sustainable Indigenous economies focused on economic, environmental, social and cultural value creation. This book will be useful for Indigenous and non- Indigenous business students studying undergraduate business or MBA programs who seek to understand the global context and the varied experiences of Indigenous peoples in developing sustainable economic development strategies that promote community wellbeing. Table of Contents Introduction Rick Colbourne and Robert B. Anderson 1 Invitation to ethical space: a dialogue on sustainability and reconciliation Reg Crowshoe and David Lertzman 2 Coyote learns commerce Joseph Scott Gladstone 3 Resistance to ‘development’ amongst the Kogui of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Aili Pyhala 4 Consultation or free, informed and prior consent? A comparative legal analysis of Indigenous consultation during natural resource activities in Australia and Canada Madeline E. Taylor 5 Towards measuring Indigenous sustainability: merging vernacular and modern knowledge Maor Kohn, Meidad Kissinger and Avinoam Meir 6 The Inuit: sustaining themselves, the Arctic and the World Peter Hough 7 Self-gentrification as a pro-active response to tourism development: cases of Indigenous entrepreneurship in mainland China and Taiwan Jin Hooi Chan, Shih- Yu Chen, Zhongjuan Ji, Ying Zhang and Xiaoguang Qi 8 What is a river? Cross-disciplinary and Indigenous assessment Tero Mustonen and Pauliina Feodoroff 9 Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs) in Galiza: indigeneity or peasanthood? Joam Evans Pim 10 Sustainable development through Indigenous community-based enterprises Mario Vazquez-Maguirre 11 Andean enterprises: a case study of Bolivia’s Royal Quinoa entrepreneurs Tamara Stenn 12 Relational and social aspects of Indigenous entrepreneurship: the Hupacasath case Irene Henriques, Rick Colbourne, Ana Maria Peredo and Robert B. Anderson
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Recent studies of the Late Pleistocene small-mammal sequences of the Italian Peninsula have provided a more detailed context that sheds light on numerous aspects of the faunal communities in this area. A georeferenced database with 51 Italian Peninsula sites has been built in order to investigate changes in the species range distribution and the evolution of the small-mammal community during the Late Pleistocene, with a special focus on the late Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) to Late Glacial assemblages. From the early Late Pleistocene, the Italian Peninsula was divided into two biotic macroregions: the northern Italian Peninsula and the southern Italian Peninsula. The former was characterized by the presence of eastern European species, the latter by the presence of the endemic Savi’s vole (Microtus (Terricola) savii) and the Roman mole (Talpa romana). Three sub-regions have been recognized on the basis of the presence of Dinaromys bogdanovi (northeastern Italian Peninsula) and the presence or absence of Glis glis (southern Tyrrhenian side and southern Adriatic side, respectively). Major oscillations corresponding to Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) cycles and Heinrich Events (HE or H) have been identified in both macroregions. In particular, the Bølling-Allerød Interstadial can be considered a moment of major faunal renewal for the small-mammal communities of the Italian Peninsula. Finally, the small-mammal communities of the Italian Peninsula follow the same general path as that recognized throughout Mediterranean Europe during the Late Pleistocene: this is characterized by variations in the spread of eastern European taxa in relation to mountain barriers and by the absence of these taxa in the southern areas of the Italian and Iberian Peninsulas, compensated by the presence of endemic species.
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Evidence of care for the ill and injured amongst Neanderthals, inferred through skeletal evidence for survival from severe illness and injury, is widely accepted. However, healthcare practices have been viewed primarily as an example of complex cultural behaviour, often discussed alongside symbolism or mortuary practices. Here we argue that care for the ill and injured is likely to have a long evolutionary history and to have been highly effective in improving health and reducing mortality risks. Healthcare provisioning can thus be understood alongside other collaborative ‘risk pooling’ strategies such as collaborative hunting, food sharing and collaborative parenting. For Neanderthals in particular the selective advantages of healthcare provisioning would have been elevated by a variety of ecological conditions which increased the risk of injury as well their particular behavioural adaptations which affected the benefits of promoting survival from injury and illness. We argue that healthcare provisioning was not only a more significant evolutionary adaptation than has previously been acknowledged, but moreover may also have been essential to Neanderthal occupation at the limits of the North Temperate Zone.
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The Magdalenian assemblages of southwestern Germany offer insights into human behavior, subsistence, art, and mobility. Work at Langmahdhalde, a newly excavated Magdalenian rock shelter, has demonstrated the potential of its assemblages to continue this tradition using new tools and methods. Here, we present a preliminary study of the Magdalenian faunal assemblages from the site and discuss how these assemblages will contribute to our current understanding of human subsistence and environmental change at the end of the Pleistocene. We find that a significant portion of the macromammal assemblage at the site is a result of human activity. We also find that the large microvertebrate assemblage at the site is ideal for paleoenvironmental reconstruction and reflects large-scale environmental change from the late Pleistocene to early Holocene. These assemblages have the potential to address questions of Magdalenian settlement patterns in the Swabian Jura and to reconstruct the local paleoenvironment.
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The climate has undergone significant changes since the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and in the course of the Holocene, parallel to important cultural transformations and migrations in the human communities. The faunal record has also suffered the effects of climate change. Amphibians and reptiles in particular have been shown to be highly sensitive because they are very susceptible to temperature alterations due to their ectothermy. This research presents the first approach to the Iberian paleobiogeography of the different species of amphibians and reptiles from the Late Pleistocene (MIS3) to present times, based on a comparative synthesis of the latest research published in recent years and the fossil record of the 58 archaeo-paleontological sites with significant assemblages. The paleoherpetofaunal associations make it possible to establish two major biotic regions during the Late Pleistocene. The first biotic region was located in the center and south of the Iberian Peninsula, with thermophilic species as the most representative taxa. The second biotic region was formed by the Atlantic-Cantabrian facade and the northeast Iberian area, dominated by hygrophilous and Euro-Siberian species, with an absence of Mediterranean species. After the Last Glacial Maximum there was an unprecedented concurrence in the northern Iberian Peninsula of autochthonous taxa from that area with thermophilic species. In the early Holocene, new species with no previous record in the Iberian Peninsula entered northern Iberia from eastern Mediterranean refugia. Finally, the introduction of North African species was the last significant biogeographical change during the Middle-Late Holocene.
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Flaked tools management during the Middle Paleolithic of Galicia: level 3 from Cova Eirós (Triacastela, Lugo) The level 3 from Cova Eirós is the only well-stratified Middle Palaeolithic deposit in Galicia. It has an absolute dating that places it in the second half of OIS 5. The lithic assemblage has been analysed in several ways, combining the management, knapping and use of the stone tools. As for the fi rst we have resorted to a technological approach and the use was inferred from microscopic examination, in both cases interpretations being endorsed by previous experimental work. As a result, we have found out a sophisticated system of raw material management (namely, quartz and quartzite), the coexistence of several knapping methods and working processes on wood and leather. Also, the use as projectiles of several Levallois points has been recorded. The available evidence suggests that the occupations at this level had a certain degree of stability. The technological behaviour recorded, in some cases rather complex, and the strong spatial structuring of the resource management underline the cognitive and organizational skills of these Neanderthal groups.
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The timing of Neanderthal disappearance and the extent to which they overlapped with the earliest incoming anatomically modern humans (AMHs) in Eurasia are key questions in palaeoanthropology. Determining the spatiotemporal relationship between the two populations is crucial if we are to understand the processes, timing and reasons leading to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the likelihood of cultural and genetic exchange. Serious technical challenges, however, have hindered reliable dating of the period, as the radiocarbon method reaches its limit at ~50,000 years ago. Here we apply improved accelerator mass spectrometry 14C techniques to construct robust chronologies from 40 key Mousterian and Neanderthal archaeological sites, ranging from Russia to Spain. Bayesian age modelling was used to generate probability distribution functions to determine the latest appearance date. We show that the Mousterian ended by 41,030–39,260 calibrated years bp (at 95.4% probability) across Europe. We also demonstrate that succeeding ‘transitional’ archaeological industries, one of which has been linked with Neanderthals (Châtelperronian), end at a similar time. Our data indicate that the disappearance of Neanderthals occurred at different times in different regions. Comparing the data with results obtained from the earliest dated AMH sites in Europe, associated with the Uluzzian technocomplex5, allows us to quantify the temporal overlap between the two human groups. The results reveal a significant overlap of 2,600–5,400 years (at 95.4% probability). This has important implications for models seeking to explain the cultural, technological and biological elements involved in the replacement of Neanderthals by AMHs. A mosaic of populations in Europe during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition suggests that there was ample time for the transmission of cultural and symbolic behaviours, as well as possible genetic exchanges, between the two groups.
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During the last decades, the Cantabrian region has become one of the zones of greater interest in the study of the final Mousterian on the European scale. The particular ecological and physiographic conditions of this region provide an especially attractive picture for analyzing the advanced moments of this period. Almost all the Mousterian levels of Cantabrian sites are dated to the later part of “Würm II”, as occurs in some other European regions. Close to 35 ka BP, the Esquilleu sequence expresses a process of change in archaeological record, and probably in the subsistence strategies. This late occupation extends through the H4 cold event and the interglacial to “Würm III”, between level VIf (34.3 ka BP approx. AMS) and level IV (22.8 ka BP approx. AMS).
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Since 1985 increasingly more foxes have been recorded from cities in Switzerland. The inquiry of town officials showed that foxes are observed in 28 out of the 30 largest Swiss cities today and breeding dens are known in 20 of these cities. Urban foxes are observed more often than one would expect in larger cities than in smaller towns. In Ziirich, the largest city in Switzerland, urban foxes were very scarce until the early 1980s. According to the hunting statistics, from 1985 onwards, there was a drastic increase in the urban fox population. In the adjacent rural areas, there was also a clear but less extreme increase in the fox population from 1984 onwards due to successful vaccination campaigns against rabies. As an explanation for the presence of foxes in human settlements we sug- gest two alternative hypotheses, which focus either on the population pressure in the rural areas or on the behavioural adaptations of urban foxes. The presence of foxes in urban areas influences behaviour and attitudes of people towards urban wildlife and it has a consequences for the manage- ment of foxes and the treatment of zoonoses such as rabies and the alveolar echinococcosis.
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The disappearance of Neanderthals from the Palaeolithic record in Europe remains an enigma, even after more than 150 years of research. This paper identifies Rapid Climate Change during the Glacial period as a major factor that influences a variety of cultural, economic and demographic processes during the European Palaeolithic. In particular, and in agreement with many previous authors, climatic deterioration is put forward to explain multiple population breakdown during the European Palaeolithic, as well as to explain corresponding major cultural changes. Taking the archaeological record of the Iberian Peninsula as a case study, the Repeated Replacement Model (RRM) is proposed to explain population turnover in Europe during the most extreme climatic phases of the Glacial, the occurrence of North Atlantic Heinrich Events (HE). The strong aridity of the Mediterranean during HEs appears to have limited settlement refugia to such an extreme extent that communication networks and cultural traditions broke down and were subsequently reorganized under different socio-cultural conditions. The transition from the Middle Palaeolithic to the Aurignacian during HE 4 is one of these cultural turnover periods, which saw the final (macro-scale) extinction of Neanderthals and their widespread replacement by Anatomically Modern Humans. More specifically, and recognizable by comparisons with other climatically extreme Glacial periods (i.e. HE 3, and HE 2), the model excludes the survival of geographically wider (supra-regional) human networks, but it does allow for (micro-scale) survival of scattered groups. From this model, some kind of admixture between Neanderthals and incoming groups of modern humans would indeed have been possible on a small scale. If this climatic scenario turns out to be correct, the most spectacular thing about Neanderthal disappearance might actually lie in the seemingly unspectacular nature of the processes involved.
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