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The Early-Middle Pleistocene environmental and climatic change and the human expansion in Western Europe: A case study with small vertebrates (Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain)

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Cuenca Bescós, Gloria and Melero Rubio, M. and Rofes, Juan and Martínez Mendizábal, Ignacio and Arsuaga, Juan Luis and Blain, Hugues Alexandre and López García, Juan Manuel and Carbonell i Roura, Eudald and Bermúdez de Castro, José María (2011) The Early-Middle Pleistocene environmental and climatic change and the human expansion in Western Europe: A case study with small vertebrates (Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain). Journal of Human Evolution, 60 . pp. 481-491. ISSN 0047-2484

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Official URL: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-human-evolution/



Abstract

The dispersal of hominins may have been favored by the opening of the landscape during the EarlyeMiddle
Pleistocene transition (EMP) in Western Europe. The structure of the small-vertebrate
assemblages of the archaeo-paleontological karstic site of Gran Dolina in Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain)
shows important environmental and climatic changes in the faunal succession, across the MatuyamaeBrunhes
boundary at 780 ka. These changes are interpreted to indicate impoverishment of the
forests, along with an increase in dry meadows, and open lands in general that entailed a tendency
towards the loss of diversity in small-vertebrate communities above the EMP. We evaluate variation in
diversity of the faunal succession of Gran Dolina using Shannon’s Second Theorem as an index of
ecosystem structure. The long cultural-stratigraphic sequence of Gran Dolina during the EMP is somewhat
similar in its completeness and continuity to that in the locality of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov in the
Upper Jordan Valley. We also evaluate related data including faunal and floral (pollen) succession. Both
localities present cold, dry and humid, warm fluctuations at the transition between the Early and the
Middle Pleistocene. Comparisons between these sites present opportunities to understand large-scale
climatic changes.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental change, Early-Middle Pleistocene, Human, Population impact, Atapuerca, Western Europe, Jordan Valley
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:26878
Deposited On:03 Oct 2014 11:30
Last Modified:11 Dec 2018 08:42

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