Chronological and environmental context of the first hominin dispersal into Western Europe: The case of Barranco León (Guadix-Baza Basin, SE Spain)

Jordi Agustí, Hugues Alexandre Blain, Iván Lozano-Fernández, Pedro Piñero, Oriol Oms, Marc Furió, Angel Blanco, Juan Manuel López-García, Robert Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The early Pleistocene site of Barranco León (Guadix-Baza Basin, SE Spain), dated to 1.4 Ma (millions of years ago), records the oldest hominin occurrence in Western Europe, as evidenced by the discovery of one tooth and thousands of Mode 1 stone tools. In this paper a detailed analysis of the microvertebrate content of the D1 and D2 units from this site is presented. The early Pleistocene in the Guadix-Baza Basin is characterized by a sharp climatic deterioration, which possibly impeded the settlement of this region by the early hominin population from the southern Caucasus. Shortly afterwards, when the climatic conditions were again favorable, a hominin presence is suddenly evidenced at the units D1 and D2 of Barranco León. According to the microvertebrate analysis of these units, the mean annual temperature at the time of deposition was significantly higher than 13 °C, with prevalent humid conditions. However, although most of the species were inhabitants of water edges, an open landscape was present in the vicinity of the lake. The data reported here clearly support the idea that the early hominin occupation of Europe was strongly constrained by climatic and environmental conditions, rather than by physiography or cultural factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume87
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Amphibians
  • Early Homo
  • Early Pleistocene
  • Fish
  • Insectivores
  • Out of Africa
  • Paleoclimate
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents

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