Were large carnivorans and great climatic shifts limiting factors for hominin dispersals? Evidence of the activity of Pachycrocuta brevirostris during the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution in the Vallparadís Section (Vallès-Penedès Basin, Iberian Peninsula)

Joan Madurell-Malapeira, David M. Alba, María Patrocinio Espigares, Víctor Vinuesa, Paul Palmqvist, Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro, Salvador Moyà-Solà

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12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA The chronology of the first human dispersal out of Africa and the ecological role of the genus Homo in Europe as a scavenger or an active hunter during the late Early Pleistocene are two of the paleoanthropological topics most hotly debated during the last decades. The earliest human occurrences in Western Europe are recorded in the Iberian Peninsula by the late Villafranchian (1.4–1.2 Ma), during a period of climatic stability. However, currently available taphonomic and paleoecological data suggest a direct and intense competition for food resources between these human populations and the large scavenging hyaenid Pachycrocuta brevirostris. The Villafranchian was followed by the Epivillafranchian (ca. 1.2–0.8 Ma), a period of climatic instability dominated by several strong glacial periods. The evidence from the Vallparadís Section reported here suggests that such unstable climatic conditions did not affect to a great extent the composition of the large mammal assemblages and, particularly, that of the carnivore guild. Based on the impressive record of carnivoran remains recovered from the Vallparadís Section and the taphonomic interpretation of this assemblage, we suggest that the putative direct competition between early Homo and large carnivores, especially P. brevirostris, persisted throughout the late Villafranchian and the Epivillafranchian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
JournalQuaternary International
Volume431
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Early Homo
  • Early Pleistocene
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Pachycrocuta brevirostris
  • Vallparadís Section

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