Human migration into Europe during the late Early Pleistocene climate transition

Giovanni Muttoni; Giancarlo Scardia; Dennis V. Kent

Human migration into Europe during the late Early Pleistocene climate transition
Muttoni, Giovanni
Scardia, Giancarlo
Kent, Dennis V.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
A critical assesment of the available magnetostratigraphic and/or radiometric age constraints on key sites bearing hominin remains and/or lithic industries from southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain) leads us to propose that the main window of early hominin presence in southern Europe is broadly comprised between the Jaramillo subchron and the Brunhes–Matuyama boundary (i.e., subchron C1r.1r, 0.99–0.78 Ma). Within the dating uncertainties, this ~ 200 ky time window broadly coincides with the late Early Pleistocene global climate transition that contains marine isotope stage (MIS) 22 (~ 0.87 Ma), the first prominent cold stage of the Pleistocene. We suggest that aridification in North Africa and Eastern Europe, particularly harsh during MIS 22 times, triggered migration pulses of large herbivores, particularly elephants, from these regions into southern European refugia, and that hominins migrated with them. Finally, we speculate on common pathways of late Early Pleistocene dispersal of elephants and hominins from their home in savannah Africa to southern Europe, elephant and hominin buen retiro. In particular, we stress the importance of the Po Valley of northern Italy that became largely and permanently exposed only since MIS 22, thus allowing possibly for the first time in the Pleistocene viable new migration routes for large mammals and hominins across northern Italy to southern France and Spain in the west.
Paleoclimate science
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Giovanni Muttoni, Giancarlo Scardia, Dennis V. Kent, 2010, Human migration into Europe during the late Early Pleistocene climate transition, Columbia University Academic Commons, http://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:12226.

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