Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12136/394
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Title: Continuity or discontinuity in the European Early Pleistocene human settlement: the Atapuerca evidence
Authors: Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Martinón-Torres, María
Blasco, Ruth
Rosell, Jordi
Carbonell, Eudald
Keywords: Early Pleistocene;Europe;Atapuerca
Issue Date: Sep-2013
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Science Reviews, 2013, 76, 53-65
Abstract: The nature, timing, pattern, favourable circumstances and impediments of the human occupation of the European continent during the Early Pleistocene are hot topics in Quaternary studies. In particular, the problem of the (dis) continuity of the settlement of Europe in this period is an important matter of discussion, which has been approached in the last decade from different points of view. The Gran Dolina (TD) and Sima del Elefante (TE) cave sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca, (Spain) include large and quasi-continuous stratigraphic sequences that stretch back from at least 1.2 million years ago (Ma) to the Matuyama/Brunhes boundary. The archaeological and paleontological record from these sites can help to test different hypotheses about the character of the human settlement in this region and period. Furthermore, the TD6 level has yielded a large collection of human fossil remains attributed to Homo antecessor. According to different geochronological methods, as well as to paleomagnetic and biostratigraphical analyses, these hominins belong to an age range of 0.96–0.80 Ma. Unfortunately, the finding in 2007 of some human fossil remains in the TE9 level, dated to about 1.22 Ma, was not enough to conclude whether H. antecessor had deep roots in the European Early Pleistocene. A set of derived features of H. antecessor shared with both the Neanderthal lineage and modern humans suggests that this species is related, and not far, from the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. If we assume that there was a lineal biological relationship between the TE9 and TD6 hominins, we should reconsider many of the conclusions achieved in previous paleontological and genetic studies. In addition, we would be obliged to build a highly complicated paleogeographical scenario for the origin of the MRCA. Although continuity in the settlement of Europe during the entire late Early Pleistocene is not discarded (e.g. in refuge areas), it seems that this Western extreme of Eurasia, and the Iberian Peninsula in particular, was occupied by at least two different hominin populations.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12136/394
ISSN: 0277-3791
1873-457X
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.023
metadata.dc.relation.publisherversion: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.023
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología



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