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Title: Hominin variability, climatic instability and population demography in Middle Pleistocene Europe
Authors: Dennell, Robin
Martinón-Torres, María
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Science Reviews, 2011, 30 (11-12), 1511-1524
Abstract: We propose a population model for Middle Pleistocene Europe that is based on demographic “sources” and “sinks”. The former were a small number of “core” or populations in glacial refugia in southern Europe from which hominins expanded northwards in interstadial and interglacial periods; occupation outside glacial refugia would have been restricted to warm or temperate periods, and populations at the northern limit of the Middle Pleistocene range would have been “sink” populations in that they depended upon recruitment from source populations further south. Southwest Asia would also have been a likely source of immigrant, source populations. We argue as an alternative to an “ebb and flow” model in which groups retreated to refugia when conditions worsened that local extinction outside refugia would have been frequent. In extreme situations, Europe may have been a population “sink” (i.e. unpopulated) that was replenished from source populations in Southwest Asia. We suggest that this pattern of repeated colonisation and extinction may help explain the morphological variability of European Middle Pleistocene hominins, particularly Homo heidelbergensis and its apparent non-lineal evolution towards Homo neanderthalensis.
ISSN: 0277-3791
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.11.027
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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