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Title: Early Homo behavior and adaptation in North Africa: new data from Ain Hanech and Tighennif (formerly Ternifine) sites in northern Algeria
Authors: Sahnouni, Mohamed
Parés, Josep María
Duval, Mathieu
Pérez-González, Alfredo
Made, Jan van der
Harichane, Zoheir
Abdessadok, Salah
Cáceres, Isabel
Kandi, Nadia
Chelli-Cheheb, Razika
Agustí, Jordi
Boulaghraief, Kamel
Mouhoubi, Yasmine
Chibane, Saloua
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Georgian National Museum
Citation: 100+25 years of Homo erectus: Dmanisi and beyond. International Senckenberg Conference, 2016, p. 109
Abstract: The archaeological information on Early Homo behavioral activities in Africa is derived chiefly from a number of sites south of the Sahara, e.g. Gona and Konso Gardula (Ethiopia); Olduvai (Tanzania); Koobi Fora (Kenya); and Sterkfontein and Swartkrans (South Africa). Current investigations at Ain Hanech and Tighennif in Algeria, are broadening the range of early hominin behavioral activities to the Mediterranean fringe. Ain Hanech is central for documenting the oldest currently known archaeological occurrences in North Africa. Recent fieldwork at Ain Hanech resulted in the discovery of stone tools associated with cutmarked bones from several Early Pleistocene deposits, including Ain Boucherit Units Q and R dated to 2.2 and 1.95 Ma, respectively, Ain Hanech classic and El Kherba dated to 1.8-1.7 Ma, and calcrete deposits encasing Acheulean artifacts estimated to 1.6 Ma. The stone tools from these sites are Oldowan, similar to those known at eastern African sites. Evidence of cutmarks and usewear traces indicate early Homo activity of processing meat. The Acheulean site of Tighennif is significant for examining the hypothesis linking arid environment and ecology to Homo erectus behavior and land use patterns that might have emerged at a crucial time in human evolution, namely the Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition (MPT). Paleoecological data suggest that during the MPT (1.2-0.8 Ma) Africa experienced a major global climate change characterized by increased aridity and open vegetation. Chronologically, the site of Tighennif correlates with the occurrence of this open/dry environment in Africa, and has also yielded H. erectus fossils associated with a savanna-like fauna and an Acheulean industry. Current field investigations at Tighennif reveal that the archaeological remains were accumulated in primary context. The preliminary study of the association of the Acheulean artifacts and animal bones suggests a significant adaptive behavior to open/dry environment by H. erectus. Our investigations have shown that by 2.2 Ma early Homo has already occupied North Africa and was well adapted to expand into Eurasia.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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