Hominins and the Early–Middle Pleistocene transition: evolution, culture and climate in Africa and Europe
Published:January 01, 2005
John McNabb, 2005. "Hominins and the Early–Middle Pleistocene transition: evolution, culture and climate in Africa and Europe", Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence, M.J. Head, P.L. Gibbard
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Some of the more important evidence is reviewed for the archaeology of hominin colonization associated with the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition. This is done by reference to the nature of migration ‘out of Africa’ before the interval of transition, across the transition itself, and then after it. Technologically assisted behaviour may not have been so important in the colonization process, behaviour and biology being the primary factors that led to the success of a migrating species. While climate change and especially shifts in local aridity would have been experienced and possibly remembered by localized hominin groups, the Acheulean behavioural repertoire did not change much across Africa and Europe over a million years of time. It merely adapted to local conditions. The Acheulean was a generalized hand-held processing technology for a generalized hominin.
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Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence
The Early–Middle Pleistocene transition (around 1.2 to 0.5 Ma) marks a profound shift in Earth’s climate state. Low-amplitude 41 ka climate cycles, dominating the earlier part of the Pleistocene, gave way progressively to a 100 ka rhythm of increased amplitude that characterizes our present glacial—interglacial world. This volume assesses the biotic and physical response to this transition both on land and in the oceans: indeed it examines the very nature of Quaternary climate change. Milankovitch theory, palaeoceanography using isotopes and microfossils, marine organic geochemistry, tephrochronology, the record of loess and soil deposition, terrestrial vegetationa! change, and the migration and evolution of hominins as well as other large and small mammals, are all considered. These themes combine to explore the very origins of our present biota.