Hominin responses to Pleistocene environmental change in Arabia and South Asia
Published:January 01, 2005
Michael D. Petraglia, 2005. "Hominin responses to Pleistocene environmental change in Arabia and South Asia", Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence, M.J. Head, P.L. Gibbard
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Whereas geoscience depends in part on the classical nomological method of the environmental sciences, it is also distinguished by a discrete set of logical procedures that lend themselves to forensic analysis. It has been argued that, as geology is a derivative science, it only partially lives up to the classical model of scientific reasoning. It does, however, provide a model of scientific reasoning based on interpretive techniques and its historical nature. Reasoning in geoscience offers a method that is applicable to the uncertainties and complexities of real-life situations because we are seldom in possession of all the data that we would like in order to make an unbiased or objective decision. The ‘geological’ method, in which we fill the gaps in our knowledge with interpretation and reasonable assumptions, is exemplified by the pragmatism of geological and geomorphological analysis and is herein considered analogous to that undertaken by forensic practitioners. A problem-based learning situation based on a past geological/forensic case study is included to illustrate the approach advocated.
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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.