Abstract

The fossil record is assumed to point to different ecologies, extinction times and ’last stands’ in different regions of the world for Proboscideans, and in some regions, human-proboscidean interaction may theoretically have covered a time span of up to two million years. This paper focuses on the Early Pleistocene of China and Southeast Asia, where the Ailuropoda-Stegodon complex is considered to be a chronologically significant faunal association in the following period. However, the stratigraphic contexts of these local faunal complexes require clarification. Indeed, after one century of research to establish a regional biostratigraphy and in spite of the recomandations provided in the 1980s, many geochronological surveys were undertaken in the 1990s but many problems still exist. Thus, as a first step, taking into consideration the uncertain nature of the geological, taphonomic and chronological data, this paper proposes a critical review of the validity of the associations of Stegodon and Elephas during the Early Pleistocene for this geographical area. Finally, it was necessary to expose what are the current problems before to try to solve them rather than to pursue an unfounded headlong rush. This review concludes that very few reliable data are available and that high-level resolution (MIS) palaeoecological modelization is almost impossible, severely hindering any discussions of strict interaction between humans and proboscideans.

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