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Neanderthal biogeographic patterns over the Eemian-Weichsellian cycle

Wood, Derek (2008) Neanderthal biogeographic patterns over the Eemian-Weichsellian cycle. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Recent research on Neanderthal extinction has considered the role of climatic and environmental changes during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 (ca. 59-25 ka BP). This thesis explores Late Pleistocene Neanderthal population trends and responses to climate change across four European study provinces and considers the role that climate and environmental change played in their extinction. It is argued that regional population histories are complex; phases of expansion and contraction occurred across a range of climate states. It is concluded that traditional nomenclature i.e. climate stages such as stadial and interstadial are unsatisfactory in themselves for understanding concepts such as migration, extinction and culture change. An alternative model termed condition: resource variation is set out in this thesis and its emergence rests principally on the observation that many faunal and floral configurations from the last glacial period have no exact analogies with modern fauna and flora. During the post-Eemian oscillations ecological disruption was restricted to the higher latitudes of Europe and coincided with a time when Neanderthal population levels were low. A further phase during MIS 3 resulted in ecological disruption across the lower latitudes (e.g. parts of the southern province and the Mediterranean basin). In this light the MIS 3 disruptions were not unique, but part of a process operating across the interglacial-glacial cycle. Neanderthal population levels appeared to have increased after Heinrich event 6 (ca. 60 ka BP) and continued to rise across a series of major Dansgaard-Oeschger events and Heinrich event 5 (ca. 47 ka). Neanderthal population decline did occur during Heinrich event 4 at ca. 38 ka prior to a further phase of recovery. It is tentatively concluded the central province offered less-restrictive condition-resource dynamics and this could have been a significant factor leading to the central province serving as a core occupation area for anatomically modern humans, while the adjacent southern and Mediterranean provinces served as the core areas for Neanderthals over MIS 3.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Rapid climate change, Neanderthal, Anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis, Out of Africa, Multiregional Theory, Neanderthal extinction
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Mr Derek Wood
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2012 14:39
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2562

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