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Paleosol stable isotope evidence for early hominid occupation of East Asian temperate environments

Quaternary Research

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1006/qres.1997.1921

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Abstract

Hominids left Africa and occupied mainland Asia by 1.8 myr ago. About 1.15 myr ago Homo erectus and an associated Stegodon-Ailuropoda fauna migrated from subtropical China across the Qinling Mountains into the temperate Loess Plateau. This migration may be an evolutionary milestone in human adaptability because it may represent the first occupation of a nontropical environment. Loess-paleosol stable isotope ratios from the last interglacial-glacial cycle provide comparative data for reconstructing the hominid paleoenvironments. The climate during Gongwangling hominid occupation about 1.15 myr ago was influenced by both Siberian-Mongolian winter and Indian summer monsoon systems characterized as a cold/cool, dry winter and warm/mild, semihumid summer and fall. The Gongwangling hominids preyed mainly on warm-climate-adapted animals such as Stegodon-Ailuropoda fauna, suggesting a warm season occupation. The stable isotope ratios also indicate that the Chenjiawo hominids occupied an environment similar to that of the Gongwangling about 650,000 yr ago. The associated fauna, with a mixture of forest and steppe, warm-and cold/cool-climate-adapted animal assemblage's, suggests a permanent occupation by this time. Thus, the reliable earliest and permanent occupation of temperate environments may have occurred 150,000 yr earlier in eastern Asia rather than in Europe. ?? 1997 University of Washington.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Paleosol stable isotope evidence for early hominid occupation of East Asian temperate environments
Series title:
Quaternary Research
DOI:
10.1006/qres.1997.1921
Volume
48
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Quaternary Research
First page:
228
Last page:
238