First Humans Europe

17 Jan 2018

William sent in this excellent link - research refutes theory regarding the dispersal of humans in Europe - go to https://phys.org/print435307967.html ... and you can read the full article, if so inclined, (over 30 pages including references) by going to DOI:10.1007/s41982-017-003-5 (click on the link at the bottom of the page above). A paper in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology disagrees with a recent publication that postulates the first humans entered northern and central Europe as early as a million years ago - earlier than previously estimated. The new paper is opposed to this idea and make a number of forceful allegations. Both papers concern excavations at Untermassfeld in the Thuringian Werra Valley in Germany which is a window on what life was extent in the region one million years ago - and the ecosystem of the period has been brought to life (or that is the claim). Some 17,000 specimens have been retrieved from the site including animals from frogs to cheetahs (a wide range of animal sizes). The recently published study was in the Journal of Human Evolution and featured in the News. The authors claimed some of the bones found been processed with tools by humans. This is always an area of contention - even in bones from more recent times. It is especially sensitive when it seem to refer to bones from the Untermassfeld site which the excavators themselves do not agree with. Indeed, excavations at the site go back to the 1970s and represent a slow process of extracting lots of bones and sediments - carefully. They say they have never encountered any evidence of hominid activity. They further claim the cut marks on the fossil bones are due to natural causes - or animal gnawing. Is it a storm in a palaeontologist tea cup?