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Palaeolithic preferences

16 December 2013

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/uos-nif121013.php … Tony Brown from Southampton University and Laura Bassell of Queens University in Belfast have written a paper on patterns of distribution of Palaeolithic sites in northern Europe and they have found what looks like a pattern. They tend to located in flood plains on the lower levels of rivers. They appear to avoid forested slopes, plateaus, and estuaries. The study appears to revolve around the finds of stone tools rather than skeletal material, and famously they crop up in fossil river beds and terraces. The study is also limited to southern England and northern France – between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago (during the Pleistocene and presumably within the Inter Glacials). How much the research is compromised by stone tool finds is not clear – as in any other location than rivers they would have been buried. They are sometimes dredged up in gravel extraction for the building industry. Islands in rivers appear to have been a favoured location too – providing protection from animal predators, and access to tubers and wild plants such as water cress. Eggs, fish, eels, and birds such as ducks and geese could also have been on the menu.

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2013/4-4-million-year-old-h… … is something along the same lines. The discovery of a fossil horse in the Afar region of Ethiopia, indicating a grassland environment, was living at the same time as the hominid Ardipithecus ramidun. See also www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/cwru-ans121213.php

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