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Hominin-Carnivore Adaptive Strategies in Western Europe During the Early Pleistocene

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The fi rst peopling of Europe has been widely discussed for the last decades. The many fi ndings recorded in recent years have confirmed that Europe was occupied by hominins during the Early Pleistocene for over a million years. However, several issues are still questioned in the current debate about the fi rst peopling of Europe, including the continuity or discontinuity of this event. In this regard, a revision of the available zooarchaeological evidence for the Early Pleistocene in Europe is proposed in this article, discussing the infl uence on hominin behavior of meat-resource acquisition. The faunal evidence recovered from the European sites shows that hominins had access to a variety of meat resources, from small animals such as birds and reptiles to large variability of mammals like hippopotamuses and ungulates of varying sizes. This fossil record also suggests that hominins overcame the predation pressure exerted by hyaenids and felids, which competed for these same natural resources. The climatic fl uctuations which characterized this period, as well as the diversity of ecosystems found in the Mediterranean area and in the whole continent, make meat consumption a key resource concerning the adaptive possibilities of local hominins. Thus, the persistence and expansion of hominin settlement throughout Europe during the Early Pleistocene may have depended on the overcoming of these constraining factors, on the basis of the social cohesion of the groups and their capacity to provide with a Mode 1 technology a regular supply of meat resources.

About the Authors

J. Garcia Garriga
Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES) C/ Marcel·lí Domingo s/n (Edifi ci W3), Campus Sescelades URV, 43007, Tarragona, Spain Universitat Rovira i Virgili Àrea de Prehistòria, Avinguda de Catalunya 35, 43002, Tarragona, Spain Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) Avinguda del Tibidabo 39−43, 08035, Barcelona, Spain
Russian Federation

K. Martínez
Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES) C/ Marcel·lí Domingo s/n (Edifi ci W3), Campus Sescelades URV, 43007, Tarragona, Spain Universitat Rovira i Virgili Àrea de Prehistòria, Avinguda de Catalunya 35, 43002, Tarragona, Spain
Russian Federation

J. Yravedra
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) Dpt. Prehistoria, Facultad de Geografía e Historia, 28040, Madrid, Spain
Russian Federation


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For citations:

Garcia Garriga J., Martínez K., Yravedra J. Hominin-Carnivore Adaptive Strategies in Western Europe During the Early Pleistocene. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2016;44(2):19-29.

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