Abstract A certain consensus has been reached in the last decade on the pattern of human evolution in Europe, since great part of the fossil record of the Middle Pleistocene is commonly regarded as belonging to the Neanderthal lineage, according to a local anagenetic trajectory usually referred to as “accretion model”. In this scenario, a crucial evidence is represented by the Ceprano calvarium (Italy), which was referred to 900-800 ka. Despite a certain taxonomic incertitude, in fact, it has been considered among the interdisciplinary data suggesting discontinuity within the continental anagenetic lineage at about 600 ka. By contrast, our multidisciplinary study shows this specimen is more recent than previously believed, given that geo-stratigraphic and palynological data, combined with sedimentology, geochemistry, soil micromorphology, taphonomy, and archaeological evidence point to a time range younger than 500 ka. In view of the morphological features of the Italian calvarium, which does not display any Neanderthal trait and does not have an equivalent among the continental fossil record, this new chronology suggests that the pattern of human evolution in Europe was probably a more complex phenomenon than expected. New scenarios have to be considered, involving the occurrence of a considerable intraspecific (or interspecific) diversity, to be compared with the variability of the archaeological tecno-complexes found near Ceprano as well as in the rest of the continent during most of the Middle Pleistocene.

The new chronology of the Ceprano calvarium (Italy)

MELIS, RITA TERESA;
2010

Abstract

Abstract A certain consensus has been reached in the last decade on the pattern of human evolution in Europe, since great part of the fossil record of the Middle Pleistocene is commonly regarded as belonging to the Neanderthal lineage, according to a local anagenetic trajectory usually referred to as “accretion model”. In this scenario, a crucial evidence is represented by the Ceprano calvarium (Italy), which was referred to 900-800 ka. Despite a certain taxonomic incertitude, in fact, it has been considered among the interdisciplinary data suggesting discontinuity within the continental anagenetic lineage at about 600 ka. By contrast, our multidisciplinary study shows this specimen is more recent than previously believed, given that geo-stratigraphic and palynological data, combined with sedimentology, geochemistry, soil micromorphology, taphonomy, and archaeological evidence point to a time range younger than 500 ka. In view of the morphological features of the Italian calvarium, which does not display any Neanderthal trait and does not have an equivalent among the continental fossil record, this new chronology suggests that the pattern of human evolution in Europe was probably a more complex phenomenon than expected. New scenarios have to be considered, involving the occurrence of a considerable intraspecific (or interspecific) diversity, to be compared with the variability of the archaeological tecno-complexes found near Ceprano as well as in the rest of the continent during most of the Middle Pleistocene.
Middle Pleistocene,; Palynology; Geochronology,
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/21759
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