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Human footprints provide snapshot of last interglacial ecology in the Arabian interior

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journal contribution
posted on 26.10.2020, 14:41 by Mathew Stewart, Richard Clark-Wilson, Paul S Breeze, Klint Janulis, Ian Candy, Simon J Armitage, David Ryves, Julien Louys, Mathieu Duval, Gilbert J Price, Patrick Cuthbertson, Marco A Bernal, Nick A Drake, Abdullah M Alsharekh, Badr Zahrani, Abdulaziz Al-Omari, Patrick Roberts, Huw S Groucutt, Michael D Petraglia
The nature of human dispersals out of Africa has remained elusive because of the poor resolution of paleoecological data in direct association with remains of the earliest non-African people. Here, we report hominin and non-hominin mammalian tracks from an ancient lake deposit in the Arabian Peninsula, dated within the last interglacial. The findings, it is argued, likely represent the oldest securely dated evidence for Homo sapiens in Arabia. The paleoecological evidence indicates a well-watered semi-arid grassland setting during human movements into the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia. We conclude that visitation to the lake was transient, likely serving as a place to drink and to forage, and that late Pleistocene human and mammalian migrations and landscape use patterns in Arabia were inexorably linked.

Funding

Max Planck Society, European Research Council (no. 295719)

Leverhulme trust (PG-2017-087)

Leverhulme Trust (ECF-2019-538)

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship grant (FT150100215)

SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) (no. 262618)

Australia Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship Grant (FT160100450)

Researchers Supporting Project Number (RSP-2019/126), King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Science Advances

Volume

6

Issue

38

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Acceptance date

31/07/2020

Publication date

2020-09-18

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

2375-2548

eISSN

2375-2548

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Dave Ryves Deposit date: 25 October 2020

Article number

eaba8940

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