viernes, 14 de agosto de 2015

If you think Siberia is cold, for cave-dwelling Neanderthals it was far colder

1/4. Chagyrskaya cave. Picture: Nataliya Rudaya

New study reveals icy climate conditions in pre-historic times.

Reseachers from Novosibirsk have recreated the habitat of primitive people who lived in a cave in modern-day Altai region some 50,000 or 60,000 years ago.

By analysing ancient pollen, they can calculate the climate and vegetation of the period. The climate for Neanderthals was colder, and drier, than today. It was a cold steppe or tundra-steppe type climate with almost no forests in marked contrast to today's landscape.

Leaving Chagyrskaya cave, Neanderthals saw before them the steppe consisting of wormwood, feather grass and other grasses, and wild rose bushes on the slopes. Higher in the mountains were lonely larches, and far to the south-west was dark taiga with a predominance of fir trees. [...]

Related: Excavations at the Chagyrskaya Cave, Russia: a Neanderthal Middle Palaeolithic industry in Northern Asia
Project Gallery article - Antiquity. Issue 345, June 2015.

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