Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Europe: Early Homo Fossil Records

  • Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro
  • María-Patrocinio Espigares
  • Ignasi Pastó
  • Sergio Ros-Montoya
  • Paul Palmqvist
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_646


Research during the last decades on the first human dispersal out of Africa, into Eurasia, has changed the ideas on the chronology of this event, providing also new data on the ecological scenery that allowed humans to colonize new territories with different environments and climates from those in subtropical Africa, sometimes subject to inhospitable marked seasonality.

The origin of the genus Homo is directly related to a radical change in dietary behavior from its mostly vegetarian ancestors, the australopithecines, to more systematic carnivorous activities. This change in diet runs in parallel to an increase in encephalization, which resulted in greater cognitive abilities, and a decrease in gut size (Aiello & Wheeler 1995), thus allowing the emergence of a more intelligent and ubiquitous hominin. Meat is a food resource available everywhere inhabited by large mammals living and dying, which means that the genus Homowas not constrained to only exploiting soft...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro
    • 1
    • 2
  • María-Patrocinio Espigares
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ignasi Pastó
    • 2
  • Sergio Ros-Montoya
    • 3
  • Paul Palmqvist
    • 4
  1. 1.ICREABarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social – IPHES, Àrea de PrehistòriaUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliTarragonaSpain
  3. 3.Museo de Prehistoria y PaleontologíaOrce, GranadaSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Ecología y GeologíaUniversidad de MálagaMálagaSpain