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Paleoecology of mid-mountain Alps (Trentino, Italy) between Greenland interstadial 1 and Early Holocene. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of ibex and red deer

Abstract: The Pleistocene-Holocene transition reveals a short and abrupt climatic sequence from the warming conditions of the Greenland Interstadial-1 (GI-1), followed by the Greenland stadial-1 (GS-1) cooling and the continuous warming during the Greenlandian Stage, which flourished new ecological habitats, and therefore, demography and cultural dynamics among hunter-gatherers. Particularly at extreme latitudes and altitudes, these changes had a significant impact on human habitats like in the Southeastern Italian Alps. This region was continuously inhabited during this chronological span, even during the harshest periods, the Late Epigravettian at the late Pleistocene, followed by Sauveterrian groups during the Early Holocene. Stable isotope analyses of ibex (Capra ibex) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) were carried out on bones with evidence of human manipulation from four mid-mountain archaeological sites in Italy (Dalmeri, Cogola, Cornafessa shelters, Ernesto cave). Results show that animals changed their niches to adapt to the ecological changes, almost always maintaining a separation of ecological niches. Combining the results with other environmental proxies, we reconstruct the animal habitats, and sharpen the ultimate understanding of how this geological transition impacted on the environment humans had to face. Hence, at the end of GI-1, ibex was grazing in an ecological niche characterised by open and wet conditions. In the dryer GS-1, red deer also experienced cold conditions, as ibex, while late Epigravettians were exploiting diverse habitats to cope with severe climatic conditions. After the beginning of the Greenlandian, warming and moisture caused a visible change in ibex and red deer habitats. Unlike Epigravettians, Sauveterrians who inhabited the mid-mountain of Trentino exploited a more restricted ecological range because of an ameliorated condition.

 Fuente: Quaternary Science Reviews, 2024, 328, 108549

 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

 Publication date: 20/02/2024

 No. of pages: 17

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2024.108549

 ISSN: 0277-3791,1873-457X

 European project: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/818299/EU/Subsistence and human resilience to sudden climatic events in Europe during MIS3/SUBSILIENCE/