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Subsistence of early anatomically modern humans in Europe as evidenced in the Protoaurignacian occupations of Fumane Cave, Italy

Abstract: Documenting the subsistence strategies developed by early modern humans is relevant for understanding the success of their dispersal throughout Eurasia. Today, we know that there was not a single colonization event and that the process was progressive while coping with the MIS3 abrupt climatic oscillations. Modern humans expanded into the continent by adapting to different topographic situations and by exploiting resources in diverse ecological niches. The northern part of Italy is one of the first European regions where early modern humans are documented. Here, we present the subsistence regimen adopted by the Protoaurignacian groups in two different levels in Fumane Cave based on archaeozoological data. New radiocarbon dates confirm an overlap between Uluzzian and Protoaurignacian occupations, around 42 and 41,000 cal BP, and reveal that modern humans occupied the cave from GI10 to GS9, the last level coinciding with the Heinrich Event 4. The data indicate seasonal site occupations during late spring/summer and that prey exploitation was focused mostly on ibex and chamois, killed in nearby areas. The whole faunal assemblage suggests the presence of early modern humans in a cold environment with mostly open landscapes and patchy woodlands. The estimation of net primary productivity (NPP) in Fumane, compared with other contemporaneous Italian sites, reflects how the NPP fluctuations in the Prealpine area, where Fumane is located, affected the biotic resources in contrast to known Mediterranean sites. From a pan- European perspective, the spatiotemporal fluctuation of the NPP versus the subsistence strategies adopted by Protoaurignacian groups in the continent supports rapid Homo sapiens dispersal and resilience in a mosaic of environments that were affected by significant climate changes.

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 Autoría: Marín-Arroyo A.B., Terlato G., Vidal-Cordasco M., Peresani M.,

 Fuente: Scientific Reports, 2023, 13, 3788

Editorial: Nature Publishing Group

 Año de publicación: 2023

Nº de páginas: 23

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-30059-3

ISSN: 2045-2322

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