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Keywords:

  • Homo antecessor;
  • herpetofauna;
  • palaeoclimate;
  • palaeoenvironment;
  • Early Pleistocene;
  • Spain

ABSTRACT

Hominin remains unearthed from level TD6-2 of Gran Dolina have been dated to slightly more than 0.8 Ma. Owing to the importance of this discovery, every effort is being made to reconstruct the environment where these hominins once lived. In this paper, the mutual climatic range and habitat weighting methods are applied to the herpetofaunal assemblages in order to estimate climatic and environmental parameters. TD6-2 is thus characterized by a warm and humid climate. Mean annual temperature is estimated at 2.1°C higher than at present in Burgos, with a greater increase in temperature during summer (+3.1°C) than during winter (+1.4°C). Rainfall was more abundant than at present (+407.2 mm), occurring as at present principally during spring and autumn. Humid meadows and riparian woody habitats were common. The association between warm climatic conditions and the not fully developed forest suggests that the several episodes of high-intensity occupation in TD6-2 may correspond to a recolonization by Homo antecessor of the high inland plateaus of the Iberian Peninsula from the Mediterranean seashore, using the Ebro valley as a savannah-type corridor after a cold glacial period. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.