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- DescriptionThe Pestera cu Oase is a sealed limestone cavern in southwestern Romania which served principally as a hibernation den for Pleistocene cave bears and wolves, but also contained the fossil remains of the earliest modern humans in Europe. Currently inaccessible except through cave diving and rock climbing, the cave preserved its contents undisturbed for tens of thousands of years. To understand the cave, its contents, the bear and wolves, and especially the humans, an international team mapped and excavated the Pestera cu Oase from 2002 to 2005, and has since analyzed its remains in detail. The result was a wealth of information on the geology and paleontology of this cave as a reflection of life in the southwestern Carpathians 40-50 thousand years ago. This volume presents those findings. Among other things, the large cave bears provided the first solid evidence of the omnivorous nature of these t-so-gentle giants. The deer remains brought into the cave by wolves are among the largest kwn in Europe and document the westernmost extent of the eastern (wapiti) variant of this species. And the human remains, a complete lower jaw of a young adult and a largely complete skull of an adolescent, furhish detailed information on the anatomy of the earliet modern Europeans, who were modern without being fully modern. They combine an overall distinctly modern anatomy with traits reminescent of earlier archaic humans and among the largest rear molars in the genus Homo. They thus document the initial spread of modern humans into the cul-de-sac of Europe, the complex ancestry of those humans, and the ongoing nature of human evolution after the established of people like ourselves.
- Author BiographyErik Trinkaus is a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University, who has been analyzing the late archaic and early modern fossil human remains since his doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. He is concerned primarily with the changes in human biology that reflect the emergence of modern humans. Silviu Constantin is a geologist and senior researcher at the Emil Racovita Institute of Spelology. His research covers all aspects of physical speleology and karst geology with a special interest on U/Th dating of carbonates, analysis of sedimentary sequences in caves and paleoclimate reconstructions based on speleothems. Joao Zilhao is an archaeologist, currently ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona. His excavation and investigation work have primarily concerned the fate of the Neandertals, the origins of art and symbolic behavior, and the emergence of farming.
- PublisherOxford University Press Inc
- Date of Publication29/11/2012
- SubjectSocial Sciences: Textbooks & Study Guides
- Series TitleHuman Evolution Series
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintOxford University Press Inc
- Content Note176 b&w/ 70 color
- Weight1504 g
- Width222 mm
- Height280 mm
- Spine27 mm
- Edited byErik Trinkaus,Joco Zilhco,Silviu Constantin
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