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Successful subsistence strategies of the first humans in south-western Europe

Quaternary International
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2012.11.015


Abstract Subsistence strategies are a set of actions and measures chosen by hominins in a specific place and at a specific time to obtain the means necessary to survive and reproduce as individuals and as a group. Choosing successful actions and measures increases the group's means of survival, which in turn gives rise to an increase in population, thereby ensuring the continuity of the group. Some authors believe that Early Pleistocene hominin settlements were marginal and discontinuous due to their lack of social networks and cultural acquirements. However, the faunal remains recovered in the caves of Gran Dolina (levels 3–4 and 6) and Sima del Elefante (levels 9–14) in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain) show that the subsistence strategies of Early Pleistocene hominins in Europe were successful enough to allow hominin groups to survive and reproduce in sufficient numbers. Therefore, these first humans would have the ability to maintain a continuous occupation of Europe.

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