10 million years ago the first Homo erectus in Europe was ruined by severe cold

10 million years ago the first Homo erectus in Europe was ruined by severe cold

while our ancestors standing man Populations began to grow timidly in southern Europe, before a great cold wave struck the region 1.12 million years ago, bringing this migratory phase to an abrupt halt.

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1.8 million years ago, standing man left Africa to begin their migration to the north. After first arriving in Southeast Asia, our distant ancestors then headed west. Thus we find traces of the first settlement (fossils and stone tools) in the Iberian Peninsula about 1.4 million years ago. The climatic conditions in this part of southern Europe were then mild enough to be conducive to the establishment of these first human communities.

worsening climate conditions

If this first migrant phase in Europe seems to have started well enough, things seem to have gotten more complicated afterwards. Because it did not depend on the vagaries of the climate. About 1.2 million years ago, the situation turned bad. The glacial cycle, which characterized this Pleistocene epoch, gradually gained intensity. But by far, the most popular theory suggests that human colonies were able to survive these many periods of cooling, and gradually adapted to increasingly harsher living conditions.

However, a new study questions this assumption of business continuity. Because according to a group of researchers, the climatic conditions would have deteriorated to such an extent that they would not have allowed the communities to survive in that place.

It’s freezing cold in Southern Europe

Palaeoclimate data obtained from analysis of marine sediments taken off the coast of Portugal actually suggest that 1.127 million years ago, the region experienced a brutal event of extreme cold. Thus the surface temperature of the Atlantic Ocean at Lisbon would have dropped below 6°C. Knowing that the temperature at present is more than 24 °C, one can imagine how cold the conditions must have been at that time. According to the study published in the journal, this period of cold would have lasted only 4,000 years. ScienceBut its intensity is comparable to some of the most severe events of the recent Holocene ice age.

This significant cooling apparently occurred at the end of the glacial cycle. While the global climate was then warming and the ice sheets began to melt, ocean circulation would have been modified by the introduction of large amounts of fresh water into the ocean and the pack ice would have expanded southward. , So the sea temperature drops rapidly and the land of western Europe probably turns into a cold and inhospitable semi-desert.

The area may have been deserted for 200,000 years before being re-colonised

For scientists, the climatic conditions would then have been too unfavorable for ordinary hunter-gatherers who did not yet have the technology to make fire. To support this hypothesis, the researchers developed a digital model of human habitation combining paleoclimatic and archaeological data.

Thus it seems likely that Spain, but also southern Europe more generally, experienced a period of population decline at the beginning of the Pleistocene. very few fossil traces ofstanding man In fact intense cold has been found over a period of 200,000 years after the start of this event. Therefore, before undergoing a new wave of colonization around 900,000 years ago, the region must have been deserted for a long period of time. Although climatic conditions are still marked by frequent ice ages, newcomers (Homo ancestor) would have been better adapted to survive in this type of environment, this time leading to the permanent establishment of new human communities.


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