Climate effects on archaic human habitats and species successions
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The long-suspected link between hominin evolution and ancient climate changes has received strong support.
Scientists have long conjectured that climate changes influenced the emergence and development of hominin populations by altering the availability of resources. But this has been difficult to demonstrate because of the scarcity of climate records near sites where hominin fossils have been found.
Now, in a modelling study, a team led by researchers from the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea has found strong evidence that astronomically driven changes to temperature and rainfall greatly affected distributions of hominin species.
By combining databases of fossils and archaeological artefacts with a supercomputer model of the climate over the past two million years, the researchers considered five hominin groups made up of six species, including Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
- Nature 604, 495–501 (2022). doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04600-9