What Neanderthals and AMH ate: reassessment of the subsistence across the Middle–Upper Palaeolithic transition in the Vasco‐Cantabrian region of SW Europe

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MarÍN‐Arroyo, Ana B  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3353-5581
Sanz‐Royo, Alicia  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5275-5996

jats:titleABSTRACT</jats:title>jats:pRecent research in northern Spain has revealed the disappearance of Neanderthal populations in the Vasco‐Cantabrian region a few millennia earlier than in eastern and southern Iberia and discovered a short period of overlap with modern humans, at least, in terms of radiocarbon dates. However, the causes of Neanderthal decline understood as a regional and temporal process remain open. Despite the abundance of technological studies, modern‐quality chronological dating, and the availability of archaeofaunal and palaeoenvironmental data, there is a lack of consensus about how climatic and environmental conditions could have affected ungulate prey and, therefore, Neanderthal subsistence strategies. In this paper, an analytical summary of the archaeofaunal and taphonomic data available for the Vasco‐Cantabrian region, combined with the most recent chronological evidence, present general knowledge about animal biogeography and ecology during the Middle–Upper Palaeolithic transition, and provides an interpretation of the behaviour of both human species in the region. This work reviews the palaeomammal community of animals represented in the record as exploited by human groups in several caves and rock shelters and pointing to continuing lacunae in knowledge. Further research is needed to verify and potentially explain the apparent hominin population gap and the ultimate fate of the Neanderthals.</jats:p>

3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 37 Earth Sciences, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 4301 Archaeology, 4303 Historical Studies, 3705 Geology
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Journal of Quaternary Science
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Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (HAR2017‐84997‐P)
H2020 European Research Council (818299)