Reconstruction of the Neanderthal and Modern Human landscape and climate from the Fumane cave sequence (Verona, Italy) using small-mammal assemblages


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Quaternary Science Reviews

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Fumane cave, located at an altitude of 350 m.a.s.l. in the Monti Lessini in the Veneto Pre-Alps, northeastern Italy, is a reference site for southern Europe for the study of the behaviour of Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) from Marine Isotope Stages 5 to 2 (MIS5-MIS2). It is one of the few well-dated and closely studied sites in the Italian Peninsula, with a finely layered sedimentary sequence from the Mousterian to Gravettian. In this paper we present for the first time a palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction of the MIS3 and MIS2 sequence based on the small mammal (insectivore, bat and rodent) assemblages. The environmental and climatic results, coupled with the radiocarbon dating together with previous studies on large mammals, birds and charcoal and other studies on small mammals and pollen for the same time-span in Italy, enable us clearly to identify distinct climatic periods within our data: Heinrich Event 5 in units A7 to A6, Greenland Interstadial 12 in units A5 + A6 to A4, Heinrich Event 4 in units A3 to A1, and Heinrich Event 3 in unit D1e. Finally, the study shows that Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans were well adapted to the different climatic and environmental conditions of MIS3 at the foot of the Alps.

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