Neanderthal and modern human adaptations
Modern human dispersal into Eurasia, its relation to Neanderthal extinction, and the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition, are some of the liveliest debated issues in paleoanthropological research. The first appearance of Early Upper Palaeolithic (EUP) technocomplexes, e.g., the Aurignacian and the Bohunician, is of crucial importance for the discussion about the timing and nature of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition and the Neanderthal replacement debate. In order to contribute to this debate outside the well-known areas of western, southern, and central Europe, this research project focuses on the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Ukraine and Russia and aims to provide answers to the following questions:
▪ What behavioural and cultural adaptations contributed to the success of modern humans dispersing into Europe?
▪ Were these adaptations unique to modern humans?
▪ What were the climatic conditions under which modern humans dispersed into Europe?
To answer these questions, we are conducting surveys and test excavations in two areas of western Ukraine (the Middle Dniestr valley north of the Carpathian Mountains and the Upper Tisza valley on the southern side of the Carpathian Mountains) and in Russia (Kostenki-Borshevo area). The areas are ideal case studies as they have loess-paleosol deposits with a rather good palaeoclimatic resolution important for placing Neanderthals and modern humans in a climatic context.
All photographs ©NEMO-ADAP Project unless otherwise stated.