Life and Death at the Pestera cu Oase: A Setting for Modern Human Emergence in Europe (Human Evolution Series)

Life and Death at the Pestera cu Oase: A Setting for Modern Human Emergence in Europe (Human Evolution Series)

By: Joco Zilhco (editor), Silviu Constantin (editor), Erik Trinkaus (editor)Hardback

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The Pestera cu Oase is a sealed limestone cavern in southwestern Romania which served principally as a hibernation den for Pleistocene cave bears and wolves, but also contained the fossil remains of the earliest modern humans in Europe. Currently inaccessible except through cave diving and rock climbing, the cave preserved its contents undisturbed for tens of thousands of years. To understand the cave, its contents, the bear and wolves, and especially the humans, an international team mapped and excavated the Pestera cu Oase from 2002 to 2005, and has since analyzed its remains in detail. The result was a wealth of information on the geology and paleontology of this cave as a reflection of life in the southwestern Carpathians 40-50 thousand years ago. This volume presents those findings. Among other things, the large cave bears provided the first solid evidence of the omnivorous nature of these not-so-gentle giants. The deer remains brought into the cave by wolves are among the largest known in Europe and document the westernmost extent of the eastern (wapiti) variant of this species. And the human remains, a complete lower jaw of a young adult and a largely complete skull of an adolescent, furhish detailed information on the anatomy of the earliet modern Europeans, who were modern without being fully modern. They combine an overall distinctly modern anatomy with traits reminescent of earlier archaic humans and among the largest rear molars in the genus Homo. They thus document the initial spread of modern humans into the cul-de-sac of Europe, the complex ancestry of those humans, and the ongoing nature of human evolution after the established of people like ourselves.

About Author

Erik Trinkaus is a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University, who has been analyzing the late archaic and early modern fossil human remains since his doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. He is concerned primarily with the changes in human biology that reflect the emergence of modern humans. Silviu Constantin is a geologist and senior researcher at the "Emil Racovita" Institute of Spelology. His research covers all aspects of physical speleology and karst geology with a special interest on U/Th dating of carbonates, analysis of sedimentary sequences in caves and paleoclimate reconstructions based on speleothems. Joao Zilhao is an archaeologist, currently ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona. His excavation and investigation work have primarily concerned the fate of the Neandertals, the origins of art and symbolic behavior, and the emergence of farming.


I. Introduction and Background ; 1. Introduction ; Erik Trinkaus, Silviu Constantin, Joao Zilhao ; 2. Exploration and Documentation of the Pestera cu Oase ; Stefan Milota, Mircea Gherase, Laurentiu Sarcina, Ricardo Rodrigo, Oana Moldovan, Erik Trinkaus, Silviu Constantin, Joao Zilhao ; 3. Problems, Approaches and Fieldwork: 2004-2005 ; Joao Zilhao, Stefan Milota, Ricardo Rodrigo, Silviu Constantin, Erik Trinkaus ; II. The Cave and Its Contents ; 4. The Karst Geology of the Ponor-Plopa System in its Regional Context ; Silviu Constantin ; 5. The Ponor-Plopa Cave System: Description, Sediments, and Genesis ; Silviu Constantin, Cristian-Mihai Munteanu, Stefan Milota, Laurentiu Sarcina, Mircea Gherase, Joao Zilhao ; 6. Uranium-Series Dating on Speleothems from the Pestera cu Oase ; Silviu Constantin, Stein-Erik Lauritzen ; 7. Electron Spin Resonance Dating of Vertebrate Remains from the Pestera cu Oase ; Rainer Grun, Tegan Kelly, Maxime Aubert ; 8. Radiocarbon Dating of the Pestera cu Oase Faunal Remains ; Thomas Higham, Eva Maria Wild ; 9. Rock Magnetic Data of Late Pleistocene sediments from the Pestera cu Oase and their Paleoclimatic Significance ; Cristian Panaiotu, Catalin Petrea, Viorel Horoi, Cristina-Emilia Panaiotu, Silviu Constantin ; 10. The Distributions of Finds and Features ; Joao Zilhao, Ricardo Rodrigo, Helene Rougier, Stefan Milota ; III. The Cave Bears 254 ; 11. Cave Bear Paleontology and Paleobiology at the Pestera cu Oase: Fossil Population Structure and Size Variability ; Martina Pacher, Jerome Quiles ; 12. Taphonomic Analysis of the Cave Bear Remains from the Pestera cu Oase ; Martina Pacher, Jerome Quiles ; 13. An Ancient DNA Perspective on the Cave Bears from the Pestera cu Oase ; Mathias Stiller, Michael Hofreiter ; IV. The Other Vertebrates 345 ; 14. Hyena, Wolves and Foxes from the Pestera cu Oase ; Emil Stiuca, Alexandru Petculescu ; 15. Small Mammal Remains from the Pestera cu Oase ; Alexandru Petculescu ; 16. The Ungulates from the Pestera cu Oase ; Simon A. Parfitt, Adrian M. Lister ; 17. Taphonomic Considerations of the Non-Ursid Vertebrate Remains ; Erik Trinkaus, Martina Pacher ; 18. Stable Isotopes and Dietary Patterns of the Faunal Species from the Pestera cu Oase ; Erik Trinkaus, Michael P. Richards ; V. The Human Remains ; 19. Radiocarbon Dating of the Pestera cu Oase Human Remains ; Erik Trinkaus ; 20. The Human Mandible from the Pestera cu Oase, Oase 1 ; Erik Trinkaus, Helene Rougier ; 21. The Human Cranium from the Pestera cu Oase, Oase 2 ; Helene Rougier, Erik Trinkaus ; 22. Frontal Bone Contours of the Oase 2 Cranium ; Sheela Athreya, Helene Rougier ; 23. The Internal Cranial Morphology of Oase 2 ; Marcia Ponce de Leon, Christoph P. E. Zollikofer ; 24. The Dental and Alveolar Remains of Oase 1 and 2 ; Erik Trinkaus, Shara E. Bailey, Helene Rougier ; 25. The Oase 1 Human Stable Isotopes ; Michael P. Richards, Erik Trinkaus ; VI. Discussion ; 26. The Paleoenvironmental Context of the Pestera cu Oase ; Silviu Constantin, Joao Zilhao, Erik Trinkaus ; 27. Paleoanthropological Implications of the Pestera cu Oase and its Contents ; Erik Trinkaus, Joao Zilhao ; VII. References

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780195398229
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 452
  • ID: 9780195398229
  • weight: 1504
  • ISBN10: 019539822X

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