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Title:Climate and habitat reconstruction of hominid sites in northern China with paleosol stable isotopes
Author(s):Wang, Hong
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ambrose, Stanley H.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Archaeology
Abstract:The environment of early hominids in the Loess Plateau region of China is a highly debated subject. Interpretations of past habitats and climates derived from fossil faunal and floral assemblages, paleosols, and geochemistry are often contradictory. In order to understand paleoenvironments and the nature of hominid adaptations, evolution and behavioral change, more accurate reconstructions of their environments are needed. Stable isotope geochemistry of paleosols, including carbon isotopes of soil organic matter and pedogenic carbonates, and oxygen isotopes of pedogenic carbonates, can provide evidences for tree:grass ratios, air surface temperature and soil moisture conditions. These data can also help resolve disagreements about paleoenvironments at hominid sites from other lines of evidence and provide a secure understanding of the environmental contexts of early hominids. This framework can help to understand the adaptative strategies of Pleistocene hominids in northern China and the evolution of adaptability to colder environments.
Paleosol morphology analysis applied in this study differentiates 25 pedogenic units in the Chinese Loess Plateau spanning the 1.2 Ma. Some paleosols reflect warm climates, some reflect cold ones, and some reflect transitions between warm and cold climates. Seventeen archaeological sites and 19 hominid occupations have been evaluated. Hominid environments have been systematically reconstructed in northern China based on paleosol development scales.
This dissertation outlines the current state of knowledge about the paleoenvironments of hominid and archaeological sites in northern China. Using stable isotopic analysis, soil morphology, and other chemical and physical properties of paleosols, the details of paleoenvironment (climate and habitat) during hominid occupations can be understood. Previous contradictory interpretations of the paleoenvironment of Lantian hominids can be resolved. Ecological models of adaptation to changing climates and varied habitats are used to study the behaviors of early hominids in northern China.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Wang, Hong
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702711
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702711

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