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Development of Middle Stone Age innovation linked to rapid climate change

Ziegler, Martin, Simon, Margit H., Hall, Ian Robert, Barker, Stephen, Stringer, Chris and Zahn, Rainer 2013. Development of Middle Stone Age innovation linked to rapid climate change. Nature Communications 4 , 1905. 10.1038/ncomms2897

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Abstract

The development of modernity in early human populations has been linked to pulsed phases of technological and behavioural innovation within the Middle Stone Age of South Africa. However, the trigger for these intermittent pulses of technological innovation is an enigma. Here we show that, contrary to some previous studies, the occurrence of innovation was tightly linked to abrupt climate change. Major innovational pulses occurred at times when South African climate changed rapidly towards more humid conditions, while northern sub-Saharan Africa experienced widespread droughts, as the Northern Hemisphere entered phases of extreme cooling. These millennial-scale teleconnections resulted from the bipolar seesaw behaviour of the Atlantic Ocean related to changes in the ocean circulation. These conditions led to humid pulses in South Africa and potentially to the creation of favourable environmental conditions. This strongly implies that innovational pulses of early modern human behaviour were climatically influenced and linked to the adoption of refugia.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2041-1723
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2019 21:02
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/47404

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