Colonization in Europe
Short and repetitive migrations of hominids before 1 million years ago suggest that their residence was not permanent at the time. Colonisation of Europe in both prehistory and recent millennium were not achieved in one immigrating wave, but instead through multiple dispersal events. Most of these instances in Eurasia were limited to 40th parallel north. Besides the findings from East Anglia, the first constant presence of humans in Europe begins 500,000-600,000 years ago. However, this presence was limited to western Europe, not reaching places like the Russian plains, until 200,000-300,000 years ago. The exception to this was discovered in East Anglia, England, where hominids briefly inhabited 700,000 years ago. Prior to arriving in Europe, the source of hominids appeared to be East Africa, where stone tools and hominid fossils are the most abundant and recorded.
The most hominid fossils from the Middle Pleistocene (780,000-125,000 years ago) have been found in Europe. Remains of Homo heidelbergensis have been found as far north as the Atapuerca Mountains in Gran Dolina, Spain, and the oldest specimen can be dated from 850,000 to 200,000 years ago.
Middle Paleolithic age
Homo neanderthalensis, also known as Neanderthals, evolved from a branch of Homo heidelbergensis that migrated to Europe during the Middle Pleistocene. Neanderthal populations date back as far as 400,000 years ago in the Atapuerca Mountains, Spain. While lacking the robustness attributed to west European Neanderthal morphology, other populations did inhabit parts of eastern Europe and western Asia. Between 45,000 - 35,000 years ago, modern humans (Homo sapiens) replaced all Neanderthal populations in Europe anatomically and genetically. This is evident in the transfer and combination of technology and culture.
Upper Paleolithic Age
Homo neanderthalensis overlap with Homo sapiens
Look at technology and tool transfer as evidence of Migration of Modern Humans replacing Neanderthals
- Elaborate on Migration Period
Reasons for Migration
Homo ergaster specimens indicate a change toward a diet more reliant on animal products, evident by greater encephalization with higher energy requirements. This transition to becoming more carnivorous affected the way of life unlike primates before. Archaeological evidence of cut bones from large mammals and broken stone tools increasing in frequency support this increasing trend. To meet increasing demand of calories, the range of hominids would have expanded, making the necessary hunting versus prior scavenging possible. It is believed that the adjustments required to meet these new demands would expand the home range size eight to ten times. Range could also increase or decrease in size due to environmental changes. A more recent example is absence of humans in Britain during the last glacial maximum which ended in the Late Pleistocene, 10,000 years ago. At this time, Russia had an influx of people following the major prey species shifting to this region. It has been argued that Neanderthals', and previous hominids', expansion northward were limited by lacking proper thermoregulation. Behavioural adaptations such as clothes-making to overcome the cold is evident in archaeological finds. The potential to expand also grew with the Neanderthal reaching the status of top carnivores. These humans could fear less during expansion, without the worry of other predators. The desire to push into these northern areas was influenced by this requirement to eat a lot of meat to satisfy the human brain which uses 20% of the body's energy. Larger game for hunting is available the closer you are to the poles.
- History of Europe
- Exploration in Europe
- Modern empires' loss of European territory
- Colonization on Earth
- Human migration
- Early human migrations
- Historical migration
- Migration Period
- Homo sapiens
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