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

Hardcover | November 15, 2012

EditorErik Trinkaus, Silviu Constantin, Joco Zilhco

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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 androck 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 indetail. 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 omnivorousnature 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 traitsreminescent 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 likeourselves.

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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 androck climbing, the cave preserved its contents...

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 ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:528 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.98 inPublished:November 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019539822X

ISBN - 13:9780195398229

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction and Background1. Erik Trinkaus, Silviu Constantin, JoUo ZilhUo: Introduction2. Stefan Milota, Mircea Gherase, Laurentiu Sarcina, Ricardo Rodrigo, Oana Moldovan, Erik Trinkaus, Silviu Constantin, JoUo ZilhUo: Exploration and Documentation of the Pestera cu Oase3. JoUo ZilhUo, Stefan Milota, Ricardo Rodrigo, Silviu Constantin, Erik Trinkaus: Problems, Approaches and Fieldwork: 2004-2005II. The Cave and Its Contents4. Silviu Constantin: The Karst Geology of the Ponor-Plopa System in its Regional Context5. Silviu Constantin, Cristian-Mihai Munteanu, Stefan Milota, Laurentiu Sarcina, Mircea Gherase, JoUo ZilhUo: The Ponor-Plopa Cave System: Description, Sediments, and Genesis6. Silviu Constantin, Stein-Erik Lauritzen: Uranium-Series Dating on Speleothems from the Pestera cu Oase7. Rainer Grn, Tegan Kelly, Maxime Aubert: Electron Spin Resonance Dating of Vertebrate Remains from the Pestera cu Oase8. Thomas Higham, Eva Maria Wild: Radiocarbon Dating of the Pestera cu Oase Faunal Remains9. Cristian Panaiotu, Catalin Petrea, Viorel Horoi, Cristina-Emilia Panaiotu, Silviu Constantin: Rock Magnetic Data of Late Pleistocene sediments from the Pestera cu Oase and their Paleoclimatic Significance10. JoUo ZilhUo, Ricardo Rodrigo, H.lSne Rougier, Stefan Milota: The Distributions of Finds and FeaturesIII. The Cave Bears11. Martina Pacher, J.r"me QuilSs: Cave Bear Paleontology and Paleobiology at the Pestera cu Oase: Fossil Population Structure and Size Variability12. Martina Pacher, J.r"me QuilSs: Taphonomic Analysis of the Cave Bear Remains from the Pestera cu Oase13. Mathias Stiller, Michael Hofreiter: An Ancient DNA Perspective on the Cave Bears from the Pestera cu OaseIV. The Other Vertebrates14. Emil Stiuca, Alexandru Petculescu: Hyena, Wolves and Foxes from the Pestera cu Oase15. Alexandru Petculescu: Small Mammal Remains from the Pestera cu Oase16. Simon A. Parfitt, Adrian M. Lister: The Ungulates from the Pestera cu Oase17. Erik Trinkaus, Martina Pacher: Taphonomic Considerations of the Non-Ursid Vertebrate Remains18. Erik Trinkaus, Michael P. Richards: Stable Isotopes and Dietary Patterns of the Faunal Species from the Pestera cu OaseV. The Human Remains19. Erik Trinkaus: Radiocarbon Dating of the Pestera cu Oase Human Remains20. Erik Trinkaus, H.lSne Rougier: The Human Mandible from the Pestera cu Oase, Oase 121. Erik Trinkaus, H.lSne Rougier: The Human Cranium from the Pestera cu Oase, Oase 222. H.lSne Rougier,Sheela Athreya: Frontal Bone Contours of the Oase 2 Cranium23. Marcia Ponce de Lecn, Christoph P. E. Zollikofer: The Internal Cranial Morphology of Oase 224. Erik Trinkaus, Shara E. Bailey, H.lSne Rougier: The Dental and Alveolar Remains of Oase 1 and 225. Michael P. Richards, Erik Trinkaus: The Oase 1 Human Stable IsotopesVI. Discussion26. Silviu Constantin, JoUo ZilhUo, Erik Trinkaus: The Paleoenvironmental Context of the Pestera cu Oase27. Erik Trinkaus, JoUo ZilhUo: Paleoanthropological Implications of the Pestera cu Oase and its ContentsVII. References