King's College London

Research portal

Fossil herbivore stable isotopes reveal middle Pleistocene hominin palaeoenvironment in ‘Green Arabia’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Patrick Roberts, Mathew Stewart, Abdulaziz N. Alagaili, Paul Breeze, Ian Candy, Nick Drake, Huw S. Groucutt, Eleanor M.L. Scerri, Julia Lee-Thorp, Julien Louys, Iyad S. Zalmout, Yahya S.A. Al-Mufarreh, Jana Zech, Abdullah M. Alsharekh, Abdulaziz al Omari, Nicole Boivin, Michael Petraglia

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1878
Number of pages8
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume2
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

King's Authors

Abstract

Despite its largely hyper-arid and inhospitable climate today, the Arabian Peninsula is emerging as an important area for investigating Pleistocene hominin dispersals. Recently, a member of our own species was found in northern Arabia dating to ca. 90 ka, while stone tools and fossil finds have hinted at an earlier, middle Pleistocene, hominin presence. However, there remain few direct insights into Pleistocene environments, and associated hominin adaptations, that accompanied the movement of populations into this region. Here, we apply stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis to fossil mammal tooth enamel (n = 21) from the middle Pleistocene locality of Ti’s al Ghadah in Saudi Arabia associated with newly discovered stone tools and probable cutmarks. The results demonstrate productive grasslands in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula ca. 300–500 ka, as well as aridity levels similar to those found in open savannah settings in eastern Africa today. The association between this palaeoenvironmental information and the earliest traces for hominin activity in this part of the world lead us to argue that middle Pleistocene hominin dispersals into the interior of the Arabian Peninsula required no major novel adaptation.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454