Human Evolution

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 147–160

The Gibraltar Strait: A Pleistocene door of Europe?

  • Gibert J. 
  • Gibert L. 
  • Iglesias A. 

DOI: 10.1007/BF02436283

Cite this article as:
Gibert, J., Gibert, L. & Iglesias, A. Hum. Evol. (2003) 18: 147. doi:10.1007/BF02436283


The possibility thatHomo crossed the Gibraltar Strait during the Plio-Pleistocene is currently debated. The finds of human remains and lithic artefacts in different Plio-Pleistocene beds of the Orce region (SE Iberia Peninsula) are evidence thatHomo was in this region at least before 1.4 mya. But, which was the route used byHomo to reach SE Spain during the early Pleistocene? In this contribution we collect different kinds of data (paleontological, geological, paleogeographical, paleoclimatic and oceanographic) which strengthen the hypothesis thatHomo crossed the Gibraltar Strait for the first time during earliest Pleistocene.

Important falls in sea level related to cold periods together with the presence in the Iberian Peninsula of African mammal species at different times in the geological history and also the presence of at least one European species in North Africa during the Late Pliocene indicate a faunal exchange between Africa and Europe. The geography of the strait, the marine currents and their possible evolution are questions treated in this contribution. Some fossils and current examples of mammal fauna migrations across the sea are also analysed.


Gibraltar Strait migrations Pleistocene Orce Cueva Victória 

Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gibert J. 
    • 1
  • Gibert L. 
    • 2
  • Iglesias A. 
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut de Paleontologia M. CrusafontSabadellSpain
  2. 2.Dept. Enginyeria Minera i Recursos NaturalsUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaSpain
  3. 3.Dept. PrehistoriaUniversidad de SantiagoSpain

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