Human Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 1–2, pp 55–77 | Cite as

The first human dispersal to Europe: Remarks on the archaeological and palaeoanthropological record from Orce (Guadix-Baza basin, southeastern Spain)

  • Arribas A. 
  • Palmqvist P. 


The chronology of the first arrival ofHomo in Europe is a rather controversial issue, with most scholars claiming until very recently that there were no permanent human settlements before the middle Pleistocene. However, new findings at Atapuerca, Dmanisi and Orce, as well as the re-evaluation of the evidence from Java, Israel and China indicate a protracted chronology for the arrival of hominids in Eurasia, during late Pliocene/lower Pleistocene times. The systematic study of the macrovertebrate assemblages from circummediterranean sites such as Orce and Dmanisi has shown a faunal replacement at the Plio-Pleistocene boundary, marked by the arrival in Europe of African immigrants such as the hippopotamus, an equid similar to modern grevy’s zebra, a large cercopithecoid and several carnivores, including a giant hyaena, a sabre-tooth and a wild dog. An analysis of the relative frequency of bones and teeth for those species of large mammals preserved in Venta Micena indicates the improbability thatHomo sp. is represented in the fossil assemblage by several bones and no tooth remain. Finally, new data on the stratigraphy of Barranco León are offered, with remarks on the discovery in this locality of lithic artefacts and molar tooth fragment BL5-0.


VM-0 BL5-0 Venta Micena Barranco León Fuente Nueva lower Pleistocene faunal dispersal events lithic artefacts 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arribas A. 
    • 1
  • Palmqvist P. 
    • 2
  1. 1.Museo GeomineroInstituto Technológico Geominero de España (ITGE)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Geología y Ecología (Área de Paleontología)Facultad de CienciasMálagaSpain

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