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The Importance of Croatian Pleistocene Hominin Finds in the Study of Human Evolution

Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)

Abstract

In this chapter, we discuss Croatian sites that have yielded human skeletal remains from the Pleistocene. These include the well-known Neandertal localities Hušnjakovo (at Krapina) and Vindija cave, as well as the Late Upper Paleolithic hominin fossil site Šandalja II cave in Istria. The Krapina site played an important role in the historical development of paleoanthropology and is still the Neandertal site with the largest known minimum number of skeletal individuals to date. Finds from Vindija cave belong to one of the latest Neandertal groups in Europe and provide data for the study of both their behavioral, as well as biological characteristics (including genomics studies). The Šandalja II cave in Istria is the only site in Croatia with direct association of human skeletal finds and the late Paleolithic, an Epigravettian industry, providing us with data on the anatomy and behavior of the Late Paleolithic inhabitants of this region.

Keywords

  • Neandertals
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Paleolithic
  • Mousterian

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Acknowledgements

Authors would like to thank the organizers of the International symposium “Human evolution in the Southern Balkans” held in Tübingen, Germany, in December of 2012, for inviting us to participate. The organizational skills of Katerina Harvati and Vangelis Tourloukis, along with the many student volunteers in their team made our stay a most pleasant experience. We also thank Katerina Harvati and Mirjana Roksandic for editing this volume. Our results are based on research that was partially supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, the U.S. Fulbright Foundation, the University of Wyoming, and Illinois State University. We also thank our colleague David Strait and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. All mistakes are, of course, our responsibility.

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Janković, I., Ahern, J.C.M., Karavanić, I., Smith, F.H. (2016). The Importance of Croatian Pleistocene Hominin Finds in the Study of Human Evolution. In: Harvati, K., Roksandic, M. (eds) Paleoanthropology of the Balkans and Anatolia. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-0874-4_3

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