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Paleoecology of Azokh 1

AutorAndrews, Peter; Hixson, Sylvia; King, Tania; Fernández-Jalvo, Yolanda ; Nieto-Díaz, Manuel
Palabras claveHominins
Fossil flora
Fossil fauna
Fecha de publicación2016
CitaciónAzokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor 15: 305-320 (2016)
SerieVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
ResumenThe fauna and flora from Azokh 1 are analyzed to provide evidence on past and present environments. The large mammal fauna was accumulated by carnivore and human agents, and it is dominated by woodland species. The small mammals, amphibians and reptiles were accumulated mainly by avian predators, barn owls and eagle owls which hunt over open areas, and their prey may have been brought to the cave from some distance away. The amphibians and reptiles indicate warm dry conditions, with some taxa specific to mountainous regions and many indicating warm arid conditions. The small mammals similarly indicate mainly arid environments with minor elements from deciduous woodland. The difference between small vertebrates and large mammals is taphonomic, and all four groups indicate slight transition to more arid conditions up the section. Bats are present in all units, and it appears likely that they are derived from natural deaths within the cave. They indicate woodland conditions low in the section changing to a treeless, arid and cold environment towards the top. Plant data from charcoal indicate that the regional vegetation was broadleaved deciduous woodland with mainly small trees and shrubs. The location of the cave on the lower slopes of the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus is close to the forest/steppe boundary, with forest on the mountain slopes and steppe on the lowlands to the east, and relatively minor fluctuations in climate would shift the boundary or and down slope, towards or away from the cave, with changes in climate. It is concluded, therefore, that the large mammals and flora represent the local woodland environment, and the small mammals, reptiles and amphibians represent prey species brought from further away.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1007/978-3-319-24924-7_15
isbn: 978-3-319-24922-3
isbn: 978-3-319-24924-7
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