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Title

Undrowning a lost world - The Marine Isotope Stage 3 landscape of Gibraltar

AuthorsRodríguez-Vidal, J.; Finlayson, Geraldine; Fynlayson, Clive; Negro, Juan J. ; Cáceres, L.M.; Fa, Darren A.; Carrión, José S.
KeywordsGeomorphology
Gibraltar
Vegetation
MIS 3
Nearthental
Western Mediterranean
Issue Date2013
PublisherElsevier
CitationGeomorphology, 203(1): 105-114 (2013)
AbstractThe Rock of Gibraltar, at the south-western extreme of the Iberian Peninsula and 21. km from the North African coast, is a 6-km long limestone peninsula which was inhabited by Neanderthals from MIS 5e until the end of MIS 3. A total of 8 sites, either with Neanderthal fossils or their Mousterian lithic technology, have been discovered on the Rock. Two, Gorham's and Vanguard Caves, are the subject of ongoing research. These caves are currently at sea level, but during MIS 3 faced an emerged coastal shelf with the shoreline as far as 5. km away at times. They hold a unique archive of fauna and flora, in the form of fossils, charcoal and pollen, helping environmental reconstruction of now-submerged shelf landscapes. In addition, geological and geomorphological features - a 300-metre dune complex, elevated aeolian deposits, raised beaches, scree, speleothems - complement the biotic picture.The work is further complemented by a study of the ecology of the species recorded at the site, using present-day observations. The species composition in this fossil record closely matches the present day fauna and vegetation of the Doñana National Park, SW Spain: a mosaic of pine groves, coastal dunes, shrubland and seasonal wetlands and currently the richest reserve in terms of biodiversity in the Iberian Peninsula, located only 100. km to the northwest from Gibraltar.All this information permits, for the first time, the quantification of the vegetation structure of the ancient coastal plain and the modelling of the spatio-temporal dynamics of the MIS 3 coastal shelf off Gibraltar
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.02.015
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/87080
DOI10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.02.015
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