Assessing the environmental context of Middle Palaeolithic  – Late Palaeolithic transition in South Asia

Evolutionary changes are often driven by fluctuating and unstable environments, triggering behavioral flexibility. Hominin adaptations were undoubtedly shaped by climate change and landscape-scale shifts in ecological resources. Nevertheless, they are rarely investigated, especially in a South Asian context, despite it sitting at a crucial geographical junction with major east to west human migration routes across Asia, and showing signs of significant changes in human demography and technological behaviour during the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Particularly notable in this regard is the expansion of our own species into the region during this period.

Recent studies have demonstrated that several regions of South Asia experienced technological transition during Late Pleistocene. It has been argued that arid conditions of MIS 4 and MIS 3 were a driving factor behind the MP technological diversification and emergence of microlith techno-complexes in South Asia, suggesting that the transition occurred convergently and may have emerged in-situ from its antecedent technology (i.e., Middle Paleolithic). However, existing studies lack associated paleoenvironmental data, restricting the verification as to whether climate change was truly influencing past behaviour.

The current project assesses the environmental context of M.P.- L.P. transition in the Cuddapah basin with the aim to relate observations of climate variability to the nature and timing of Late Pleistocene human innovation. We are employing a multi-proxy environmental approach (leaf-wax biomarkers, compound-specific Isotope: δ¹³C and δD, bulk δ¹³C and δ¹8O) and combining the obtained data with techno-cultural data to explore the relationship between climatic and environmental fluctuations and technological shifts.

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View