Recognizing What Was Once a Safe Space Using Fossil Snails – #365papers – 2017 – 59

#365papers for February 28, 2017

Prendergast, Stevens, O’Connell, Hill, Hunt and Barker, 2016, A late Pleistocene refugium in Mediterranean North Africa? Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction from stable isotope analyses of land snail shells (Haua Fteah, Libya): Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 139, p. 94-109.

What’s it about?

There was a time in early human history when northern Africa grew arid, making life rather challenging for people. This paper is about an area where the aridity did not have such an impact, making a safe refugium for people to wait it out. The evidence that there was, in fact, a ‘safe space’ comes from isotopic analysis of fossil snails.

Why does it matter?

Climate change was an important driver of human evolution and dispersal around the globe. It’s important to know more precisely what was happening at key points in the early development of human culture.

Why did I read this?

I’m working on a little study of some land snails from Peru with a local high school student. This results of this paper rely on analyses similar to those that we’ve been doing, so it’s a good model of how we want to deal with our data.

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