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Cova del Rinoceront (Castelldefels, Barcelona): a terrestrial record for the Last Interglacial period (MIS 5) in the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula

Cova del Rinoceront (Castelldefels, Barcelona): a terrestrial record for the Last Interglacial period (MIS 5) in the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula
Cova del Rinoceront (Castelldefels, Barcelona): a terrestrial record for the Last Interglacial period (MIS 5) in the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula
The Cova del Rinoceront, a site in NE Iberia, contains a thick sedimentary fill preserving a faunal archive from the penultimate glacial and the last interglacial periods. Layers I to III have been dated to between 74 and 147 ka, coinciding with MIS 5a to 5e, a period poorly represented in the Mediterranean terrestrial record. The results from Cova del Rinoceront are of broader interest for the reconstruction of ecological dynamics during warm stages and the understanding of the evolution and geographical variation of several taxa. The palaeoecological evidence suggests a landscape dominated by mixed wooded vegetation with mild climatic conditions, slightly more humid than today. Several vertebrate taxa, including Haploidoceros mediterraneus, Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis and Glis glis, are documented for the first time in the early Upper Pleistocene of Europe, showing that these species persisted across the region for longer than previously thought. In addition, the recovery of a small lithic assemblage indicates human presence in the surroundings of the site. The 11 m-thick stratigraphic section also provides an ideal setting in which to compare several geochronological methods. U–Th dating of the flowstones that cap the deposit, of speleothems formed along the cave walls, and of speleothems buried by the deposit at different elevations provides minimum and maximum ages of 74 and 175 ka, respectively, for the accumulation. The ages obtained by luminescence, electron spin resonance (ESR), amino acid racemisation (AAR), palaeomagnetism and U-series dating of bone are in good agreement with each other and are stratigraphically consistent. This well-dated faunal succession presents a unique opportunity to assess changes in the Pleistocene fauna of the Mediterranean coast over an interval of more than 100 ka
upper pleistocene, cova del rinoceront, mis 5, multiproxy data, iberian peninsula, palaeoenvironment
0277-3791
203 - 227
Daura, J.
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Sanz, M.
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Julià, R.
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García-Fernández, D.
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Fornós, J.J.
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Vaquero, M.
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Allué, E.
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López-García, J.M.
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Blain, H.A.
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Ortiz, J.E.
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Torres, T.
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Albert, R.M.
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Rodríguez-Cintas, Ã.
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Sánchez-Marco, A.
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Cerdeño, E.
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Skinner, A.R.
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Asmeron, Y.
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Polyak, V.J.
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Garcés, M.
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Arnold, L.J.
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Demuro, M.
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Pike, A.W.G.
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Euba, I.
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Rodríguez, R.F.
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Yagüe, A.S.
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Villaescusa, L.
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Gómez, S.
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Rubio, A.
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Pedro, M.
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Fullola, J.M.
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Zilhão, J.
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Daura, J.
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Sanz, M.
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Julià, R.
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García-Fernández, D.
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Fornós, J.J.
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Vaquero, M.
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Allué, E.
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Blain, H.A.
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Ortiz, J.E.
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Torres, T.
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Albert, R.M.
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Rodríguez-Cintas, Ã.
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Sánchez-Marco, A.
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Cerdeño, E.
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Skinner, A.R.
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Asmeron, Y.
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Polyak, V.J.
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Garcés, M.
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Arnold, L.J.
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Demuro, M.
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Pike, A.W.G.
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Euba, I.
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Rodríguez, R.F.
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Yagüe, A.S.
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Villaescusa, L.
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Gómez, S.
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Rubio, A.
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Pedro, M.
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Fullola, J.M.
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Zilhão, J.
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Daura, J., Sanz, M., Julià, R., García-Fernández, D., Fornós, J.J., Vaquero, M., Allué, E., López-García, J.M., Blain, H.A., Ortiz, J.E., Torres, T., Albert, R.M., Rodríguez-Cintas, Ã., Sánchez-Marco, A., Cerdeño, E., Skinner, A.R., Asmeron, Y., Polyak, V.J., Garcés, M., Arnold, L.J., Demuro, M., Pike, A.W.G., Euba, I., Rodríguez, R.F., Yagüe, A.S., Villaescusa, L., Gómez, S., Rubio, A., Pedro, M., Fullola, J.M. and Zilhão, J. (2015) Cova del Rinoceront (Castelldefels, Barcelona): a terrestrial record for the Last Interglacial period (MIS 5) in the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Quaternary Science Reviews, 114, 203 - 227. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.02.014).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Cova del Rinoceront, a site in NE Iberia, contains a thick sedimentary fill preserving a faunal archive from the penultimate glacial and the last interglacial periods. Layers I to III have been dated to between 74 and 147 ka, coinciding with MIS 5a to 5e, a period poorly represented in the Mediterranean terrestrial record. The results from Cova del Rinoceront are of broader interest for the reconstruction of ecological dynamics during warm stages and the understanding of the evolution and geographical variation of several taxa. The palaeoecological evidence suggests a landscape dominated by mixed wooded vegetation with mild climatic conditions, slightly more humid than today. Several vertebrate taxa, including Haploidoceros mediterraneus, Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis and Glis glis, are documented for the first time in the early Upper Pleistocene of Europe, showing that these species persisted across the region for longer than previously thought. In addition, the recovery of a small lithic assemblage indicates human presence in the surroundings of the site. The 11 m-thick stratigraphic section also provides an ideal setting in which to compare several geochronological methods. U–Th dating of the flowstones that cap the deposit, of speleothems formed along the cave walls, and of speleothems buried by the deposit at different elevations provides minimum and maximum ages of 74 and 175 ka, respectively, for the accumulation. The ages obtained by luminescence, electron spin resonance (ESR), amino acid racemisation (AAR), palaeomagnetism and U-series dating of bone are in good agreement with each other and are stratigraphically consistent. This well-dated faunal succession presents a unique opportunity to assess changes in the Pleistocene fauna of the Mediterranean coast over an interval of more than 100 ka

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 February 2015
Published date: April 2015
Keywords: upper pleistocene, cova del rinoceront, mis 5, multiproxy data, iberian peninsula, palaeoenvironment
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 375104
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/375104
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: 8aa453d8-a72c-4bae-ac19-e4f28450d782
ORCID for A.W.G. Pike: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5610-8948

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Mar 2015 11:14
Last modified: 07 Aug 2019 00:34

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Contributors

Author: J. Daura
Author: M. Sanz
Author: R. Julià
Author: D. García-Fernández
Author: J.J. Fornós
Author: M. Vaquero
Author: E. Allué
Author: J.M. López-García
Author: H.A. Blain
Author: J.E. Ortiz
Author: T. Torres
Author: R.M. Albert
Author: Ã. Rodríguez-Cintas
Author: A. Sánchez-Marco
Author: E. Cerdeño
Author: A.R. Skinner
Author: Y. Asmeron
Author: V.J. Polyak
Author: M. Garcés
Author: L.J. Arnold
Author: M. Demuro
Author: A.W.G. Pike ORCID iD
Author: I. Euba
Author: R.F. Rodríguez
Author: A.S. Yagüe
Author: L. Villaescusa
Author: S. Gómez
Author: A. Rubio
Author: M. Pedro
Author: J.M. Fullola
Author: J. Zilhão

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