New study supposedly puts humans in Britain 800,000 years ago.  Aside from the accuracy of dating techniques the major question is how humans of that era might have dealt with the frigid winters there.  The study concludes that the answer to this is unclear.  However, as possibilities it suggests physical adaptation to the cold, seasonal migrations, and advances in the technologies of clothing, shelter, control of fire and hunting (both for skins to make clothing and shelter, and for food during periods of sparse vegetation).  The humans were an as-yet undetermined Homo species but most probably Homo Antecessor.  It is speculated that they entered the region when the climate was warmer and hung on instead of leaving as it grew colder. The findings have been published in the British journal, Nature.


http://news.discovery.com/archaeology/early-humans-britain.html  (This article ridiculously refers to the humans as Homo Sapiens.)

The article per Nature is at:


 

Tags: Humans, Jubinsky

Views: 49

Replies to This Discussion

That is fascinating. I really hope they can dig up more information about the time period.
I wish to hear more about this, this is intruiging.
Apparently (per ABC News) the River Thames had freshwater pools and marshes on its floodplain, as well as herbivores such as mammoths, rhinos and horses and predators like hyenas and saber-toothed cats. Not exactly how I pictured ancient Britain, but kinda cool.
'Humans' is misleading - maybe Homo but not sapiens!
I very much tend to agree but they must have had some know how to have made it to Britain. The article actually refers to them as homo sapiens:

A trove of flint tools found near Happisburgh in the eastern English county of Norfolk marks Homo sapiens' earliest known settlement in a location where winter temperatures fell below zero degrees Celsius (minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

It might be a good idea to reference the associated publication in Nature (the British journal that published the findings).
Could you provide a bit more context for the sentence you've just quoted? If it's Homo sapiens they're talking about, it is certainly not a settlement dating back 800,000 years. This is why I often get mad at the popular science press, it's dominated by this prevailing carelessness and lack of details that certainly don't do science any justice.
Looking at the Nature paper:

Here we present new evidence from Happisburgh (Norfolk, UK) demonstrating that Early Pleistocene hominins were present in northern Europe >0.78 Myr ago when they were able to survive at the southern edge of the boreal zone.

It's a generic reference to Early Pleistocene hominins. Judging from the >0.78 Myr figure, probably Homo antecessor.
They were most probably Homo antecessor per the Science News article and the abbreviated Nature article refers to them only as hominins. The Discovery article is the only one of the three that ridiculously refers to them as Homo sapiens.
I thought the modern human species was only 200,000 years old, if that.
It sure is possible that there were Homo in Brittania 800kya, but... The word Homo means Human, as in Homo heidelbergensis or Home neanderthalensis, Homo erectis, and so on. Homo species have occupied regions of Europe for about 2 million years or so, anatomically modern Homo sapiens perhaps 40 thousand years and behaviorally modern maybe 20. Point is, as John has stated before, the word Homo is misleading. Archaic Homo sapiens evolved some where between 400 and 250 thousand years ago and absolutely not 800 thousand years ago and without doubt not in Britannia. I have yet to read the article, ( I will as soon as done with this), but I suspect the researchers are in no way implying Homo sapiens were on the British island 800kya as no evidence of any Homo species has been discovered of that age on the island... perhaps till now. If they are making that claim, they will be slapped down very quickly and very embarrassingly, as they should be.
Ah. I see, thank you.
OK...I have read it now.

"Early humans migrating out of Africa adapted to freezing climes more than 800,000 years ago, far sooner than previously thought possible, according to a landmark study released Wednesday."

What? fossilized remains of Homo erectus have been discovered from Spain to north east China dating back to 1.8 to 1 million years ago.

"A trove of flint tools found near Happisburgh in the eastern English county of Norfolk marks Homo sapiens' earliest known settlement in a location where winter temperatures fell below zero degrees Celsius (minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit)."

Ok. This is ridicules. This would put Homo sapiens in Britain Before the species evolved in Africa. Also, Homo species could absolutely have lived above the 45th parallel before this time. Interglacial periods. enough said.

"The discovery implies our ancestors some 26,000 generations ago survived climates like those of southern Sweden today, perhaps without the comforting benefit of fire or clothes, the study says."

ok. this too is silly. The first use of fire is generally associated with Homo erectus, who are thought to have begun using fires approximately 1.5 million years ago. Evidence of these fires has been found at the Swartkrans caves (in South Africa), where fossils that have been altered by burning or charring have been discovered. And I think it is absolutely crazy to think any hairless species of animal could have survived in a glacial environment without clothing.

I think the point is made...

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