Denisova fossil poo gallery, hyena and wolf and unidentified  File size: 233.8 KB  Attribution: Flinders University
Original Published Date: 
Monday, October 14, 2019

Full article issued by Flinders University.

Fossil animal droppings, charcoal from ancient fires and bone fragments litter the ground of one of the world’s most important human evolution sites, new ARC-supported research reveals.

The team of Russian and Australian scientists used modern geoarchaeological techniques to unearth new details of day-to-day life in the famous Denisova Cave complex in Siberia’s Altai Mountains. Their microscopic analysis of the sedimentary deposits of the cave suggests that large carnivores once dominated the landscape, competing for more than 300,000 years with ancient tribes for prime space in cave shelters.

“These hominin groups and large carnivores such as hyenas and wolves left a wealth of microscopic traces that illuminate the use of the cave over the last three glacial-interglacial cycles,” says lead author, Flinders University ARC Future Fellow, Dr Mike Morley.

The Siberian site came to prominence more than a decade ago with the discovery of the fossil remains of a previously unknown human group, dubbed the Denisovans after the local name for the cave. The new research implies that these ancient people probably came and went for short-lived episodes, and also reveals new information about the climate inside the cave through prehistoric time, and the use of fire.

Photo credit: 

Denisova fossil poo gallery, hyena and wolf and unidentified. Credit: Dr Mike Morley/Flinders University.