A new study suggests that the activities of Neanderthals caused changes in the ecosystem 125,000 years ago.These are the results of an interim study conducted by archaeologists at the University of Leiden in conjunction with other researchers. The Neanderthals used fire to keep the landscape open, which had a huge impact on their local environment. Research published December 15, 2021 “Scientific progress“Newspaper.
“Archaeologists have long been asking questions about the nature and depth of human intervention in our planet’s ecosystem.” Will Robrox, a professor of archeology at Leiden University, said: “We see very early, usually weak symptoms.”
In a study of a lignite quarry near Halle, Germany, these symptoms proved to be very strong. Over the past few decades, scientists have been conducting archeological excavations at the quarry, known as Newmark-Nord. Robrox said: “In addition, we found the remains of hundreds of slaughtered animals, surrounded by many stone tools and lots of charcoal.”
These traces were discovered in the wild 125,000 years ago, where not only horses, deer and cattle, but also elephants, lions and hyenas lived. This mixed deciduous forest stretches from the Netherlands to Poland. Robrox explained that there are lakes in many parts of the region and that there are traces of Neanderthal activity on the banks of some of these lakes. By the time these Neanderthals appeared, the closed forest, partly due to fire, had led to the destruction of large areas.
“Of course, the question is, did it come from humans, or did humans come because it was open? However, there is ample evidence to suggest that the hunters opened the area at least in 2000.” In such lakes, the same animals roamed there, but no traces of Neanderthal activity and dense forest vegetation remained, essentially unchanged.
It is generally believed that it was only when humans began to engage in agriculture about 10,000 years ago that they began to design the environment, such as cutting down trees to create fields. But many archaeologists believe it began earlier and on a smaller scale. According to Robrox, Newmark-Nord is the earliest example of such an intervention. Roebroeks said the new discoveries were important not only to the field of archeology but also to the field of natural restoration: “This adds to some of the behavioral lineages of the early hunters. They are not simply ‘ancient hippies’. Help. “
An earlier study by Roebroeks and his research team showed that the knowledge of fire was transmitted by humans at least 400,000 years ago. “In future research, we should not be surprised if, at least domestically, we find some traces that show that humans have had a significant impact on their environment in the past.”