Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Iberian Peninsula and its peopling by Hominids

The sixth Iberian Quaternary Congress was officially opened by Fabian Vinet, Minister for Heritage, Culture, Youth and Sport, at the John Mackintosh Hall on Monday.

The meeting opened with a keynote speech by Professor Jose Sebastian Carrion of the University of Murcia.

Professor Carrion’s Presentation highlighted the role of the southernmost part of the Iberian Peninsula as a refugium for plant and animal species during the glaciations of the last two million years. He drew on evidence from Gibraltar to highlight the key importance of the Rock in these studies.

The morning session concentrated on physical geography and geology. Of particular interest was a paper by Prof. Joaquin Rodriguez Vidal of the University of Huelva. For the first time the geological record of the Rock was contrasted with that of Jbel Musa in Morocco. Gibraltar and Jbel Musa share the same geological history, being distinct and separate from their respective hinterlands.

The afternoon session, devoted to biological processes, included four presentations from the Gibraltar Research Group. The first by Richard Jennings of Oxford University, examined the impact of climate change on the human occupation of southern Iberia, including Gibraltar.

Professor Clive Finlayson presented a study of the extinction processes of species in southern Iberia, highlighting the importance of Gibraltar as a refugium.

Geraldine Finlayson presented an innovative method in which she reconstructed in fine detail the habitat of the Neanderthals outside Gorham’s Cave. Finally Kimberly Brown, a Gibraltarian working for her Phd in Cambridge University presented the basis of a high-resolution study that seeks to understand the diet and foraging behaviour of the Neanderthals in Gorham’s Cave.

The meeting continued yesterday with a field trip to Gibraltar sites.

Related Article and Links:

The Gibraltar Museum Website

What is the Quaternary

What are Hominids

03 September 2005 - Stunning painting discovered in Gorham Cave’s secret chamber

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