The Thar Desert known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 km2 and forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It is the world's 17th largest desert, the world's 9th largest subtropical desert. About 85 % of the Thar Desert is located with the remaining 15 % in Pakistan. In India, it covers about 170,000 km2, the remaining 30,000 km2 of the desert is within Pakistan; the Thar desert forms 5% of the total geographic area of India. More than 60% of the desert lies in the state of Rajasthan, extends into Gujarat and Haryana; the desert comprises a dry part, the Marusthali region in the west, a semidesert region in the east with fewer sand dunes and more precipitation. The Thar Desert extends between the Aravalli Hills in the north-east, the Great Rann of Kutch along the coast and the alluvial plains of the Indus River in the west and north-west. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast.
The sand is mobile due to strong winds occurring before the onset of the monsoon. The Luni River is the only river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited to 100–500 mm per year falling from July to September. Salt water lakes within the Thar Desert include the Sambhar, Didwana and Phalodi in Rajasthan and Kharaghoda in Gujarat; these lakes evaporate during the fat season. The salt is derived by the weathering of rocks in the region. Lithic tools belonging to the prehistoric Aterian culture of the Maghreb have been discovered in Middle Paleolithic deposits in the Thar Desert; the soil of the Thar Desert is prone to wind erosion. High velocity winds blow soil from the desert, depositing some on neighboring fertile lands, causing shifting sand dunes within the desert. Sand dunes are stabilised by erecting micro-windbreak barriers with scrub material and subsequent afforestation of the treated dunes with seedlings of shrubs such as phog, castor oil plant and trees such as gum acacia, Prosopis juliflora and lebbek tree.
The 649 km long Indira Gandhi Canal brings fresh water to the Thar Desert. It was conceived to halt spreading of the desert to fertile areas. There are few local tree species suitable for planting in the desert. Therefore, exotic tree species were introduced for plantation. Many species of Eucalyptus, Acacia and other genera from Israel, Australia, US, Zimbabwe, Chile and Sudan have been tried in Thar Desert. Acacia tortilis has proved to be the most promising species for desert afforestation and the jojoba is another promising species of economic value found suitable for planting in these areas. There are several protected areas in the Thar Desert. In India: the Desert National Park represents the Thar Desert ecosystem, its diverse fauna includes the great Indian bustard, chinkara, Bengal fox and caracal. Seashells and massive fossilized tree trunks in this park record the geological history of the desert, it is located in 210 km from Jaipur, in the Shekhawati region. This sanctuary is home to a large population of blackbuck and caracal such as partridge and sand grouse.
In Pakistan: the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary covers 6,300 km2. Stretches of sand in the desert are interspersed by sandy and gravel plains. Due to the diversified habitat and ecosystem, the vegetation, human culture and animal life in this arid region is rich in contrast to the other deserts of the world. About 23 species of lizard and 25 species of snakes are found here and several of them are endemic to the region; some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are found in the desert in large numbers such as the blackbuck and Indian wild ass in the Rann of Kutch. They have evolved excellent survival strategies, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different conditions, they are nocturnal. There are certain other factors responsible for the survival of these animals in the desert. Due to the lack of water in this region, transformation of the grasslands into cropland has been slow; the protection provided to them by a local community, the Bishnois, is a factor.
Other mammals of the Thar Desert include a subspecies of the caracal. The region is a haven for 141 species of resident birds of the desert. One can see eagles, falcons, buzzards and vultures. There are tawny eagles, greater spotted eagles, laggar falcons and kestrels. There are a number of reptiles; the Indian peafowl is a resident breeder in the Thar region. The peacock is designated as the provincial bird of the Punjab, it can be seen sitting on pipal trees in villages or Deblina. Bishnois Dharmaguru Jambeshwar was an ecologist; the natural vegetation of this dry area is classed as Northwestern thorn scrub forest occurring in small clumps scattered more or less openly. Density and size of patches increase from west to
The Clactonian is the name given by archaeologists to an industry of European flint tool manufacture that dates to the early part of the interglacial period known as the Hoxnian, the Mindel-Riss or the Holstein stages. Clactonian tools were made by Homo heidelbergensis, it is named after 400,000-year-old finds made by Hazzledine Warren in a palaeochannel at Clacton-on-Sea in the English county of Essex in 1911. The artefacts found there included flint chopping tools, flint flakes and the tip of a worked wooden shaft along with the remains of a giant elephant and hippopotamus. Further examples of the tools have been found at sites including Barnfield Pit and Rickson's Pit, near Swanscombe in Kent and Barnham in Suffolk; the Clactonian industry involved striking thick, irregular flakes from a core of flint, employed as a chopper. The flakes would have been used as crude scrapers. Unlike the Oldowan tools from which Clactonian ones derived, some were notched implying that they were attached to a handle or shaft.
Retouch is uncommon and the prominent bulb of percussion on the flakes indicates use of a hammerstone. An "Egyptian verson" of the Clactonian industry was proposed in 1972, based on excavations on the banks of the Nile River, at the 100 foot terrace; the Clactonian industry may have co-existed with the Acheulean industry, which used identical basic techniques but which had handaxe technology. The justification for considering "Clactonian" as a tradition distinct from Acheulean has been called into question in a 1994 article; the Clactonian industry may in fact be the same thing as the Acheulean and only assessed as being different due to its tools being Acheulean ones made by individuals who had no need for handaxes on the occasion that they made them. Differences in environment and the availability and quality of local raw materials may account for the differences between the two industries, which, at one point it was inferred, were only perceived by modern archaeologists. However, the 2004 excavation of a butchered Pleistocene elephant at the Southfleet Road site of High Speed 1 in Kent recovered numerous Clactonian flint tools but no handaxes.
As a handaxe would have been more useful than a chopper in dismembering an elephant carcass it is considered strong evidence of the Clactonian being a separate industry. Flint of sufficient quality was available in the area and it is that the people who carved up the elephant did not possess the knowledge to make the more advanced bifacial handaxe. Proponents of the Clactonian as an independent industry point to the lack of concrete evidence in favour of it being an anomalous Acheulean industry; the precise provenance of the few attributed. The traditional chronology of Clactonian being followed by Acheulean is being challenged since finds of Acheulean tools were made at Boxgrove in Sussex and High Lodge in Suffolk; these finds came from deposits connected with the Anglian Stage, the glaciation that preceded the Hoxnian Stage and therefore would have preceded the Clactonian. Whether or not they are separate industries it would seem that the'Clactonian' and'Acheulean' stone tool makers would have had cultural contact with each other.
Acheulean Butler, C, Prehistoric Flintwork, Tempus: Strood, 2005 Drawings of Clactonian tools "Stone Age elephant remains found"
The Micoquien is an early middle paleolithic industry, found in the Eemian and in an early episode of the Würm glaciation. The Micoquien is distinguished technologically by the appearance of distinctly asymmetrical bifaces, its discoverer and namer was art trader Otto Hauser. Hauser sold a great number of so-called Micoque-wedges that he found in excavations in La Micoque to museums and collectors; the specially formed handaxes from La Micoque exhibited an a rounded base. The problem with the term Micoquien is that excavations have revealed an older time placement for the La Micoque axes, which are now dated in the Riss glaciation. A wider artifact from the Micoquien is the Keilmesser, which has a clearer chronology in Central Europe. From this some archeologists have proposed substituting the term Keilmesser group for Micoquien. Micoquien artifacts are distributed across all of Central Europe. In Germany they can be found at Balver Lonetal. Debénath, A.. Le gisement de La Micoque.- in: Rigaud, J.-Ph.: Informa-tions archéologiques: circonscription d'Aquitaine.
29. Debénath, A.. La Micoque.- Gallia Informations Préhistoire et Histoire. Hauser, O. La Micoque, die Kultur einer neuen Diluvialrasse. Leipzig. Peyrony, D. La Micoque et ses diverses industries.- XVe Congrès International d'Anthropolo-gie et d'Archéologie Préhistorique, Ve Session de l'Institut International d'Anthropologie. Peyrony, D. La Micoque. Les fouilles récentes. Leur signification.- Bulletin de la Société Pré-historique Française 35. Rosendahl, G. La Micoque und das Micoquien in den altsteinzeitlichen Sammlungen des Reiss-Museums Mannheim.- Mannh. Geschichtsblätter N. F. 6. Media related to Micoquien at Wikimedia Commons Geröllgeräte-Industrien Rosendahl, G. Die oberen Schichten von La Micoque
The Mousterian is a techno-complex of flint lithic tools associated with the earliest anatomically modern humans in North Africa and West Asia, as well as with the Neanderthals in Europe. The Mousterian defines the latter part of the Middle Paleolithic, the middle of the West Eurasian Old Stone Age, it lasted from 160,000 to 40,000 BP. If its predecessor, known as Levallois or "Levallois-Mousterian" is included, the range is extended to as early as c. 300,000–200,000 BP. The culture was named after the type site of Le Moustier, three superimposed rock shelters in the Dordogne region of France. Similar flintwork has been found all over unglaciated Europe and the Near East and North Africa. Handaxes and points constitute the industry; the European Mousterian is the product of Neanderthals. It existed from 160,000 to 40,000 BP; some assemblages, namely those from Pech de l'Aze, include exceptionally small points prepared using the Levallois technique among other prepared core types, causing some researchers to suggest that these flakes take advantage of greater grip strength possessed by Neanderthals.
In North Africa and the Near East, Mousterian tools were produced by anatomically modern humans. In the Levant, for example, assemblages produced by Neanderthals are indistinguishable from those made by Qafzeh type modern humans; the Mousterian industry in North Africa is estimated to be 315,000 years old. Possible variants are Denticulate, Charentian named after the Charente region and the Acheulean Tradition - Type-A and Type-B; the industry continued alongside the new Châtelperronian industry during the 45,000-40,000 BP period. Mousterian artifacts have been found in Haua Fteah in Cyrenaica and other sites in Northwest Africa, as well as in Bambata cave, Zimbabwe, in Southern Africa. Contained within a cave in the Syria region, along with a Neanderthaloid skeleton. Located in the Haibak valley of Afghanistan. Zagros and Central Iran The archaeological site of Atapuerca, contains Mousterian objects. Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar contains Mousterian objects. Uzbekistan has sites including Teshik-Tash.
Turkmenistan has Mousterian relics. Siberia has many sites with eg Denisova Cave. Israel is one of the places where remains of both Neandertals and Homo sapiens sapiens have been found in association with Mousterian artifacts. Lynford Quarry near near Mundford, England has yielded Mousterian tools The archaeological cave site of Azykh contains Mousterian relics in the overlying strata. In this cave low jaw of hominid named “Azykhantrop” has been found, it is supposed that this finding belongs to “pre-neanderthal” species Neanderthal extinction hypotheses Levallois technique Neanderthals’ Last Stand Is Traced — New York Times article
Paleoclimatology is the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth. It uses a variety of proxy methods from the Earth and life sciences to obtain data preserved within things such as rocks, ice sheets, tree rings, corals and microfossils, it uses the records to determine the past states of the Earth's various climate regions and its atmospheric system. Studies of past changes in the environment and biodiversity reflect on the current situation the impact of climate on mass extinctions and biotic recovery; the scientific study field of paleoclimate began to form in the early 19th century, when discoveries about glaciations and natural changes in Earth's past climate helped to understand the greenhouse effect. The first observations which had a real scientific basis were those by John Hardcastle in New Zealand, in the 1880s, he noted. Paleoclimatologists employ a wide variety of techniques to deduce ancient climates. Mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps/ice sheets provide much data in paleoclimatology.
Ice-coring projects in the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica have yielded data going back several hundred thousand years, over 800,000 years in the case of the EPICA project. Air trapped within fallen snow becomes encased in tiny bubbles as the snow is compressed into ice in the glacier under the weight of years' snow; the trapped air has proven a tremendously valuable source for direct measurement of the composition of air from the time the ice was formed. Layering can be observed because of seasonal pauses in ice accumulation and can be used to establish chronology, associating specific depths of the core with ranges of time. Changes in the layering thickness can be used to determine changes in temperature. Oxygen-18 quantity changes in ice layers represent changes in average ocean surface temperature. Water molecules containing the heavier O-18 evaporate at a higher temperature than water molecules containing the normal Oxygen-16 isotope; the ratio of O-18 to O-16 will be higher as temperature increases.
It depends on other factors such as the water's salinity and the volume of water locked up in ice sheets. Various cycles in those isotope ratios have been detected. Pollen has been observed in the ice cores and can be used to understand which plants were present as the layer formed. Pollen is produced in abundance and its distribution is well understood. A pollen count for a specific layer can be produced by observing the total amount of pollen categorized by type in a controlled sample of that layer. Changes in plant frequency over time can be plotted through statistical analysis of pollen counts in the core. Knowing which plants were present leads to an understanding of precipitation and temperature, types of fauna present. Palynology includes the study of pollen for these purposes. Volcanic ash is contained in some layers, can be used to establish the time of the layer's formation; each volcanic event distributed ash with a unique set of properties. Establishing the ash's source will establish a range of time to associate with layer of ice.
Climatic information can be obtained through an understanding of changes in tree growth. Trees respond to changes in climatic variables by speeding up or slowing down growth, which in turn is reflected by a greater or lesser thickness in growth rings. Different species, respond to changes in climatic variables in different ways. A tree-ring record is established by compiling information from many living trees in a specific area. Older intact wood that has escaped decay can extend the time covered by the record by matching the ring depth changes to contemporary specimens. By using that method, some areas have tree-ring records dating back a few thousand years. Older wood not connected to a contemporary record can be dated with radiocarbon techniques. A tree-ring record can be used to produce information regarding precipitation, temperature and fire corresponding to a particular area. On a longer time scale, geologists must refer to the sedimentary record for data. Sediments, sometimes lithified to form rock, may contain remnants of preserved vegetation, plankton, or pollen, which may be characteristic of certain climatic zones.
Biomarker molecules such as the alkenones may yield information about their temperature of formation. Chemical signatures Mg/Ca ratio of calcite in Foraminifera tests, can be used to reconstruct past temperature. Isotopic ratios can provide further information; the δ18O record responds to changes in temperature and ice volume, the δ13C record reflects a range of factors, which are difficult to disentangle. Sedimentary facies On a longer time scale, the rock record may show signs of sea level rise and fall, features such as "fossilised" sand dunes can be identified. Scientists can get a grasp of long term climate by studying sedimentary rock going back billions of years; the division of earth history into separate periods is based on visible changes in sedimentary rock layers that demarcate major changes in conditions. They include major shifts in climate. Corals Coral "rings" are similar to tree rings except that they respond to different things, such as the water temperature, freshwater influx, pH changes, wave action.
From there, certain equipment can be used to derive the sea surface temperature and water salinity from the past few centuries. The δ18O of coralline red algae provides a useful proxy of
Human taxonomy is the classification of the human species within zoological taxonomy. The systematic genus, Homo, is designed to include both anatomically modern humans and extinct varieties of archaic humans. Current humans have been designated as subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, differentiated from the direct ancestor, Homo sapiens idaltu. Since the introduction of systematic names in the 18th century, knowledge of human evolution has increased drastically, a number of intermediate taxa have been proposed in the 20th to early 21st century; the most accepted taxonomy groups takes the genus Homo as originating between two and three million years ago, divided into at least two species, archaic Homo erectus and modern Homo sapiens, with about a dozen further suggestions for species without universal recognition. The genus Homo is placed in the tribe Hominini alongside Pan; the two genera are estimated to have diverged over an extended time of hybridization spanning 10 to 6 million years ago, with possible admixture as late as 4 million years ago.
A subtribe of uncertain validity, grouping archaic "pre-human" or "para-human" species younger than the Homo-Pan split is Australopithecina. A proposal by Wood and Richmond would introduce Hominina as a subtribe alongside Australopithecina, with Homo the only known genus within Hominina. Alternatively, following Cela-Conde and Ayala, the "pre-human" or "proto-human" genera of Australopithecus, Ardipithecus and Sahelanthropus may be placed on equal footing alongside the genus Homo. An more radical view rejects the division of Pan and Homo as separate genera, which based on the Principle of Priority would imply the re-classification of chimpanzees as Homo paniscus. Prior to the current scientific classification of humans and scientists have made various attempts to classify humans, they offered definitions of schemes for classifying types of humans. Biologists once classified races as subspecies, but today anthropologists reject the concept of race and view humanity as an interrelated genetic continuum.
Taxonomy of the hominins continues to evolve. Human taxonomy on one hand involves the placement of humans within the Taxonomy of the hominids, on the other the division of archaic and modern humans into species and, if applicable, subspecies. Modern zoological taxonomy was developed by Carl Linnaeus during the 1730s to 1750s, he named the human species as Homo sapiens in 1758, as the only member species of the genus Homo, divided into several subspecies corresponding to the great races. The Latin noun homō means "human being"; the systematic name Hominidae for the family of the great apes was introduced by John Edward Gray. Gray supplied Hominini as the name of the tribe including both chimpanzees and humans; the discovery of the first extinct archaic human species from the fossil record dates to the mid 19th century, Homo neanderthalensis, classified in 1864. Since a number of other archaic species have been named, but there is no universal consensus as to their exact number. After the discovery of H. neanderthalensis, which if "archaic" is recognizable as human, late 19th to early 20th century anthropology for a time was occupied with finding the "missing link" between Homo and Pan.
The "Piltdown Man" hoax of 1912 was the presentation of such a transitional species. Since the mid-20th century, knowledge of the development of Hominini has become much more detailed, taxonomical terminology has been altered a number of times to reflect this; the introduction of Australopithecus as a third genus, alongside Homo and Pan, in the Hominini tribe is due to Raymond Dart. Australopithecina as a subtribe containing Australopithecus as well as Paranthropus is a proposal by Gregory & Hellman. More proposed additions to the Australopithecina subtribe include Ardipithecus and Kenyanthropus; the position of Sahelanthropus relative to Australopithecina within Hominini is unclear. Cela-Conde and Ayala propose the recognition of Australopithecus, Ardipithecus and Sahelanthropus as separate genera. Other proposed genera, now considered part of Homo, include: Pithecanthropus, Sinanthropus, Cyphanthropus Africanthropus,Telanthropus, Tchadanthropus; the genus Homo has been taken to originate some two million years ago since the discovery of stone tools in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, in the 1960s.
Homo habilis would be the first "human" species by definition, its type specimen being the OH 7 fossils. However, the discovery of more fossils of this type has opened up the debate on the delineation of H. habilis from Australopithecus. The LD 350-1 jawbone fossil discovered in 2013, dated to 2.8 Mya, has been argued as being transitional between the two. It is disputed whether H. habilis was the first hominin to use stone tools, as Australopithecus garhi, dated to c. 2.5 Mya, has been found along with stone tool implements. Fossil KNM-ER 1470 is now seen as either a third early species of Homo at about 2 million years ago, or alternatively as transitional between Australopithecus and Homo. Wood and Richmond proposed that Gray's tribe Hominini be designated as comprising all species after the chimpan
Taforalt or Grotte des Pigeons is a cave in northern Oujda and the oldest cemetery in North Africa. It contained at least 34 Iberomaurusian adolescent and adult human skeletons, as well as younger ones, from the Upper Palaeolithic between 15,100 and 14,000 calendar years ago. There is archaeological evidence for Iberomaurusian occupation at the site between 22,100 and 12,600 calendar years ago, as well as evidence for Aterian occupation as old as 85,000 years. La Grotte des Pigeons is a cave in eastern Morocco near the village of Taforalt. Human occupation and natural processes in the cave have produced a 10 m thick layer of archaeological material dating back to between 85,000 and 82,000 years ago; these occupation layers include pre-Mousterian and Iberomaurusian lithic industries, which date from the Middle Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic. Excavations of the Iberomaurusian layers dating from 15,100 to 14,000 years ago have recovered dozens of burials with some showing evidence of postmortem processing.
Some show potential rituals with burials containing animal remains including horns, mandibles, a hoof, a tooth. The deep and stratified cave floor has yielded hearths and shell beads, among a variety of artefacts of varying ages; the dryness of the cave has contributed to the notable level of preservation found among the remains and artefacts. The site is located around steep hills, rocky mountains, the natural vegetation of the thermo-Mediterranean biozone including Tetraclinis articulate and Pinus halenpensis; the area itself is located in the Eastern part of Morocco near the community of Taforalt at. The large mouth of the cave opens to the northeast and has an area > 400 m2. Today the site lies around 40 km from the Mediterranean coast and at an altitude of 720 m above sea level; the earliest layers of human habitation in the cave, dating from 85,000-82,000 years ago, contain evidence of a pre-Mousterian industry where no evidence of the Levallois lithic technology is apparent. The following layers contain side scrapers, small radial Levallois cores, thin, bifacially worked foliate points typical of the Aterian technological industries.
These Aterian layers were dated to come from 32,000 to >40,000 years ago, though other research has found a non-Levallois industry continuing at the site until 25,000 years ago. By about 21,000 years ago, the Iberomaurusian industry marked by microlithic backed bladelets became the dominant archaeological material, found at the site; these Iberomaurusian layers contain microlithics, ostrich egg shells ritualized primary and secondary burials, a notable increase in land snail remains indicating a shift in dietary practices. The cave was discovered in 1908 and was excavated in 1944–1947, 1950–1955, 1969-1977, 2003-2017. Much of the field records from the early excavations have been lost. In 1951, Roche's team discovered human remains associated with the Iberomaurusian; the Roche excavation encountered 10 metres of archaeological deposits with the Iberomaurusian occupying the top 2 to 3 m. This same stratification has been encountered in the subsequent excavations in other parts of the cave; because of the dozens of skeletons located by Roche in the 1950s and the burials located during the Bouzouggar and Humphrey excavations taking place since 2003, Grotte des Pigeons represents what is the earliest and most extensively used known prehistoric cemetery in North Africa.
The stratigraphy in Grotte des Pigeons, going as deep as 10 m as in the case of Roche’s excavations, differs throughout the cave but follows a simple pattern based on their colour: the Grey Series overlies the Yellow Series. The Yellow series goes from the beginning of the occupation of the cave about 85,000 years ago to c. 15,000 cal BP. The overlying Grey Series dates from c. 15,000 to 12,500 cal BP ago, hence accumulated in some 2500 years. The Grey Series, associated with the Iberomaurusian, is characterized by extensive hearths and charcoal deposits, along with all of the site's burials; the Yellow Series is associated with the earlier Iberomaurusian, as well as with Levallois artefacts of the Aterian industry. The increased density of artefacts and evidence of food production in the Grey Series is seen as a sign of year-round occupation at the site whereas the Yellow Series is seen as evidence of seasonal habitation with occasional periods without humans. There is a theorized 2,000 year gap of habitation between 18,000 and 20,000 uncal BP with this sterile layer being noted in Sector 8 of Barton’s excavations, though other excavations near the mouth of the cave challenge this finding.
With 67 radiocarbon dates, Taforalt is the most extensively dated site of the North African Later Stone Age. Starting in the 1960s, it has been dated with both conventional and AMS radiocarbon dating, OSL, TL, U-series. Looking at all dates recovered from excavations, the habitation dates in this cave stretch from 12,500 cal BP ago to 85,000 years ago with a shift to sedentary habitation about 15,000 cal BP; the local environmental data helps establish the seasonality of the site as much of the modern vegetation was utilized by the prehistoric population and follows a set seasonal process of food production. The presence of plant remains that would have been harvested in spring indicate that the cave or nearby environs were inhabited during that season. Proxies for environmental conditions during the phases of cave occupation are available from both wood charcoal and small mammal evidence. A feature of considerable interest in the charcoal record concerns the fluctuating presence of