Chronological and environmental context of the Middle Pleistocene human tooth from Mollet Cave (Serinyà, NE Iberian Peninsula)

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Mollet Cave is a small cave situated in Serinyà (north-east Iberian Peninsula). It was excavated in 1947-48, 1958 and 1972 by Josep M. Corominas. An archaic human molar comes from its base layer (Layer 5). Up till now, this layer has only been dated based on a relative and imprecise chronology of macromammals and the archaeostratigraphic evidence from the early excavations. Recent excavations, conducted between 2001 and 2005, have made it possible to ascertain more precisely the archaeological and palaeontological contents of Mollet Cave, gather microvertebrates, and collect samples for radiometric dating. The aim of this paper is to present the absolute dating of Layer 5, as well as its palaeo environmental and climatic characterisation. The macromammal assemblage seems to have been the result of accumulations produced by the most abundant carnivore, the hyena, which would have used the cave as a den. The results obtained using uranium-series disequilibrium dating ascribe to Layer 5 an age of ca. 215 ka (thousands of years ago), which would correspond to MIS 7. The faunal association suggests a landscape formed by an open and humid woodland characteristic of an interstadial phase, which would have been an environment well suited to sustaining both hyenas and human groups ​
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