University Of Gibraltar Publication In Quaternary International

31st May 2016

The University of Gibraltar is pleased to announce another peer-reviewed publication which confirms the quality and international value of the research undertaken by its researchers.

Dr Darren Fa, Director of Academic Programmes and Research, has published an article together with Institute of Life and Earth Sciences co-authors Clive Finlayson and Geraldine Finlayson and collaborative researchers Francisco Giles-Pacheco, Joaquin Rodríguez-Vidal and José María Gutiérrez-López, in the journal Quaternary International. The paper provides evidence from excavations at Gorham’s Cave that Neanderthals exploited marine coastal environments for food, in particular marine molluscs, when they lived on the Rock. Till recently this practice was considered to be the exclusive province of our own species Homo sapiens, and was considered to be indicative of superior intelligence. This article demonstrates that not only was this behaviour practised by the Neanderthals, but that they exploited these resources in very similar ways to our own species, even though the coastline was at that time several kilometres away due to lowered sea levels during ice ages. It argues that the absence of evidence of this behaviour in many Neanderthal sites is precisely due to the distance of remaining present-day occupation sites to the sea, leading to most evidence of such practices having been submerged when sea levels rose sharply at the end of the last ice age. It is precisely in  locations such as Gibraltar, where coastal topography is relatively steep, where such signals have persisted.

The University supports and promotes research of international significance. It has two research institutes and a flagship doctoral research programme as well as research seminar series open to the public. Please visit our Institute for Gibraltar and Mediterranean Studies page and our Institute of Life and Earth Sciences page to learn more about our research activities.

Click here for an abstract of the article.