Fossil footprints at the late lower Paleolithic site of Schöningen (Germany): A new line of research to reconstruct animal and hominin paleoecology

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  • Flavio Altamura
  • Jens Lehmann
  • Bárbara Rodríguez-Álvarez
  • Brigitte Urban
  • Thijs van Kolfschoten
  • Ivo Verheijen
  • Nicholas J. Conard
  • Jordi Serangeli
The ca. 300 ka Paleolithic sites of Schöningen in northern Germany yielded a number of localities with archeological and paleontological remains representing a rich paleoenvironmental record of the late Middle Pleistocene in northern Europe. An important line of research focused on the ichnology of two localities: Schöningen 13 I-Fs2 and Schöningen 13 II-2 Untere Berme. Here we present the first detailed study of these fossil footprints, which provides insights on Schöningen's paleoenvironment and a snapshot of the mammals once living in the area. Herds of elephants and other species of herbivores congregated along the muddy shores of a paleolake during birch, pine and grass-rich woodland phases. In addition, three potential hominin footprints, probably belonging to a late Homo heidelbergensis, are recorded at Schöningen 13 II-2 Untere Berme. This confirms the complementary potential of ichnology in reconstructing a reliable picture of prehistoric sites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108094
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 15.06.2023

Bibliographical note

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    Research areas

  • Hominin footprints, Homo heidelbergensis, Middle pleistocene, Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Paleoenvironment, Vertebrate ichnology