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Reconstruction of late Pleistocene climate in the Valsequillo Basin (Central Mexico) through isotopic analysis of terrestrial and freshwater snails

Stevens, RE; Metcalfe, SE; Leng, MJ; Lamb, AL; Sloane, HJ; Naranjo, E; González, S; (2012) Reconstruction of late Pleistocene climate in the Valsequillo Basin (Central Mexico) through isotopic analysis of terrestrial and freshwater snails. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology , 319-32 pp. 16-27. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.12.012.

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Abstract

We aim to reconstruct the climatic and environmental conditions in the Valsequillo Basin during the deposition of the Valsequillo gravels between c. 40,000 and 8000. years ago, when large mega-fauna and potentially humans occupied the basin. Fossil freshwater (Fossaria sp. and Sphaeriidae (Family)) and terrestrial (Polygyra couloni, Holospira sp. and Cerionidae (Family)) snail shells from sections within the Barranca Caulapan were collected for oxygen and carbon stable isotope analysis. Oxygen and carbon isotopes in terrestrial and freshwater snail shells relate to local climatic parameters and environmental conditions prevailing during the lifetime of the snail. Whole shell isotope analysis showed that c. 35,000. years ago climate in the Valsequillo Basin was similar to the present day. Between c. 35,000 and 20,000. BP conditions became increasingly dry, after which conditions became wetter again, although this record is truncated. Intra-shell isotopic analyses show that the amount of precipitation varied seasonally during the late Pleistocene. If people did reach this part of the Americas in the late Pleistocene they would have experienced changing long-term and seasonal climatic conditions and would have had to adapt their life strategies accordingly. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Type: Article
Title: Reconstruction of late Pleistocene climate in the Valsequillo Basin (Central Mexico) through isotopic analysis of terrestrial and freshwater snails
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.12.012
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology
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URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463262
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