Evolution during the Pleistocene
important events in human evolution took place during the Pleistocene.
Fossil localities in Africa such as Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, the Turkana
Basin of Kenya and Ethiopia, and Olorgesailie, Kenya, contain many
bones and artifacts of fossil humans. In addition, human fossils are
found throughout the Old World, because the Pleistocene represents
the time of the first recorded human migrations out of Africa. All
these remains provide valuable information on how our ancestors lived
and interacted with their environment. In order to study the information
found at localities such as these, many specialists — including
volcanologists, geologists, archaeologists, physical anthropologists,
and paleontologists — team up to integrate different types of
field and laboratory data.
The evolution of Homo erectus occurred during the Pleistocene, and
fossils of this species have been found in Java, China, Europe, and
throughout Africa. In addition, late Pleistocene fossils discovered
in the Neander valley near Dusseldorf, Germany, represent Neanderthals
(Homo neanderthalensis), a species close to modern humans.
Along with paleoecological information and associated artifact technologies
such as Acheulean and Mousterian cultures (anthropologists call these
the Paleolithic cultures). These fossils provide evidence
about Pleistocene landscapes, climates, and environments. Fossil humans
from Dmanisi, Georgia (west-central Asia), have been dated to the
early Pleistocene and appear to represent the earliest migration of
humans out of Africa. There may have been multiple such migrations.
Regardless, by the late Pleistocene, early modern humans (Homo
sapiens) had spread to Australia and the Americas.