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Martin F.M.,Institute la Patagonia UMAG | Borrero L.A.,CONICET
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

At the time of the first human exploration of Ultima Esperanza, Chile, swift climatic and environmental changes were taking place. The retreat of the Pleistocene glaciation and the formation of an ice-dammed proglacial lake east of the Cordillera created adequate conditions for human colonization. Volcanic activity, climatic oscillations, and concomitant floristic changes defined the environment encountered by the first hunter-gatherers arriving to Ultima Esperanza. The oldest archaeological evidence was deposited sometime between 10,930 and 10,410 BP and point to ephemeral occupations. The evidence from Ultima Esperanza is compared with other areas where early human presence was detected in Fuego-Patagonia. The hypothesis that the early human occupations at Cerro Benitez-Lago Sofía resulted from logistical exploitation from Pali Aike is introduced. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Martin F.,Institute la Patagonia UMAG | San Roman M.,Institute la Patagonia UMAG | Morello F.,Institute la Patagonia UMAG | Todisco D.,University of Rouen | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2012

Ultima Esperanza is a region known worldwide, where some of the best preserved remains of late Pleistocene ground sloths were found. Cueva del Milodón produced a large piece of Mylodon darwini skin in 1895 as well as extensive deposits of ground sloth dung that were sampled several times during the 20th Century. These deposits are dated within 13,500 and 10,200 radiocarbon years. At Cueva del Medio, not far from Cueva del Milodón, evidence of human exploitation of extinct fauna was discovered. Also, at nearby Dos Herraduras rockshelter, several ground sloth elements were found within a tephra layer regionally dated ca. 12,600 BP. This paper presents new data derived from stratigraphic work at Cueva Chica, a site located near Cueva del Milodón, which in spite of its obvious potential was not studied previously. The work revealed more than one layer of Late Pleistocene fauna, where remains of ground sloth, a large felid and other species were preserved. Radiocarbon studies produced some of the oldest evidence for the presence of Mylodon sp. in the region. The integration of these results within the context of the paleoecology of Late Pleistocene Ultima Esperanza is presented. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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