Publications by authors named "Sander van der Kaars"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

PLoS One 2018 11;13(4):e0193025. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into 'Wallacea', the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011-13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35-24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter-remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35-23 ka cal BP-and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other 'megafauna' in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193025PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5894965PMC
July 2018

Humans rather than climate the primary cause of Pleistocene megafaunal extinction in Australia.

Nat Commun 2017 01 20;8:14142. Epub 2017 Jan 20.

INSTAAR and Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0450, USA.

Environmental histories that span the last full glacial cycle and are representative of regional change in Australia are scarce, hampering assessment of environmental change preceding and concurrent with human dispersal on the continent ca. 47,000 years ago. Here we present a continuous 150,000-year record offshore south-western Australia and identify the timing of two critical late Pleistocene events: wide-scale ecosystem change and regional megafaunal population collapse. We establish that substantial changes in vegetation and fire regime occurred ∼70,000 years ago under a climate much drier than today. We record high levels of the dung fungus Sporormiella, a proxy for herbivore biomass, from 150,000 to 45,000 years ago, then a marked decline indicating megafaunal population collapse, from 45,000 to 43,100 years ago, placing the extinctions within 4,000 years of human dispersal across Australia. These findings rule out climate change, and implicate humans, as the primary extinction cause.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14142DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5263868PMC
January 2017

Age and context of the oldest known hominin fossils from Flores.

Nature 2016 06;534(7606):249-53

Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth &Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia.

Recent excavations at the early Middle Pleistocene site of Mata Menge in the So'a Basin of central Flores, Indonesia, have yielded hominin fossils attributed to a population ancestral to Late Pleistocene Homo floresiensis. Here we describe the age and context of the Mata Menge hominin specimens and associated archaeological findings. The fluvial sandstone layer from which the in situ fossils were excavated in 2014 was deposited in a small valley stream around 700 thousand years ago, as indicated by (40)Ar/(39)Ar and fission track dates on stratigraphically bracketing volcanic ash and pyroclastic density current deposits, in combination with coupled uranium-series and electron spin resonance dating of fossil teeth. Palaeoenvironmental data indicate a relatively dry climate in the So'a Basin during the early Middle Pleistocene, while various lines of evidence suggest the hominins inhabited a savannah-like open grassland habitat with a wetland component. The hominin fossils occur alongside the remains of an insular fauna and a simple stone technology that is markedly similar to that associated with Late Pleistocene H. floresiensis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature17663DOI Listing
June 2016

Determinants of stingless bee nest density in lowland dipterocarp forests of Sabah, Malaysia.

Oecologia 2002 Mar 1;131(1):27-34. Epub 2002 Mar 1.

Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie (Zoologie III) der Universität Würzburg, Biozentrum, Am Hubland, 97074, Würzburg, Germany.

We measured the nest density of stingless bees (Apidae, Meliponini) in undisturbed and logged-over dipterocarp forests in Sabah, northern Borneo, and evaluated hypotheses on proximate factors leading to the observed variation: population control mediated by (1) nest predation, (2) limitation of nest trees, or (3) food limitation. Per-area nest density varied twentyfold across 14 forest sites and was significantly affected by locality, but not by the degree and history of disturbance. Nest density was generally high in sites located in the Sepilok Forest fragment (mean 8.4 nests/ha), bordering mangroves or plantations. In contrast, nest densities in continuous forests were all low (between 0 and 2.1 nests/ha, mean 0.5 nests/ha). Yearly nest mortality was low (13.5-15.0%) over 4 years of observation and did not vary between forest localities, thus limiting the potential of nest predation (1) in creating the observed variation in nest density. The presence of potential nest trees (2), though positively correlated with nest density, explained only a minute fraction of the observed variation. Nest density was best explained by differences in the pollen resources (3) available to the bees (quantified by analysis of pollen in bee garbage). Across five selected sites the amount of nonforest pollen (from mangrove or crop plants) included in diets of Trigona collina was positively correlated with T. collina nest density. External pollen sources are a likely supplement to bee diets at times when little flowering occurs inside the forest, thus increasing overall bee carrying capacity. Pollen limitation was also indicated by direct measurements of pollen import and foraging activity of T. collina in three selected sites: Pollen traps installed at nests in high-density Sepilok captured significantly more corbicular pollen than colonies in low-density Deramakot. At the same time, morning foraging activity was also greater in Sepilok, indicating a regulatory increase in foraging in response to high pollen availability. We conclude that the abundance of stingless bees in forests in Sabah is chiefly dependent on the local availability of food resources. Bee populations strongly benefit from edge effects and increased foraging habitat diversity. Electronic supplementary material to this paper can be obtained by using the Springer Link server located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-001-0848-6.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-001-0848-6DOI Listing
March 2002