Paleoecology of Mammals

This line of research studies the relations between the different species that coexisted in the past and their interactions with the environment in which they lived. This includes aspects such as the predator-prey relationship, ecological competition and the factors that influenced the distribution of mammals in the past. It also includes the study of such phenomena over time, such as, for example, variations in the distribution of species in response to climate change, or the evolution of the dynamics of communities of mammals over time.

Mammal paleoecology helps to facilitate understanding of human evolution by reconstructing the ecological scenario in which said evolution took place: the paleoclimatic conditions, the characteristics of the ecosystems in which humans lived, the resources available in the surroundings, etc. However, paleoecology is not simply limited to the above, but rather it also includes the study of Paleolithic human populations, considering them as another element of the ecosystems, conceiving the human being as a mammal that is subject to the same rules as the rest of species, whose survival is influenced by the climate, the availability of resources or competition with other species.

This line conducts various different lines of research, many in collaboration with the  line of Paleophysiology and Ecology of hominins.

  • Structure and dynamics of trophic networks during the Pleistocene in Europe. Study of the competitive relations within the network, availability of trophic resources and energy flows within the network. This line of research includes simulation based on the use of mathematic models.
  • Variations in the geographical and temporal distribution of mammal diversity. Geographical Information Systems and simulations based on mathematical models are used.
  • Response of the ecosystems in general. and particularly of the communities of mammals, to climatic change during the Pleistocene.
  • Effect of the climate change known as “Mid-Pleistocene Revolution” on the structure and operation of ecosystems and on human settlement in Europe.
  • Environmental factors influencing the survival of Paleolithic populations of hunter-gatherers.
  • Paleoecology of Paleolithic settlers in mountain foothill areas of the plateau during the upper Pleistocene.