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Optical dating of Tibetan human hand‐ and footprints: An implication for the palaeoenvironment of the last glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau

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Abstract:

The Tibetan Plateau is a cold and arid environment with poor archaeological finds. It is generally assumed to have been covered by ice sheet during the last ice age. Nineteen handprints and footprints of Homo sapiens on hot spring travertine and the remnant of a fireplace have been found at an elevation of 4200 m on the Tibetan Plateau. Based on the optically stimulated luminescence of quartz extracted from samples of the baked and unheated travertine, the age of the prints and the fireplace are around 20,000. These finds suggest that there were humans living in this area around the time of the last glacial maximum (LGM), and that the ice sheet did not cover the entire Tibetan Plateau at this time.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2001GL013749

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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