Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (03): 454-468.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0037

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Study on the relationship between environmental change and human evolution: Evidence from mammalian tooth enamel carbon and oxygen stable isotope analysis

XU Zhe1,2,3(), MA Jiao1,2, PEI Shuwen1,2,()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology,Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2020-05-27 Revised:2020-08-21 Online:2021-06-15 Published:2020-09-16
  • Contact: PEI Shuwen;


The relationship among early human evolution, diffusion, technological development, and natural environment has always been the front and focus of academic attention. This paper reviews the research history, principle and sampling methods of enamel carbon and oxygen stable isotope analysis in the study of the relationship between environmental change and early human evolution. At the same time, it introduces the relevant research progress of different scholars using mammalian enamel carbon and oxygen stable isotope analysis method in exploring the relationship between early human evolution and environment. In this way, the authors also pointed out the case study of the environmental mechanism in the process of the transition from the early human Oldowan technology to Acheulean technology in East Africa. In addition, it should be pointed out that North China, as the most concentrated evidence of early human spread to and occupied in East Asia, display a variety of adaptation strategies. However, to explore the environmental mechanism of the early human evolution and adaptive behavior, there has been a lack of evidence of effective climate and environmental information from the site context. Therefore, using stable isotope analysis of mammalian enamel to explore the relationship between environmental change and early human technological evolution has a broad prospective in China. Furthermore, the potential of research materials, research areas and related scientific research are also proposed by the authors in the current paper.

Key words: Human evolution, Behavioral adaptation, Tooth enamel, Stable isotope(C,O), Climate fluctuation

CLC Number: