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However, archaeology is distinct from paleontology and studies only past human life.
Archaeology is an important field of anthropology, which is the broad study of human culture and biology.
These include fossil remains believed to be of human ancestors who lived 3.5 million to 4.5 million years ago.
The earliest archaeological sites include those at Hadar, Ethiopia; Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli, Tanzania; East Turkana, Kenya; and elsewhere in East Africa.
But unlike historythe study of written records such as government archives, personal correspondence, and business documentsmost of the information gathered in archaeology comes from the study of objects lying on or under the ground Archaeologists refer to the vast store of information about the human past as the archaeological record.
The archeological record encompasses every area of the world that has ever been occupied by humans, as well as all of the material remains contained in those areas.
At that time, most archaeological work was confined to Europe, to the so-called cradle of civilization in southwestern Asia, and to a few areas of the Americas.
Today, archaeologists study the great cultural diversity of humanity in every corner of the world.
Archaeologists concentrate their studies on past societies and changes in those societies over extremely long periods of time.
With its focus on the ancient past, archaeology somewhat resembles paleontologythe study of fossils of long-extinct animals, such as dinosaurs.
The genetic makeup of founding populations and their arrival date are consistent with the Late Dispersal Model of anatomically modern humans beyond SW Asia, beginning ca. Early Dispersal Models (120–70 ka) are not refuted, but draw no support from the Sahul record as currently understood.
Both environmental and cultural factors dictate how, when and where hunter-gatherers use fire in the landscape, as well as how well evidence for any one fire will preserve in the archaeological record.
Comprehensive review of archaeological data shows that Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea) was first occupied by humans ca.