Human resilience to Holocene climate changes inferred from rodent middens in drylands of northwestern Patagonia (Argentina).

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Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report
Length: 484 words

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Keywords Rodent middens; Human societies; Paleoclimate; Drylands; Northwestern Patagonia; Holocene Highlights * The SAAD (36°S) underwent environmental changes driven by precipitation variability. * Dry conditions prevailed during the early Holocene peaking at the mid Holocene. * Rodent and human occupancies were mutually exclusive in alternating discrete phases. * The fluctuations in the observed SPD could not be attributed to any demographic event. * Significant regional demographic changes may not have been a result of climate change. Abstract We reconstruct the Holocene vegetation, climate, and archaeological history for drylands of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina, based on multiproxy analysis (plant macrofossil, pollen, and parasites) of rodent middens integrated with a database of .sup.14C dates associated with human occupations. The local scale corresponds to the Huenul paleoecological and archaeological locality, emplaced in north-western Patagonia (Neuquén Province, Argentina). The rodent midden record from the Huenul series reflects subtle vegetation changes driven by climatic variability at millennial timescale. Drier than present environmental conditions prevailed during the early Holocene (10,500--9400 cal yr BP), peaking during the mid-Holocene (9200--5500 cal yr BP), when wetter than present conditions established during the late Holocene (4400--2500 cal yr BP). These environmental and climatic dynamics agree with other paleoclimatic records from northern Patagonia, suggesting the winter precipitation dynamics related to the Southern Westerlies as a common driver. The diachronic distribution of anthropogenic radiocarbon dates from the western area of the South American Arid Diagonal between 32°--40°S conforms to a fitted exponential model of steady background population growth, not suggesting significant demographic changes that may have been the result of the impact of climate change. This record indicates that these human populations coped successfully with aridity, particularly during the mid-Holocene. These findings reinforce the need to integrate multi-scalar interdisciplinary analyses to assess the impact of climate change in human societies. Author Affiliation: (a) Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Aplicadas a la Industria, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Bernardo de Irigoyen 375, 5600 San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina (b) Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales (IANIGLA), CCT Mendoza - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Av. Ruiz Leal, Mendoza, Argentina (c) Instituto Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Básicas (ICB), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Laboratorio de Paleoecología Humana, Padre Jorge Contreras 1300, Mendoza, Argentina (d) Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (e) Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, WC1E 6BT, UK (f) Instituto de Investigaciones en Producción, Sanidad y Ambiente (IIPROSAM), CCT Mar del Plata- Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 25 January 2020; Revised 1 July 2020; Accepted 2 July 2020 Byline: Carina Llano (a), María Eugenia de Porras [medeporras@mendoza-conicet.gob.ar] (b,*), Ramiro Barberena (c,d), Adrian Timpson (e), M. Ornela Beltrame (f), Erik J. Marsh (c,d)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A640324362