Broad-based reconstructions of the Middle Pleistocene Asian environment are valuable sources of information that can augment our understanding of prehistoric human adaptations and expansion into East Asia. The sediments, speleothems, and geochronology of Panxian Dadong Cave serve as an example of the possible integration of this broader paleoenvironmental information with more fine-grained archaeological data. The current U-series and ESR dating results for Dadong suggest that the early human activity in the cave began at least 260 kya and continued until around 142 kya. This period correlates with Oxygen Isotope Stages 7 through 6. The lower part of the breccia (Layer 2) contains very strongly weathered dark deposits, suggesting a relatively warm climatic period from 260–180 kya that corresponds to OIS 7, followed by a cooler phase with less speleothem formation corresponding to OIS 6. The Middle Pleistocene stratigraphic sequence in the Dadong cave deposits documents fluctuating and rapid changes in temperature and humidity that are also detected in general Asian, as well as South China, paleoclimatic studies based on diverse data ranging from microstratigraphic and geochemical sediment analyses to mollusk species representation.


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pp. 302-313
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