Quaternary deposits and paleosites
Due to the mineral content of bones and teeth, the majority of fossil hominid remains are represented by these tissues; soft parts of the human body are preserved only very rarely. Whether or not fossils are well preserved depends not only on their own composition but also on the nature of the deposits that enclose them, which as a rule are sediments of the Pliocene , Pleistocene , or Holocene age. Numerous methods are now available for chronometric dating of hominid fossils, though none of them is applicable in all situations. However, it is still necessary to situate each hominid fossil within the larger stratigraphic framework. Hominid evolution began well over 4 million years ago and continued through the final part of the Neogene (Upper Tertiary). As a result, ongoing international discussions of stratigraphic boundaries over this time span are significant for the assessment of hominid evolution. In addition to providing stratigraphic information, paleoanthropological sites offer insights not only into the environmental background of the fossils they yield, but in later periods commonly also into the cultural evolution of mankind and its relatives.
Jäger, K. (2015)., Quaternary deposits and paleosites, in W. Henke & I. Tattersall (eds.), Handbook of Paleoanthropology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 557-569.
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