Loess is terrestrial, clastic sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. It is usually inter–bedded with paleosol horizons, forming loess-paleosol successions (LPS). Due to their characteristics LPS’s represent valuable records of climate changes during Pleistocene. The thickest LPS sections in Croatia are in the Baranja region. Stable oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotope analysis were made on loess malacofauna in order to quantify paleo-temperature changes and describe paleo-vegetation in this part of Central Europe. δ18O values show significant paleotemperature changes during the Upper Pleistocene (130 ky - 20 ky) in Baranja region. Average growing season (AGS) temperature varied 13.2 °C or 9.5 °C during that time period, depending on which formula is applied for calculations. Magnetic susceptibility (MS) measurements show strong peaks in the paleosol horizons pointing to more humid climate. The overall climate was much cooler then present. Stable carbon isotope values point to dominance of C3 vegetation type during the Late Pleistocene in southern part of Central Europe. Climate change in the Late Pleistocene is very likely a significant but not the only factor that influenced the extinction of Neanderthal population which paved the way for the dominance of anatomically modern humans (AMH) in Central Europe.
Part of the book: Pleistocene Archaeology