Activities of the Commission IFGs
IFGs active in the 2007-2011 inter-Congress period:
Human colonization and paleoenvironmental contexts in subarctic and arctic Siberia and Beringia.
Purposes: To foster international and interdisciplinary research on the spread of modern human populations into northernmost Siberia and Beringia, north of about 52°N latitude, during the late Pleistocene, 40,000-10,000 years ago; to review the current state of knowledge of the archaeological and palaeoecological records of Siberia and Beringia; to identify major gaps in our knowledge of the Palaeolithic settlement of northern Asia and especially Siberia; to propose new research that will lead to recovery of a comprehensive Palaeolithic record as well as an understanding of the process of Palaeolithic settlement of the region.
Hominin dispersals and palaeoenvironmental contexts in the Indian subcontinent.
Purposes: To pinpoint the environmental factors and temporal contexts of Plio-Pleistocene hominin dispersals in South Asia; to highlight the South Asian evidence for comparative purposes, enabling scientific communication between Indian and Western scientists from four continents and all specialists in Palaeolithic archaeology, physical anthropology, Quaternary geology, geochronology, geochemistry, vertebrate palaeontology, and palynology; to identify current deficiencies in knowledge, potential solutions, and new research avenues.
Palaeoecology and the conservation of biodiversity.
Purposes: To encourage the use of palaeoecological data to assist knowledge of past and future biodiversity; to encourage the use of long-term palaeoecological data in ecological and land management; to examine the impacts of climate change and human impact on past biological diversity; to facilitate dissemination of proxy data to the wider ecological community; to encourage the study of ancient DNA and its relevance to conservation biology and biogeography.
Jane Bunting (was Fraser Mitchell)
Late Quaternary faunal events in Eurasia.
Purposes: To examine and compare the nature and extent of faunal events in Europe and Asia; to link faunal, ecological, and archaeological knowledge, drawing together archaeologists, palaeoentologists, palaeoanthropologists, climate specialists, palaeoecologists, and geologists.
Human colonization and paleoenvironmental contexts in China, Mongolia, and adjoining East Asia.
Purposes: To collate and compare archaeological, palaeoanthropological, and palaeoenvironmental evidence about the processes by which Homo sapiens colonized central/eastern Asia; to identify productive directions for future fieldwork, analyses, and international collaborative projects.
Quaternary (formerly Holocene) palaeoenvironmental changes in Africa.
Purposes: To bring together experts within Africa and outside the continent for a new plan to sample, re-analyze, and interpret pollen, fungal spores, diatoms, geochemistry, archaeology, geomorphology, chronostratigraphy, and satellite imagery in order to produce records with more detail, clearer regional correlations, and higher reliability than has been done before; to produce spatial databases and maps showing the locations of known archaeological sites overlain with the current and fossil hydrological networks; to take the first steps towards explaining LSA human responses to changing climates in sub-Saharan Africa.
The post-LGM Late Glacial: rapidly shifting palaeoenvironments and human responses.
Purposes: To examine Late Glacial palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data, especially from Dryas I and the Last Glacial Interstadial (i.e., post LGM stage 2); to bring together archaeologists, geneticists, geologists, palynologists, ice-core specialists, archaeozoologists, and others to compare regional and local variability in the records of palaeoenvironments and hunter-gatherer adaptations in Eurasia and Africa.
The population genetics of extinct flora and fauna.
Purpose: A broad range of disciplines must be integrated to fulfill the promise of genetic analysis to provide a much clearer scientific view of major evolutionary events such as extinction and speciation that remain either ambiguous or deeply contentious despite decades of intense research.