In his PhD thesis, he used ancient animal bone finds to reconstruct human strategies for getting food more than 400,000 years ago
He has demonstrated that early humans were capable of abstract planning, using technology and social skills to get food
The 2016 Tübingen Prize for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology goes to archaeologist Dr. Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) in Tarragona. Rodríguez-Hidalgo is an archaeozoologist; in his PhD thesis, he used ancient animal bone finds to reconstruct human strategies for getting food more than 400,000 years ago. He found that they used sophisticated hunting strategies. The annual award comes with €5000 prize money, sponsored by Mineralbrunnen EiszeitQuell, making it the richest prize of its kind for archaeological research.
Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo (born 1978) first studied History majoring in Archaeology in the Spanish town of Cáceres, then in Parma, Italy. He completed his Master’s degree in Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution in 2008 in Tarragona. He has been part of a team excavating in the Sierra de Atapuerca near Burgos in northern Spain, where one of the world’s biggest archaeological sites from the Ice Age is located. In 2015 he completed his PhD on animal fossils in the Sierra de Atapuerca -and what they say about early humans in the region. “I’m very interested in early humans as hunters – which animals they caught, which strategies they used, and how they carved up their prey”.
“Dr. Rodríguez-Hidalgo has found some very old examples of subsistence behaviors we would recognize as being human,” says Dr Britt Starkovich of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen. Finds from the Sierra de Atapuerca include the remains of some 60 bison butchered by humans. Rodríguez-Hidalgo says the differing ages of the animals indicates an entire herd fell into a natural trap exploited by hunters demonstrating that early humans were capable of abstract planning, using technology and social skills to get food.