In order to draw a comprehensive picture of the environment and landscape that formed the habitat of early humans and to identify environmental influences on their adaptation, bio-cultural development and expansions, the paleobotanical working group of the department takes advantage of a whole spectrum of fossil plant material and methods.
Fossil floras from Africa and Eurasia, from natural and archaeological archives, provide basic data to quantify spatial patterns of climate and vegetation. Profile data from natural archives in key regions are important sources to study the temporal development of climate and vegetation in high resolution and to quantify the amplitudes of observed changes. Archeobotanical material offers direct evidence on hominin interaction with vegetation. Ethnobotanical sources connect hominin environment with plant resource availability and exploitation.