The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 38 Number 2: 17-26 - April 1976

A publication of the National Speleological Society

The Relationship Between Prehistoric Man and Karst
John S. Kopper and Christopher Young


Approximately 95% of African, American, Asian, and European hominid fossils to about 30,000 years ago have been collected from karst and other soluble-bedrock terrains. This constitutes a considerable anomaly, since it is calculated that such terrains compose only about 13% of these land masses. The tentative conclusion is that Australopithecus africanus, A. robustus, A. habilis, Homo erectus, H. sapiens neanderhalis, and H. sapiens sapiens preferred this specialized environment. Alternative explanations for this anomaly-better fossil preservation or sampling bias-are investigated on the basis of the European data and rejected in a causal relationship. Speculation on why our forebears chose this terrain is offered...without arriving at a defite conclusion.

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