geometric shape that crystals may present.


set of physical and environmental conditions of a specific place that allow the development of life, of a particular species, or of an animal or plant community. The term is also used to characterize some prehistoric settlements.


Hadean (4 600 Ma-4 000 Ma)

meaning 'hell'. It refers to the genesis of the solar system and its planets, including Earth. This moment corresponds to the appearance of the first primordial Earth rocks.

Hercinian cordillera

extensive range of mountains resulting from the collision of continents that formed the supercontinent of Pangea at the end of the Paleozoic. Even though this mountain range was devastated by successive erosive episodes, their traces extend still throughout North America and Europe. It is also during this period that the rocks in the Foz Côa region emerged and are affected by tectonic (shales, greywackes and quartzites).


Hercinian Orogeny

long process of mountain chain formation that created the super-continent Pangea, at the end of the Paleozoic (359 Ma). This orogeny is responsible for the emergence, fracture and folding of the shales, greywackes and quartzites in the Foz Côa region. Erosion processes subsequently have eroded this mountain chain. Some wrinkled rocks and relieves in resistant rocks, still present today in all continents, are the only testimonies. In the Foz Côa region, they are represented, by the quartzites of the Mount Saint Gabriel.



Upper Miocene and Pliocene (11.6-2.5/1.8 Ma) extinct genus of horse similar to modern ponies, which was approximately 1.4 m in height. This horse species had 3 vestigial toes, in addition to its hoof, that did not touch the ground.

Holocene (0.012 Ma-Present)

last Epoch of the Quaternary Period and of the Cenozoic Era. It corresponds to post-glacial times. During this period, climate was relatively warm, although there were cold episodes, such as 8 000 years ago, and the "Little Ice Age", between the years 1300-1850.


family of primate mammals including the present human species (Homo sapiens sapiens).


genus that includes modern man and its close relatives. It is estimated that the genus apperead betwen 2.5 and 1.7 Ma. All species, except for Homo sapiens, are extinct.

Homo erectus

The firs unquestioned representative of the Homo gender, originated from the African continent, some 1,9 Ma (Homo ergaster). It rapidly starts the colonization of the remaining Old World, first in Asia (1,8 Ma - Homo erectus strictly speaking) and then in Europe (1,2 Ma - Homo antecessor).

Homo neanderthalensis or Neanderthal man

A fossil species of the Homo gender, originated in the European continent. Its oldest representatives appear some 300.000 years, in an evolutionary context signalled by geographical isolation, climatic conditioning and population endemics. The most recent genetic studies have proved its contribution for the present human genetic pool.


Homo sapiens or Anatomically Modern Man

Species of the Homo gender, gathering all present humans, as well as the similar past ones. Originated in the African continent ((190.000 years). It is present in Europe since some 40.000 years ago, sharing that territory during approximately 10.000 years with the last representatives of the Neanderthal man.


Housing density

the calculation formula is “accommodation/area” and the measuring unit is “number/square kilometre (N.o/ km ²)”.

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