Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Climate and Civilization Killed Egypt's Animals

By Megan Gannon, News Editor | September 08, 2014 03:03pm ET

If you took a cruise along the northern stretch of the Nile some 6,000 years ago, you wouldn't have seen any pyramids, but you might have spotted a giraffe or an elephant taking a drink at the bank of the river.

At that time, the Nile wasn't surrounded by desert; rather, the warmer, wetter landscaperesembled the current scenery of sub-Saharan East Africa.

Today, Egypt's elephants and giraffes are extinct. So are its cheetahs and aurochs and wildebeests. But animal bones and images of animals on ancient artifacts reveal what creatures once roamed the region. A team of researchers looked at Egypt's rich archaeological record and found that most mammal extinctions over the last six millennia were linked to periods of big change in terms of climate and human civilization.


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