2 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2022
    1. Prof. Meiri: "Our study tracked changes at a much higher resolution over a considerably longer period of time compared to previous research. The results were illuminating: we found a continual, and very significant, decline in the size of animals hunted by humans over 1.5 million years. For example, a third of the bones left behind by Homo erectus at sites dated to about a million years ago, belonged to elephants that weighed up to 13 tons (more than twice the weight of the modern African elephant) and provided humans with 90% of their food. The mean weight of all animals hunted by humans at that time was 3 tons, and elephant bones were found at nearly all sites up to 500,000 years ago. "Starting about 400,000 years ago, the humans who lived in our region -- early ancestors of the Neandertals and Homo sapiens, appear to have hunted mainly deer, along with some larger animals weighing almost a ton, such as wild cattle and horses. Finally, in sites inhabited by modern humans, from about 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, approximately 70% of the bones belong to gazelles -- an animal that weighs no more than 20-30kg. Other remains found at these later sites came mostly from fallow deer (about 20%), as well as smaller animals such as hares and turtles."

      Progression of body mass over the last 1.5 million years in the Southern Levant: 1) Up to 500,000 years ago 1/3 of bones left behind at Homo Erectus sites belonged to 13 ton elephants that provided 90% of the food. Mean weight of all hunted animals at the time was 3 tons 2) Up to 400,000 years ago, early Neandertals and Homo Sapiens only hunted mainly deer and animals like wild cattle and horse that weighed no more than 1 ton. 3) From 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, 70^ of bones at modern human sites belonged to gazelles weighing between 20 and 30 kg, as well as fallow deer and hares and turtles.

    2. Findings indicate a continual decline in the size of game hunted by humans as their main food source -- from giant elephants 1-1.5 million years ago down to gazelles 10,000 years ago. According to the researchers, these findings paint an illuminating picture of the interaction between humans and the animals around them over the last 1.5 million years.

      1.5 million years trend of fauna of decreasing body mass in the Southern Levant - from giant elephants to gazelles.