Deer bones dat­ing back nine mil­lion years dis­cov­ered

Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By DANIEL K. EISENBUD (He­brew Univer­sity of Jerusalem)

In an un­prece­dented find, Is­raeli arche­ol­o­gists re­cently un­earthed the first ev­i­dence of an­cient deer bones on the shores of Lake Kin­neret, near the Jor­dan Val­ley.

Ac­cord­ing to re­searchers from the He­brew Univer­sity of Jerusalem’s In­sti­tute of Earth Sci­ences and the Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of Is­rael, the re­mains are ap­prox­i­mately nine mil­lion years old.

The dis­cov­ery was ini­tially made by two doc­toral can­di­dates at the univer­sity, Alexis Rosen­baum and Dotan Shaked-Gel­band, who were re­con­struct­ing the lake’s stretch to an­a­lyze the com­po­si­tion of its an­cient waters, the univer­sity said on Mon­day.

“The bones were partly sub­merged in a coastal sed­i­ment, and it is as­sumed that the an­i­mal ap­par­ently died on the shore of the lake and was eroded,” the re­searchers said in a joint state­ment.

“The pres­ence of an­cient deer is not rare in group­ings dur­ing the same pe­riod, but this is the first time such re­mains have been dis­cov­ered in Is­rael. The rea­son for this ap­par­ently lies in the pro­cesses of ex­tinc­tion and burial.”

The re­searchers added that the pres­ence of the deer is also “in­dica­tive of a rich world of ter­res­trial an­i­mals” known from other ar­eas of the Le­vant and the Mediter­ranean basin.

“More­over, the de­vel­op­ment of fresh­wa­ter bod­ies dur­ing the Miocene Epoch (23 mil­lion to 5.3 mil­lion years ago) in the Mediter­ranean basin al­lowed for the dis­tri­bu­tion of rein­deer from Asia to the West,” they noted.

The re­searchers said that stud­ies of this type are of great im­por­tance in un­der­stand­ing re­cent re­gional cli­mate change, as well as the de­vel­op­ment of the Mediter­ranean Sea.

OH DEER! Th­ese an­cient bones were un­earthed on the shore of Lake Kin­neret.

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