The disappearance of elephants from verso bioenergetic viewpoint

Gesher Benot Yaaqov (GBY): GBY is a Lower-Middle Pleistocene Acheulian site sopra Israel, dated puro 780 kyr BP. The site is located on the shore of an ancient paleo lake sopra the Upper Galilee . The sedimentary sequence of GBY consists of some 34 m of lake-margin deposits, and the duration of the entire depositional sequence is estimated to be ca. 50 kyr . Elephant remains are found con many occupation levels at the site ( and see our Table 4 below and Tables S3 and S4) and one particular context reflects evidence for per purposeful setting aimed at the extraction of the brain from an elephant skull . The site is considered as an example of the migration of African H. erectus into the Levant and exhibits significant behavioral characteristics such as the spatial organization of space, the extensive use of basalt for handaxe production, nut-cracking stones, and more .

Qesem Cave: Qesem Cave is a Middle Pleistocene site con central Israel, dated onesto 400-200 kyr BP. Cave inhabitants hunted cooperatively, bringing body-parts of fallow deer back esatto the cave, which were then butchered, shared, and – as evidenced by the use of fire throughout the cave’s 7.5 m deep stratigraphy and the many burnt bones – eventually barbecued (see , , ). Plenteous cutting tools were produced at the site, most significantly flint blade knives made by an innovative and thoughtful technology , . Moreover, our lithic analysis and the study of use-wear signs on flint artifacts indicate verso set of cutlery manufactured to handle the different stages of butchering, defleshing, and meat cutting . The preference for addenda-age animals is apparent in this Acheulo-Yabrudian site, representing verso unique human predator-prey relationship . Notwithstanding, elephants are completely absent from Qesem Cave.

The faunas of the two sites compared.

Despite representing two distinct cultural entities and although considerably distant sopra time, verso comparison of faunal assemblages from GBY and Qesem Cave (:4 and respectively) reflects the heart of the matter discussed herein. While GBY includes per significant component of animals of the BSGA (ed.g., elephants) as well as BSGB (Hippopotamus and Rhinoceros), the largest animal remains present at Qesem Cave are celibe bones (mostly teeth) of BSGB. Both sites include additional animals of body size groups BSGB – Equus cab., Bos prim., BSGC – Cervus ela., Crevidae, Equus herm., Sus scr. and BSGD – Gentildonna cf. meso.

Table 4 presents average faunal datazione of the two sites per layer based on NISP, which the researchers at both sites state best represents the animals’ correspondante frequency , . Note that layer II-6 at GBY is interpreted as verso rapidly sealed context, most probably reflecting verso well-preserved short-term occupation , while the other layers at GBY and the four samples of Qesem Cave represent distinct archaeological layers within the site’s occupational history. The similarity of faunal patterns found at each of the two sites is telling while the difference between the sites remains highly significant across all archaeological layers. Fallow deer (Donna, BSGD), dominated both sites durante terms of number of animals, but its contribution con calories is significantly different wooplus sito di incontri between the two sites. This difference is explained by the dominant calorie contribution of the elephants (both meat and fat) at GBY, amounting preciso over half of the calories in each of the GBY layers, and the average of 61% of consumed faunal calories.

Results and Tete-a-tete

The following dialogue deals with the disappearance of the elephant and the consequential bioenergetic significance of this occurrence as well as its human evolutionary implications.

Table 4 shows the crucial dietary role of the elephant, underlying the evolutionary model we suggest. It explains the nutritional dependence of both H. erectus and H. sapiens on large animals of the BSGA (elephant) and BSGB (Equus cab., Bos prim.) classes. Maintaining the required level of fat consumption for H. erectus dictated the acquisition of animals with the average caloric fat content of 44% (Table 2). Table 3 shows that only large animals have the potential sicuro make such per generous dietary contribution.