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New fossil remains of Elephas from the southern Levant: Implications for the evolutionary history of the Asian elephant

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wendy Dirks

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Abstract

We describe new fossil remains of elephant (Elephas cf. hysudricus) from archaeological sites in the Levant: Ma'ayan Baruch (Israel) and 'Ain Soda (Jordan). Both sites date to the Middle Pleistocene based on stone artefacts typical of Levantine Late Acheulian assemblages. The elephant remains show ‘primitive’ dental features reminiscent of E. hysudricus from the Plio-Pleistocene of the Siwaliks (northern India), the species thought to be ancestral to Asian elephant E. maximus. Regionally, the new fossils are chronologically intermediate between an earlier (ca. 1 Ma) record of Elephas sp. from Evron Quarry (Israel), and Holocene remains of E. maximus from archaeological sites in NW Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. It is unclear at present whether this represents continuity of occupation or, more plausibly, independent westward expansions.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Lister AM, Dirks W, Assaf A, Chazan M, Goldberg P, Applbaum J, Greenbaum N, Horwitz LK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

Year: 2013

Volume: 386

Pages: 119-130

Print publication date: 20/05/2013

ISSN (print): 0031-0182

ISSN (electronic): 1872-616X

Publisher: Elsevier

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.05.013

DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.05.013


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