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Fauna and Climate in Early Palestine

Nature volume 140, page 497 (18 September 1937) | Download Citation



IN view of the interest of the various geographical and distributional problems in the prehistory of Palestine, to which a notable contribution has been made by the preliminary examination of the finds in the bone-bearing beds of Bethlehem (see NATURE, Sept. 4, p. 431) attention may be directed to a communication from Prof. L. Picard, of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, which appears in the recent issue of the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (Jan.–June). Prof. Picard there examines in detail the data of palaeontology, geology, archaeology and stratigraphy in their bearing, first on the climate of Palestine in prehistoric times, and secondly on the origin and geographical relations of the fauna of that period. Writing before the publication of the evidence from Bethlehem, he concurs with Miss Bate's previously published conclusion as to the complete absence from Palestine of a boreal (cold period) fauna, though its existence has been asserted ; buir he is unable to accept her interpretation of the palaeontological evidence as pointing to a change from a forested landscape with humid conditions to a drier climate and more open country. He finds that while there were a number of forms, now extinct, contemporary with the old Acheulean—the earliest evidence of man's handiwork then available to him—some of these, such as probably the hippopotamus, survived even so late as Biblical times.

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