Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A "camelephant" from ancient Syria?

Researchers have unearthed 100,000-year-old remains of a camel the size of an elephant from the central region of Syria. According to Jean-Marie Le Tensorer of the University of Basel, "The camel's shoulders stood three meters high and it was around four meters tall; as big as a giraffe or an elephant. Nobody knew that such a species had existed."
The find is important in another way, too. "It was not known that the dromedary was present in the Middle East more than 10,000 years ago," Le Tensorer added.
It's not yet clear whether the camels were hunted by early humans, although the two species did coexist. The human remains found at the site are puzzling in themselves: it's not clear whether they belong to modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) or H. s. neanderthalensis, and further study is underway.

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Kris Winkler for pointing me to this article.

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