Mass Killings of Gazelles Marked Rise of Human Civilization

This has been turning into a science blog lately, but no worries, I will be getting back to politics soon.

Meanwhile my latest online ScienceNOW can be read at this link. As always, the first paragraph:

The mass killing of wildlife by humans is not a modern phenomenon. A new study concludes that around the time the first cities were founded in the Near East, people herded hundreds of gazelles into long stone passageways that ended in circular pits, where they would slaughter every animal. These massive hunts may have been rich with symbolism at the time, yet the authors argue that they have left the gazelles of the Near East a highly endangered species today.

Photos: Death traps. Migrating gazelles were caught and slaughtered in long stone structures called desert kites (upper right.)
Credit: Nigel Cattlin/Alamy; (map insets) Google Earth

20 things to do with Matzah. Brought to you by Michelle Citrin and William Levin.

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Kandinsky said…
Interesting subject for an article. The kites are spread across many parts of the Middle East. In some areas they seem to cover square miles of boulder fields and make me wonder what the whole food chain was based on.

Interestingly, it may not only be gazelles that were slaughtered. Cave art in the Khaybar region depicts ostriches. They were once pretty numerous around there and likely returned more on the investment of time and resources than gazelles; more meat per animal.