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Humans, island colonization and Pleistocene extinctions in the Mediterranean: the view from Akrotiri Aetokremnos, Cyprus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Alan H. Simmons*
Affiliation:
Quaternary Sciences Center, Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada System, Reno NV 89506, USA

Extract

The rôle played by humans in the extinction of late Pleistocene vertebrate fauna is a controversial topic (Diamond 1989; Grayson 1989; Martin & Klein 1984), and actual archaeological data for a human factor are quite rare. Recent multidisciplinary excavations in Cyprus, however, suggest that people were at least partially responsible for the extinction of local endemics, primarily pygmy hippopotamus (Phanourios minutus).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 1991

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Footnotes

Excavations at Akrotiri Aetokremnos in Cyprus have documented the oldest site on the island. Associated with this site is a huge faunal assemblage. This consists primarily of pygmy hippopotamus, an endemic species thought to have become extinct during the Pleistocene, prior to the arrival of humans on Cyprus. Their association at Aetokremnos suggests otherwise. This paper is an interim report, summarizing data obtained during three excavation seasons.

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