|Modern dwarf hippo baby. |
Delicious in stews and on kabobs.
I needed that triple ellipse to move on.
Anywho, we'll talk about both the Aceramic and Ceramic Neolithic cultures of Cyprus during the Neolithic podcasts (which are written, but not recorded as of yet). Traditionally, the Aceramic culture is considered the oldest culture of the area. This Aceramic culture is supposed to have arrived in Cyprus from somewhere in the Levant during the Holocene, after the Pleistocene animals of Cyprus had died out. Basically, scientists have always assumed that human beings never had any contact with the pygmy species that inhabited the island during the Pleistocene geological epoch. However, I just read an article by Alan H. Simmons entitled The First Humans and Last Pygmy Hippopotami of Cyprus. In the article, Simmons argues that the Aceramic site at Akrotiri Aetokremnos, settled around 10,000 BC, actually contains remains of both human beings and the pygmy hippopotamus in a way that shows contact between the two.
A lot of effort has gone into studying the extinction of the mega fauna all over the world during the last Ice Age. Basically people want to know if the Mammoth and his Ice Age giant buddies were wiped out by man or by natural causes. Simmons notes that pinpointing exact extinctions on humans has been difficult, but when it has it was usually associated with farming groups, rather than hunter-gatherer groups. But, on islands, pointing to human activity as a direct cause of extinction for an animal is easier to prove. Cyprus now might prove just that thing and rework what we know about the earliest human inhabitants of Cyprus.
The research that was gathered at Akrotiri Aetokremnos, if true, has to change the way we think about the population of the Mediterranean isles. First, its early date pushes the settlement back out of the Neolithic, past the Mesolithic and into the late Paleolithic. This alone would be fairly intriguing to certain types of folks. But, for the vast majority of us, who are constantly being inundated with anti-bullying messages nowadays, the interesting bits is what those meanies did to the pygmy hippo and dwarf elephants!
|Drawing of a dwarf elephant on Sicily, which was|
comparable to their Cypriot cousins. That's a fox to
the right for size purposes.