Depictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artifacts have helped scientists assemble a detailed record of the large mammals that lived in the Nile Valley over the past 6,000 years. A new analysis of this record shows that species extinctions, probably caused by a drying climate and growing human population in the region, have made the ecosystem progressively less stable.
The study, published September 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that local extinctions of mammal species led to a steady decline in the stability of the animal communities in the Nile Valley. When there were many species in the community, the loss of any one species had relatively little impact on the functioning of the ecosystem, whereas it is now much more sensitive to perturbations, according to first author Justin Yeakel, who worked on the study as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. Read more.
A nice batch of Open Access (free to read) articles:
The Churchyards of Prestonpans.
Further urns and cremation burials from Brackmont Mill, near Leuchars, Fife
The Origins of Political Order and the Anglo-Saxon State
A seventeenth-century coin-pendant from Bacton, Norfolk and its ornament
Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at: http://bit.ly/YHuyFK