Artifacts, fossils tell story of changes to Egypt’s animals

Ancient Egyptian drawing

Ancient artifacts and fossils reveal the influences of climate and humans on the animal communities of Egypt over the last 6,000 years.

Unknown - Scanned from 1000 Fragen an die Natur, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1948/Wikimedia Commons

Egypt’s 6,000-year history is giving scientists a window into the influence that climate and humans have on animal communities.

A close look at depictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artifacts and fossils from the Nile Valley suggest that the ecosystem in the area has become progressively less stable. The analysis also shows that species extinctions are tied to a drying climate, a growing human population and industrialization, researchers report September 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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