| 1 July 2016
No game was too big to hunt for Stone Age man
A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University (Israel) have been conducting research into the consumption and possible hunting of prehistoric elephants by Palaeolithic dwellers. They studied evidence from sites across the world, ranging from the Republic of Djibouti in Africa, Valencia in Spain, the Dead Sea Rift Valley and as far east as Russia.
To understand the scale of the logistics behind hunting and slaying an elephant we must bear in mind that the head alone, of a modern day African elephant weighs in excess of 400kg. The extinct elephant roaming the planet in the Pleistocene era was approximately twice this size.
The head of an elephant is actually exceptional nutritious, taking together its constituent parts of brain, tongue ears and trunk, providing the correct balance required of meat and fat. There is even evidence in the Bolonar Cave in Valencia of the skull and jaw bone being crushed to extract the marrowbone.
Great cooperation was needed, not only to kill the animal but also to transport the heads back to their campsites. One site, at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov in the Dead Sea Rift valley, had evidence of the remains of 154 elephants. The leaders of the team, Aviad Agam and Ran Barkai are quoted as saying "The repeated evidence of transportation of elephants' head parts to residential sites indicates it was chosen to be transported back."
Edited from BBC News (22 June 2016)
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