The fossil Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel: Out of Africa during the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition

J Hum Evol. 2011 Apr;60(4):375-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.03.012. Epub 2010 Jun 17.


We report the study of the collection of fossil bovid specimens from the Early-Middle Pleistocene Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov. This locality, situated in the Levantine Corridor (the bottleneck that connects Africa and Eurasia) is a key site to explain the faunal and human dispersals out of Africa during the Matuyama/Brunhes boundary around 0.8Ma. Two species of bovine (Bos sp., and Bovini gen. et sp. indet. cf. Bison sp.), one antelope (Gazella sp. cf. G. Gazella), and another indeterminate Bovidae gen. et sp. indet., have been recorded. The largest species, Bos sp., is an African immigrant related to the species from the Eritrean site of Buia, Bos buiaensis, which evolved from the buffalo of Olduvai Pelorovis oldowayensis, and colonized the Eurasian continent in parallel with the dispersal of the Acheulian culture into the northern continent. Numerous important species first recorded in several localities of Early-Middle Pleistocene transition from Eurasia are included in this dispersal out of Africa, including the megaherbivore, Palaeoloxodon antiquus, and the carnivores Crocuta crocuta, and later, Panthera leo and Panthera pardus. This faunal turnover is coincident with the change to colder climates that dominated the Middle Pleistocene.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Archaeology
  • Biota
  • Climate Change*
  • Fossils*
  • Israel
  • Paleontology
  • Ruminants / classification*