Congratulations to Gideon Hartman, leading author on a study just published in PNAS. The co-authors also include Natalie Munro and a graduate student Alex Brittingham.
Hunted gazelles evidence cooling, but not drying, during the Younger Dryas in the southern Levant
Gideon Hartman, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Alex Brittingham, Leore Grosman, and Natalie D. Munro
The Terminal Pleistocene Younger Dryas (YD) event is frequently described as a return to glacial conditions. In the southern Levant it has featured prominently in explanations for the transition to agriculture—one of the most significant transformations in human history. This study provides rare local measures of the YD by deriving gazelle isotopic values from archaeological deposits formed by Natufian hunters just prior to and during the YD. The results provide evidence for cooling, but not drying during the YD and help reconcile contradicting climatic reconstructions in the southern Levant. We suggest that cooler conditions likely instigated the establishment of settlements in the Jordan Valley where warmer, more stable conditions enabled higher cereal biomass productivity and ultimately, the transition to agriculture…