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Ten thousand years ago the Sahara was inhabited by a people of fishermen
the ROME - a time, A long time ago, in the desert of Sahara, and fished. Between 10 and 5 thousand years ago it was an expanse of sand as now, but a region that is characterized by a varied landscape, which alternated between sandy dunes dotted with small lakes, to rivers that flowed from the mountains towards the wide plains covered by savanna. And it was densely populated, both by wild animals, both from the human community, before the hunter-gatherers, then herders. A study published in the journal Plos One, co-ordinated by Savino Di Lernia of the Department of Sciences of antiquity of the University Sapienza of Rome, and carried out in collaboration with Andrea Zerboni of the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Milan and with Wim Van Neer of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, reveals how the fish fauna represent the majority of animal remains that have emerged in the shelter of the Takarkori, in the central Sahara of libya, in the first and middle Holocene.

The archaeological deposit is investigated and has yielded thousands of bones of fish, corresponding to different species and individuals of large size, over a meter in length, comparable to those who today live in the Nile river or in the great african lakes. All the animal remains returned to the shelter of the Takarkori, more than 17.500, have been identified as food waste, thanks to the signs of cutting and cooking that had; of these, only 19 percent are mammals, birds, reptiles, and molluscs (amphibians are the 1 percent of the total) while the remaining 80 percent is attributable to the fish fauna. The dating of the remains has testified to the gradual reduction of the fish fauna in favour of the mammals: the predominance of fish equal to 90 percent between the years 10.200-8,000 feet, it is arrived at about the 40 percent contribution of fish between the 5.900-4.650; this allows you to appreciate the emergence of pastoralism in the Sahara, during which the fish resource has gradually lost importance, disappearing around 5000 years ago.

The more detailed analysis of the type of fish fauna has then allowed us to further delineate the time horizon of this passage, through the affirmation of one fish species to another. Together, catfish and tilapia constituted the majority among the ruins emerged; however, if in an initial stage, the tilapia was the prevalent species among the two, the researchers recorded in the most recent period, a reversal of this proportion and the catfish, which thanks to his / her respiratory system is able to survive in waters with little oxygen and low water, has become predominant: this trend represents a valuable clue in the reconstruction of the process of progressive desiccation of the region and its subsequent desertification.

"The presence of the typical species of east Africa has enabled us to reconstruct the gradual migration of fishes from the Nile to the centre of the Sahara, which occurred when the environment was more moist and offered of the waterways are connected to one another - explains the archaeologist of the Sapienza Savino di Lernia - and this makes it possible to reconstruct the ancient drainage network of the Saharan region and its interconnection with the Nile, by providing crucial information on the dramatic climate changes that have led to the formation of the largest hot desert in the world". This complex history is preserved in the archaeological deposit of the shelter Takarkori, in Libya's southwest investigated by the team of the Wisdom, guided by the archaeologist Savino di Lernia: a privileged location to understand the complex interaction between the community archaeological sites in the sahara and the environment in which they lived, in which was demonstrated the first evidence of cultivation of wild cereals and the use of animal milk for the activity of cheese-making.

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