First evidence of “ancient deer” (cervid) in the late Miocene Bira Formation, Northern Israel

Alexis Gabriel Rozenbaum, Dotan Shaked Gelband, Mordechai Stein, Henk K. Mienis, Rivka Rabinovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the extensive geological and paleontological searches in the south Levant, no terrestrial fauna of late Neogene age was yet reported. Here, we report the first evidence of “ancient deer”–cervid in the late Miocene (Tortonian) lacustrine section of the Bira Formation at Hagal Stream, Jordan Valley, northern Israel. The section comprises rich assemblage of macrofauna fossils, mostly freshwater mollusks. The mammalian bone was discovered among the macrofauna fossils, and is described as an almost complete left humerus of an adult animal identified as an artiodactyls element probably of a cervid. This terrestrial mammal shares similar paleoenvironmental conditions with other contemporaneous localities, where cervids prevailed with bovids and other taxa. It appears that the freshwater lakes provided favorite habitat for the development of the cervids and possibly other mammals. The specific conditions of preservation of the cervid illuminate the role of post depositional processes (taphonomic constrains) in masking terrestrial fauna remains in the region. Accordingly, further efforts will be devoted to unveil the mute part of the southern Levant–east Mediterranean terrestrial faunistic realm at the end of the Miocene.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0185268
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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