Ancient art fills in Egypt's ecological history

Animals carved or painted by the ancient Egyptians tell us about the ecological evolution of species. Thus we find eighteen types of large mammals represented in Egyptian art, whereas only eight continue in spite of obstacles today. The researchers were able to identify three major episodes of decline of predator / prey relationship which coincide with brutal periods when regions become increasingly dry. The presence or absence of a particular species does not seem to have any impact on the food chain, in contrast to what happens today.

Ancient Egyptian artefacts, like this elaborately carved ivory knife handle from 3300-3100 BCE, helped scientists determine how mammal populations in Egypt have changed over time