Climate change during the Last Glacial

It has been hypothesized that climate forcing has effected changes in human population dynamics during the Last Glacial and that these climatic changes are reflected in biodiversity turnovers in the rodent communities.  In order to test the theory, several large assemblages of micromammals from the Southern Levant dating to the Last Glacial are being analyzed using multivariate community analysis, ecomorphology and microwear analysis.

Preliminary results (Belmaker and Hovers, 2011) suggest that there was no appreciable change in the rodent community between MIS 4 and MIS 3.

We are currently expanding the study to include more sites and augment the previous studies:

1. Amud Cave, Israel (collaboration with Erella Hovers, (Hebrew University))

2. Kebara, Hayonim and Qafzeh Caves, Israel (collaborations with Ofer Bar Yosef (Harvard University), John Speth (University of Michigan) and Mary Stiner (University of Arizona).

Rantis 1

Excavations at Rantis © Miriam Belmaker

3. Rantis, Israel (collaborations with Ofer Marder of Ben Gurion, University of Negev).

4. Muhgr el Hamama, Jordon (collaboration with Aaron J. Stutz, Emory  University).



Excavations at Dzudzuana, Georgia © Miriam Belmaker

5. Dzudzuana and Kotias Klade, Georgia (collaboration with Ofer Bar Yosef, Harvard University, and Anna Belfer Cohen, Hebrew University)











Belmaker. M. (expected 2016) The Avifauna of Kebara Middle Paleolithic: Paleoecology and Environmental Implications. In Excavation in Kebara (2nd Volume) (Bar-Yosef, O, Speth, J. and Mengeinen, L. eds.) (in press). (invited)

Belmaker, M. (expected 2016) The Southern Levant during MIS 6-2 and Zooarchaeological Evidence for the Effects of Climatic-Forcing on Hominin Population Dynamics. In Climate Change, Human Response and Zooarchaeology (Monk, G. ed.) Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropol- ogy Series. Springer, Dordrecht. (in press).

Belmaker, M. and Hovers, E. (2011) Ecological change and the extinction of the Levantine Nean- derthals: Implications from a diachronic study of micromammals from Amud Cave, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 30 (21-22): 3196- 3209.

Marder, O., Yehurun, R., Lupo, R., Bar-Oz, G., Belmaker, M., Ron, H., and Frumkin, A. (2011) Mammal remains at Rantis Cave, Israel, and Mid-Late Pleistocene Human subsistence and ecology in the Southern Levant. Journal of Quaternary Science 26 (8): 769-780.


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