Human migrations across geographic boundaries can facilitate the introduction of new husbandry practices and dispersal of plants and animals, resulting in changes in biodiversity. As previously demonstrated, the 12th century BCE Philistine migration-to the southern Levantine littoral, involved the transportation of pigs from Europe, engendering long term genetic displacement of local Near Eastern haplotypes. Building on this, and combining biogeographical methods of Floral List comparisons with archaeological data, we have elucidated the Philistine impact on Southern Levantine floral ecosystems. We demonstrate that previously unexploited local plants were incorporated into the Philistine milieu, and new species were introduced-from Europe, the Aegean, Egypt and Mesopotamia-resulting in the earliest locally cultivated sycamore, cumin, coriander, bay tree and opium poppy. This research has highlighted the impact of past cultures on the formation of floral ecosystems and their long-term effects on contemporary local biological diversity.
|State||Published - 25 Aug 2015|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank M. Frumin for preparation of maps and figures, L. Olsvig-Whittaker for statistical consultation, and I. Peters for editing assistance. This research was partially funded by the Bar-Ilan University President’s Scholarship for Excelling Doctoral Students to S.F., by an Israel Science Foundation BIKURA track grant (#32/11) awarded to A.M.M., E.W. and L.K.H., and an Israel Science Foundation grant (#100/13) to A.M.M.