Most of what we know about the natural history of the Arabian Peninsula comes from skeletal remains, however, these are few and far between in the vast dust plains of present-day Saudi Arabia. Thankfully, a bunch of ancient hunters left some clues about the prehistoric animals roaming over their homeland, hidden in their rock art.
Archaeologists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany have recently been busy studying the thousands of ancient artworks at Jubbah and Shuwaymis, a UNESCO world heritage rock art site in Ha’il province, north-western Saudi Arabia. Some of the rock art at this site is thought to be around 10,000 years old and spans through the middle and early Holocene.
The new study of the site can be found in the Journal of Biogeography.
Looking through the 6,618 individual animal depictions, the researchers saw an animal that bore an uncanny likeness to the lesser kudu, a large antelope with amazing spiraled horns and distinctive vertical stripes.