A new addition to the embalmed fauna of ancient Egypt: Güldenstaedt's White-toothed Shrew, Crocidura gueldenstaedtii (Pallas, 1811) (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Soricidae)



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Sociology, Egyptology & Anthropology Department

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Neal Woodman; Salima Ikram; Joanne Rowland

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Research Article

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PloS one

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The Falcon Necropolis at Quesna in the Nile Delta of Egypt is considered to have been founded by the priest Djedhor, the Saviour, of Athribis (Tell Atrib in modern Benha) at the beginning of the Ptolemaic Period. Recent excavations here have revealed abundant avian remains from mummies dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Horus Khenty-Khety. Among the few mammal remains from the site are five species of shrews (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae), including some that we identified as Güldenstaedt's White-toothed Shrew, Crocidura gueldenstaedtii (Pallas, 1811). Discovery of this species at Quesna increases the number of shrews recovered from ancient Egyptian archaeological sites to eight species. Crocidura gueldenstaedtii no longer occurs in the Nile Delta, and its presence in a diverse shrew fauna at Quesna that includes one other extirpated species, Crocidura fulvastra (Sundevall, 1843), supports the hypothesis of a moister regional environment 2000-3000 years ago. Inadvertently preserved local faunas, such as that from Quesna, can provide valuable information about ancient environments and subsequent turnover in faunal communities.

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