Early Holocene spread of grasslands in NW Arabia

CLEAR project members Michèle Dinies and colleagues just published an exciting palynological dataset from the Tayma palaeo-lake in the journal Quaternary International. They found goosefoot-dominated desert vegetation at the onset of the Holocene, which was quickly replaced by grasslands between 9000 and 8000 BP and, again, more xerophytic dwarf shrublands. This brief grassland period must have had significant impacts on nomadic herders. The geoarchive shows excellent Holocene pollen preservation, which, so far, is rare on the Arabian Peninsula. The pollen-based 14C data also led to a revision of the palaeo-lake’s age model indicating that the Holocene wet phase marked bythe shoreline highstand and the grassland expansion apparently occurred more than 1000 years later than suggested in previous publications.

Full Reference:

Dinies, M., Plessen, B., Neef, R., Kürschner, H., 2015. When the desert was green: Grassland expansion during the early Holocene in northwestern Arabia. Quaternary International 382, 293-302.

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