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Fossils from Nile Delta indicate end of Egypt due to “Mega Drought”

The creators of the majestic pyramids could not deal with the climatic changes and fell a victim to the “mega drought" leading to the extinction of the Egyptian Empire 4200 years ago. The time of the pyramid creation was characteristically termed as “Death on the Nile“ leading to the end of “The Old Kingdom” in Egypt.

The Old Kingdom

Fires and droughts had the whole of Egypt in a frenzied social unrest and famine testing the patience of Egyptian empire’s “Old Kingdom”. There was a great lessening in the crop productivity due to lack of water and a resulting food crisis.

Marcia McNutt, of the US Geological Survey (USGS), said 'This study illustrates that water availability was the climate-change Achilles Heel then for Egypt, as it may well be now, for a planet topping seven billion thirsty people.' The climatic changes affected not only Egypt but other Mediterranean countries as well.

The fossil remains

The scientists have discovered charcoal samples and pollen fossil evidence collected from the River Nile that traces back almost 7000 years old. It speaks volumes about the drought conditions at that time. Professor Benjamin Horton, of the University of Pennsylvania, stated: 'The study geologically demonstrates that when deciphering past climates, pollen and other micro-organisms, such as charcoal, can augment or verify written or archaeological records - or they can serve as the record itself if other information doesn’t exist or is not continuous.'

Wetland pollen has been found but in reduced quantities that points out to the lack of green plants. Geological records show high amount of Charcoal embedded in deeply buried sediments, indicating a larger number of fires due to the drought conditions at that time.

'Along with other research, this study geologically reveals that the evolution of societies is sometimes tied to climate variability at all scales - whether decadal or millennial.'

As stated correctly by Christopher Bernhardt, researcher working with the U.S. Geological Survey and also a graduate of University of Pennsylvania “Humans have a long history of having to deal with climate change.“ The dry periods led to the end of one of the most creative civilization- Egypt’s Old Kingdom