CapeNature has discovered what appears to be elephant teeth on Dyer Island!
Dyer Island is a 20 hectare Nature Reserve, situated 8.5 Km from Kleinbaai harbour in Gansbaai, off the coast of the Western Cape. The discovery of what appears to be elephant molar teeth, was made by CapeNature staff during a routine trip to the island.
Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says the Western Cape has a unique heritage that dates back thousands of years.
“There is so much about our province we are still discovering. Finding elephant teeth on an island 8.5km in the sea is exciting and opens up many possibilities and mysteries which we hope will continue to unravel in years to come.”
Extensive documented and peer-reviewed evidence indicates that around 18, 000 – 20, 000 years ago following the Last Glacial Maximum, reduced sea levels exposed a broad southern coastal plain or “Palaeo-Agulhas Bank” of around 60, 000 km2.
This allowed large land-based mammals to migrate onto this coastal plain and possibly make their way to the area known today as Dyer Island. Fossil evidence discovered to date, indicates that the large mammal community was species-rich and dominated by large grazing ungulates, including equids and antelopes, and quite possibly elephants.
More recent evidence also suggests that elephants occurred on the Agulhas Plain as the remains of an elephant skeleton was found at De Mond Nature Reserve some years ago. The Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp also houses elephant remains from the region.
“The latest discovery is now under investigation to confirm the record and to try and determine how it ended up on Dyer Island,” says Bredell.