Zoological collections housing Egyptian specimens that pre-date the construction of the Aswan High Dam are of unique historical importance. Before the construction of the High Aswan Dam, Yale University organized three archeological salvage expeditions, between 1962 and 1965, to the Nile River Valley south of Aswan as part of an international UNESCO-organized salvage mission. Although the focus of these expeditions was the recovery of archeological artifacts, team leaders also included collection of zoological specimens in their operations. These efforts resulted in the collection of 448 species spanning 16 families of Egyptian mammals that were subsequently deposited in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Our re-survey of these collections revealed that almost two-thirds had been misidentified or only identified to “order” level taxonomic ranks. Many of the specimens collected were from sites now submerged beneath Lake Nasser and so provide a unique temporal snapshot of a region whose biodiversity was significantly restructured by human engineering. Our inventory identified several specimens now threatened with extinction or already extinct in Egypt, and also significantly expands the contemporary range of larger rat-tailed bats (Rhinopoma microphyllum).
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