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Vultures in the causses
Forests of scots pine and oak were common on the slopes, and intermingled with wide grassy spaces on the plains.
Vultures were able to colonise the area because of the structure of the landscape:
- the rising currents which form when the cliff walls are heated by the sun enable them to take off
- inaccessible rocky ledges provide nesting sites.
As well as the wild animals found in the region today, the vultures' diet once included other species which have since disappeared, notably the wild horses which were also hunted by the prehistoric human inhabitants of the high plains.
The Hortus caves provide the first proof of vultures in the region, some 70,000 years ago before human influence had altered the environment to any extent.
A few millennia later, the early settlers who erected menhirs and dolmens in the region also made flutes from vulture bones. Man and vulture continued side by side until the turn of the 20th century.