Variability in Plio-Pleistocene climates, habitats, and ungulate biomass in southern Africa
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Authors: Thackeray, J.F. and Reynolds, S.C.
Journal: South African Journal of Science
Vrba, and deMenocal and Bloemendal have emphasised the importance of climatic change, particularly temperature, in the context of evolution on the African continent within the past 5 million years. There is no doubt that long-term changes in climate would have affected African habitats, which in turn would have affected the distribution and abundance of populations of various mammalian taxa, including ungulates and hominids. In this study we explore relationships between oxygen isotope ratios (as determined from Shackleton's analysis of foraminifera from deep-sea cores), and estimates of ungulate biomass as determined from faunal assemblages from Plio-Pleistocene sites in southern Africa, using an approach outlined previously. We go further to assess temporal variability in ungulate biomass in terms of changes in habitat, gene pools and hominid evolution