Africa – the Evolution of a Continent and its Large Mammal Fauna
Cranium , Volume 23 - Issue 1 p. 17- 40
Africa contains around 1,100 mammalian species, about a quarter of the worldwide total and a diversity unequalled elsewhere (Kingdon, 1997). Molecular analyses suggest a small number of these, including elephants, aardvarks and elephant shrews, form a unique group, the Afrotheria, with a restricted common ancestry there (Madsen et al., 2001; Murphy et al., 2001). Yet the African mammal fauna also shares elements with adjacent continents, the result of biogeographic changes induced by continental movements and climatic changes (Cox & Moore, 2004). We offer an illustrated overview, based on a more detailed study presented elsewhere (Turner & Antón, 2004), of the evolution of the continent and of its large-mammal fauna from around thirty million years ago (Mya). Artwork by MA is based wherever possible upon the skeleton of the species being reconstructed to provide a clear guide for the placement and bulk of the muscles as a basis for the external features. More detail of methods and approach can be found elsewhere (Anton, 2003a, 2003b, Turner & Anton, 2004).
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