Chapter

A Review of the Cenozoic Vegetation History of Africa

Bonnie F. Jacobs, Aaron D. Pan and Christopher R. Scotese

in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257214
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945425 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257214.003.0005
A Review of the Cenozoic Vegetation History of Africa

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Mangrove vegetation related to the modern tropical Asian palm, Nypa, was present along Africa's coasts at low latitudes in the Paleocene and Eocene, and pollen evidence of other palms is common. This chapter reviews and interprets the paleobotany and paleogeography of Africa during the Cenozoic. It presents a dynamic view of changes in plant communities and ecosystems through time, so that the evolutionary and biogeographic history of Cenozoic African mammals can be considered in the context of the communities to which they belonged. To facilitate this goal, the chapter explores environmental change in the context of major physiographic change such as graben formation associated with rifting in East Africa, and shows paleobotanical sites in their correct position on paleogeographic maps. A common challenge to providing a floral context for the mammalian fossil record stems from the fossilization process itself. The circumstances in which bones and plants become fossils are not often the same, and consequently they are rarely found together.

Keywords: Cenozoic; vegetation; Africa; fossils; Paleocene; Eocene; paleobotany; paleogeography; mammals; plant communities

Chapter.  13486 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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