Mammal Species Richness in Africa

Peter Andrews and Eileen M. O’Brien

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:
Mammal Species Richness in Africa

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The distribution and diversity of mammals across Africa have long been attributed to differences in vegetation or climate. In southern Africa, variability in woody plant species richness alone accounts for 75 percent of the variability in mammal species richness. The ecological categories by which mammal richness has been analyzed include size (body weight), dietary guild (primary diet), and space occupied (locomotor adaptations). This chapter discusses the results of a study designed to describe present-day patterns in mammal richness across Africa, in terms of both mammals in general and between ecologically meaningful subsets of mammals, and to compare these patterns with those for Africa's vegetation, woody plant richness, annual rainfall, and topography. The study also evaluated data quality and tested the implications of variations in mammal richness arising from the southern Africa study.

Keywords: Africa; mammals; species richness; distribution; diversity; vegetation; climate; body weight; dietary guild; topography

Chapter.  13625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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