Plio-Pleistocene Hyracoidea from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa

C. R. McMahon, J. F. Thackeray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Two extinct taxa, Procavia antiqua and P. transvaalensis, have been previously reported to occur at the site in deposits postdating 1.8 million yr BP. The extant taxon, P. capensis, has been reported in the most recent deposits, thought to include the Terminal Pleistocene. However, statistical analysis of teeth suggest that P. antiqua and P. capensis are conspecific. The coexistence of these taxa in palaeoenvironments of the Sterkfontein valley is attributed to dietary differences: P. transvaalensis being dependent primarily on grass foliage in grassland habitats, P. capensis being a generalist, feeding on a range of different kinds of vegetation in rocky habitats. Predation on adults of P. transvaalensis, from populations associated wtih a sex ratio biased towards males, may have contributed to the decline in relative abundance and ultimate extinction of this species towards the end of the Pleistocene. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Journal of Zoology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

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