Plio-Pleistocene Carnivora of eastern Africa: Species richness and turnover patterns

  • Werdelin L
  • Lewis M
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This paper presents an up-to-date and detailed overview of the Plio-Pleistocene fossil record of Carnivora in eastern Africa. Major events in the carnivoran lineages present in the region are discussed and stratigraphic ranges of all species-level taxa are provided. The compiled data are used for quantitative analyses of species richness and turnover. Sampling is considered to be adequate for the interval 3.6-1.5 Mya, and poorer in the half-million-year time slices before and after this interval. Species richness peaks around 3.6-3.0 Mya and declines gradually from that time until the end of the time period analysed. Calculation of origination and extinction rates indicate that there are two peaks of origination: at 3.9-3.3 Mya (although the earlier half of this interval is biased through poor sampling) and at 2.1-1.8 Mya. The origination rate is zero in the interval 3.0-2.4 Mya. The extinction rate peaks at around 3.0 Mya after which it falls slightly, remaining nearly constant until 1.8 Mya, after which it increases considerably. The data support the hypothesis that the modern carnivoran guild of eastern Africa originated relatively recently, mostly within the last million years. There is no support in these data for a turnover pulse in Carnivora between 3 and 2 Mya. (C)2005 The Linnean Society of London.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Extinctions
  • Mammalia
  • Originations

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