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New evidence for the lack of C4 grassland expansions during the early Pliocene at Langebaanweg, South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2016

Tamara A. Franz-Odendaal
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa. E-mail: tfranz@botzoo.uct.ac.za
Julia A. Lee-Thorp
Affiliation:
Department of Archeometry, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa. E-mail: jlt@beattie.uct.ac.za
Anusuya Chinsamy
Affiliation:
Iziko Museums of Cape Town, Post Office Box 61, Cape Town 8000, South Africa. E-mail: achinsam@iziko.org.za Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa. E-mail: achinsam@botzoo.uct.ac.za

Abstract

Major C4 grass expansions during the late Miocene in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres had a major impact on biological communities. We report that the diverse terrestrial fauna of Langebaanweg, South Africa, existed in a local environment that remained C3-dominated during the late Neogene (~5 Ma). In contrast, other Southern Hemisphere sites at similar latitudes show a clear shift to C4 grasslands well before 5 Ma. Our results are based on stable isotope analyses of enamel carbonate from four artiodactyl and two perissodactyl families from this locality. We also provide insight into the evolution of the current Mediterranean climate system in this part of South Africa.

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Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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New evidence for the lack of C4 grassland expansions during the early Pliocene at Langebaanweg, South Africa
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