Printer Friendly

Oldest African savanna identified.

Oldest African savanna identified

An analysis of fossil soils and grasses at a site in southwestern Kenya demonstrates that extensive savannas -- the habitats of early human ancestors--have existed in East Africa for at least the past 14 million years, emerging long before the evolutionary split of apes and hominids. This is the oldest known savanna, or "wooded grassland," in Africa, report geologist Gregory J. Retallack of the University of Oregon in Eugene and his colleagues.

The researchers chemically analyzed fossilized soils at the Kenyan site and compared microscopic details of fossil grasses with those of modern East African grasses. They describe their findings in the March 16 SCIENCE.

A wooded grassland contains dry, grassy vegetation; 10 to 40 percent of it is covered by trees. Previous excavations have indicated this ancient savanna supported more abundant and diverse species of antelope than known earlier in Africa.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 24, 1990
Words:145
Previous Article:How Neanderthals chilled out.
Next Article:Sweet news on hunger suppression....
Topics:


Related Articles
Hunting ancient scavengers.
Hominid 'caches' get bone-wear boost.
Arabia goes African.
Savannas leave signs of slow takeover.
Rooting around for missing carbon.
When elephants can't take it anymore.
EXTREME SPEED.
Unless the Lord Builds the House.
Geneticists define new elephant species.
2 HELD AFTER ATTACKS SKINHEAD GANG CLASH BLAMED.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters