Preliminary analysis of the fauna from Buffalo Cave, northern Transvaal, South Africa

Kuykendall, K. L.
Toich, C. A.
McKee, J. K.
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
Systematic excavations at Buffalo Cave in the Makapan Valley were begun in October 1993. This paper presents our preliminary analysis of the faunal assemblage from this site, including new in situ fossils and the collections which have been housed at the Bernard Price Institute, Palaeontology since the 1940's. Our palaeoecological reconstruction suggests that the local environment at Buffalo Cave at the time of deposition was an open country grassland or savanna, including a high proportion of alcelaphine bovids and other grazing fauna. However, the presence of other taxa, particularly of tragelaphines, hippotragines, and reduncines, may indicate that a more wooded habitat including a local water source, could also have been part of the Buffalo Cave environment during some part of its depositional history. The fauna overall indicates that deposition occurred during the Pleistocene, rather than the Pliocene. Thus, the environmental and temporal information presently available suggests that the Buffalo Cave fauna represents an environment and time period distinct from other sites in the Makapansgat Valley (i.e., the Limeworks and Cave of Hearths).
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