Further chronological seriations of southern African Pliocene and Pleistocene mammalian faunal assemblages

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McKee, Jeffrey K.
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
Mammalian fossil assemblages from Pliocene and Pleistocene sites of southern Africa have recently been seriated in order to establish a relative chronology (McKee et al. 1994). Although an order was inferred for 17 site assemblages of fossil mammals, only ten sites could be seriated at a time. The logistical seriation method has now been modified to handle a greater number of sites at once. Seriations were run on a matrix of Faunal Resemblance Index values for an updated list of time-sensitive mammals of 18 fossil site assemblages. In addition, each assemblage was systematically excluded from analysis in successive seriations to test the robusticity of the method against the influence of individual assemblages. The seriations gave largely consistent results, with the exception of the terminal Pleistocene sites. The most likely chronological sequence inferred from the logistical seriations alone, with corrections for stratigraphic considerations, is: Makapansgat Member 3, Makapansgat Member 4, Taung Hrdlicka deposits, Sterkfontein Member 4, Kromdraai B, Sterkfontein Member 5 (in part), Kromdraai A, Swartkrans Member 1, Swartkrans Member 2, Swartkrans Member 3, Gondolin, Plovers Lake, Cornelia, Elandsfontein Main Site, Florisbad/Equus Cave, Cave of Hearths and Klasies River Mouth.
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