Mongoose Manor: Herpestidae remains from the Early Pleistocene Cooper’s D locality in the Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng, South Africa

Cohen, Brigette F.
O'Regan, Hannah J.
Steininger, Christine M.
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Evolutionary Studies Institute
Mongooses (Herpestidae) are an important component of African ecosystems, and a common constituent of southern African fossil assemblages. Despite this, mongoose fossils from the Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng, South Africa, have received relatively little interest. This paper presents the diverse mongoose craniodental assemblage from the early Pleistocene fossil locality Cooper’s D. A total of 29 mongoose specimens from five genera were identified at Cooper’s, including numerous first appearances in the Cradle or in South Africa. The exceptional mongoose assemblage at Cooper’s likely reflects the effects of an unknown taphonomic process, although mongooses follow other carnivore groups in the Cradle in displaying an apparent preference for the southern part of the Cradle. This investigation shows the value of mongooses as palaeoecological indicators and supports previous interpretations of the environment at Cooper’s as grassland with a strong woody component near a permanent water source.
Paranthropus locality, palaeoecology, Herpestes, Ichneumia, Atilax, Mungos, Galerella