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South African Journal of Science

Print version ISSN 0038-2353

Abstract

STIDHAM, Thomas A.. The first fossil of the Congo peafowl (Galliformes: Afropavo). S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2008, vol.104, n.11-12, pp. 511-512. ISSN 0038-2353.

A fossil from the Middle Stone Age internal deposits of Plovers Lake Cave in the Sterkfontein Valley, Gauteng province, South Africa, is the first fossil specimen that can be allocated to the Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis), a species that is currently endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. The fossil greatly extends the known geographic range of this rainforest taxon and suggests the presence of forested or even rainforest habitats near Plovers Lake Cave during the Middle Stone Age when the fossil was deposited. The presence of this central African taxon in South Africa implies that either its geographic range expanded during a period of climate change during the late Pleistocene or that its currently restricted distribution is a relict of a more extensive past distribution across a larger part of Africa.

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