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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353

S. Afr. j. sci. vol.103 n.1-2 Pretoria Jan./Feb. 2007

 

RESEARCH LETTERS

 

Temporal variation in Plio-Pleistocene Antidorcas (Mammalia: Bovidae) horncores: The case from Bolt's Farm and why size matters

 

 

Sally Christine Reynolds

School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Wltwatersrand Medical School, 7 York Road, Parktown 2195, South Africa, and School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, U.K. E-mail: sally.reynolds@wits.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

Morphological differences in samples of fossil (Antidorcas recki) and modern (A. marsupialis) springbok horncores suggest that the ancestral species shows less sexual dimorphism than is observed in the horn dimensions of modern springbok. This pattern may prove useful when evaluating fossil springbok specimens in South African Plio-Pleistocene faunal assemblages. Undated Antidorcas craniodental specimens from Pit 3, Bolt's Farm (Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng, South Africa) have previously been referred to A. recki by Cooke.1 However, comparison with numerous other springbok samples suggests that these specimens are more likely to represent male and female fossils of the extant species, A. marsupialis. This re-evaluation adds weight to the fossil evidence implying that the modern form of springbok is a southern African endemic species which first appeared around 1.5-1.0 million years ago in Swartkrans Member 1.2,3 Bolt's Farm Pit 3 fossils are inferred to be of a similar age.


 

 

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Received 24 February 2005.
Accepted 25 January 2007.

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