Late Cretaceous and Tertiary vegetation history of Africa

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Twenty-five years have elapsed since Moreau (1952) completed his outstanding essay, ‘Africa since the Mesozoic: with particular reference to certain biological problems’. This valuable synthesis resulted from his interest in a major problem raised by the avifaunas. They reveal great differences between the four principal habitats of the continent: the arid regions, savanna, lowland evergreen forest, and montane evergreen forest. Since two or more of these ecosystems regularly are contiguous over wide areas, the coexistence of distinct avifaunas in them for a long period of time requires explanation, as does the existence of the different vegetation zones themselves.

We are grateful to the U.S. National Science Foundation for a series of grants to each of us independently, and to H. P. Bailey, R. Estes, E. P. Plumstead, J. P. Rourke, A. J. Tankard, and H. Wild for useful suggestions and information. Peter Goldblatt has reviewed the entire manuscript and aided materially in its preparation.