Palaeo-Ecology of large mammals on the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain, now submerged off the coast of South Africa, provided a novel grassy habitat unlike anything in the southern Cape today. Governed by mountains in the hinterland and an ever-shifting coastline, the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain constantly varied in size and habitat available to mammals with changes in sea levels.
Our research focuses on how large mammals survived changes in sea level and made use of this extinct ecosystem. We aim to understand how mammals used and distributed themselves in this landscape, question whether species could have survived in the fynbos hinterland as refuge species during high sea stands and if megaherbivores could have facilitated habitats during these times.
Importantly in addition to understanding how mammals used this environment, knowledge of mammals is imperative to understanding the evolution of early humans along our coastline. On the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain there is a strong link between mammals and early humans as mammals provided a key food resource for early humans and many of our records of species occurrence on the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain come from the archeological of early human occupation.