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The recent explosion of publications on African prehistory has forced researchers in vertebrate evolution to sift through countless details of morphology, distribution and geological setting. Now, to simplify access to this information, Vincent Maglio and H.B.S. Cooke have prepared a single volume that summarizes our current knowledge about the origin and evolution of the Class Mammalia in Africa. Their book, consequently, is of great importance, and much of its material derives from ongoing research not available in any other published form.
In thirty chapters, fifteen mammalian orders are described in detail—their taxonomic groupings; the origins of their various subgroups; geographical distributions; major phyletic units; and specific evolutionary trends. Numerous illustrations accompany the text, and complete bibliographic references are given for each group. The modern mammalian fauna of Africa is summarized, with a description of the environments in which it is found. Man’s impact on wildlife is also assessed. The major geological deposits of the African Cenozoic are reviewed, and the broader patterns of faunal evolution are synthesized in an attempt to cut across taxonomic boundaries and demonstrate the interdependence of faunal events on the continent as a whole.