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The African savanna buffalo

17 June 2015

 

www.leopard.tvThe origin of the African buffaloes is unknown but they are not related to cattle or the Indian water buffalo. What does seem certain is that all the African buffaloes developed from an ancestral population in what is now the Central African Republic. However, fossils indicate that a giant buffalo Pelorovis antiquus with a horn spread of some 3 m once was widely spread in the grasslands and savannas south of the Sahara Desert 300 million years ago. It died out along the southern Cape coast some 12 000 years ago and in East Africa 4000 years ago. The living African buffaloes all diverged from a savanna buffalo in East Africa. Fossils of Syncerus only date to some 250 000 years ago. The forest buffalo diverged from the savanna buffalo Syncerus caffer and the latter spread south into southern Africa.

There are two distinct groups of living buffalo in Africa... (Become a subscriber for more)

 


References:

Bengis, R 2013. Foot-and-mouth disease in sub-Saharan Africa – the buffalo connection. Game & Hunt 19(04): 93, 94, 97 & 107.

Bothma, J du P & J G du Toit (Eds) 2015. Game ranch management, sixth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik. In press.

Cloete, F 2014. Lewendewild-handel stoom voort. Game & Hunt 21(02): 71 - 74.

Du Toit, J G 2005. The African savanna buffalo. In J du P Bothma and N van Rooyen (Eds), Intensive wildlife production in southern Africa. Pretoria: Van Schaik, pp 78 - 105.

Skinner, J D & C T Chimimba (Eds) 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 621 - 625.

 

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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