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Biogeographic Provincialism Shown by Afro-Arabian Mammals during the Middle Cenozoic: Climate Change, Red Sea Rifting and Global Eustasy

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Chapter Summary

Distributional patterns of early Oligocene mammals from the northern part of Afro-Arabia support at least a moderate degree of faunal provincialism at that time. These patterns of endemism are surprising given the generally similar paleoenvironmental settings of faunas currently known from the early Oligocene of Zallah Oasis in Libya, Fayum in Egypt and Dhofar Province in Oman. Possible explanations for these faunal differences across northern Afro-Arabia include habitat fragmentation caused by the cooler, drier climatic conditions of the early Oligocene and the presence of marine barriers to dispersal caused by tectonic rifting and changes in global eustasy. Further work is necessary to clarify the nature of faunal provincialism across northern Afro-Arabia during the early Oligocene and its impact on macroevolutionary patterns among early African mammals.



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