Plio-Pleistocene African megaherbivore losses associated with community biomass restructuring

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 1 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint

Supplementary Files

Faysal Bibi, Juan L. Cantalapiedra


Fossil abundance data can reveal ecological dynamics underpinning taxonomic declines. Using fossil dental metrics, we reconstructed body mass and mass-abundance distributions in Late Miocene to recent African large mammal communities. Despite collection biases, fossil and extant mass-abundance distributions are highly similar, with unimodal distributions likely reflecting savanna environments. Above 45 kg, abundance decreases exponentially with mass, with slopes close to -0.75 as predicted by metabolic scaling. Furthermore, communities prior to ~4 Ma had significantly more large-sized individuals, with a greater proportion of total biomass allocated in larger size categories, than did later communities. Over time, individuals and biomass were redistributed into smaller size categories, reflecting a gradual loss of large-sized individuals from the fossil record, and paralleling the long-term decline of Plio-Pleistocene large mammal diversity.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution



Published: 2023-06-09 19:50


CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Additional Metadata


Data and Code Availability Statement: