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The Significance of Spatial Motif Variation in Studying Cultural Variability using Rock Art in Zimbabwe

Researchers in southern Africa have widely acknowledged the existence of motif variation in the rock art of the region. However, little has been done to use the cultural rock art diversity to understand the social and economic structure of the prehistoric hunter-gatherers. The question is why were artists from different areas choosing different symbols? This paper examines case studies from Zimbabwe to illustrate ways in which variation in rock art motifs can allude to the social and economic dynamics among

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Paradise lost: large mammal remains as a proxy for environmental change from MIS 6 to the Holocene in southern Africa

Analyses of faunal remains are a key means of inferring palaeoenvironmental change. In this paper, the use of faunal remains as a proxy for environmental conditions from Marine Isotope Stage 6 to the Holocene in southern Africa is reviewed. The focus of this review is on large herbivore abundance and how these fluctuate temporally and regionally in accordance with palaeo-climatic shifts. Here, southern Africa is divided into four eco-regions loosely based on climatic, biotic and zoogeographic traits: the Cape Floristic

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Detection probabilities of ungulates in the eastern Swaziland lowveld

The management of large ungulates in Southern Africa necessitates reliable monitoring programmes to direct management action. Monitoring programmes for large ungulates typically rely on spotlight survey methods, but do not address variation in detection rates between surveys or observers. In 2009, we used a multiple observer survey technique to estimate detection probabilities for large ungulates in lowveld savanna habitats in Swaziland. Spotlight detection probabilities for all ungulates ranged between 0.22 and 0.57. Species-specific spotlight detection rates for the two most

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The origins of the scientific study and classification of giraffes

Giraffes have been known for many thousands of years from rock art and Egyptian artefacts, displayed by Roman emperors at games and triumphs between 46BC and AD274, and briefly exhibited in the zoos of the Italian City States in the 15th Century, yet they remained in the realm of mythology until, in 1764, Ryk Tulbagh, Governor of the Cape Colony, sent a skin and a drawing of a giraffe to Holland. This was the first evidence of their existence to

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