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Proc Biol Sci. 1997 May 22;264(1382):663-5.

Implications of recent geological investigations of the Mozambique Channel for the mammalian colonization of Madagascar.

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  • Department of Zoology, Oxford University, OX1 3PS, UK.


Madagascar separated from continental Africa during the break-up of Gondwanaland early in the Cretaceous. The presence of several terrestrial mammalian groups on Madagascar is paradoxical as (i) these groups postdate the departure of Madagascar from Africa: and ii) terrestrial mammals are poor dispersers across wide water barriers. Recent geological studies focusing on the Davie Fracture Zone of the Mozambique Channel offer a resolution to this situation, by suggesting the presence of a land-bridge from the mid-Eocene to the early Miocene, an interval that matches the ages of Madagascar's mammalian groups.

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