Report on the micromammal assemblage analysis from Sibudu Cave

Wayne Glenny

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This is the first micromammal analysis conducted on Middle Stone Age remains from Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. The method is discussed, and the usefulness of taphonomic analyses on micromammal assemblages for the reconstruction of past environments is highlighted. Results from the taphonomic study show little digestive etching, suggesting that raptors such as Tyto alba, Tyto capensis and Asio capensis were most likely responsible for the accumulation of the micromammal assemblage. Environmental information derived from the micromammal analysis is in accordance with other proxy data from the site. Indications are that the immediate environment around Sibudu Cave was similar at 50 ka ago and at 37 ka ago; it seems to have comprised a complex mosaic environment with open savanna grassland and a woodland element. Cooler, possibly drier, conditions than those of today may have prevailed.