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In the final comparisons of DNA from cell nuclei, the forest and savanna elephants fell into distinct groups.
Savanna and forest elephants interbreed occasionally though Roca's group found little evidence for recent mixing.
McPherson begins chapter 3, which examines savanna genesis and maintenance, by asking the question, "Why do savannas occur?
Many savannas have been converted to agricultural land or urban areas.
Because they are hospitable to plant life from both the prairie and forest, savannas can boast up to 500 species of plants.
Named for its grayish appearance, the flowering shrub is supremely adapted for life in the sometimes poor, acidic soils and climate of savannas.
They called it the begetation forest, but I believe they were describing savanna.
Drawings and paintings from the presettlement era also depict savanna, an ecological term that describes a grassland habitat that includes several scattered large trees per acre.
At one research site, a pasture with deep-rooted grass stored 13 percent more carbon than a neighboring savanna
Every species has a "right" habitat, and the savanna
is ours, the open woods, not the deep forest.
But the grasses and plants that make up savannas
had already existed for millions of years in much more variable environments.
To top it off, Falk's scenario of robust australopithecines who put down roots in moist, wooded areas, while their gracile counterparts roamed the savannas
and developed bigger brains, presents an unsupported, "cartoon-like" picture of hominid evolution, Kimbel contends.
Previous excavations have indicated this ancient savanna
supported more abundant and diverse species of antelope than known earlier in Africa.
Other attempts to use the ecology of modern African savannas
as a window to the past are under way.