Royal Society Publishing

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

Robert A. McCall


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.