York researchers discover how Zanzibar was formed

The island’s 11,000 year history has been mapped

The formation of the African island of Zanzibar has been uncovered by researchers from the University of York’s Environment Department as part of a collaborative effort between environmental scientists and archaeologists.
The island’s 11,000 year history has been mapped since its formation, charting a series of extinctions from a variety of species. It has been discovered that mammals such as zebra, buffalo, waterbuck and gazelle lived on the island from its creation and then disappeared following rising sea levels.  Dr Robert Marchant, Reader in the University’s Environment Department, said: “An understanding of the long-term history of faunal change allows us to identify patterns in the interplay of natural and anthropogenic factors that have shaped Zanzibar’s ecosystems today.

Image: Rod Waddington

Image: Rod Waddington

“Such long-term insights are crucial in helping with current conservation efforts, laying a foundation for future research on impacts of island formation, climate change and human occupation on animals and their habitats.”

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