Louis Scott

Louis Scott
University of the Free State | ufs · Department of Plant Sciences

PhD

About

245
Publications
126,174
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8,811
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 1974 - September 2013
University of the Free State
Position
  • Professor/Researcher

Publications

Publications (245)
Article
Fossil pollen and geochemical sequences from a series of hyrax dung deposits from rock shelters along the eastern margin of the central Namib Desert shed light on the Holocene environmental history of Namibia. Grassy pollen assemblages suggest relatively humid conditions during the early Holocene between ca. 9.6 and 7.7 ka. A series of stepwise cha...
Chapter
Humans evolved in the dynamic landscapes of Africa under conditions of pronounced climatic, geological and environmental change during the past 7 million years. This book brings together detailed records of the paleontological and archaeological sites in Africa that provide the basic evidence for understanding the environments in which we evolved....
Article
We have reassessed the palynological record of Equus Cave in the Savanna Biome of the southern Kalahari, one of the longest Late Quaternary pollen records for the semi-arid central interior of South Africa. We combined published pollen results from the cave, derived from hyena coprolites and the rubified deposits in which they occur, into a single...
Article
In this study we investigate the timing and nature of moisture availability in the Late Holocene by examining a multiproxy paleoenvironmental record from Kathu Pan at the southern edge of the Kalahari. In a region where organic proxy records are scarce, Kathu Pan provides a unique record of changes in past environmental conditions. Pollen, spore, c...
Article
Full-text available
Interpretations of fossil pollen data are often limited to broad, qualitative assessments of past climatic and environmental conditions (e.g. colder vs. warmer, wetter vs. drier, open vs. closed landscape). These assessments can be particularly imprecise in regions such as southern Africa, where botanical biodiversity is high, and there exists an a...
Data
Interpretations of fossil pollen data are often limited to broad, qualitative assessments of past climatic and environmental conditions (e.g. colder vs. warmer, wetter vs. drier, open vs. closed landscape). These assessments can be particularly imprecise in regions such as southern Africa, where botanical biodiversity is high, and there exists an a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Palynological studies were carried out on cored late Holocene sediments from the Mkhuze Swamp at the northern shore of Lake St. Lucia located in the Indian Ocean Coastal Belt Biome of KwaZulu-Natal, eastern South Africa. The project is part of TRACES (Tracing Human and Climate Impacts in South Africa, coordinated by MARUM, University of Bremen,...
Article
Full-text available
East African ecosystems have been shaped by long-term socio-ecological–environmental interactions. Although much previous work on human–environment interrelationships have emphasised the negative impacts of human interventions, a growing body of work shows that there have also often been strong beneficial connections between people and ecosystems,...
Article
To address long-standing questions concerning Southern Hemisphere climate dynamics and palaeoecological change in southern Africa, a Late Glacial-Holocene alluvial sediment sequence from the relatively dry interior year-round rainfall zone in South Africa was investigated. The study site borders the Fynbos biome and Succulent Karoo biome ecotone, a...
Article
During the last International Congress of Paleobotany and Palynology (Dublin, 2018), participants discussed Paleoecology through the lens of Art and Science. These talks identified an urgent need for a more synergistic interaction between the visual arts and the sciences. Importantly, such consilience could inform research. This is because, while f...
Article
This paper presents ndings from the rst season of excavations conducted at the mountain-top site of Naḥal Roded 110, located in the southern Negev Desert near Eilat, Israel. Both radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence date the site to the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (LPPNB, late 8th millennium BC). Palaeoenvironmental data from pollen a...
Article
We have reassessed the palynological record of Equus Cave in the Savanna Biome of the southern Kalahari, one of the longest Late Quaternary pollen records for the semi-arid central interior of South Africa. We combined published pollen results from the cave, derived from hyena coprolites and the rubified deposits in which they occur, into a single...
Article
Far’ah II is an open-air site in the north western Negev desert (Israel). Previous excavations in the 1970’s revealed a rich, in situ Middle Paleolithic (MP) assemblage composed of flint and limestone artifacts, animal bones and charcoal. Renewed excavation at the site were undertaken in 2017, to re-date it and provide a more accurate constrain to...
Article
Full-text available
http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/28129 Wonderkrater in the Limpopo Province in South Africa is a late Quaternary archaeological site with peat deposits extending back more than 30 000 years before the present. Palaeoclimatic indices based on multivariate analysis of pollen spectra reflect a decline in temperature identifiable with the You...
Article
A multi-proxy approach conducted on a sediment core from a small lake in the Cape Flats (Princessvlei, South Africa), supported by five AMS dates, reveals the paleoenvironments over the last 3900 years. Despite some gaps in the records, phytoliths, diatoms, δ¹⁸Odiatom, pollen, coprophilous fungus spores, microscopic charred particles (micro-charcoa...
Article
Full-text available
The pantropical Picrodendraceae produce mostly spheroidal to slightly oblate, echinate pollen grains equipped with narrow circular to elliptic pori that can be hard to identify to family level in both extant and fossil material using light microscopy only. Fossil pollen of the family have been described from the Paleogene of America, Antarctica, Au...
Article
Fossil pollen assemblages can assist in understanding biome responses to global climate change if there is reasonable probability that they represent specific biomes or bioregions. In this paper, we introduce a novel probabilistic presentation of pollen data and biome assignment. We apply a recently developed pollen-based vegetation classification...
Article
New pollen evidence and a review of past palynological research at the Pleistocene Florisbad thermal spring mound, which produced faunal, hominin and archaeological remains, allow a reconstruction of past conditions in the central Free State grassland, South Africa. Pollen sequences at the spring consist of alternating pollen-rich organic peaty hor...
Article
Full-text available
Excavations at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B ritual site of Naḥal Roded 110 in the Southern Negev, Israel, have revealed evidence—unique to this region—for on-site flint knapping and abundant raptor remains. Full text available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/investigations-at-nahal-roded-110-a-late-neolithic-ritual-sit...
Article
The scientific contributions of E.M. van Zinderen Bakker (1907–2002) included the introduction of pollen analysis to Quaternary studies in South Africa. His palaeoecological theories evolved while performing palynological research in Southern Africa (the Maluti Mountains, Florisbad, Aliwal North, the Namib Desert), East Africa (Kalambo Falls, Mount...
Article
An investigation of the vegetation and climate from the Middle Pleistocene until the end of the Late Pleistocene reveals a plethora of terrestrial and marine biological, geological and archaeological evidence for marked and complex climate cycles of change, which reflect on past circulation patterns. While acknowledging the usefulness of diverse pr...
Article
Full-text available
An ongoing re-investigation of the early Miocene Saldanha Bay (South Africa) palynoflora, using combined light and scanning electron microscopy (single grain method), is revealing several pollen types new to the African fossil record. One of the elements identified is Loranthaceae pollen. These grains represent the first and only fossil record of L...
Article
The large mammalian fauna of southern Africa is characterised by strong niche separation into grazer and browser species, with few falling into the intermediate mixed-feeder niche. Moreover, the modern fauna is reduced in species diversity compared to the Pleistocene, following the extinction of several specialized grazers in the late Pleistocene a...
Article
Full-text available
Quaternary records provide an opportunity to examine the nature of the vegetation and fire responses to rapid past climate changes comparable in velocity and magnitude to those expected in the 21st-century. The best documented examples of rapid climate change in the past are the warming events associated with the Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) cycles dur...
Article
Pollen, spores, and microscopic charcoal from a sediment core from Lake Ngami, in the Middle Kalahari, reflect paleovegetation and paleoclimatic conditions over the last 16,600 cal years BP. The location of Lake Ngami allows for the receipt of moisture sourced from the Indian and/or Atlantic oceans, which may have influenced local rainfall or long...
Article
In view of a scarcity of terrestrial Quaternary pollen records relating to climate change in desert areas, we present new terrestrial sequences from hyrax middens in Namibia. While the few previously available pollen records are mainly Holocene, we present climate time series for Marine Isotope Stages 2 and 3 (MIS 2 and MIS 3). The data are from tw...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Our aim is to compare Quaternary palynological records from southern Africa to Neogene records in order to understand the evolution of the remarkably diverse vegetation on the subcontinent and the evolution of its distinctive biomes. An early Miocene marine core from Saldanha Bay to the north of Cape Town reveals a diverse palynoflora with mangrove...
Article
Full-text available
Quaternary records provide an opportunity to examine the nature of the vegetation and fire responses to rapid past climate changes comparable in velocity and magnitude to those expected in the 21st century. The best documented examples of rapid climate change in the past are the warming events associated with the Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) cycles dur...
Article
A multi-proxy study of an offshore core in Saldanha Bay (South Africa) provides new insights into fluvial deposition, ecosystems, phytogeography and sea-level history during the late Paleogene-early Neogene. Offshore seismic data reveal bedrock topography, and provide evidence of relative sea levels as low as -100 m during the Oligocene. 3D landsca...
Data
Full-text available
Chapter
Poor pollen preservation in cave deposits is due to oxidation and increasing scarcity of pollen with distance from the cave entrance. After an attempt to obtain pollen grains from the sediments in Azokh 1 (Lesser Caucasus) failed, two coprolites from Unit II were investigated for their microfossil contents. They contained few diatoms (including the...
Article
Recent zooarchaeological and aDNA analysis have produced conflicting evidence for the existence of early domestic stock at Blydefontein Rock Shelter. The anatomical analysis identified eight specimens as sheep or sheep/goats, the oldest of which was dated to 2860–2765 BP, while the aDNA results suggest that the oldest identified sheep specimen was...
Article
Quaternary palynological information from the Savanna Biome of South Africa is limited due to the scarcity of suitable pollen traps and new extensive pollen records of palaeoenvironments in the region are unlikely to be obtained easily. Those that are available, including the Tswaing Crater and the Wonderkrater spring sequences, can, however, be re...
Chapter
Full-text available
Pollen and macrofossils are an integral part of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Here we discuss palaeobotanical evidence for vegetation and climate changes since the origins of modern biomes in southern Africa during the Miocene, and through the Pleistocene and Holocene. Examples of palaeobotanical records are provided from different biomes in...
Article
To better understand Holocene vegetation and hydrological changes of South Africa, we analyzed pollen and microcharcoal of marine sediment core GeoB8331-4 from the inner continental-shelf south of the Orange River mouth covering the last 9800 years. Most pollen is from the Orange River catchment area, which lies largely in the summer rainfall zone...
Article
Full-text available
A new global synthesis and biomization of long (> 40 kyr) pollen-data records is presented and used with simulations from the HadCM3 and FAMOUS climate models and the BIOME4 vegetation model to analyse the dynamics of the global terrestrial biosphere and carbon storage over the last glacial–interglacial cycle. Simulated biome distributions using BI...
Chapter
Full-text available
Poor pollen preservation in cave deposits is due to oxidation and increasing scarcity of pollen with distance from the cave entrance. After an attempt to obtain pollen grains from the sediments in Azokh 1 (Lesser Caucasus) failed, two coprolites from Unit II were investigated for their microfossil contents. They contained few diatoms (including the...
Article
Full-text available
Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape Province (South Africa) is one of few sites in the subcontinent where fossil pollen has been preserved in Holocene cave floor deposits. With the exception of biogenic deposits and stalagmite layers near the cave opening, older material has yielded no pollen. Pollen recorded in previous and new samples from late Pleist...
Article
Full-text available
Horizontal cores from a large stalagmite and two tufa deposits in the entrance to Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa, dated by radiocarbon methods, have provided climate proxy data on late Holocene environments near the cave. The δ18O and δ13C time series from stalagmite Core WW1–3 and tufa Core WW3 correlate well with isotope records for other sites in...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Baden-Baden spring mound is one of the extremely scarce archaeological sites in the dry central and western interior of South Africa, where fossil fauna and also palaeobotanical material are preserved. This is the first and preliminary summary of ongoing palaeoenvironmental research at this spring mound complex, which is situated 70 km northwes...
Conference Paper
Wonderwerk Cave is an enormous dolomitic cavity located at the edge of the Kalahari in the arid interior of southern Africa. It is an exceptional site containing archaeological deposits with Earlier, Middle and Later Stone Age remains spanning 2.0 Ma years of prehistory. Notably, it has yielded the earliest evidence for hominin cave use and the use...
Article
Full-text available
A new global synthesis and biomization of long (>40 kyr) pollen-data records is presented, and used with simulations from the HadCM3 and FAMOUS climate models to analyse the dynamics of the global terrestrial biosphere and carbon storage over the last glacial–interglacial cycle. Global modelled (BIOME4) biome distributions over time generally agree...
Article
Full-text available
Modern and fossil pollen grains extracted from bat guano in Arnhem Cave are evaluated for their potential as a palynological archive and the possible influence of insectivorous bat behaviour on the pollen contents of their dung. Four out of seven fossil guano samples from this cave were productive. The inconsistent preservation of pollen in bat gua...
Article
A palynological and sedimentological record from the Mahwaqa Mountain in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, provides evidence of the vegetation dynamics in this part of the Grassland Biome during the last c. 18,000 years. The wetland is located at 1,850 m on an isolated outlier of the Ukhahlamba–Drakensberg Mountain range on an ecotone along a climatic g...
Conference Paper
The interior of southern Africa largely lacks long, well-dated climate and environmental records that are key to studying impacts of shifts in rainfall, vegetation and food resources for hunter-gatherers in the past. Wonderwerk Cave is a rare exception, providing a sequence that includes all Holocene Later Stone Age techno-complexes as well as leve...
Article
Full-text available
Here we provide a multiproxy record of climate change and human occupation at Wonderkrater, a spring and peat mound site situated in the interior of southern Africa. Recently extracted sediment cores yielded a number of Middle Stone Age (MSA) artefacts, prompting exploratory excavation of the sediments to understand better the geomorphology of the...