Prof Louis Scott
Mentor (contract)
Plant Sciences
Plant Sciences
IB 62
051 4012594

Short CV

Louis Scott was born on the 12th of May 1946 in Edenville in the Free State. He matriculated in 1963 at Grey College, Bloemfontein and obtained a B.Sc. degree (Botany and Zoology) in 1967, a B.Sc. Hons in 1969 (distinction), a M.Sc. (Botany) in 1971 (distinction) and Ph. D (Botany) in 1979 at the University of the Free State. After obtaining a MSc if fossil pollen studies in 1971 at the University of the Free State, Louis Scott worked for the Southern Oil Exploration Corporation (SOEKOR) in Johannesburg between 1972 and 1973 where he studied Cretaceous fossil pollen in marine borehole cores. In 1974 he was appointed in the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the Free State University as researcher where he received a PhD in 1979. He went on a sabbatical in Tucson at the University of Arizona in 1979-80. In 1997 he was promoted to professor. He is currently in a temporary academic position as researcher and mentor. His interests include fossil pollen analysis of Quaternary sediments in Africa (e.g., lake deposits, cave deposits and fossil dung layers) and long-term sequences of global environmental change. He did fieldwork in various parts of Southern Africa and also visited Marion Island (Southern Ocean), East Africa, and several overseas countries in connection with research. He is involved with about 170 scientific publications on palynology. He serves on the editorial board of Palaeoecology of Africa, Palaeontologia Africana and Quaternary Science Reviews, and acted as guest editor for volumes of Quaternary International (1996, 2004) and Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology (2019). He has a B-rating with the National Research Foundation and is member of several professional Societies, including the Southern African Society for Quaternary Research (SASQUA) (president between 1991 and 1993). He served on the National Committee for the International Union for Quaternary research (INQUA) and used to be a honorary research associate of the Sterkfontein Reserch Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Publications (Short List)

Papers published since 2007:

Engelbrech, F. A., Marean, C. W., Cowling, R., Engelbrecht, C., Nkoana, R., O’Neal, D., Fisher, E., Shook, E., Franklin, J., Neumann, F. H., Scott, L., Thatcher, M., McGregor, J. L., van der Merwe, J., Dedekind, Z, Difford, M. 2019. Downscaling Last Glacial Maximum climate over southern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 226, 105879.

Carrión, J. S., Scott, L. and deMenocal, P. 2019. Paleofloras, paleovegetation and human evolution. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 267, 32–38.

Grímsson, F., Shirley Graham, S., Coiro, M., Jacobs, B.F., Xafis, A. Neumann, F., Scott, L. Currano, E.D. Zetter, R. 2019. Origin and divergence of Afro-Indian Picrodendraceae: linking pollen morphology, dispersal modes, fossil records, molecular dating and paleogeography. Grana. 10.1080/00173134.2019.1594357.

Thackeray, J. F., Scott, L. and Pieterse, P. 2019.The Younger Dryas interval at Wonderkrater (South Africa) in the context of a platinum anomaly. Palaeontologia africana 54: 30–35 — ISSN 2410-4418 [Palaeontol. afr.] Online only.

Cordova, C. E., Kirsten, K. L., Scott, L., Meadows, M. E., Lücke, A. 2019. Multi-proxy evidence of Late-Holocene paleoenvironmental change at Princessvlei, South Africa: The effects of fire, herbivores, and humans. Quaternary Science Reviews

Scott L., van Aardt A.C., Brink, J. S., Toffolo, M. B, Ochando, J. Carron, J. S.  Carrión. 2019. Palynology of the Florisbad spring mound and hominin and Middle Stone Age grassland environments, South Africa. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 265, 13–26.

Sobol, M., Scott L., Finkelstein, S. 2019. Reconstructing biome states using machine language and modern pollen assemblages: a case study from Southern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 212, 1-17.

Birkenfeld, M, Horwitz, L.K., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D.E., Bond, J. Guttmann-Bond, E. Cummings, L. S, Goldgeier, H. Krakovsky, M.,Natalio, F., Nebenhaus, K., Neumann, F. H., Porat, N., Scott, L. Simmons, T., Yashuv, T., Avner, U. 2019. Investigations at Nah?al Roded 110: a Late Neolithic ritual site in the southern Negev. Antiquity 93 (367) (e4), 1–8.

Scott, L. Codron, D. and Horwitz, L. 2018. Sub-Saharan Archaeology, Zooarchaeology and Paleoenvironments - Papers in Honour of James Simpson Brink on his 60th Birthday. Quaternary International 495, 1-3.

Neumann, F. and Scott, L. 2018. E.M. van Zinderen Bakker (1907–2002) and the study of African Quaternary palaeoenvironments, Quaternary International 495, 153-168.

Scott L. and Neumann, F. 2018. Pollen-interpreted palaeoenvironments associated with the Middle and Late Pleistocene peopling of Southern Africa. Quaternary International 495, 169-184.

Grimsson, F., Xafis, A., Neumann, F.H, Scott, L. Bamford, M.K. and Zetter. F. 2018. The first Loranthaceae fossils from Africa. Grana, 57(4), 249–259.

Ecker, M. Brink, J.S., Horwitz, L.K., Scott, L., Lee-Thorp, J.A. 2018. A 12,000 year Holocene record of changes in herbivore niche separation and palaeoclimate (Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa). Quaternary Science Reviews 180, 132-144.

Scott L., Gil Romera G., Marais, E., Brook, G.A. 2018. Pollen in fossil hyrax dung from Marine Isotope Stages 2 and 3 reveals past environments in Namibia. Quaternary International 464, 260-272.

Cordova, C.E., Scott L., Chase B.M., Chevalier, M. 2017. Late Pleistocene-Holocene vegetation and climate change in the Middle Kalahari, Lake Ngami, Botswana. Quaternary Science Reviews 171, 199-215.

Sánchez Goñi, M.F., Desprat, S., Daniau, A.-L., Bassinot, F.C., Polanco-Martínez, J.M., Harrison, S.P., Allen, J.R.M., Anderson, R.S., Behling, H., Bonne?lle, R., Burjachs, F.,Carrión, J.S., Cheddadi, R., Clark, J.S., Combourieu-Nebout, N., Courtney-Mustaphi, C.J., Debusk, G.H., Dupont, L.M., Finch, J.M., Fletcher, W.J., Giardini, M., González,C., Gosling, W.D., Grigg, L.D., Grimm, E.C., Hayashi, R., Helmens, K., Heusser, L.E.,Hill, T., Hope, G., Huntley, B., Igarashi, Y., Irino, T., Jacobs, B., Jiménez-Moreno, G.,Kawai, S., Kershaw, P., Kumon, F., Lawson, I.T., Ledru, M.-P., Lézine, A.-M., Liew, P.M., Magri, D., Marchant, R., Margari, V., Mayle, F.E., McKenzie, M., Moss, P.,Müller, S., Müller, U.C., Naughton, F., Newnham, R.M., Oba, T., Pérez-Obiol, R., Pini,R., Ravazzi, C., Roucoux, K.H., Rucina, S.M., Scott, L., Takahara, H., Tzedakis, P.C.,Urrego, D.H., van Geel, B., Valencia, B.G., Vandergoes, M.J., Vincens, A., Whitlock,C.L., Willard, D.A., Yamamoto, M.. 2017. The ACER pollen and charcoal database: a globalresource to document vegetation and fire response toabrupt climate changes during the last glacial period. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 679–695.

Roberts, D. L., Neumann, F.H., Cawthra, H.C., Carr, A.S., Scott, L., Durugbo, E., Humphries, MS., Cowling, R. M., Bamford, M.K., Musekiwa, C. MacHutchon, M. 2017. Palaeoenvironments during a terminal Oligocene or early Miocene transgression in a fluvial system at the southwestern tip of Africa. Global and Planetary Change 150, 1-23., C.B., Mauldin, R., Zoppi, U., Higham, T., Scott, L. and Brink, J. 2016. The quest for evidence of domestic stock at Blydefontein Rock Shelter. Southern African Humanities 28: 39–60.

Bamford, M.K., Neumann, F.H., Scott, L., 2016. Pollen, charcoal and plant macrofossil evidence of Neogene and Quaternary environments in Southern Africa, Chapter 19, In: Jasper Knight and Stefan Grab, (Eds.) Quaternary Environmental Change in Southern Africa: Physical and Human Dimensions. Cambridge University Press, pp 306-323.

Scott, L., Rossouw, L., Cordova, C. and Risberg, J.  2016. Palaeoenvironmental Context of Coprolites from the Last Interglacial in Azokh Cave, Caucasus, and their Plant Microfossils. In: Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Andrews, P., King, T., Yepiskoposyan, L. (Eds), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 287-295.

Scott, L. 2016. Fluctuations of vegetation and climate over the last 75 000 years in the Savanna Biome, South Africa: Tswaing Crater and Wonderkrater pollen sequences reviewed. Quaternary Science Reviews 145, 117-133.

Sciscio, L, Tsikos, H., Roberts, D.L., Scott, L., van Breugeld, Y., Sinninghe Damste, J.S., Schoutene, S. and Grocke, D.  2016. Miocene climate and vegetation changes in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa: evidence from biogeochemistry and palynology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 445:124–137. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.12.014.

Brook, G.A., Railsback, L.B., Scott, L., Voarintsoa, N.R.G. and Liang, F. 2015. Late Holocene stalagmite and tufa climate records for Wonderwerk Cave: relationships between archaeology and climate in Southern Africa. African Archaeological Review. 32: 669–700. DOI 10.1007/s10437-015-9210-y.

Marais, E., Scott, L., Gil-Romera, G. and Carrión, J.S. 2015. The potential of palynology in fossil bat-dung from Arnhem Cave, Namibia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 70 (2): 109-115.

van Aardt, A., Bousman, C.B., Brink, J.S., Brook, G.A.,  Jacobs, Z., du Preez, P.J., Rossouw, L. and Scott, L. 2015. First chronological, palaeoenvironmental, and archaeological data from the Baden-Baden fossil spring complex in the western Free State, South Africa. Palaeoecology of Africa 33: 117-152.

Scott, L. and Thackeray, J.F., 2015. Palynology of Holocene deposits in Excavation 1 at Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape (South Africa). African Archaeological Review. 32: 839–855.  DOI 10.1007/s10437-015-9204-9

Norström, F., Neumann, F.H., Scott, L., Smittenberg, R.H., Holmstrand, H., Lundqvist, S., Snowball, I., Sundqvist, H.S., Risberg, J. and Bamford, M. 2014. Late Quaternary vegetation dynamics and hydro-climate in the Drakensberg, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 105: 48-65.

Backwell L.R., McCarthy, TS, Wadley L, Henderson, Z., Steininger, CM, de Klerk, B., Barr, M., Lamothe,  M. Chase, B.M, Woodborne, S., Susino,, G.J., Bamford, M.K., Sievers, C., Brink, J.S., Rossouw, L., Pollarolo, L., Trower, G., Scott, L. and d`Errico, F. 2014. Multiproxy record of late Quaternary climate change and Middle Stone Age human occupation at Wonderkrater, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 99, 42-59. 

Metwally, A. A., Scott, L., Neumann, F.H., Bamford, M.K., Oberhänsli, H. 2014. Holocene palynology and palaeoenvironments in the Savanna Biome at Tswaing Crater, central South Africa. Palaogeography, Palaoclimatology, Palaeoecology 402: 125-135.

Gil-Romera, G., Neumann, F.H., Scott, L., Sevilla-Callejo, M. and Fernández-Jalvo, Y. Pollen taphonomy from hyaena scats and coprolites: preservation and quantitative differences. Journal of Archaeological Science 46: 89-95.

Neumann F.H., Botha, G.A. and Scott, L. 2014. 18,000 years of grassland evolution in the summer rainfall region of South Africa – evidence from Mahwaqa Mountain, KwaZulu-Natal. Vegetation history and Archaeobotany. DOI 10.1007/s00334-014-0445-3.

Sciscio, L., Neumann, F.H., Roberts, D.L., Tsikos, H., Scott, L. and Bamford, M. 2013. Fluctuations in Miocene climate and sea levels along the south-western South African coast: Inferences from biogeochemistry, palynology and sedimentology. Palaeontologia Africana  48(1):2-18.

Truc, L., Chevalier, M., Favier, C., Cheddadi, R., Meadows, M.E., Scott, L., Carr, A.S., Smith, G.F., Chase, B.M. 2013. Quantification of climate change for the last 20,000 years from Wonderkrater, South Africa: Implications for the long term dynamics of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 386: 575 587.

Roberts, D. L., Scicio, L., Herries, A.I.R., Scott, L., Bamford, M.K., Musekiwa, C., Tsikos, H. 2013. Miocene Fluvial Systems and Palynofloras at the Southwestern Tip of Africa:  Implications for regional and global fluctuations in climate and ecosystems. Earth Science Reviews 124: 184–201.

Scott, L., Rossouw, L., Cordova, C., Risberg, J.  2013 Palaeoenvironmental Context of Coprolites from the Last Interglacial in Azokh Cave, Caucasus, and their Plant Microfossils. In: Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Andrews, P., King, T., Yepiskoposyan, L. (Eds), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology  Dordrecht: Springer (in press). 

Chazan, M. Avery, M.D., Bamford M.K.,  Berna, F., Brink, J., Holt, S., Fernandez-Jalvo, Y., Goldberg, P., Matmon, A., Porat, N., Ron, H.,  Rossouw, L., Scott, L., and Horwitz, L. K. 2012. The Oldowan horizon in Wonderwerk Cave (South Africa): Archaeological, geological, paleontological and paleoclimatic evidence. Journal of Human Evolution 63(6):859-66.

Daniau, A.-L. and numerous authors includin Scoot, L.  2012. Predictability of biomass burning in response to climate changes. Global  Biogeochemical Cycles 26,  GB4007, doi:10.1029/2011GB004249.

Scott, L., Neumann, F.H., Brook, G.A., Bousman, C.B., Norström, E., Metwally, A. 2012. Corrigendum to: Terrestrial fossil-pollen evidence of climate change during the last 26 thousand years in Southern Africa [Quaternary Science Reviews 32 (2012) 100-118]. Quaternary Science Reviews 59, 115-116.

Chase, B.M., Scott, L., Meadows, M.E., Gil-Romera, G., Boom, A., Carr A.S., Reimer, P.J., Britton, M.N., Quick, L.J. 2012. Rock hyrax middens: a novel palaeoenvironmental archive in southern African drylands. Quaternary Science Reviews 56 : 107-125.

Verleye, T. Mertens, K.N., Young, M.D., Dale, B., Esper, O., Holzwarth, U., Lezine A.-M., McMinn, A., Scott, L., Vink, A., Zonneveld, K.A.F. and Louwye, S., 2012. Average process length variation of the marine dinoflagellate cyst Operculodinium centrocarpum in the Tropical and Southern Hemisphere Oceans: assessing its potential as a palaeosalinity proxy. Marine Micropaleontology 86–87: 45–58

Scott, L., Neumann, F.H., Brook, G.A., Bousman, C.B., Norström, E., Metwally, A. 2012. Terrestrial fossil-pollen evidence of climate change during the last 26 thousand years in Southern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 32: 100-118.

Sandersen, A., Scott, L., McLachlan I., and Hancox, J. 2011. Cretaceous biozonation based on terrestrial palynomorphs from two wells in the offshore Orange Basin of South Africa. Palaeontologia Africana 46: 21-41.

Quick, L.J., Chase, B.M., Meadows, M.E., Scott, L., Reimer, PJ. 2011. Palynological evidence from rock hyrax middens. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 309: 253–270.

Roberts, D.L., Matthews, T., Herries, A.I.R., Boulter, C., Scott, L., Musekiwa, C., Ntembi, P., Browning, C., Smith, RHM, Haarhoff, P. and Bateman, M. 2011.  Regional and global context of the Late Cenozoic Langebaanweg (LBW) Palaeontological Site: West Coast of South Africa. Earth-Science Reviews 106 191–214.

Chase, B. M., Quick, L., Meadows, M. E., Scott, L., Thomas, D. S. G., and Reimer, P. J. 2011. Late-glacial interhemispheric climate dynamics revealed in South African hyrax middens. Geology 39,19-22. Doi: 10.1130/G31129.1

Neumann, F., Scott, L., and Bamford, M. (2011) Climate change and human disturbance of fynbos vegetation during the late Holocene at Princess Vlei, Western Cape, South Africa. The Holocene 21(7): 1137 – 1150.

Rossouw, L. and Scott, L. 2011. Phytoliths and pollen, the microscopic plant remains in Pliocene volcanic sediments around Laetoli, Tanzania.  In: T. Harrison (ed.), Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli, Tanzania: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 1: Geology, Geochronology, Paleoecology and Paleoenvironment, Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer Science+Business Media. Pp 201-215. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_9.

Fernandez-Jalvo, Y., Scott, L., and Andrews, P.  2011. Taphonomy in palaeoecological interpretations. Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 1296-1302. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.07.022.

Bamford, M.K., Neumann, F.H., Pereira, L.M., Scott, L., Dirks, P.H.G.M. and Berger, L.R. 2010. Botanical remains from a coprolite from the Pleistocene hominin site of Malapa, Sterkfontein Valley, South Africa. Palaeont. afr. 45: 23–28.

Polevova S., Tekleva, M.,  Neumann, F.H., Scott, L. and Stager, JC. 2010. Pollen morphology, ultrastructure and taphonomy of the Neuradaceae with special reference to Neurada procumbens L. and Grielum humifusum E.Mey. ex Harv. et Sond. Rev. Palaeobotany and Palynology 160: 163-171. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2010.02.010.

Cordova, C. and Scott, L. 2010. The potential of Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Restionaceae phytoliths to reflect past environmental conditions in South Africa. Palaeoecology of Africa 30: 107-133.

Neumann, F., Scott, L., Bousman, C.B. and van As, L. 2010. A Holocene pollen sequence and vegetation changes at Lake Eteza, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Review of palaeobotany and palynology 162(1): 39-53. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2010.05.001.

Finné, M., Risberg, J., Norström, E and Scott, L. 2010.  Siliceous microfossils as Late Quaternary paleo-environmental indicators at Braamhoek wetland, South Africa.  The Holocene 20(5), 747–760 (doi:10.1177/0959683610362810).

Weinstein-Evron, M., Scott, L., Horwitz, L. 2010. Special issue on ‘Paleoenvironment’ in honour of Professor Aharon Horowitz.  Journal of Arid Environments  74 (5): 723-724.

Brook, G.A., Scott, L. Railsback, B Goddard, E. A. 2010. A 35 ka pollen and isotope record of environmental change along the southern margin of the Kalahari from a stalagmite in Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 74(5): 870-884.

Chase, B. M., Meadows, M. E., Scott, L., Thomas, D. S. G., Marais, E., Sealy, J., and Reimer, P. J. 2009. A record of rapid Holocene climate change preserved in hyrax middens from SW Africa. Geology  37, 703-706.

Norström E., Scott, L., Partridge, T.C., Risberg, J. and Holmgren, K. 2009 Reconstruction of environmental and climate changes at Braamhoek wetland, eastern escarpment South Africa, during the last 16000 years with emphasis on the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 271: 240–258. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.10.018

Scott, L. and Smith, V.R. 2008. Peat and vegetation development on Marion Island, Southern Ocean, during the Late Holocene. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 24(7): 62-70.

Neumann, F., Stager, C., Scott, L., Venter, H.J.T. and Weyhenmeyer, C. 2008. Holocene vegetation and climate records from Lake Sibaya, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Review of of Palaeobotany and Palynology 152: 113–128.

Scott, L., Holmgren, K., and Partridge, T.C. 2008. Reconciliation of vegetation and climatic interpretations of pollen profiles and other regional records from the last 60 thousand years  in the Savanna Biome of Southern Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 257: 198-206. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.10.018

Olsen, A., Prinsloo, L.C., Scott, L. and Jäger, A.K. 2007. Hyraceum, the fossilized metabolic product of rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis), shows GABA-benzodiazepine receptor affinity. South African Journal of Science 103: 437-438.

Scott, L. 2007. Professor Joey Coetzee 1921–2007. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 147: 1-2. (doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2007.08.001).
115. Gil Romera, G., Scott, L., Marais, E. and Brook, G.A. 2007. Late Holocene environmental change in the northwestern Namib Desert margin: New fossil pollen evidence from hyrax middens. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 249: 1-17. Doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.01.002.

Scott, L. and Woodborne, S. 2007. Vegetation history inferred from pollen in Late Quaternary faecal deposits (hyraceum) in the Cape winter-rain region and its bearing on past climates in South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 941–953. Doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.12.012.

Scott, L. and Woodborne, S. 2007. Pollen analysis and dating of Late Quaternary faecal deposits (hyraceum) in the Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa. Review Palaeobotany and Palynology 144(3-4): 123-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2006.07.004.

Carrión, J.S., Scott, L., Arribas, A., Fuentes, N., Gil-Romera, G. and Montoya, E. 2007. Pleistocene landscapes in Central Iberia inferred from pollen analysis of hyena coprolites. Journal of Quaternary Science  22(2): 191-202. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1024.


  • Late Quaternary palynology and environmental change 
  • Coprolite pollen analysis and pollen taphnomy
  • Digitizing pollen reference material

Area(s) of Interest

Pollen morphology. Stratigraphic palynology (pollen analysis). Pollen analyses of archaeological sites. Long Quaternary continental records of environmental change. Palaeoenvironments of arid areas.



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T: +27 58 718 5284

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