pp 1–14 | Cite as

Palynomorphs and travel history of vehicles in Nigeria

  • Emuobosa Akpo OrijemieEmail author
  • Isaac Israel
Original Paper


A reconstruction of the travel histories of vehicles, using palynomorphs (pollen and spores) recovered from dust and soot from their car air filters, in Nigeria was attempted. The vehicles traveled to different localities with distinct vegetation types including rainforest, savanna and montane forest in the country. Fifteen vehicles, representing 75% of the total number of sampled vehicles, yielded palynomorph types which were consistent with the vegetation types of their routes and destinations. Palynomorphs recovered from five other vehicles had little or no bearing on the vegetation of their travel routes and/or localities but could be traced to other localities. The occurrence of pollen of forest species was significantly lower than those of savanna, montane forest and grasses. The recovery of the pollen of Alnus cf. glutinosa from localities in the north-westernmost region of Nigeria indicated the influence of trade winds from the Mediterranean via the Sahara in that area. Human subsistence was revealed by pollen of cultivars (Citrus sp. and Zea mays), and those of weeds and fungal spores (cultigen commensals) associated with farm lands and crops. This study demonstrates that palynomorphs from car air filters can reveal geographical origins of vehicles, and such data have potentials in solving vehicle-related crimes.


Car air filters Aeropalynology Vehicle travel history Geographical origin Nigeria 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria

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