Natural Resources, 2011, 2, 180-190
doi:10.4236/nr.2011.23024 Published Online September 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and
Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre,
Southwestern Nigeria
Olugbenga Ige, Chinyere Adeyemi, Adisa Ogunfolakan, Abel Ayansola, Ayodeji Olayemi, Yetunde
Taiwo, Moshood Olayiwola, Joshua Oyelade
Natural History Museum, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria.
Received April 22nd, 2011; revised May 25th, 2011; accepted June 10th, 2011.
Idanre, which represents a unique topographical landscape within southwestern Nigeria, is being proposed to the
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for designation as a world heritage site.
In line with this, we conducted a survey to document the rich geological, biological and cultural resources contained
within the Ufe-Oke section of Idanre Hills. Our geological inventory revealed two major rock types, older porphyritic
granite and fine grained granite, in addition to other minerals. We identified insects belonging to 174 species while
fishes from 4 species were collected. Mammals belonging to 13 species were identified through trapping, sighting s and
signs, although an even greater variety was inferred from interviews with hunters and visits to local fetish markets.
Patterns concerning how these biological taxa are distributed altitudinally along Ufe-Oke Hill are discussed. In addi-
tion, in the quarters within Ufe-Oke representing the ancient city of Idanre, we characterized about 200 pieces of an-
thropological material, which included pottery shards, beads, chinaware, brass bangles and ancient metal coins. We
also identified various othe r major features of archeological interest. Finally we offer reco mmendations, in the light of
our findings, concerning how the variety of resources catalogued in this study can be effectively harnessed while sus-
taining at the sa me time the en vironmental integrity of this site, wh ich o ffers th e g rea test o ppo rtun ities and p o ten tia l for
Keywords: Ufe-Oke, Idanre, Nigeria, Geological, Bi ological, Cultural, Resources, Tourism
1. Introduction
Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity
[1]. Each signatory to this convention is expected to
identify and document its biological diversity, with a
view to providing the knowledge necessary for its con-
servation and sustainable use. However, Nigeria is yet to
embark on serious efforts in this direction, despite the
fact that a major strategic objective of this convention is
to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of
biodiversity loss by the year 2010. Hills and mountains
represent unique ecosystems among those that the CBD
seeks to conserve. However, rock outcrop communities
usually receive very little attention from scientists and
environmentalists [2].
Idanre, lying approximately between about 286 to 500
m abve sea level, represents one such topographically
unique landscape located within the forest zone of south-
western Nigeria. This locality is also one of historical
significance. Oral history claims the people of Idanre
originally migrated from Ile-Ife to settle in Ufe-Oke;
Ufe-Oke being an adaptation of the Yoruba phrase Ife-
Oke, which means “Ife in the Hills”. According to Ak-
inbola [3] in 1933 the local residents descended to where
present-day Idanre (Odo-Ode) is situated. Ufe-Oke, the
group of peaks representing ancient Idanre, continues to
arouse increasing ecological and cultural interest, with
arrangements currently being made at various levels of
the Ondo State government in Nigeria and also by
non-governmental organizations to develop its tourism
potentials. The area is also being proposed to the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organiza-
tion (UNESCO) for designation as a World Heritage Site.
Important but outdated botanical data exist for Idanre
[4]. Also, a preliminary archaeological survey was con-
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria181
ducted in 1989 [3]. To date, however, there has been no
definite and comprehensive information published on the
biodiversity and species abundance in Idanre. Also, the
few exploratory investigations carried out on the area
have not been done in a holistic fashion, but as separate,
unconnected studies. Wilson [5] defined biodiversity as
the variety of organisms considered at all levels, from
genetic variants belonging to the same species through
arrays of species to arrays of genera, families, and still
higher taxonomic levels; including the variety of ecosys-
tems, which comprise both the communities of organ-
isms within particular habitats and the physical condi-
tions under which they live.
This demonstrates the importance of conducting bio-
diversity surveys that are multifaceted, combining vari-
ous aspects of the environment and investigating impor-
tant patterns of interaction between these components.
An example of such a survey has been carried out by
members of this team of authors in Okeiho, southwestern
Nigeria [6], establishing relationships between rock com-
position and floral and faunal diversity. Such a survey is
also desirable and long overdue in Idanre. Toward this
end it was the purpose of our team, made up of scientists
from various fields of natural history, to conduct an in-
ventory to describe the geological, biological and cultural
diversity present on Ufe-Oke Hill in Idanre; to provide a
database against which future changes in this diversity
can be measured; and to investigate how important com-
ponents of this diversity vary along elevational gradients.
2. Materials and Methods
Idanre is bound by longitudes 5˚00' E to 5˚15' E and lati-
tudes 7˚00' N to 7˚15' N, covering an area of 750 km²
(Figures 1 and 2). The general terrain of Idanre stands at
a height of between 286 - 500 m above sea level (abs). It
is elevated in relation to the surrounding rainforest zone
of southwestern Nigeria, which lies at 200 m abs and
for which average temperatures have been recorded be-
tween 24 - 34˚C and rainfall up to 2000 mm.
The general cover vegetation in Idanre, especially at the
base of Ufe-Oke Hills, is composed of herbaceous spe-
cies, lianes, climbers and tree seedlings. Among these,
dominant genera include Chromolaena, Aspilia, and
Combretum. Uphill on Ufe-Oke, shallow valleys and
cracks accommodate small trees and shrubs while the
gentler slopes form substrates for various families of
grass. The deeper valleys and cracks accommodate larger,
taller trees such as those from the families Sterculiaceae,
Apocynaceae, etc, which appear to take the advantage of
the deep soil formed from weathering of the rocks. Large
areas of the rock surface also support diverse types of
lichen, blue-green algae and patches of moss—impor-
Figure 1. Aerial view of modern Idanre town (Odo-Ode),
photographed from Ufe Oke Hill.
tant indicators of rock degradation and plant succession.
From 2007 up to 2009, sampling was carried out in the
study area during four visits: twice in the rainy season (
April to October) and also twice in the dry season (
November to March). These sampling sessions were car-
ried out in the Ufe-Oke section of Idanre Hills across
three pre-selected transects, which were designated based
on elevation and spatial considerations. These transects
are named as follows:
Base (below 400 m abs): from the foot of Ufe-Oke
section of the hills up to the site of the ancient town,
where the topography evens out into more level, hori-
zontal ground. Amid these lower slopes lies the
stairway carved out for tourists to ascend into the hills
(Figure 3(a)).
Mid Height ( 400 - 500 m abs): The elevation con-
taining the site of ancient Idanre town, which is lo-
cated on comparatively horizontal ground and lies
amidst the highest jutting peaks within the Ufe-Oke
area. This transect contains some anthropological fea-
tures such as deserted huts from the ancient town and
little scattered farm plots under active cultivation. The
ancient town is divided into four major quarters
which are Isalu, Irowo, Idale and Ajin, demarcated by
jutting peaks, gulleys and streams (Figure 3(b)).
Summit (above 500 m abs): The highest peaks in Ufe-
Oke, which protrude above Mid Height, the site of the
ancient town. Among these highest peaks is Orosun,
from where the headwater of Arunjeje River takes its
course (Figure 3(c)).
During the field visits, rocks and mineral samples were
collected and analyzed in thin sections. Collection of
insect samples was carried out by hand-picking, sweep-
netting, suction trapping and pyrethrum knock-down
from the floor litter, tree trunks and canopies. All insect
specimens were sacrificed with ethyl acetate, dried prop-
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria
Figure 2. Map showing Location of Study Area.
Figure 3. Sites sampled from the Base (a), Mid Height (b), and Summit (c) transects of Ufe-Oke Hill.
erly, and identified before being stored in insect boxes
and storage cabinets.
Fish samples were preserved in 80% alcohol. Speci-
mens were collected from five identified rivers at the base
of the hill around various sections of Idanre town as well
as from Arunjeje River on the Mid Height elevational
transect of Ufe-Oke Hill. Fishes were collected with as-
sorted gears depending on the nature of the water body
from which samples were collected. The gears used were
gill nets of 15 mm and 25 mm mesh sizes, hand nets,
hook and line as well as with baskets. Fish species were
identified by a combination of keys by Lewis [7] and
Fishbase [8]. The total length (TL) and standard length
(SL) of fish samples were recorded in millimeters (mm).
In order to assess the diversity of non-volant mammals
in Idanre, a two-pronged approach was followed. First,
hunters and fetish market traders were interviewed via a
questionnaire featuring photographs of mammals known
to be present within southwestern Nigeria from the pub-
lication of Happold [9], in order to ascertain whether the
respondents frequently saw or encountered these animals
within Idanre and its environs. Secondly, the Ufe-Oke
Hill, the site of ancient Idanre town where tourism activi-
ties are concentrated, was sampled for the presence of
large mammals using a pair of binoculars. Within Ufe-
Oke, sampling for the presence of the smallest-sized
mammals such as rodents was through the use of locally
manufactured live-capture traps. Also, signs as foot
tracks, feacal droppings and partly decomposed carcasses
served to confirm the presence of certain mammal groups
during the sampling.
The altitudinal position for each scientific sample tak-
(a) (b)
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria183
en in this study was recorded employing a Global Posi-
tioning System (GPS).
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Diversity of Rocks and Minerals
The geology of Idanre was first published in the Geology
Survey of Nigeria (GSN) 1:250,000 on Akure Sheet
61[10]. Jeje [11] showed that the development of differ-
ent landforms in Idanre hills was controlled by structures
such as joint direction, density and lithology. Oyawoye
[12] cited the Idanre granite-charnockite association as
an example in which charnockite rocks occur at the core
of the granite intrusion. According to him, the Idanre
granite-charnockite association marks the southern limit
of a belt of granite and charnockites that runs for about
200km from Idanre to Osi in Kwara state. Tubosun et al.
[13] published U-Pb data on zircons extracted from gran-
ite-charnockite associations in Idanre-Ado-Ekiti area.
Durotoye [14] described these hills as residual hills.
The hills rise above a dissected pediment that lies at an
average altitude of between 150 to 250m above sea level.
The headwater of Arunjeje River takes its course from
the highest level of these hills. The drainage pattern in
the study area is typically dendritic in which rivers and
streams are developed along major joint directions and
their courses are generally straight [11].
An inventory study of different rock types of Idanre
Hills shows that two rock types occur in Idanre area.
These are the older porphyritic granite and the fine-
grained granite aplite. Outcrop exposures within the study
area are generally good because most of the hills are de-
void of thick vegetation. This rock type outcrops in so
many locations in the study area (Figure 4(a)).
The Older porphyritic granite occurs as inselberg and
is the major rock type in this area. The term “Older Gran-
ite” was introduced by Falconer [15] to distinguish the
group of (essentially cal alkaline) plutonic rocks of gran-
itic to granodioritic composition from the high level
“Younger Granites” of the Jos Plateau area, North central
Nigeria. This rock type is a member of the Older Granite
Suites that constitute a major petrographical unit of the
Nigerian Basement Complex. The Nigerian Basement
Complex is polycyclic and has been involved in at least
two or three orogenic episodes (the Liberian, Eburian and
Pan-African orogenies). Ocan [16] showed that the
coarse porphyritic granites can be distinguished with
some measure of confidence as members of the Older
Granite suite in the study area.
An inselberg, according to Durotoye (1976), is devel-
oped on coarse charnockite rocks and granites, rising
abruptly above gently sloping Pediment plains and reju-
venating valleys that are formed over migmatite base-
ment complex rocks. Similar inselberg was reported by
Durotoye [14] in Isan-Ekiti where it’s down slope initiate
rock- boulder landslide. Another inselberg terrain similar
to that of Idanre (study area) was reported in Imesi-Ile by
Burke and Durotoye [17] and in Olusoye near Ile-Ife by
Jeje [18].
The fine-grained granite aplite on the other hand oc-
curred as a minor intrusive in the older granite. They
occurred as veins in the former rock type in fewer loca-
tions in the study area (Figure 4(b)). Ocan [16] showed
that the fine-grained granite aplite can also be distin-
guished with some measure of confidence as members of
the Older Granite suite in the study area.
Mineralogically, the coarse porphyritic granites com-
pose, as seen in both hand specimens and thin sections
(Figures 4(c)-(h)), of quartz of about ~ 25%, orthoclase ~
40%, Plagioclase ~ 5%, Biotite ~ 2%, Amphibole ~ 1%,
Muscovite ~ 0.09% and Opaque ~ 0.5% (see also Table 1).
The common texture observed, on outcrops, hand speci-
mens and in thin sections under microscope is porphyritic
texture (Figure 4(i)). In this, the larger grains or crystals of
mineral called phenocrysts are embedded or suspended in
the fine-grained aggregate called groundmass. In addition,
myrmekitic texture was observed on the intergrowths of
quartz and plagioclase grains (Figure 4(i)).
The color of the finely-grained aplite in the outcrop
and hand specimen is pinkish (Figures 4(b) and (j)).
Mineralogical compositions of this rock are mainly in-
terlocking of quartz, K-feldspars (Figures 4(k) and (l))
and minor occurrence of biotite and opaque mineral
(Figure 4(m)). In hand specimen the rock has fine-
grained, almost sugary texture. Under the microscope the
quartz and feldspar are anhedral and meet along straight
or sutured contact (Figure 4(l)). The pattern commonly
suggests a series of interlocking tiles and which best de-
scribed as mosaic texture.
The field and laboratory evidences have shown that
the porphyritic granite is the older rock type in the study
area which occurred as intrusion of acidic molten magma
into the overburden and cooled down during the last
Pan-African Orogeny. The consolidated rock resulting
from this process was exposed to the surface due to the
erosion of the overburden. Consequently, the exposure of
this rock led to its fracturing into joints and crevices
which later in-filled by another set of molten magma
which cooled down to form the second and younger rock
type in the study area, fine-grained granite aplite.
There was evidence of both physical and chemical
weathering on the rocky outcrops in the study area.
Feldspars are more susceptible to weathering than Quartz.
This is evidenced by the alteration of the K-feldspar as
seen in the fine-grained granite aplite under microscope
(Figure 4(l)).
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Table 1. General rock diversity in Idanre.
(a) (b)
Rock/mineral Abundance
Older porphyritic granite Very abundant
Fine grained granite aplite Less abundant
Quartz Abundant
Feldspars Abundant
Biotite Few
Amphibolites Occurred as accessory mineral
Opaque minerals Occurred as accessory mineral
3.2. Diversity of Invertebrates: Insects
A major gap in the understanding of the ecology of
Ufe-Oke and Idanre Hills in general is the absence of any
information on the insect fauna. It has however been re-
ported that insects, a group that is presumed to constitute
about three-fourths of all living animals on earth, are of
great importance in the understanding of many ecosys-
tems. In fact, it has been argued that any biodiversity
assessments that do not consider insects have omitted the
greatest of biodiversity components. Yet, as Miller and
Rogo [19] have observed, few centers of expertise on
insect diversity and systematics exist in tropical Africa,
while most large insect collections are housed in South
Africa, Europe and the United States.
In this study, insects belonging to twelve orders, forty
eight families and one hundred and seventy four mor-
pho-species were collected from the Base, Mid-height
and Summit of Ufe-Oke Hill (Table 2).
(i) (j)
Chi-square analysis indicates significant difference
between collections at the Base and Summit transects (P
< 0.05). The composition of insect species at the Base is
not significantly different from that of Mid-height, nev-
ertheless the probability that these two insect communi-
ties are the same is also low (P = 0.08). The communities
at Mid Height and Summit, on the other hand, are not
significantly different (P = 0.18).
Variation in the composition of insect species at each
collection site may be attributed to differences in topog-
raphy of each site, type of vegetation in each site as well
as human influences [20]. For instance, the Base of
Ufe-Oke Hill is characterized by annual plants and other
ephemerals. The Base and the surrounding lowland are
thickly populated by man; and this may be responsible
for the high population of Blattodea and Muscidae at this
Figure 4. Rocks and minerals discovered on Ufe-Oke hill (a)
Outcrop of older porphyritic granite; (b) Outcrop of
fine-grained granite aplite; (c)Hand specimen of porphyritic
granite showing phenocryst minerals embedded in the
groundmass; (d) Small-scaled hand specimen of porphyritic
granite showing phenocryst minerals embedded in the
groundmass; (e), (f), (g) & (h) Thin sections showing mineral
composition of porphyritic older granite; (i) Thin section
showing porphyritic and myrmekitic textures; (j) Hand
specimen of fine-grained granite aplite with sugary texture;
(k), (l) & (m) Thin sections showing mineral composition of
The bulk of the flora at Mid Height consists of
semi-deciduous forest or woodland varying greatly in
tallness as well as herbaceous vegetation and annuals in
farmed areas. Biotic influences of many kinds operate on
the vegetation and it is only on hill slopes which are too
steep or too stony to cultivate that there are plant com-
munities in a relatively natural state. The Summit is cha-
racterized with sparse vegetation which developed from
the depressions and gulleys between rock domes.
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria 185
Table 2. Composition of insect fauna at various elevations on Ufe-Oke Hill. The lower section of the table displays a
Chi-square comparison of insect community compositions across different elevational sampling transects on Ufe-Oke Hill.
Upper triangle represents Chi-square values while lower triangle represents probability that the insect community structure
between each transect being compared is statistically insignificant.
Number of species
Insect order Base Mid height Summit
Ephemeroptera 0 0 6
Odonata 0 2 13
Blattodea 3 0 0
Isoptera 2 2 2
Mantodea 3 3 3
Orthoptera 15 15 23
Homoptera 20 21 21
Heteroptera 30 34 34
Coleoptera 30 16 26
Diptera 29 10 14
Lepidoptera 12 12 12
Hymenoptera 17 19 20
Total 161 134 174
χ2 comparisons Base Mid Height Summit
Base -- 16.5 29.26
Mid Height 0.08 -- 13.86
Summit 0.002* 0.18 --
* indicates probabilities that are significantly different (P 0.05).
There are streams which run through the Mid Height
and Summit transects, serving as boundaries to quarters
of the ancient Idanre town in Ufe-Oke. For instance,
Odolemo stream separates the Idale and Isalu quarters
while Arunjeje stream is between Isalu quarters and Ajin
quarters. The presence of these streams could explain the
high preserve of Odonata and Ephemeroptera on the Su-
mmit as shown in Tables 2.
3.3. Diversity of Vertebrates: Fishes and
Four fish species belonging to three families were re-
corded during the period of study. A breakdown of fish
samples collected during this study is presented in Table
3. The results obtained from the analysis of fish samples
collected showed that the rivers in the Idanre Hill area
have fishes of scientific importance. Though the Barbus
spp are popular in the aquarium trade at the global level
[8], this study revealed that they are of food value in the
Idanre area. It has been established that fishes of all sizes
are consumed in developing nations like Nigeria.
Clarias anguila ris has been reported to be common in
many freshwater bodies in Nigeria [21]. In addition to
their food value, the Clarias species also give some cash
value to the school children in this community as some
of them sell their catches when they are lucky to find
sizeable fish. The angling skill displayed by the children
in this area is noteworthy. It is hopeful that with adequate
enlightenment on the values on conservation, these chil-
dren can be encouraged to practice the “catch and return”
policy promoted by anglers in developed world.
Though the Carnivora and Artiodactyla recorded a
relatively large number of constituent taxa among the
mammals within Idanre, many of these taxa were con-
sidered by respondents to our questionnaires to be rare.
For instance, the Genet was the only carnivoran consid-
ered to be common among other carnivorans mentioned,
while the Duiker was the only artiodactylan common.
Conversely, though the Primates only had three con-
stituent taxa mentioned to be present within Idanre and
the Insectivores and Pholidotans only one taxon each, the
taxa mentioned within these mammalian orders were
regarded as commonly seen or encountered.
Actual sampling on Ufe-Oke hill in this study (data
displayed on the lower section of Table 4) encountered
much fewer taxa [13] when compared to those reported
to be present in the questionnaires administered to hunt-
ers and fetish market traders [22]. However, this sam-
pling enabled us to assess first-hand the relative diversity
of mammals across various elevations within a section of
the Idanre area that can be described as its hub of tourism
During transect sampling at various elevations (Base,
Mid Height and Summit) four mammal taxa were en-
countered at the base of Ufe-Oke Hill, all of which were
rodents. Other studies have also reported a concentration
of rodent populations at low elevations. Major and Jones
[22] in the Christine Lake area of Alaska observed that
rats occurred mainly at low elevations and that rat signs
were rarely detected above 150 m. Witmer and Burke
[23], conducting a similar survey on Kiska Island in
Alaska, reported that few rats occurred above about 165
m and that most rats occurred at, or below, 20 - 30 m.
Mammals at Mid Height were a bit more diverse, both
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria
Table 3. Fish Samples collected from Idanre. (B) Base, (M) Mid Height.
Size (mm)
Family Species Location No.
Tail Length
(Range ± Mean)
Standard Length
(Range ± Mean)
Clarias anguilaris
Channa sp.
River Oto (B)
River Osara (B)
River Arunjeje (M)
River Owena (B)
River Osara (B)
River Arunjeje (M)
River Owena (B)
River Arunjeje (M)
106.11 - 148.34
139.43 - 168.22
46.10 - 66.81
95.21 - 129.12
123.02 - 147.31
35.44 - 54.12
Table 4. Mammal diversity on Ufe-Oke Hill and other environs within Idanre.
General mammal diversity in Idanre inferred from affirmations by hunters and visits to fetish markets {(c) common,
(r) rare, (-) absent}
Order Constituent taxa Relative abundance
Cane rat Thryonomys swinderianus
Ground squirrel Xerus erythropus
Rope squirrel Funisciurus sp
Sun squirrel Heliosciurus gambianus
Giant pouched rat Cricetomys gambianus
Multimammate rat Mastomys natalensis
Unstriped grass rat Arvicanthis rufinus
Brush-tailed porcupine At heru rus africanus
Genet Genetta maculata
African Civet Civettictis civetta
Egyptian Mongoose Herpestes ichneumon
Cusimanse Mongoose Crossarchus platycephalus
Duiker Cephalophus sp
Bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus
Bush pig Hylochoerus meinert z ha ge ni
Baboon Papio anubis
Mona monkey Cercopithecus mona
Monkey Cercopithecus sp
Insectivora Black giant shrew Crocidura odorata c
Pholidota Pangolin Manis triscuspis c
Hyracoidea Tree Hyrax Dendrohyrax dorsalis r
Lagomorpha Crawshay’s Hare Lepus crawshayi r
Tubulidentata - -
Proboscidea - -
Perissodactyla - -
Mammal diversity on Ufe-Oke Hill inferred from trappings (tr), sightings (st) and signs (sn)
Taxon Mode of identification
Base Giant pouched rat Cricetomys gambianus tr
Rufous bellied rat Lophuromys sikapusi tr
Multimammate rat Mastomys natalensis tr
Unstriped grass rat Arvicanthis rufinus tr
Mid Height Pangolin Manis triscuspis st
Ground squirrel Xerus erythropus st
Giant pouched rat Cricetomys gambianus sn
Baboon Papio anubis
Mona monkey Cercopithecus mona
st, sn
st, sn
Monkey Cercopithecus sp st, sn
Summit Baboon Papio anu bis
Mona monkey Cercopithecus mona
Monkey Cercopithecus sp st
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria 187
in terms of number of taxa (6) and variety, consisting of
rodents (the Ground squirrel), pholidotans (the Pangolin)
and primates (the Baboon and the Mona along with other
species of monkey). Mammal diversity recorded at the
Summit of Ufe-Oke Hill was the lowest, with only pri-
mates (monkeys and baboons) recorded. Therefore
mammal diversity on Ufe-Oke Hill appeared to increase
in diversity from the Base to Mid Height, but decreased
sharply at the Summit. From viewing Table 4, there also
appeared to exist a gradient of body size across various
elevational transects Ufe-Oke hill, with smaller bodied
taxa (rodents) located towards the Base and larger-bodied
mammals (baboons and monkeys) existing at the Sum-
Compared to Happold’s checklist for mammals in
southwestern Nigeria [9], a poor diversity was recorded
for mammals in this study with much fewer constituent
taxa within each order and a high portion of these taxa
considered rare even when present. Some orders, such as
Perissodactyla, Tubulidentata and Proboscidea are totally
The most obvious explanation for this would be that
Idanre represents a predominantly rocky habitat, special-
ized and sharply contrasting to the surrounding rainforest.
According to Happold [9] rocky habitats provide an
environment which differs greatly to that of the forest.
Grasses and trees are absent except in rock crevices where
soil has accumulated in gullies. The daytime temperatures
in rock fissures are lower than in the forests; hence, small
mammals can shelter from the high temperatures outside
and are in less danger of overheating, especially in the dry
season. He stated that most species which live on rock
habitats have to forage in the surrounding forest because
the rocks themselves do not have bountiful food supplies.
However, some small species, such as rodents, which do
not move far from their domiciles, are dependent on the
grasses and seeds on the rocks; their population numbers,
therefore, are related to the structure of the rocks and the
amount and variety of vegetation.
Also, in accordance with the relatively low amount of
mammal taxa encountered during the study, many
mammals that were once known to be present in south-
western Nigeria are now being increasingly reported as
endangered or even locally extinct[e.g., 24,25]. But an-
thropological activities within Idanre might also have a
hand in bringing about scarcity of these mammals. Dur-
ing the study it was observed that various animals play
an important role in the socio-cultural life and indigenous
religions of the Idanre people. For instance, in a related
anthropological study carried out within Idanre, the re-
mains of an elephant skull were found to be buried with
along with cultural relics such as cowries and potsherds
within an archaeological site [26]. Other examples were
the array of cattle skulls adorning the wall around the
King’s throne in the ancient palace on Ufe-Oke hill, in-
dicative of some royal ritual, and the chain of monkey
skulls on the creeping plants that line the walls outside
various huts in the ancient town.
The role of animals in Idanre ethnic and ritualistic life
is already being taken advantage of and carries a lot po-
tential yet to be exploited for touristic value. However,
the indiscriminate trapping and killing of mammals, such
as a Giant pouched rat carcass the authors found in a lo-
cally constructed trap, long decayed, should be deterred
and the local indigenes educated about the importance
and usefulness of conserving their biological resources.
Diversity across various elevational transects on
Ufe-Oke Hill appears to follow the pattern described by
Lomolino and Perault [27], who stated that biological
diversity on mountains usually increases from the base
and peaks at mid elevation, but declines abruptly ap-
proaching the summit. Mammal diversity in this study
was found to be greatest at the Base. The Base transect in
this study was made up exclusively of rodent taxa. That
rodents were found to be the most diverse mammals
within Idanre, both from the questionnaire- and actual
sampling, is thus not surprising. Carleton and Musser [28]
stated that the muroid rodents comprise about 1135 re-
cent species in 261 genera, representing approximately
25% of extant mammalian diversity. According to Jacobs
[29] there are about 107 species of murid rodents living
in Africa. Happold [30] stated that in Nigeria rodents
make up 21.9% of the total number of mammalian spe-
Conservation of these rodents, which include various
murids and squirrels, along with other small mammals
such as the pangolin, will contribute toward maintaining
the delicate ecological balance on this rocky ecosystem.
Also, the larger-sized mammals toward Ufe-Oke hill top,
which are mainly primates such as baboons and various
species of monkey, are important in order to maintain the
tourism appeal of Idanre.
3.4. Diversity of Cultural Artefacts
Ceramics are the kind of materials that survive most in
ancient communities, and they formed the bulk of mate-
rial retrieved during our survey on Ufe-Oke. Almost 200
potsherds, beads, chinaware, brass bangles (mostly for
children) and metal coins from the last century were col-
lected from all quarters of the ancient town. Some
half-exposed pots were also photographed in-situ (Fig-
ure 5(a)), and cultural mounds identified and earmarked
in each quarter for excavation.
Photographs of historic buildings and features were
taken. A mud wall in one of such collapsed buildings,
containing pottery shards, shows evidence of earlier oc-
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria
cupation before the building was reconstructed (Figure
5(b)). Several natural formations that could be of im-
mense value as tourist attractions were identified. One
interesting feature is the “foot print” of Abogun (Figure
5(c)), embedded on the rock floor, and also the “writing”
on the wall of another rock (Figure 5(d)).
The geological formation of this abandoned settlement
has caused a continuing erosion-wash which has exposed
and in some cases moved archaeological materials across
Ufe-Oke (Figure 5(g)). These exposed materials are un-
dergoing gradual destruction, with millions of such ma-
terial evidences probably already reburied or moved out
of their primary context.
A most disturbing situation now is the present renova-
tion of historic buildings on Ufe-Oke which poses a great
threat to the recovery of archaeological evidences in
some mounds that had been selected earlier for excava-
tion. A good example is the ancient palace which was
recently renovated with soil excavated from a mound at
the back of the palace where the ancient kitchen of the
palace was located. If the current renovation of ancient
buildings on this hill continues without carrying out se-
rious archaeological work, it will lead to the loss of vital
archeological materials that contain useful information
about the past activities of the people of Idanre.
Interestingly, elements of the cultural structure main-
tained in Ufe-Oke are also reflected downhill in pre-
sent-day Idanre (Odo-Ode). All the quarters that demar-
cate Ufe-Oke (Isalu, Irowo, Idale and Ajin) are also pre-
sent in Odo-Ode (in addition to new quarters that have
emerged as the town continues to grow and develop).
Similar patterns can also be observed from both past
(uphill in Ufe-Oke) and present (downhill in Odo-Ode)
methods of constructing of mausoleums (Figures 5(e)
and (f)).
More work needs to be done on Ufe-Oke Hill, as some
sites of cultural significance could not be visited due to
logistic constraints. For example, we could not reach the
cave on Orosun hill where the popular Idanre historic
figure, Orosun, is believed to have lived and died. In all,
Ufe-Oke represents another interesting settlement for the
study of urban development during ancient times in
Yorubaland, and also a great asset for tourism develop-
ment in Ondo State.
4. Conclusions
Ufe-Oke Hill has an interesting geological, biological
and cultural diversity. Our geological inventory revealed
two major rock types: older porphyritic granite and fine
grained granite, in addition to other minerals. We identi-
fied insects belonging 174 species, fishes from 4 species
and mammals belonging to 22 species. The biological
samples we collected are currently being further analyzed
Figure 5. (a) In-situ pot; (b) Mud wall of an abandoned
building with pottery shards; (c) Footprint of Abogun; (d)
Writing on the wall of a rock; (e) Burial mausoleum at
Ufe-Oke; (f) Burial mausoleum at Odo-Ode; (g) Ero-
sion-wash exposing archaeological/cultural materials.
employing molecular techniques to also determine the
genetic uniqueness of the taxa we encountered on Ufe-
Oke. In our anthropological survey we characterized about
200 relics, and identified various other major features of
archeological interest. Radio-carbon 14 analyses will be
carried out on reference materials from the archeological
sites to date the period of occupation and abandonment
of these sites.
We found that various biological groups were affected
differentially in their patterns of distribution on Ufe-Oke
Hill by factors such as elevation, the presence of rivers
and also human influences. This is in agreement with
Becker et al [31] who stated that the elevation at which
the richness peaks varies with the taxonomic group. For
instance, in this study, insects were generally more di-
verse at the Summit followed by the Base altitudinal
transect; while, specifically, the insect orders Odonata
and Ephemeroptera appeared to be more abundant in
areas around water (Arunjeje River) and the orders Mus-
cidae and Blattodea in areas around human habitation.
Mammals were more diverse at the Base (where there
(d) (c)
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
An Inventory of the Geological, Biological and Cultural Resources on Ufe-Oke Hill, Idanre, Southwestern Nigeria189
were more rodents) than at the Mid Height and Summit,
which however, featured larger-bodied, more visible taxa
such as monkeys, which should be of higher value as
tourist attractions.
The natural and cultural resources within Idanre, par-
ticular on Ufe-Oke Hill, offer a lot of promise and poten-
tial which, nonetheless, should be harnessed sustainably.
The rocks and minerals detected in this study should in-
terest the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals, in its bid to
develop this budding sector of Nigeria’s economy. The
insect taxa identified in our survey will have a positive
impact in maintaining the ecological health in Ufe-Oke.
Insects, in addition to providing various ecological ser-
vices, are known to play significant roles in pollination,
decomposition of wastes, nutrient recycling, and the bio-
logical control of other arthropod pests. They have an
array of immune systems, toxins, and venoms that could
constitute an important resource base for chemicals of
medicinal value. Besides, the indigenous peoples utilize
them in traditional medicine [32].
The small mammals documented in this study such as
rodents also play a critical role in the ecological balance
of Ufe-Oke, participating in natural processes such as the
carbon cycle and the food web. The larger-bodied taxa
such as monkeys and baboons, because of their greater
visibility, are great candidates for tourism. Hunters and
trappers within Idanre, however, must be cautioned in
their use of these mammals for bushmeat. The knowl-
edge of the existence of many water bodies at the base of
the Ufe-Oke Hill reveals there will be lots of aquatic life
to be scientifically recorded from this area. It is therefore
important to have a documented network of the rivers in
Idanre. The link between the Arunjeje River uphill with
other rivers at the base of Uke-Oke is yet to be estab-
lished. Though the fishes in these rivers represent a good
protein source for the human population, fishing activi-
ties must be regulated in order to prevent the depletion of
this important aquatic resource.
In addition to the ecological integrity and natural
beauty of Ufe-Oke Hill, its cultural relics represent a
major attraction for tourists, and the utmost care must be
taken to preserve them. This advice takes into considera-
tion the construction currently being carried out to reha-
bilitate the ancient huts and palace. While these renova-
tion activities indeed seek to enhance the appeal of the
ancient town, they must be carried out in a way that does
not destroy or cause deterioration the artifacts themselves.
On the other hand, particular disruptive human influ-
ences taking place upon Ufe-Oke, such as hunting, trap-
ping and farming, must be discontinued altogether.
5. Acknowledgements
This research was supported by a grant of the Obafemi
Awolowo University Research Committee to the Natural
History Museum (Grant No. 11-118-ANY). Our deep
appreciations go to Oba F. A. Aroloye, the Owa of Idanre,
and Oba B. A. Akinbola, the Aladeokun of Alade-Idanre.
We enjoyed unparalleled hospitality as we carried out
our research within the domains of these kings. Our
heartfelt gratitude also goes to High Chief (Dr) Akinde,
the Sasere of Idanre, for his assistance in every aspect
and manner during the period of our research. We would
also like to thank our various local guides in Idanre and
also all the technical staff of the Natural History Museum,
especially Mr O. Obadare, Mr A. Faloba, Mrs K. Akano,
and Mr Aworele, who accompanied and assisted us im-
mensely during our trips to the field. Mr P. Dada carried
out the cartography.
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