What would be our visions of the vast African plains without their seas of swaying grasses? Savanna ecosystems, which comprise our view of typical Africa, are based on grasses. These plants form the base of the feeding pyramid upon which all the animals depend. While it is easy to covet cute, furry or charismatic animals, it is sobering to remember that without grasslands, they would be as extinct as dinosaurs. Indeed, given the human pressures on African grasslands for grazing and crops, Africa's animals are becoming increasingly restricted to areas of grassland savanna that need protection by law and arms. This is the legacy of our peopling of the planet.