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Two distinct Pleistocene assemblages from SE Santiago Island are comparable to modern analogues elsewhere in the Cape Verde Islands. A low-diversity Siderastrea radians assemblage lived atop basalt knobs surrounded by sand on a slope below a cliff. A Millepora alcicornis–Megabalanus azoricus assemblage occupied the cliff. The latter was a typical rocky-shore assemblage from a high-energy setting below the tidal zone. Bioerosion structures in basalt produced by Circolites kotoncensis and Gastrochaenolites isp. also occur there. Despite extensive studies on local limestone deposits in 1832 and 1836, lack of exposure prevented Darwin from seeing these fossils.