Life-history features of terrestrial mammals in the southern African subregion were explored in an attempt to identify the factor(s) that may influence the evolution of common mammalian life-history patterns within this subregion. Allometry and phylogeny were found to underly most of the variation observed in life-history features. Residual variation was considered and age at maturity, gestation period and litter size emerged as additional features influencing life-history patterns. Southern African mammals could generally be arranged along a theoretical r-K continuum with small mammals having relatively short developmental periods and relatively large litter sizes represented at one extreme and large mammals having relatively long developmental periods with relatively small litter sizes at the opposite extreme. However, the carnivores did not conform to this expected general gradient suggesting that they may be an exceptional order as far as their life-histories are concerned.