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Late Quaternary fossil mammals from the Cayman Islands, West Indies. (Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 428)

Show simple item record Morgan, Gary S. MacPhee, R. D. E. Woods, Roseina. Turvey, Sam. 2019-02-27T19:51:57Z 2019-02-27T19:51:57Z 2019-03-04
dc.description 79 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm. en_US
dc.description.abstract Abundant fossils of nesophontid lipotyphlan insectivores and capromyid rodents have been collected from late Quaternary deposits on the Cayman Islands, an island group separated by a major marine barrier from other Caribbean landmasses and isolated from anthropogenic impacts until the arrival of Columbus in 1503 CE. These collections have not previously been formally described. Using morphological and ancient DNA approaches, we document three new taxa of extinct endemic terrestrial mammals from this island group: Nesophontes hemicingulus (Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac), Capromys pilorides lewisi (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac), and Geocapromys caymanensis (Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac). Morphometric comparisons with other extinct and living West Indian mammals indicate that the biogeographic origins of all three new taxa are from source populations on Cuba. Ancient DNA data indicate very low sequence divergence of Capromys pilorides lewisi from mainland Cuban C. pilorides (only 0.5% across the entire mitogenome). Using probabilistic analysis of existing and new radiometric dates, we calculate an estimated extinction date of 1700 CE (95% confidence interval = 1632-1774 CE) for the Cayman Brac Capromys population. This result suggests that at least one endemic Cayman terrestrial mammal population survived for well over a century following first European arrival in the Cayman Islands. The West Indies lost nearly all its species-rich late Quaternary land mammal fauna during the late Holocene due to direct or indirect human impacts, and this study provides a new baseline to understand the magnitude of human-caused mammal extinctions during the recent past. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher American Museum of Natural History. en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History;no.428.
dc.subject Nesophontes hemicingulus. en_US
dc.subject Capromys pilorides lewisi. en_US
dc.subject Geocapromys caymanensis. en_US
dc.subject Insectivores, Fossil. en_US
dc.subject Rodents, Fossil. en_US
dc.subject Extinct mammals. en_US
dc.subject Mammal populations. en_US
dc.subject Mammals -- Dispersal. en_US
dc.subject Mammals -- Effect of human beings on. en_US
dc.subject Cayman Islands. en_US
dc.subject West Indies. en_US
dc.title Late Quaternary fossil mammals from the Cayman Islands, West Indies. (Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 428) en_US
dc.title.alternative Cayman fossil mammals. en_US

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  • Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History
    The Bulletin, published continuously since 1881, consists of longer monographic volumes in the field of natural sciences relating to zoology, paleontology, and geology. Current numbers are published at irregular intervals. The Bulletin was originally a place to publish short papers, while longer works appeared in the Memoirs. However, in the 1920s, the Memoirs ceased and the Bulletin series began publishing longer papers. A new series, the Novitates , published short papers describing new forms.

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