"Last occurrence" of the Antillean insectivoran Nesophontes : new radiometric dates and their interpretation. American Museum novitates ; no. 3261

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New York, NY : American Museum of Natural History
"Several times during this century it has been claimed on the basis of anecdotal evidence that some of the allegedly extinct endemic mammals of the Greater Antilles still survive in remote areas. To investigate this possibility, an attempt was made in 1996 to locate living representatives of the island-shrew genus Nesophontes (Insectivora, Nesophontidae) in the Sierra de Baoruco, Dominican Republic. The attempt was unsuccessful. However, in a related project, it was found that nesophontid remains from Cuba and Hispaniola, judged to be very recent on associational grounds, were in fact much older (12th-15th centuries AD) according to AMS 14C dating. This information, combined with other evidence discussed here, suggests that species of Nesophontes may have collapsed extremely rapidly, close to the time of the first European entry into the West Indies. We discovered no direct evidence that predation by or competition with Old World rats or other exotic species caused nesophontid extinctions. Neither recent collecting efforts nor radiometric evidence support the view that any island-shrew species survived into the 20th century"--P. [1].
19 p. : ill., map ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 17-19).