UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Simultaneous extinction of Madagascar’s megaherbivores correlates with late Holocene human-caused landscape transformation

Hansford, JP; Lister, AM; Weston, EM; Turvey, ST; (2021) Simultaneous extinction of Madagascar’s megaherbivores correlates with late Holocene human-caused landscape transformation. Quaternary Science Reviews , 263 , Article 106996. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106996. Green open access

[thumbnail of Accepted Manuscript]
Preview
Text (Accepted Manuscript)
Turvey_Simultaneous extinction of Madagascar’s megaherbivores correlates with late Holocene human-caused landscape transformation_AAM2.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (3MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Supplementary Material] Spreadsheet (Supplementary Material)
Hansford_AMS_paper_TableS1.xlsx - Accepted Version

Download (20kB)

Abstract

Reconstructing the dynamics and drivers of late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions requires direct radiometric date series that are assessed within probabilistic statistical frameworks. Extinction chronologies are poorly understood for many tropical regions, including Madagascar, which had a diverse, now-extinct Holocene large vertebrate fauna including a “megaherbivore” guild of endemic hippopotami and elephant birds. Madagascar's megaherbivores likely played vital roles in regulating ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling, but few direct dates are available for megaherbivore specimens identified to species level, with uncertainty over when and why different representatives of this guild disappeared. Here, we conduct a new investigation into Malagasy megaherbivore extinction dynamics, including 30 new AMS dates and 63 audited published dates. We use Gaussian-resampled inverse-weighted McInerny (GRIWM) analysis to estimate species-specific extinction dates for three elephant bird species (Aepyornis hildebrandti, Mullerornis modestus, Vorombe titan), eggshell representing Aepyornis or Vorombe, and two hippo species (Hippopotamus lemerlei, H. madagascariensis), and to estimate extinction dates for megaherbivore communities in different biomes. Megaherbivores persisted for millennia after first human arrival. Extinction date estimates vary significantly between biomes, with disappearance from dry deciduous forest over a millennium earlier than other biomes, possibly reflecting local variation in megaherbivore population densities or human pressures. However, megaherbivore communities including all elephant bird and hippo species persisted elsewhere across Madagascar until ∼1200-900 bp, when they collapsed suddenly. Extinctions are closely correlated in time with intensive conversion of forests to grassland at ∼1100-1000 bp, probably associated with a shift to agro-pastoralism and representing a radical change in sustainability of prehistoric human interactions with biodiversity.

Type: Article
Title: Simultaneous extinction of Madagascar’s megaherbivores correlates with late Holocene human-caused landscape transformation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106996
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106996
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Elephant bird; Extinction chronology; Hippopotamus; Holocene; Madagascar; Quaternary extinction; Radiocarbon dating
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128284
Downloads since deposit
224Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item