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Assessing the role of humans in Greater Antillean land vertebrate extinctions; new insights from Cuba

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doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106597
Authors:Orihuela, Johanset; Viñola, Lázaro W.; Jiménez Vázquez, Osvaldo; Mychajliw, Alexis M.; Hernández de Lara, Odlanyer; Lorenzo, Logel; Soto-Centeno, J. Angel
Author Affiliations:Primary:
Florida International University, Department of Earth and Environment (Geosciences), Miami, FL, United States
University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, United States
Gabinete de Arqueologia de La Habana, Oficina del Historiador de La Habana, Habana, Cuba
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Department of Rancho La Brea, Los Angeles, CA, United States
University of Florida, Cuba Arqueológica, Progressus Heritage and Community Foundation, Gainesville, FL, United States
Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Matanzas, Cuba
Rutgers University, Department of Biological Sciences, Newark, NJ, United States
Volume Title:Quaternary Science Reviews
Source:Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol.249. Publisher: Elsevier, International. ISSN: 0277-3791
Publication Date:2020
Note:In English. 133 refs.; illus., incl. table, sketch map
Summary:The Caribbean archipelago is a hotspot of biodiversity characterized by a high rate of extinction. Recent studies have examined these losses, but the causes of the Antillean Late Quaternary vertebrate extinctions, and especially the role of humans, are still unclear. Previous results provide support for climate-related and human-induced extinctions, but often downplaying other complex bio-ecological factors that are difficult to model or to detect from the fossil and archaeological record. Here, we discuss Caribbean vertebrate extinctions and the potential role of humans derived from new and existing fossil and archaeological data from Cuba. Our results indicate that losses of Cuba's native fauna occurred in waves: one during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, a second during the middle Holocene, and a third one during the last 2 ka, combining the arrival of agroceramists and later of Europeans. The coexistence of now-extinct species with multiple cultural groups in Cuba for over 4 ka implies that Cuban indigenous non-ceramic cultures exerted far fewer extinction pressures to native fauna than the later agroceramists and Europeans that followed. This suggests a determinant value to increased technological sophistication and demographics as plausible effective extinction drivers. Beyond looking at dates of first human arrival alone, future studies should also consider cultural diversity with attention to different bio-ecological factors that influence these biodiversity changes.
Subjects:Archaeology; Biodiversity; C-14; Carbon; Cenozoic; Chordata; Extinction; Faunal list; Fossils; Geochronology; Holocene; Human activity; Islands; Isotopes; Quaternary; Radioactive isotopes; Taxonomy; Terrestrial environment; Vertebrata; Antilles; Caribbean region; Cuba; Greater Antilles; West Indies; Artibeus anthonyi; Cubanycteris silvai; Extirpation; Macrocapromys acevedo; Mesophontes major; Mormoops megalophylla; Nesophontes micrus; Paralouatta varonai; Phyllops vetus; Pulsatrix arredondoi; Solenodon arredondoi
Coordinates:N195000 N231500 W0740000 W0850000
Record ID:892025-7
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2021 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from CAPCAS, Elsevier Scientific Publishers, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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