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Genetic insights into commensal small mammal invasions of Madagascar in prehistory

Author(s): Nicole Boivin ; Heidi Eager ; Jeremy Searle ; Greger Larson ; Steve Goodman

Year: 2016

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A number of invasive small mammal species, including various commensal rodents, have achieved significant range expansion as a result of accidental transportation by humans. In the Indian Ocean, this is true of the black rat, Rattus rattus, the house mouse, Mus musculus, and the Asian house shrew, Suncus murinus. The spread of these species across the Indian Ocean appears to have been facilitated by the emergence of trading networks beginning thousands of years ago. We conducted molecular phylogeographic investigations of all three species, sampling widely across the Indian Ocean to explore patterns of ancient human colonisation, contact and trade. Here we focus on data from Madagascar, which suggest that all three species can trace their mitochondrial ancestry to the Middle East. The implications of these findings for our understanding of Madagascar’s ecological and cultural history, as well as broader patterns of early Indian Ocean trade and connectivity, are explored.

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Genetic insights into commensal small mammal invasions of Madagascar in prehistory. Nicole Boivin, Heidi Eager, Jeremy Searle, Greger Larson, Steve Goodman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403230)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America