Island extinctions and invasions: archaeozoological advance in the French West Indies

Author(s): Sandrine Grouard

Year: 2016


Although island faunas are relatively well studied, there are few clear examples on faunal replacement, over periods of several centuries or a few millennia. This paper brings together results from ten years of zooarchaeological studies in three different Caribbean islands: Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique. It presents data on presence (and absence) of terrestrial vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), in relation to human activities in insular environments during the Holocene. Examples illustrate mechanisms of biodiversity evolution under human pressure and through several waves of human migration since 5000 years BP. These include natural colonisations, intentional or chance introductions, extinctions or disappearances (often of endemic species) due to human activities (hunting and gathering, but also deforestation and other anthropogenic effects on the environment). Beginning with the large original diversity, there is a partial turnover of the taxa within each human colonisation. Everywhere, human intervention causes an over-saturation of the specific richness curve in regard to the MacArthur and Wilson model, because of the numerous species introduced during each migration; but in parallel, there is extinction of numerous indigenous and endemic species.

Cite this Record

Island extinctions and invasions: archaeozoological advance in the French West Indies. Sandrine Grouard. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403375)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;