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Caribbean Anthropogenic Paleozoogeography: Cultural and Ecological Significance of Animal Introductions in the Lesser Antilles

Author(s): Christina Giovas

Year: 2016

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Summary

Studies of exotic animal introductions in the insular Caribbean have focused on the paleozoogeography, origin, and dispersal patterns of these taxa, but have yet to resolve a number of important, related issues. Among these are the critical problems of distinguishing live introductions from the import of animal parts and assessing the degree of animal management practiced by Amerindians. These questions are fundamental to understanding the broader cultural and ecological significance of faunal translocations in the Caribbean, particularly the long-term impact of exotic species on Antillean ecosystems, but require a multi-evidentiary approach to address. Taking a theoretically informed perspective, here I review data provided by heavy isotope analyses, ethnohistory, zooarchaeology, and ecology to understand the anthropogenic dispersal, cultural role, and environmental impact of exotic species in the prehistoric Lesser Antilles, focusing on opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) and agouti (Dasyprocta sp.), with consideration given for rarer taxa such as deer (Cervidae) and pecarry (Tayassu/Pecari).


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Caribbean Anthropogenic Paleozoogeography: Cultural and Ecological Significance of Animal Introductions in the Lesser Antilles. Christina Giovas. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403379)


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Spatial Coverage

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

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