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Evidence for historical human-induced extinctions of vertebrate species on La DÉsirade (French West Indies)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Myriam Boudadi-Maligne*
UMR 5199 PACEA, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, France
Salvador Bailon
UMR 7209-7194, Sorbonne Universités, MNHN, CNRS, France
Corentin Bochaton
UMR 7209-7205, Sorbonne Universités, MNHN, France
Fabrice Casagrande
INRAP, France
Sandrine Grouard
UMR 7209, Sorbonne Universités, MNHN, CNRS, France
Nathalie Serrand
Arnaud Lenoble
UMR 5199 PACEA, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, France
Corresponding author at: Allée Geoffroy St Hilaire, B18 PACEA, CS 50023, Fr-33615 PESSAC CEDEX, France. E-mail (M. Boudadi-Maligne).


Pit cave 6 on Pointe Gros Rempart (Baie-Mahault, La Désirade, French West Indies) is a stratified fossil-bearing site. While the archaeological material and faunal remains from the oldest assemblage demonstrate it to have formed during the Amerindian period, the second assemblage dates to the first one-hundred years of the island's colonial period (mid-18th to mid-19th centuries). Faunal analysis revealed the presence of 4 now locally extinct or extinct species, three of which have never before been documented on La Désirade (Ameiva sp., Leiocephalus cf. cuneus and Alsophis sp.). Changing faunal spectrums (invertebrates and vertebrates) due to environmental destabilisation combined with aspects of the island's colonial economy demonstrate habitat degradation and over-grazing to be the principal causes of extinctions and or extirpations.

Original Articles
University of Washington

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