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Quaternary vertebrate faunas from Sumba, Indonesia: implications for Wallacean biogeography and evolution

Quaternary vertebrate faunas from Sumba, Indonesia: implications for Wallacean biogeography and evolution
Quaternary vertebrate faunas from Sumba, Indonesia: implications for Wallacean biogeography and evolution
Historical patterns of diversity, biogeography and faunal turnover remain poorly understood for Wallacea, the biologically and geologically complex island region between the Asian and Australian continental shelves. A distinctive Quaternary vertebrate fauna containing the small-bodied hominin Homo floresiensis, pygmy Stegodon proboscideans, varanids and giant murids has been described from Flores, but Quaternary faunas are poorly known from most other Lesser Sunda Islands. We report the discovery of extensive new fossil vertebrate collections from Pleistocene and Holocene deposits on Sumba, a large Wallacean island situated less than 50 km south of Flores. A fossil assemblage recovered from a Pleistocene deposit at Lewapaku in the interior highlands of Sumba, which may be close to 1 million years old, contains a series of skeletal elements of a very small Stegodon referable to S. sumbaensis, a tooth attributable to Varanus komodoensis, and fragmentary remains of unidentified giant murids. Holocene cave deposits at Mahaniwa dated to approximately 2000–3500 BP yielded extensive material of two new genera of endemic large-bodied murids, as well as fossils of an extinct frugivorous varanid. This new baseline for reconstructing Wallacean faunal histories reveals that Sumba's Quaternary vertebrate fauna, although phylogenetically distinctive, was comparable in diversity and composition to the Quaternary fauna of Flores, suggesting that similar assemblages may have characterized Quaternary terrestrial ecosystems on many or all of the larger Lesser Sunda Islands.
0962-8452
Turvey, Samuel T.
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Crees, Jennifer J.
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Hansford, James
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Jeffree, Timothy E.
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Crumpton, Nick
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Kurniawan, Iwan
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Setiyabudi, Erick
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Guillerme, Thomas
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Paranggarimu, Umbu
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Dosseto, Anthony
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Van Den Bergh, Gerrit D.
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Turvey, Samuel T.
94878b58-7a92-4081-a8a3-f47181f240a9
Crees, Jennifer J.
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Hansford, James
e6171635-c273-46b7-aa2e-fbbb2ffdcb79
Jeffree, Timothy E.
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Crumpton, Nick
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Kurniawan, Iwan
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Setiyabudi, Erick
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Guillerme, Thomas
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Paranggarimu, Umbu
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Dosseto, Anthony
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Van Den Bergh, Gerrit D.
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Turvey, Samuel T., Crees, Jennifer J., Hansford, James, Jeffree, Timothy E., Crumpton, Nick, Kurniawan, Iwan, Setiyabudi, Erick, Guillerme, Thomas, Paranggarimu, Umbu, Dosseto, Anthony and Van Den Bergh, Gerrit D. (2017) Quaternary vertebrate faunas from Sumba, Indonesia: implications for Wallacean biogeography and evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284 (1861), [20171278]. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1278).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Historical patterns of diversity, biogeography and faunal turnover remain poorly understood for Wallacea, the biologically and geologically complex island region between the Asian and Australian continental shelves. A distinctive Quaternary vertebrate fauna containing the small-bodied hominin Homo floresiensis, pygmy Stegodon proboscideans, varanids and giant murids has been described from Flores, but Quaternary faunas are poorly known from most other Lesser Sunda Islands. We report the discovery of extensive new fossil vertebrate collections from Pleistocene and Holocene deposits on Sumba, a large Wallacean island situated less than 50 km south of Flores. A fossil assemblage recovered from a Pleistocene deposit at Lewapaku in the interior highlands of Sumba, which may be close to 1 million years old, contains a series of skeletal elements of a very small Stegodon referable to S. sumbaensis, a tooth attributable to Varanus komodoensis, and fragmentary remains of unidentified giant murids. Holocene cave deposits at Mahaniwa dated to approximately 2000–3500 BP yielded extensive material of two new genera of endemic large-bodied murids, as well as fossils of an extinct frugivorous varanid. This new baseline for reconstructing Wallacean faunal histories reveals that Sumba's Quaternary vertebrate fauna, although phylogenetically distinctive, was comparable in diversity and composition to the Quaternary fauna of Flores, suggesting that similar assemblages may have characterized Quaternary terrestrial ecosystems on many or all of the larger Lesser Sunda Islands.

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Accepted/In Press date: 21 July 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 August 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 414075
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414075
ISSN: 0962-8452
PURE UUID: 2c64b4cd-cd94-4055-a353-ee10b1cd3177

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Date deposited: 14 Sep 2017 16:31
Last modified: 26 Apr 2022 19:29

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Contributors

Author: Samuel T. Turvey
Author: Jennifer J. Crees
Author: James Hansford
Author: Timothy E. Jeffree
Author: Nick Crumpton
Author: Iwan Kurniawan
Author: Erick Setiyabudi
Author: Thomas Guillerme
Author: Umbu Paranggarimu
Author: Anthony Dosseto
Author: Gerrit D. Van Den Bergh

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