Characteristics of Pleistocene megafauna extinctions in Southeast Asia

Julien Louys, Darren Curnoe, Haowen Tong

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The extinction of large-bodied taxa from the Pleistocene in Southeast Asia is examined. Although the chronological resolution of these extinctions is poor, and number of excavations in the region relatively few, broad characteristics of these extinctions can be described. Many taxa which became extinct appear to have been endemic to regions within Southeast Asia, while some taxa which experienced extinction or severe range reduction occurred in several regions. Members of the latter group include proboscideans ( Stegodon and Palaeloxodon ), the pygmy hippopotamus ( Hexaprotodon ), the orangutan ( Pongo ), hyenas ( Crocuta and Hyaena ), the giant panda ( Ailuropoda ), tapirs ( Tapirus and Megatapirus ), rhinoceroses ( Rhinoceros ), and the giant Asian ape Giganto- pithecus . The loss of these species cannot be assigned to a single cause. Rather their disappearance is likely tied to both climatic and human agents. Unlike other regions which experienced megafauna extinctions, eustatic changes in sea level in Southeast Asia seems to have been an important factor.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)152-173
    JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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