Late Quaternary hominin-bat (Chiroptera) interactions in the Asia-Pacific

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    This paper reviews the zooarchaeological and historical evidence of insular bat hunting in the Asia-Pacific, spanning the late Pleistocene to the ethnographic present. A sample of archaeofauna assemblages (n = 18) examined from both cave and open beach archaeological sites reveal a number of issues, which may have obscured archaeological interpretations. These include variability in identification protocols and taphonomic assessment of assemblages between sites and regions. Based on current evidence, it appears that bats were optimal dietary resources in areas where their abundance was concentrated on faunally depauperate islands. Islanders targeted large fruit bats and opportunistically exploited smaller bats either in caves or forest environments using simple technologies, and possibly as early as 74 kya by Homo floresiensis on Flores. Later Neolithic migrations into Remote Oceania during the late Holocene appear to have resulted in the greatest impacts on bat diversity due to hunting and landscape degradation. This pattern of rapid human impact is also likely to reflect differences in biogeography and higher archaeological visibility of colonising sites in Remote Oceania.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-17
    JournalArchaeology in Oceania
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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