New evidence of megafaunal bone damage indicates late colonization of Madagascar

Atholl Anderson, Geoffrey Clark, Simon Haberle, Tom Higham, Malgosia Nowak-Kemp, Amy Prendergast, Chantal Radimilahy, Lucien M Rakotozafy, R Ramilisonina, J Schwenninger, Malika Virah-Sawmy, Aaron Camens

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The estimated period in which human colonization of Madagascar began has expanded recently to 5000-1000 y B.P., six times its range in 1990, prompting revised thinking about early migration sources, routes, maritime capability and environmental changes. Cited evidence of colonization age includes anthropogenic palaeoecological data 2500-2000 y B.P., megafaunal butchery marks 4200-1900 y B.P. and OSL dating to 4400 y B.P. of the Lakaton'i Anja occupation site. Using large samples of newly-excavated bone from sites in which megafaunal butchery was earlier dated >2000 y B.P. we find no butchery marks until ?1200 y B.P., with associated sedimentary and palynological data of initial human impact about the same time. Close analysis of the Lakaton'i Anja chronology suggests the site dates <1500 y B.P. Diverse evidence from bone damage, palaeoecology, genomic and linguistic history, archaeology, introduced biota and seafaring capability indicate initial human colonization of Madagascar 1350-1100 y B.P.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14pp
    JournalPLOS ONE (Public Library of Science)
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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