Primate Biogeography

Part of the series Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects pp 305-329

The Geography of Mammals and Rivers in Mainland Southeast Asia

  • Erik MeijaardAffiliated withSchool of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University
  • , Colin Peter GrovesAffiliated withSchool of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University

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This chapter describes the distribution of non-volant mammals of mainland Southeast Asia in relation to the region’s main rivers, the Mekong, Salween, and Brahmaputra. We describe all species according to their general ecology and size to see whether the distribution ranges of the species can be characterized by these factors. The area east of the Mekong River appears to be relatively rich in mammal species compared to the area between the Mekong and Salween Rivers. The Mekong, however, does not seem to be an ecological barrier to the investigated species, unlike the Brahmaputra River that separates species of drier, open vegetation from forested adapted species. The species richness east of the Mekong River can possibly be explained by environmental changes in the Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene, which may have isolated rain forest dependent species in the Vietnamese and Laotian mountains.

Key Words

Brahmaputra divergence evolution Indochina Mekong palaeoenvironment phylogeny Salween Quaternary