International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 37, Issue 4–5, pp 612–615 | Cite as

Steven M. Goodman and William L. Jungers: Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island’s Past

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2014, xii + 284 pp. ISBN: 978-0-226-14397-2, $45 (Hardcover)
  • Kathleen M. MuldoonEmail author
Book Review

Madagascar is a marvelously strange place. Its distinctive landscapes are home to an incredible number of animals unique to the island, including more than 100 species of lemur. Madagascar is considered a hotspot for conservation efforts because of unparalleled levels of endemism, species diversity, and human impacts on the environment (Goodman and Benstead 2005; Myers et al. 2000). This is especially true given that the island has suffered well-documented megafaunal extinctions and widespread deforestation in the past 2500–4000 years following human colonization (Burney et al. 2004; Crowley 2010; Dewar et al. 2013). Humans are widely considered to be the primary trigger of the extinctions (Burney 2003; Burney et al. 2004; Burns et al. 2016; Crowley et al. 2016; Godfrey and Irwin 2007), but the relative contributions of climate change and human activities to these ecological transformations are still contested (Virah-Sawmy 2009; Virah-Sawmy et al. 2009, 2010).

A single island-wide...


  1. Burney, D. A. (2003). Madagascar's prehistoric ecosystems. In S. M. Goodman & J. P. Benstead (Eds.), The natural history of Madagascar (pp. 47–51). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Burney, D. A., Burney, L. P., Godfrey, L. R., Jungers, W. L., Goodman, S. M., et al. (2004). A chronology for late prehistoric Madagascar. Journal of Human Evolution, 47, 25–63.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Burns, S. J., Godfrey, L. R., Faina, P., McGee, D., Hardt, B., et al. (2016). Rapid human-induced landscape transformation in Madagascar at the end of the first millennium of the common era. Quaternary Science Reviews, 134, 92–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crowley, B. E. (2010). A refined chronology of prehistoric Madagascar and the demise of the megafauna; new clues from old bones. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, 2592–2604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crowley, B. E., Godfrey, L. R., Bankoff, R. J., Perry, G. H., Culleton, B. J., et al. (2016). Island-wide aridity did not trigger recent megafaunal extinctions in Madagascar. Ecography, 39, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dewar, R. E. (2003). Relationships between human ecological pressure and the vertebrate extinctions. In S. M. Goodman & J. P. Benstead (Eds.), The natural history of Madagascar (pp. 119–122). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dewar, R. E., Radimilahy, C., Wright, H. T., Jacobs, Z., Kelly, G. O., & Berna, F. (2013). Stone tools and foraging in northern Madagascar challenge Holocene extinction models. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 110, 12583–12588.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Godfrey, L. R., & Irwin, M. T. (2007). The evolution of extinction risk: Past and present anthropogenic impacts on the primate communities of Madagascar. Folia Primatologica, 78, 405–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goodman, S. M., & Benstead, J. P. (2005). Updated estimates of biotic diversity and endemism for Madagascar. Oryx, 39, 73–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Myers, N., Mittermeier, R. A., Mittermeier, C. G., da Fonseca, G. A. B., & Kent, J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403, 853–858.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Virah-Sawmy, M. (2009). Ecosystem management in Madagascar during global change. Conservation Letters, 2, 163–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Virah-Sawmy, M., Gillson, L., & Willis, K. J. (2009). How does spatial heterogeneity influence resilience to climatic changes? ecological dynamics in southeast Madagascar. Ecological Monographs, 79, 557–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Virah-Sawmy, M., Willis, K. M., & Gillson, L. (2010). Evidence for drought and forest declines during the recent megafaunal extinctions in Madagascar. Journal of Biogeography, 37, 506–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Arizona College of Osteopathic MedicineMidwestern UniversityGlendaleUSA

Personalised recommendations