Mammalian Invasion of the Caribbean Islands

  • Thomas Defler
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 42)


This is a description of the South American fauna (and some that arrived from North America) that populated the Caribbean Islands and how this fauna might have arrived. Fossils tell us a story that recent extinctions of only the last few thousands of years probably were at least in part caused by the arrival of humans. Besides many species of ground sloths, there were at least five species of primates living on several Caribbean Islands, several of which lasted until the last few hundred years when they became extinct. All of these primates might have descended from one group of South American primates which arrived as far north as Cuba, although some hypothesize that there might have been various primate stocks that populated the islands. Although the sloths, primates, and caviomorphs suggest that the fauna entered from South America, intriguingly some mammalian groups from the continent are absent (e.g., carnivores, ungulates), making the theory of a land bridge difficult.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Defler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNational University of Colombia, BogotaBogotaColombia

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