Late Quaternary fossil vertebrates from the Cayman Islands

  • G. S. Morgan
Part of the Monographiae Biologicae book series (MOBI, volume 71)


From 1964–1987 paleontologists from the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH — formerly the Florida State Museum) excavated a large number of late Pleistocene and Holocene vertebrate fossil deposits in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Very little was known about the fossil vertebrates of the Cayman Islands prior to the surveys. The fossils collected form the basis for this review. A more comprehensive analysis, including the description of several new species, will appear elsewhere (Morgan, in prep.).


Late Pleistocene Dominican Republic Fossil Site Fossil Vertebrate Vertebrate Fauna 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, G.M. 1917. New fossil mammals from Cuba. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 61(1): 1–12.Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous. 1970. Windward passage floating island (event 86-69). Smithsonian Institution Center for Short-lived Phenomena, Ann. Kept. 1969: 50-52.Google Scholar
  3. Anthony, H.E. 1916. Preliminary diagnosis of an apparently new family of insectivores. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 35: 725–728.Google Scholar
  4. Anthony, H.E. 1917. Two new fossil bats from Puerto Rico. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 37: 565–568.Google Scholar
  5. Anthony, H.E. 1919. Mammals collected in eastern Cuba in 1917, with descriptions of two new species. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 41: 625–643.Google Scholar
  6. Arredondo, O. 1970a. Nueva especie de ave pleistocénica del orden Accipitriformes (Accipitridae) y nuevo género para las Antillas. Ciencias, ser. 4 (Ciencias Biológicas) 8: 1–19.Google Scholar
  7. Arredondo, O. 1970b. Dos nuevas especies subfósiles de mamíferos (Insectivora: Nesophontidae) del Holoceno precolombino de Cuba. Mem. Soc. Cien. Nat. La Salle 30(86): 122–152.Google Scholar
  8. Arredondo, O. 1976. The great predatory birds of the Pleistocene of Cuba. In: S.L. Olson (ed.) Collected papers in avian paleontology honoring the 90th birthday of Alexander Wetmore. Smithsonian Contrib. Paleobiol. 27: 169–187.Google Scholar
  9. Baker, R.J. and Genoways, H.H. 1978. Zoogeography of Antillean bats. In: F.B. Gill (ed.) Zoogeography in the Caribbean. Proc. Philadelphia Acad. Sci., Spec. Publ. 13: 53–97.Google Scholar
  10. Bernstein, L. 1965. Fossil birds from the Dominican Republic. Quart. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 28: 271–284.Google Scholar
  11. Bloom, A.L. 1983. Sea level and coastal morphology of the United States through the late Wisconsin glacial maximum. In: S.C. Porter (ed.). Quaternary Environments of the United States, Volume 1. The Late Pleistocene, pp. 215-229. Univ. Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  12. Bond, J. 1956. Check-list of birds of the West Indies. Acad. Nat. Sci., Philadelphia. Google Scholar
  13. Bond, J. 1985. Birds of the West Indies, 5th Amer. Ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.Google Scholar
  14. Bradley, P.E. and Rey-Millet, 1985. Birds of the Cayman Islands. Publ. by P.E. Bradley, George Town, Grand Cayman, 245 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Brodkorb, P. 1959. Pleistocene birds from New Providence Island, Bahamas. Bull. Florida St. Mus., Biol. Sci. 4(11): 349–371.Google Scholar
  16. Brodkorb, P. 1963. Catalogue of fossil birds: Part 1 (Archaeopterygiformes through Ardeiformes). Bull. Florida St. Mus., Biol. Sci. 7(4): 179–293.Google Scholar
  17. Brodkorb, P. 1964. Fossil birds from Barbados, West Indies. J. Barbados Mus. Hist. Soc. 31: 3–10.Google Scholar
  18. Buden, D. W. 1977. First records of bats of the genus Brachyphylla from the Caicos Islands, with notes on geographic variation. J. Mammal. 58: 221–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Carey, W.M. 1966. Observations on the ground iguana Cyclura macleayi caymanensis on Cayman Brac, British West Indies. Herpetologica 22: 265–268.Google Scholar
  20. Choate, J.R. and Birney, E.C. 1968. Sub-recent Insectivora and Chiroptera from Puerto Rico, with the description of a new bat of the genus Stenoderma. J. Mammal. 49: 400–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clough, G.C. 1972. Biology of the Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami. J. Mammal. 53: 807–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Darlington, P.J. 1938. The origin of the fauna of the Greater Antilles, with discussion of dispersal of animals over water and through the air. Quart. Rev. Biol. 13: 274–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dodson, P. and Wexlar, D. 1979. Taphonomic investigations of owl pellets. Paleobiol. 5: 275–284.Google Scholar
  24. Dunson, W.A. and Seidel, M.E. 1986. Salinity tolerance of estuarine and insular emydid turtles (Pseudemys nelsoni and Trachemys decussata). J. Herp. 20: 237–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eshelman, R.E. and Morgan, G.S. 1985. Tobagan Recent mammals, fossil vertebrates, and their zoogeographical implications. Natl. Geogr. Soc. Res. Rep. 21: 137–143.Google Scholar
  26. Etheridge, R. 1965. Pleistocene lizards from New Providence. Quart. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 28: 349–358.Google Scholar
  27. Garman, S. 1887. On the reptiles and batrachians of Grand Cayman. Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc. 24: 273–277.Google Scholar
  28. Garman, S. 1888. Reptiles and batrachians from the Caymans and from the Bahamas. Bull. Essex Inst. 20: 101–113.Google Scholar
  29. Goodfriend, G.A. and Stipp, J.J. 1983. Limestone and the problem of radiocarbon dating of land-snail shell carbonate. Geology 11: 575–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goodwin, R.E. 1970. The ecology of Jamaican bats. J. Mammal. 51: 571–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grant, C. 1940. The herpetology of the Cayman Islands. Bull. Inst. Jamacia, Sci. Ser. 2: 1–65.Google Scholar
  32. Gundlach, J. 1880. Contribucion a la Erpetologia Cubana. Imp. G. Montiel, La Habana, Cuba.Google Scholar
  33. Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America, 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Haq, B.U., Hardenbol, J. and Vail, P.R. 1987. Chronology of fluctuating sea levels since the Triassic. Science 235: 1156–1167.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hecht, M.K. 1951. Fossil lizards of the West Indian genus Anstelliger (Gekkonidae). Amer. Mus. Novitates 1538: 1–33.Google Scholar
  36. Hibbard, C.W. 1949. Techniques of collecting microvertebrates. Contrib. Mus. Paleo. Univ. Michigan8(2): 7–19.Google Scholar
  37. Hirst, G.S.S. 1909. Notes on the History of the Cayman Islands. P.A. Benjamin Manuf. Co., Kingston, Jamaica, 412pp.Google Scholar
  38. Howard, H. 1929. The avifauna of the Emeryville Shellmound. Univ. California Publ. Zool. 32: 301–394.Google Scholar
  39. Johnston, D.W., Blake, C.H. and Buden, D.W. 1971. Avifauna of the Cayman Islands. Quart. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 34: 141–156.Google Scholar
  40. King, W. 1962. The occurrence of rafts for dispersal of land animals into the West Indies. Quart. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 25: 45–51.Google Scholar
  41. Koopman, K.F. 1955. A new subspecies of Chilonycteris from the West Indies, and a discussion of the mammals of La Gonave. J. Mammal. 36: 109–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Koopman, K.F. and Ruibal, R. 1955. Cave-fossil vertebrates from Camaguey, Cuba. Mus. Comp. Zool. Breviora 46: 1–8.Google Scholar
  43. Koopman, K.F. & Williams, E.E. 1951. Fossil Chiroptera collected by H.E. Anthony in Jamaica, 1919-1920. Amer. Mus. Novitates 1519: 1–29.Google Scholar
  44. Kratochvil, J., Rodrigues, L. and Barus, V. 1978. Capromyidae (Rodentia) of Cuba 1. Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Brno 12(11): 1–60.Google Scholar
  45. MacArthur, R.H. and Wilson, E.O. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  46. MacFadden, B.J. 1980. Rafting mammals or drifting islands?: biogeography of the Greater Antillean insectivores Nesophontes and Solenodon. J. Biogeogr. 7: 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Miller, G.S. Jr. 1929. A second collection of mammals from caves near St. Michel, Haiti. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 81(9): 1–30.Google Scholar
  48. Miller, G.S. Jr. 1930. Three small collections of mammals from Hispaniola. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 82(15): 1–10.Google Scholar
  49. Morgan, G.S. 1977a. Late Pleistocene Fossil Vertebrates from the Cayman Islands, British West Indies. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Florida, Gainesville, 273 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Morgan, G.S. 1977b. Late Pleistocene fossil vertebrates from the Cayman Islands, British West Indies. Florida Sci., 40(Suppl. 1): 21(Abstract).Google Scholar
  51. Morgan, G.S. 1985. Taxonomic status and relationships of the Swan Island hutia, Geocapromys thoracatus (Mammalia: Rodentia: Capromyidae) and the zoogeography of the Swan Islands vertebrate fauna. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 98: 29–46.Google Scholar
  52. Morgan, G.S. 1989a. Fossil Chiroptera and Rodentia from the Bahamas, and the historical biogeography of the Bahamian mammal fauna. In: C.A. Woods (ed.) Biogeography of the West Indies: Past, Present, and Future, pp. 685–740. Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.Google Scholar
  53. Morgan, G.S. 1989b. Geocapromys thoracatus. Mammalian Species. Amer. Soc. Mammal. 341: 1–5.Google Scholar
  54. Morgan, G.S. 1991. Neotropical Chiroptera from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of Florida. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 206: 176–213.Google Scholar
  55. Morgan, G.S. and Patton, T.H. 1979. On the occurrence of Crocodylus (Reptilia, Crocodilidae) in the Cayman Islands, British West Indies. J. Herp. 13: 289–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Morgan, G.S. and Woods, C.A. 1986. Extinction and the zoogeography of West Indian land mammals. Biol. J. Linnean Soc. 28: 167–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Morgan, G.S., Ray, C.E. and Arredondo, O. 1980; A giant extinct insectivore from Cuba (Mammalia: Insectivora: Solenodontidae). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 93: 597–608.Google Scholar
  58. Morgan, G.S., Franz, R. and Crombie, R.I. (1993) The Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer, from Late Quaternary fossil deposits on Grand Cayman. Caribbean J. Sci. 29(3–4): 153–164.Google Scholar
  59. Moyne, W.E.G. 1938. Atlantic Circle. Blackie and Sons Ltd., London and Glasgow.Google Scholar
  60. Olson, S.L. and Hilgartner, W.B. 1982. Fossil and subfossil birds from the Bahamas. In: S.L. Olson (ed.) Fossil Vertebrates from the Bahamas. Smithsonian Contrib. Paleobiol. 48: 22–56.Google Scholar
  61. Olson, S.L. and Steadman, D.W. 1977. A new genus of flightless ibis (Threskiornithidae) and other fossil birds from cave deposits in Jamaica. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 90: 447–457.Google Scholar
  62. Ottenwalder, J.A. and Genoways, H.H. 1982. Systematic review of the Antillean bats of the Natalus micropus-complex (Chiroptera: Natalidae). Ann. Carnegie Mus. Nat. Hist. 51: 17–38.Google Scholar
  63. Patton, T.H. 1966. Occurrence of fossil vertebrates on Cayman Brac, B.W.I. Caribbean J. Sci. 6(3-4): 181.Google Scholar
  64. Perfit, M.R. and Heezen, B.C. 1978. The geology and evolution of the Cayman Trench: Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer. 89: 1155–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Peterson, O.A. 1917. Report on the fossil material collected in 1913 by the Messrs. Link in a cave on the Isle of Pines. Ann. Carnegie Mus. 11: 359–361.Google Scholar
  66. Pregill, G.K. 1981. Late Pleistocene herpetofaunas from Puerto Rico. Misc. Publ. Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist. 71: 1–72.Google Scholar
  67. Pregill, G.K. 1982. Fossil amphibians and reptiles from New Providence Island, Bahamas. In: S.L. Olson (ed.) Fossil Vertebrates from the Bahamas. Smithsonian Contrib. Paleobiol. 48: 8–21.Google Scholar
  68. Pregill, G.K., Crombie, R.I, Steadman, D.W, Gordon, L.K., Davis, F.W. and Hilgartner, W.B. 1991. Living and late Holocene fossil vertebrates, and the vegetation of the Cockpit Country, Jamaica. Atoll Res. Bull. 353: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pregill, G.K. and Olson, S.L. 1981. Zoogeography of West Indian vertebrates in relation to Pleistocene climatic cycles. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 12: 75–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Richards, H.G. 1955. The geological history of the Cayman Islands. Notulae Naturae 285: 1–11.Google Scholar
  71. Rosen, D.E. 1975. A vicariance model of Caribbean zoogeography. Syst. Zool. 24: 431–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schwartz, A. and Carey, W.M. 1977. Systematics and evolution in the West Indian iguanid genus Cyclura. Studies on the Fauna of Curacao and other Caribbean Islands 173: 15–97.Google Scholar
  73. Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R.W. 1985. West Indian amphibians and reptiles: a check-list. Milwaukee Publ. Mus., Contrib. Biol. & Geol. 74: 1–264.Google Scholar
  74. Schwartz, A. and Thomas, R. 1975. A check-list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Mus. Nat. Hist., Spec. Publ. 1: 1–216.Google Scholar
  75. Seidel, M. 1988. Revision of the West Indian emydid turtles (Testudines). Amer. Mus. Novitates 2918: 1–41.Google Scholar
  76. Silva Taboada, G. 1974. Fossil Chiroptera from cave deposits in central Cuba, with description of two new species (genera Pteronotus and Mormoops) and the first West Indian record of Mormoops megalophylla. Acta. Zool. Cracoviensia 19(3): 33–73.Google Scholar
  77. Silva Taboada, G. 1979. Los Murciélagos de Cuba. Editorial Academia, Habana, Cuba.Google Scholar
  78. Silva Taboada, G. and Pine, R.H. 1969. Morphological and behavioral evidence for the relationship between the bat genus Brachyphylla and the Phyllonycterinae. Biotropica 1: 10–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Steadman, D.W. and Morgan, G.S. 1985. A new species of bullfinch (Aves: Emberizinae) from a Late Quaternary cave deposit on Cayman Brac, West Indies. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 98: 544–553.Google Scholar
  80. Steadman, D.W., Pregill, G.K. and Olson, S.L. 1984. Fossil vertebrates from Antigua, Lesser Antilles: evidence for late Holocene human-caused extinctions in the West Indies. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 81: 4448–4451.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Terbourgh, J. 1971. Chance, habitat, and dispersal in the distribution of birds in the West Indies. Evolution 27: 338–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Thomas, R. 1963. Cayman Islands Tropidophis (Reptilia: Serpentes). Mus. Comp. Zool., Breviora 195: 1–8.Google Scholar
  83. Thomas, R. 1968. The Typhlops biminiensis group of Antillean blind snakes. Copeia 1968: 713–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Varona, L.S. 1966. Notas sobre los crocodílidos de Cuba y description de una nueva especie del Pleistoceno. Poeyana 16: 1–34.Google Scholar
  85. Varona, L.S. 1974. Catalogo de los Mamiferos Vivientes y Extinguidos de las Antillas. Acad. Cien. Cuba, Habana, Cuba.Google Scholar
  86. Varona, L.S. 1984. Los cocodrilos fosiles de Cuba (Reptilia: Crocodylidae). Caribbean J. Sci. 20(1-2): 13–18.Google Scholar
  87. Varona, L.S. and Arredondo, 0.1979. Nuevos taxones fosiles de Capromyidae (Rodentia: Caviomorpha). Poeyana 195: 1–51.Google Scholar
  88. Walker, E.P. 1975. Mammals of the World, 3rd ed. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore and London.Google Scholar
  89. Wallace, G.J. 1948. The barn owl in Michigan. Michigan St. Coli. Agric. Exper. Station, Tech. Bull. 208: 1–61.Google Scholar
  90. Westerman, J.H. 1953. Nature preservation in the Caribbean. Found. Sci. Res. Surinam and Netherlands Antilles, Utrecht, Publ. 9: 1–106.Google Scholar
  91. Wetmore, A. 1920. Five new species of birds from cave deposits in Porto Rico. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 33: 77–81.Google Scholar
  92. Wetmore, A. 1922a. Remains of birds from caves in the Republic of Haiti. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 74(4): 1–4.Google Scholar
  93. Wetmore, A. 1922b. Bird remains from the caves of Porto Rico. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 46(4): 297–333.Google Scholar
  94. Wetmore, A. 1937. Bird remains from cave deposits on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 80(12): 427–444.Google Scholar
  95. Wetmore, A. 1962. Notes on fossil and subfossil birds. V. Bones of birds from Cockroach Island, Bermuda. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 145(2): 15–17.Google Scholar
  96. Wetmore, A. and Swales, B.H. 1931. The birds of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 155: 1–483.Google Scholar
  97. Woodroffe, C.D. Stoddart, D.R., Harmon, R.S. and Spencer, T. 1983. Coastal morphology and Late Quaternary history, Cayman Islands, West Indies. Quat. Res. 19: 64–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. S. Morgan

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations