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Darkness at Noon: Prehumans, Humans and the Collapse of Island Faunas
The land areas worst affected by terrestrial extinctions during the past 1 million years are islands. Almost all islands that humans have historically inhabited have suffered major losses---some up to 100% of insular representatives of certain groups, such as land mammals. This talk will present a global survey of vertebrate extinctions on islands since the appearance of anatomically modern people, with an emphasis on apparent causation.

Jun 25, 2021 05:30 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Ross MacPhee
Senior curator in residence in the Department of Mammalogy @American Museum of Natural History
Ross MacPhee is senior curator in residence in the Department of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has worked since 1988. Ross received his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in 1977 and was previously Associate Professor of Anatomy at Duke University Medical Center. He has worked in both polar regions as well as throughout the insular tropics, collecting fossil mammals ranging in age from Cretaceous to Recent. Known for his paleomammalogical research on island extinctions, his recent work has focused on how extinctions occur, particularly those in which humans are thought to have been implicated. In recent years he has been working with geneticists and molecular biologists to develop the new tools of ancient DNA and paleoproteomics as a means for studying the relationships of extinct mammals. In addition to having published more than 200 scientific papers, he recently wrote a popular work on ice age extinctions, End of the Megabeasts (WW Norton, 2019).