Prehistoric Extinctions of Pacific Island Birds: Biodiversity Meets Archaeozoology
|Title||Prehistoric Extinctions of Pacific Island Birds: Biodiversity Meets Archaeozoology|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1995|
|Keywords||anthropology biology paleontology|
On tropical Pacific islands, a human-caused "biodiversity crisis" began thousands of years ago and has nearly run its course. Bones identified from archaeological sites show that most species of land birds and populations of seabirds on those islands were exterminated by prehistoric human activities. The loss of birdlife in the tropical Pacific may exceed 2000 species (a majority of which were species of flightless rails) and thus represents a 20 percent worldwide reduction in the number of species of birds. The current global extinction crisis therefore has historic precedent.