Abstract # 6143 Event # 230:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015 10:30 AM-10:45 AM: (Cascade H) Oral Presentation


GIANT AYE-AYE (DAUBENTONIA ROBUSTA) PALEOECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHIC RANGE – A PROXY FOR MODERN AYE-AYE CONSERVATION

C. D. Pilbro1 and A. E. Darke2
11780 East University Avenue, Anthropology Department, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003, USA, 2Undergraduate Student in the Department of Anthropology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
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     The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a highly derived Lemuriform that has developed rodent-like incisors, modified ear structures, and specialized phalanges/metacarpals. It is the world’s largest extant nocturnal primate. The only known extinct member of the family Daubentoniidae is D. robusta (the “giant aye-aye”). Fossil incisors and postcranial specimens of D. robusta have been discovered from southwest Madagascar in Lamboharana, Anavoha, Tsirave, and the sinkhole in Ankilitelo. A partial tibia was reported from Ampasambazimba (in central Madagascar). It would appear that D. robusta had a much larger paleogeographic range than modern D. madagascariensis: including all of the southwest and the Central Highlands. Morphologically, the giant aye-aye was merely a larger, 10 kg version of the modern form. Dental microwear and skeletal comparisons between the two species show similar food, and likely, ecological niche space usage between the two species. D. robusta became extinct within the last 1,000 years. Skeletal morphology also suggests similarities with extinct Indriidae that also suffered anthropogenicly caused extinction within the last millennia. Modern aye-ayes geographic range has been shrinking due to anthropogenic causes. Detailed geological mapping of the known fossil localities will provide a temporal component to compare range areas over time. The giant aye-aye is a useful proxy for conservation efforts of its modern descendent. It is vitally important to understand paleo-range-dispersal to aid in conservation of this highly endangered species.