A New Eastern Limit of the Pacific Flying Fox, Pteropus tonganus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae), in Prehistoric Polynesia: A Case of Possible Human Transport and Extirpation
- Pacific Science
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 60, Number 3, July 2006
- pp. 403-411
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Five bones, representing one adult of the Pacific Flying Fox, Pteropus tonganus, were recovered from an archaeological site on Rurutu (151° 21' W, 22 27° S), Austral Islands, French Polynesia, making this the most eastern extension of the species. For the first time, flying fox bones from cultural deposits were directly dated by accelerator mass spectrometry, yielding an age of death between A.D. 1064 and 1155. Their stratigraphic position in an Archaic period archaeological site and the absence of bones in the late prehistoric to historic layers point to extirpation of the species. No flying fox bones were found in prehuman deposits and human transport of the species cannot be ruled out.