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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Revisiting the Foraging Ecology and Extinction History of Two Endemic Vertebrates from Tenerife, Canary Islands

1
University of Cincinnati, Departments of Geology and Anthropology, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA
2
University of Cincinnati, Department of Geology, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221, USA
3
Salt Lake Community College, Division of Natural Sciences, Salt Lake City, UT 84123, USA
4
Universidad de La Laguna, Departamento de Biología Animal, Edafología y Geología, 38200 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010010
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
We used carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes to examine the foraging ecology of Tenerife giant rats (Canariomys bravoi) and lizards (Gallotia goliath) in northwestern Tenerife, which until recently, were the island’s largest terrestrial vertebrates. We combined new isotope data for 28 C. bravoi and 14 G. goliath with published regional data for both species and then compared these with data for co-occurring extant taxa and modern C3 plants. Isotope data suggest both extinct species relied primarily on C3 resources and were trophic omnivores. However, the two species appear to have partitioned their resources when living in sympatry. Isotopic overlap between C. bravoi and Rattus spp., and between G. goliath, extant Gallotia galloti, and introduced rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) suggests reliance on similar foods. We radiocarbon dated four C. bravoi and two G. goliath with the most extreme isotope values. These new dates do not settle the question of what triggered the demise of either species. Nevertheless, the data are most consistent with anthropogenically-induced extinction. Temporal isotopic trends contradict expectations if regional climate were responsible, and confidence intervals for radiocarbon dates suggest it is highly likely that both species were present when humans first settled the island. View Full-Text
Keywords: Canary Islands; Canariomys bravoi; Gallotia goliath; carbon isotopes; nitrogen isotopes; bone collagen; radiocarbon date; Cueva del Viento; Icod; Buenavista del Norte Canary Islands; Canariomys bravoi; Gallotia goliath; carbon isotopes; nitrogen isotopes; bone collagen; radiocarbon date; Cueva del Viento; Icod; Buenavista del Norte
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Crowley, B.E.; Yanes, Y.; Mosher, S.G.; Rando, J.C. Revisiting the Foraging Ecology and Extinction History of Two Endemic Vertebrates from Tenerife, Canary Islands. Quaternary 2019, 2, 10.

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