Past environmental change on Mauritius: Unknown macro-fossils

December 18, 2015
WDG

Unknown macro-fossil JdK-type2

Unknown macro-fossil JdK-type2

Past environmental change on Mauritius has been the focus of research with the Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology group at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) for a number of years. This research has been lead by Erik de Boer and Henry Hooghiemstra and has already resulted in a number of key publications on the environmental history of the island (de Boer et al., 2013, 2014, 2015). One current past environmental change research project working on Mauritius is being undertaken by Jona de Krui; a student within the UvA BSc Biology program supervised by myself and Erik. Jona’s is working on a study site (modern day swamp) on the north-east of the island and is focused on improving our understanding changes in the:

  • depositional environment (loss-on-ignition analysis),
  • fire activity (macro-charcoal analysis), and
  • vegetation (macro-fossils) over the last c. 1000 years.

Jona has now completed the analysis of all his samples and we are currently collating the data sets; however, a number of the macro-fossils which he has discovered remain unidentified. Below are images of the unknown macro-fossils if you have any suggestions on identifications please comment, or get in touch directly.

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The resilient Dodo

April 6, 2015
erikjdeboer

Picture 1: Mare aux Songes

Picture 1: Mare aux Songes

The extinction of the Dodo is an iconic example of the detrimental impact humans can have on their environment. Because so little is known about this enigmatic flightless bird, we gave it an image of an infinitely silly and ungainly creature. This image has been taken to full advantage by film studios Aardman (Pirates), Disney (Alice in Wonderland), and Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age). Recent scientific publications however show the dodo in a completely different light (Hume 2012; Winters et al. 2014). In the May edition of The Holocene we discuss how the Dodo was well-equipped to the tough challenges it faced in its natural environment.

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