Julien Claude Louys

Grant Type

Conference Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Australian National U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-734

Approve Date

September 1, 2016

Project Title

Louys, Dr. Julien, Australian National U., Acton, Australia - To aid workshop on 'First Contact: Impact of Pleistocene Hominins on Island Ecosystems,' 2017, Australian National U., in collaboration with Dr. Susan O'Connor

Preliminary abstract: Islands represent unique ecosystems which are highly vulnerable to environmental disturbances, invasions, and natural disasters. Evidence of Pleistocene hominins (including anatomically modern humans) on islands is rare and largely restricted to a few islands in East and Southeast Asia, California, and the Mediterranean. These records are often examined in geographical isolation, and as such our understanding of the global impacts of pre-Neolithic cultural practices, subsistence strategies, and technologies on island ecosystems is patchy at best. This contrasts markedly with Holocene records, where several famous cases (e.g. Madagascar, New Zealand) indicate widespread extinctions of endemic faunas closely following human arrival. The aim of this workshop is to critically evaluate the archaeological and palaeontological records of Pleistocene hominins on islands in an effort to determine what impacts they had on insular ecosystems. It will bring together researchers from around the world, specialising on the archaeological and palaeontological records of specific islands, to compare chronologies of hominin arrival, available technologies, ecological and geological events, the records of extinctions, and potential pre-Neolithic introductions of invasive species. It will address the fundamental question of whether island overkill is a phenomenon restricted to post-Neolithic populations, or has always been a characteristic impact of hominin species.