Date : 11 April 2017 (Tuesday)

Time : 2.00 pm  – 4.00 pm

Place : Auditorium PSNZ, UMT

Speaker : Research Associate (Vertebrate Palaeontology) at Museum of Zoology, Universiti Malaya andFellow, Museum of Sarawak (Zoo-archaeology)

Title : Solving the Old Puzzles : A Fossil View of Quaternary Mammal Biogeography of Peninsular Malaysia

Synopsis : Present-day Peninsular Malaysia has a highly diverse mammal fauna typical of the Indomalayan biogeographic region. The past evolutionary history, as revealed through the fossil record, of this unique fauna, with its many species adapted to tropical rain forest environment, is poorly understood and unevenly documented across the peninsula. A series of ongoing surveys of caves and rock shelters in limestone hills at different geographical areas has uncovered fossils from unexpectedly rich and varied prehistoric mammal communities hitherto rarely reported from Peninsular Malaysia. Many of the mammal fossils represent species that are still living in Peninsular Malaysia, while others are locally extinct and only known to exist in limited areas in other parts of Southeast Asia, such as Orangutan (Pongo sp.) and the Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus). Reliable geochemical chronological datings firmly pinned these fossil sites to the Middle Pleistocene (781,000 to 126,000 years ago) and the Late Pleistocene (126,000 to 10,000 years ago) periods. In combination with the zooarchaeological records from the many archaeological sites in Peninsular Malaysia, the current findings can enrich our understanding of the dynamic history of modern-day fauna. In this talk, particular emphasis will be placed on evaluating the palaeo-diversity and biogeographic distribution patterns of certain species against the climatic and geographical vicissitudes experienced by this part of Southeast Asia during the Quaternary period. Opportunities and challenges for future productive research in the country will be discussed, especially in the context of the State of Terengganu. A selection of mammal fossils will also be put on display during the talk.

The talk was organized by Kenyir Research Institute with School of Marine Science and Environment (PPSMS) under the Wildlife Management Course (BDV3701).