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Human Biogeography$
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Alexander Harcourt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520272118

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520272118.001.0001

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Use of Area

Use of Area

(p.155) 6 Use of Area
Human Biogeography

Alexander H. Harcourt

University of California Press

Large-bodied animal species tend to become smaller on islands, so the Flores "hobbit" fits biogeographical patterns. The fact that no other species of primate lived on Flores at the same time as did the "hobbit" fits another pattern, namely that islands have fewer species than do areas of the same size on neighboring mainlands. Islands farther from mainlands have fewer species than those closer. In humans that pattern is evident in how long it took for us to reach the distant Pacific islands. We arrived in Hawaii, for example, less than two thousand years ago. Diseases also are probably rarer on islands than on mainlands, but we seem to know little about the effect of island living on incidence of diseases.

Keywords:   area, body size, culture, disease, diversity, Flores, hobbit, islands, malaria

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