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Evolution of Environments and Mammalian Fauna of East Asia

Major Publications

  1. Jablonski, N.G. (2004) The hippo’s tale: How the anatomy, physiology and dietary preference of Late Neogene Hexaprotodon shed light on Late Neogene environmental change. Quat. Int. 117:119-124.
  2. Rutter, N., Jablonski, N.G., Ferguson, D.F., and Yim, W.Y.S., Eds., (2004) CEAPE: 5th International Conference on the Cenozoic Evolution of the Asia-Pacific Environment. Quat. Int., volume 117.
  3. Jablonski, N.G., Ji, X.-P., Chaplin, G., Wang, L.-R., Yang, S.-Y., Li, Z.-C., and Li, G.-H. (2003) A Preliminary report on new and previously known vertebrate paleontological sites in Baoshan Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54:209-224.
  4. Jablonski, N.G. and Whitfort, M. J. (1999) Environmental change during the Quaternary in East Asia and its consequences for mammals. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement No. 57, pp. 307-315.
  5. Jablonski, N.G. (1998) The response of catarrhine primates to Pleistocene environmental fluctuations in East Asia. Primates 39:29-37.
  6. Jablonski, N.G. (1997) The relevance of environmental change and primate life histories to the problem of hominid evolution in east Asia. In: Jablonski, N.G. (ed.) The Changing Face of East Asia During the Tertiary and Quaternary. Hong Kong, Centre of Asian Studies (The University of Hong Kong), Occasional Papers and Monograph No. 124, pp. 462-475.
  7. Jablonski, N.G., ed. (1997) The Changing Face of East Asia Since the Mid-Tertiary. Hong Kong, Centre of Asian Studies (The University of Hong Kong), Occasional Papers and Monograph No. 124.
  8. Jablonski, N.G. (1993) Quaternary environments and the evolution of primates in Eurasia, with notes on two new specimens of fossil Cercopithecidae from China. Fol. Primatol. 60:118-132.
  9. Jablonski, N.G. (1993) Evolving Landscapes and Evolving Biotas of East Asia Since the Mid-Tertiary. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Evolution of the East Asian Environment, Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, 236 pp.

Key Publication

Jablonski, Nina G., Matthew J. Whitfort, Nola Roberts-Smith and Xu Qinqi. 2002. The influence of life history and diet on the distribution of catarrhine primates during the Pleistocene in eastern Asia. Journal of Human Evolution 39(2):131-157.


Environmental changes during the Pleistocene in eastern Asia had profound impacts on the distributions of mammalian groups. Critical for many mammals were the southward latitudinal shifts of the tropical and subtropical vegetational zones, and decreases in the areas of these zones. Examination of the responses of members of a single clade, the Catarrhini, indicates that the main catarrhine genera of eastern Asia responded individually to the environmental changes in the Pleistocene. These responses were influenced by the life history parameters and diets of the genera involved. Those animals (macaques, langurs) with shorter gestation times, shorter weaning periods, shorter interbirth intervals, higher intrinsic rates of increase of population, and abilities to survive on a wider variety of vegetation in seasonal habitats were less adversely affected than those (gibbons, orangutans and the giant extinct hominoid, Gigantopithecus) with more protracted reproductive schedules, lower intrinsic rates of population increase and preferences for the higher quality foods (especially ripe fruits) of less seasonal environments. Hominids, while displaying "hyper-ape" life history parameters, increasingly overcame the constraints of these parameters through extrasomatic means not available to other catarrhines. This ability made possible their colonization, by the Late Pleistocene, of highly seasonal habitats such as tundra, which were off-limits to non-culture-bearing catarrhines.

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