|Scientific Name:||Hippopotamus lemerlei|
|Species Authority:||Grandidier in Milne-Edwards, 1868|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Two dwarfed hippopotami were created from sub-fossil remains in Madagascar: Hippopotamus lemerlei and Hippopotamus madagascariensis. In a critical contribution, Stuenes (1989) thoroughly described the morphological differences between these species and provided detailed diagnoses. The origin of these species remains uncertain: they are generally seen as deriving from continental species of Hippopotamus, maybe from Hippopotamus amphibius. A third extinct Madagascan species, Hippopotamus laloumena, was proposed by Faure and Guérin (1990) on limited evidence. Its dissimilarity from Hippopotamus amphibius needs to be clarified. It may represent evidence for sporadic Mozambique Channel crossing by individuals of the extant large species during the Holocene, including since the European colonization of Madagascar (Burney et al. 2004).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Extinct ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Lewison, R., Oliver, W. ( Pig, Peccary & Hippo Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)|
Madagascan hippopotami may have survived until recent times (MacPhee and Flemming 1999), notably on the basis of local oral tradition, but is now clearly extinct.
|Range Description:||Hippopotamus lemerlei is mostly known from southern localities of coastal to lowland Madagascar (see a list of locality in Stuenes 1989). Last appearance datum of Madagascan dwarf hippopotamids remains uncertain. Most recent dates were provided through 14C dating and indicate ca. 1000 AD (Dewar 1984; Burney et al. 2004). However, MacPhee and Flemming (1999) proposed it as recent on the basis of local oral tradition (Flacourt 1661; and see Burney and Ramilisonina 1999) and possible younger age of some localities. However, this may only reflect sporadic occurrence of Hippopotamus amphibius.|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||This species is now extinct.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Stuenes (1989) indicated that Hippopotamus lemerlei was probably well adapted to the amphibious way of life observed in the extant Hippopotamus amphibius. She based her conclusion notably on the relatively prominent orbits and developed muzzle of this species. In terms of diet, cranio-mandibular morphology may also indicate similarity with Hip. amphibius (Stuenes 1989), i.e. a diet mainly based on fresh grass. Overall, Hippopotamus lemerlei seems to have been a dweller of freshwater rivers crossing the lowlands of Madagascar.|
|Major Threat(s):||Island dwarf hippopotamids were probably easy preys for human hunters. This may have lead to their quick extinction in the Mediterranean (Simmons 1988). The same impact from human hunters may have been effective in at least accelerating extinction of Madagascan hippopotamids. MacPhee and Burney (1991) indicate evidence for hippopotamid butchery in south-western Madagascar as early as the 1st century AD. Co-occurrence of humans and hippopotamids on Madagascar, therefore, lasted for at minimum of 1,000 years. How much humans have contributed to this extinction is yet to be determined.|
|Conservation Actions:||This species is now extinct.|
Burney, D. A. and Ramilisonina. 1999. The kilopilopitsofy, kidoky, and bokyboky: accounts of strange animals from Belo-Sur-Mer, Madagascar, and the megafaunal extinction window. American Anthropologist 100: 957-966.
Burney, D. A., Pigott, B. L., Godfrey, L. R., Jungers, W. L., Goodmane, S. M., Wright, H. T. and Jull, A. J. T. 2004. A chronology for late prehistoric Madagascar. Journal of Human Evolution: 25-63.
Dewar, R. E. 1984. Extinctions in Madagascar. The loss of the subfossil fauna. In: P. S. Martin and R. G. Klein (eds), Quaternary extinctions. A prehistoric revolution, pp. 574-593. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ, USA.
Faure, M. and Guérin, C. 1990. Hippopotamus laloumena nov. sp., la troisième espèce d'hippopotame holocène de Madagascar. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences 310: 1299-1305.
Flacourt, E. 1661. Histoire de la grande isle de Madagascar. Pierre L'Amy, Paris, France.
MacPhee, R. D. E. and Burney, D. A. 1991. Dating of modified femora of extinct dwarf hippopotamus from southern Madagascar: implications for constraining human colonization and vertebrate extinction events. Journal of Archaeological Science 18: 695-706.
MacPhee, R. D. E. and Flemming, C. 1999. Requiem Aeternam. The last five hundred years of mammalian extinctions. In: R. D. E. MacPhee (ed.), Extinctions in Near Time, pp. 333-371. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, USA.
Simmons, A. H. 1988. Extinct pigmy hippopotamus and early man in Cyprus. Nature 333: 554-557.
Stuenes, S. 1989. Taxonomy, habits, and relationships of the subfossil Madagascan hippopotami Hippopotamus lemerlei and H. madagascariensis. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 9(3): 241-268.
|Citation:||Boisserie, J.-R. 2008. Hippopotamus lemerlei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 June 2013.|