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Abstract

Neither geologists nor biologists have a definition that is capable of classifying Madagascar unambiguously as an island or a continent; nor can they incorporate Malagasy natural history into a single model rooted in Africa or Asia. Madagascar is a microcosm of the larger continents, with a rock record that spans more than 3000 million years (Ma), during which it has been united episodically with, and divorced from, Asian and African connections. This is reflected in its Precambrian history of deep crustal tectonics and a Phanerozoic history of biodiversity that fluctuated between cosmopolitanism and parochialism. Both vicariance and dispersal events over the past 90 Ma have blended a unique endemism on Madagascar, now in decline following rapid extinctions that started about 2000 years ago.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.earth.31.100901.141337
2003-05-01
2024-04-24
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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