Branch Talk: Fossil orangutan and other prehistoric mammals of Peninsular Malaysia

Date: 6th September 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 2.30 P.M
Location: Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Auditorium
Click on this link for the map:
Registration: Please reserve your seat by registration with Non-members are welcome.

As a follow up to this talk, a visit to the UM Museum of Zoology will be organised on 20th September 2014. More details here:

We have animal fossils here in Peninsular Malaysia??? Strange as it seems to be but this is one of the most common responses we get from the general public when asked about fossil finds in our country.

Recent studies on local limestone caves have revealed a rich diversity of mammal fossils rarely reported from Peninsular Malaysia. Many a time, such studies were initiated by mere casual walks into some inconspicuous caves hardly promising at first glance to any potential fossil hunter.

A great majority of the animal remains belonged to species that are still living in Peninsular Malaysia, others were long extinct and are now only found in certain areas within Southeast Asia.

One striking example is the orangutan, which is now confined to certain areas in northern Sumatra and Borneo. The discovery of orangutan fossils in Peninsular Malaysia represents a significant distribution range extension for this primate species during prehistoric times.

For the first time, with the undisputed fossils literally in hand as tangible hard evidence, the evolutionary histories of many of the modern mammal species that are highly characteristic of the country (for example, Serow, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Sun Bear and many more) can now be certainly extended back into the geological epoch known as the Pleistocene (2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago), or informally known as the Ice Age.

Speaker's Profile:
Lim Tze Tshen, with an academic background in biology and zoology, is a Research Assistant in vertebrate palaeontology attached to the Museum of Zoology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya. He specializes in vertebrate fossil research and has a deep interest in wildlife conservation and natural habitat protection in Southeast Asia. He had made extensive studies on biological specimens from collections in foreign and local museums and professional institutions. He had been to many remote places in China, including Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang in search of dinosaur fossils in collaboration with colleagues from mainland China and the United States. His present research interests focus on mammal fossils and limestone cave ecological studies in Southeast Asia. Lim also maintains a strong interest in linking distributional information (both prehistorical and modern) of mammals with conservation biology and palaeoecological reconstructions of Southeast Asia.

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