The present work reports the first Quaternary specimen of the Guadeloupe big-eyed bat Chiroderma improvisum represented by a left mandible fragment collected from a pre-Columbian midden on Marie-Galante in the Lesser Antilles. The subfossil material was identified based on the description of the morphology of the mandible and lower molar of modern C. improvisum specimens and a comparison with other previously described Chiroderma species. In addition to being the first documented occurrence of C. improvisum on Marie-Galante, it extends the known geographic distribution of this species further south and increases the number of bat species extirpated from the island. A series of associated radiocarbon dates reliably places the last occurrence of this species to between the 11th and 13th centuries, suggesting that some local bat extinctions occurred during the historical period. In addition, a review of bat remains from archaeological contexts in the Eastern Caribbean allows to discuss the possible consumption of bats by indigenous peoples, as well as to stress the potential limitations of the archaeological record for reconstructing past bat communities in this region.
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Vol. 21 • No. 2