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In Southeast Asia, stegodons are remarkable for being one of only a few large-bodied species to be relatively common in the fossil record of both small and large islands (Van den Bergh, 1999).
Moreover, the occurrence of stegodons on islands that have never been connected to continents means they were commonly the only large- or medium-sized mammals to inhabit these until the later arrival of anatomically modern humans.
Genetic and geographic isolation of stegodon populations resulted in dwarfing, speciation, and extinctions, with these processes playing out on different islands at different times (Van den Bergh, 1999; Van der Geer et al., 2010).
They are a charismatic Asian example of the ‘island rule’: the ecological processes proposed to explain the phenomenon by which large-bodied insular animals become smaller than mainland forms, and small-bodied animals become larger (Foster, 1964; Lomolino et al., 2013).
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