Past elevations of land, however (and doubtless equally great subsidences) have taken place in South America since the Eocene, and the conclusion that extensive areas of land have subsided in the Indian Ocean has long been based on a somewhat similar distribution of giant tortoises in the Mascarene region.
The Malagasy province comprises, besides Madagascar, the Mascarene, Comoro and Seychelle islands.
The flora and also (though to a less degree) the fauna present not only Asian and Central African affinities, but, what is more interesting, Mascarene, South African and Antipodean-American relationships, indicating a very different distribution of land and water and necessitating other bridges of communication than now exist.
Would run into the larger Mascarene Islands.
The Antipodean-American element in the Sokotran flora probably arrived via the Mascarene Islands or South Africa from a former Antarctic continent.
In common with the other Mascarene islands, it was the home of the dodo (Didus ineptus); there were also A phanapteryx, a species of rail, and a shortwinged heron (Ardea megacephala), which probably seldom flew.
"The Mascarene Islands," in ch.
MASCARENE ISLANDS (occasionally Mascarenhas), the collective title of a group in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, viz.
The 2000fathom line approaches close to the coast except (I) in the Bay of Bengal, which it does not enter; (2) to the south-west of India along a ridge on which are the Laccadive and Maldive Islands; and (3) in the Mozambique Channel, and on a bank north and east of Madagascar, on which are the Seychelles, Mascarene Islands and other groups.
This fact is probably due partly to the actual intrusion of warm water from the Mascarene current east of Madagascar, and partly to the circumstance that the different temperatures of the waters are so compensated by their differences of salinity that they have almost precisely the same specific gravity in situ.