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Sample records for american mammal extinction

  1. Quantifying the Extent of North American Mammal Extinction Relative to the Pre-Anthropogenic Baseline

    PubMed Central

    Carrasco, Marc A.; Barnosky, Anthony D.; Graham, Russell W.

    2009-01-01

    Earth has experienced five major extinction events in the past 450 million years. Many scientists suggest we are now witnessing a sixth, driven by human impacts. However, it has been difficult to quantify the real extent of the current extinction episode, either for a given taxonomic group at the continental scale or for the worldwide biota, largely because comparisons of pre-anthropogenic and anthropogenic biodiversity baselines have been unavailable. Here, we compute those baselines for mammals of temperate North America, using a sampling-standardized rich fossil record to reconstruct species-area relationships for a series of time slices ranging from 30 million to 500 years ago. We show that shortly after humans first arrived in North America, mammalian diversity dropped to become at least 15%–42% too low compared to the “normal” diversity baseline that had existed for millions of years. While the Holocene reduction in North American mammal diversity has long been recognized qualitatively, our results provide a quantitative measure that clarifies how significant the diversity reduction actually was. If mass extinctions are defined as loss of at least 75% of species on a global scale, our data suggest that North American mammals had already progressed one-fifth to more than halfway (depending on biogeographic province) towards that benchmark, even before industrialized society began to affect them. Data currently are not available to make similar quantitative estimates for other continents, but qualitative declines in Holocene mammal diversity are also widely recognized in South America, Eurasia, and Australia. Extending our methodology to mammals in these areas, as well as to other taxa where possible, would provide a reasonable way to assess the magnitude of global extinction, the biodiversity impact of extinctions of currently threatened species, and the efficacy of conservation efforts into the future. PMID:20016820

  2. Quantifying the extent of North American mammal extinction relative to the pre-anthropogenic baseline.

    PubMed

    Carrasco, Marc A; Barnosky, Anthony D; Graham, Russell W

    2009-12-16

    Earth has experienced five major extinction events in the past 450 million years. Many scientists suggest we are now witnessing a sixth, driven by human impacts. However, it has been difficult to quantify the real extent of the current extinction episode, either for a given taxonomic group at the continental scale or for the worldwide biota, largely because comparisons of pre-anthropogenic and anthropogenic biodiversity baselines have been unavailable. Here, we compute those baselines for mammals of temperate North America, using a sampling-standardized rich fossil record to reconstruct species-area relationships for a series of time slices ranging from 30 million to 500 years ago. We show that shortly after humans first arrived in North America, mammalian diversity dropped to become at least 15%-42% too low compared to the "normal" diversity baseline that had existed for millions of years. While the Holocene reduction in North American mammal diversity has long been recognized qualitatively, our results provide a quantitative measure that clarifies how significant the diversity reduction actually was. If mass extinctions are defined as loss of at least 75% of species on a global scale, our data suggest that North American mammals had already progressed one-fifth to more than halfway (depending on biogeographic province) towards that benchmark, even before industrialized society began to affect them. Data currently are not available to make similar quantitative estimates for other continents, but qualitative declines in Holocene mammal diversity are also widely recognized in South America, Eurasia, and Australia. Extending our methodology to mammals in these areas, as well as to other taxa where possible, would provide a reasonable way to assess the magnitude of global extinction, the biodiversity impact of extinctions of currently threatened species, and the efficacy of conservation efforts into the future.

  3. Synchronous extinction of North America's Pleistocene mammals.

    PubMed

    Faith, J Tyler; Surovell, Todd A

    2009-12-08

    The late Pleistocene witnessed the extinction of 35 genera of North American mammals. The last appearance dates of 16 of these genera securely fall between 12,000 and 10,000 radiocarbon years ago (approximately 13,800-11,400 calendar years B.P.), although whether the absence of fossil occurrences for the remaining 19 genera from this time interval is the result of sampling error or temporally staggered extinctions is unclear. Analysis of the chronology of extinctions suggests that sampling error can explain the absence of terminal Pleistocene last appearance dates for the remaining 19 genera. The extinction chronology of North American Pleistocene mammals therefore can be characterized as a synchronous event that took place 12,000-10,000 radiocarbon years B.P. Results favor an extinction mechanism that is capable of wiping out up to 35 genera across a continent in a geologic instant.

  4. Synchronous extinction of North America's Pleistocene mammals

    PubMed Central

    Faith, J. Tyler; Surovell, Todd A.

    2009-01-01

    The late Pleistocene witnessed the extinction of 35 genera of North American mammals. The last appearance dates of 16 of these genera securely fall between 12,000 and 10,000 radiocarbon years ago (≈13,800–11,400 calendar years B.P.), although whether the absence of fossil occurrences for the remaining 19 genera from this time interval is the result of sampling error or temporally staggered extinctions is unclear. Analysis of the chronology of extinctions suggests that sampling error can explain the absence of terminal Pleistocene last appearance dates for the remaining 19 genera. The extinction chronology of North American Pleistocene mammals therefore can be characterized as a synchronous event that took place 12,000–10,000 radiocarbon years B.P. Results favor an extinction mechanism that is capable of wiping out up to 35 genera across a continent in a geologic instant. PMID:19934040

  5. Multiple ecological pathways to extinction in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Davidson, Ana D.; Hamilton, Marcus J.; Boyer, Alison G.; Brown, James H.; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2009-01-01

    As human population and resource demands continue to grow, biodiversity conservation has never been more critical. About one-quarter of all mammals are in danger of extinction, and more than half of all mammal populations are in decline. A major priority for conservation science is to understand the ecological traits that predict extinction risk and the interactions among those predictors that make certain species more vulnerable than others. Here, using a new database of nearly 4,500 mammal species, we use decision-tree models to quantify the multiple interacting factors associated with extinction risk. We show that the correlates of extinction risk vary widely across mammals and that there are unique pathways to extinction for species with different lifestyles and combinations of traits. We find that risk is relative and that all kinds of mammals, across all body sizes, can be at risk depending on their specific ecologies. Our results increase the understanding of extinction processes, generate simple rules of thumb that identify species at greatest risk, and highlight the potential of decision-tree analyses to inform conservation efforts. PMID:19528635

  6. Mammal extinctions, body size, and paleotemperature

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bown, T.M.; Holroyd, P.A.; Rose, K.D.

    1994-01-01

    There is a general inverse relationship between the natural logarithm of tooth area (a body size indicator) of some fossil mammals and paleotemperature during approximately 2.9 million years of the early Eocene in the Bighorn Basin of northwest Wyoming. When mean temperatures became warmer, tooth areas tended to become smaller. During colder times, larger species predominated; these generally became larger or remained the same size. Paleotemperature trends also markedly affected patterns of local (and, perhaps, regional) extinction and immigration. New species appeared as immigrants during or near the hottest (smaller forms) and coldest (larger forms) intervals. Paleotemperature trend reversals commonly resulted in the ultimate extinction of both small forms (during cooling intervals) and larger forms (during warming intervals). These immigrations and extinctions mark faunal turnovers that were also modulated by sharp increases in sediment accumulation rate.

  7. Unexpected evolutionary diversity in a recently extinct Caribbean mammal radiation.

    PubMed

    Brace, Selina; Turvey, Samuel T; Weksler, Marcelo; Hoogland, Menno L P; Barnes, Ian

    2015-05-22

    Identifying general patterns of colonization and radiation in island faunas is often hindered by past human-caused extinctions. The insular Caribbean is one of the only complex oceanic-type island systems colonized by land mammals, but has witnessed the globally highest level of mammalian extinction during the Holocene. Using ancient DNA analysis, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of one of the Caribbean's now-extinct major mammal groups, the insular radiation of oryzomyine rice rats. Despite the significant problems of recovering DNA from prehistoric tropical archaeological material, it was possible to identify two discrete Late Miocene colonizations of the main Lesser Antillean island chain from mainland South America by oryzomyine lineages that were only distantly related. A high level of phylogenetic diversification was observed within oryzomyines across the Lesser Antilles, even between allopatric populations on the same island bank. The timing of oryzomyine colonization is closely similar to the age of several other Caribbean vertebrate taxa, suggesting that geomorphological conditions during the Late Miocene facilitated broadly simultaneous overwater waif dispersal of many South American lineages to the Lesser Antilles. These data provide an important baseline by which to further develop the Caribbean as a unique workshop for studying island evolution.

  8. Unexpected evolutionary diversity in a recently extinct Caribbean mammal radiation

    PubMed Central

    Brace, Selina; Turvey, Samuel T.; Weksler, Marcelo; Hoogland, Menno L. P.; Barnes, Ian

    2015-01-01

    Identifying general patterns of colonization and radiation in island faunas is often hindered by past human-caused extinctions. The insular Caribbean is one of the only complex oceanic-type island systems colonized by land mammals, but has witnessed the globally highest level of mammalian extinction during the Holocene. Using ancient DNA analysis, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of one of the Caribbean's now-extinct major mammal groups, the insular radiation of oryzomyine rice rats. Despite the significant problems of recovering DNA from prehistoric tropical archaeological material, it was possible to identify two discrete Late Miocene colonizations of the main Lesser Antillean island chain from mainland South America by oryzomyine lineages that were only distantly related. A high level of phylogenetic diversification was observed within oryzomyines across the Lesser Antilles, even between allopatric populations on the same island bank. The timing of oryzomyine colonization is closely similar to the age of several other Caribbean vertebrate taxa, suggesting that geomorphological conditions during the Late Miocene facilitated broadly simultaneous overwater waif dispersal of many South American lineages to the Lesser Antilles. These data provide an important baseline by which to further develop the Caribbean as a unique workshop for studying island evolution. PMID:25904660

  9. Mammal extinctions in the Vallesian (Upper Miocene)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agusti, J.; Moya-Sola, S.

    The term Vallesian was created by Crusafont (1950) to designate the first European Mammalian palaeofaunas containing the equid Hipparion, the remainder of the faunas being composed of typical elements coming from the Middle Miocene such as Micromeryx, Euprox, Sansanosmilus, Pseudaelurus, and Listriodon. Thus, the Aragonian-Vallesian boundary does not show a strong change among European Miocene mammalian faunas (Agusti et al., 1984). On the other hand, the Lower Vallesian/Upper Vallesian transition corresponds to a major biotic crisis. This boudnary is characterized by the disappearence of most of the Aragonian artiodactyl forms such as Protragocerus, Miotragocerus, Listriodon, Hyotherium, Parachleusastochoerus, etc. Among the rodents, this crisis affects the family Eomyidae and most of the cricetid and glirid species. On the other hand, a number of eastern elements appear in the area at the same time. This is the case of the suid Schizochoerus and the murid Progonomys. Other eastern forms are Tragoportax, Graecoryx, Adcrocuta, Paramachairodus, Microstonyx, etc. Most of these are typical elements of the next Mammal stage, the Turolian. Thus, whereas the Lower Vallesian fauna has a typical Aragonian composition except for Hipparion. After the Middle Vallesian event, the Upper Vallesian faunas are already largely Turolian in character. The possible factors involved in this extinction event are discussed.

  10. Late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal extinctions on continental Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faith, J. Tyler

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the cause of late Quaternary mammal extinctions is the subject of intense debate spanning the fields of archeology and paleontology. In the global context, the losses on continental Africa have received little attention and are poorly understood. This study aims to inspire new discussion of African extinctions through a review of the extinct species and the chronology and possible causes of those extinctions. There are at least 24 large mammal (> 5 kg) species known to have disappeared from continental Africa during the late Pleistocene or Holocene, indicating a much greater taxonomic breadth than previously recognized. Among the better sampled taxa, these losses are restricted to the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene, between 13,000 and 6000 yrs ago. The African extinctions preferentially affected species that are grazers or prefer grasslands. Where good terrestrial paleoenvironmental records are present, extinctions are associated with changes in the availability, productivity, or structure of grassland habitats, suggesting that environmental changes played a decisive role in the losses. In the broader evolutionary context, these extinctions represent recent examples of selective taxonomic winnowing characterized by the loss of grassland specialists and the establishment of large mammal communities composed of more ecologically flexible taxa over the last million years. There is little reason to believe that humans played an important role in African extinctions.

  11. Bushmeat hunting and extinction risk to the world's mammals

    PubMed Central

    Abernethy, Katharine; Betts, Matthew G.; Chapron, Guillaume; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Galetti, Mauro; Levi, Taal; Lindsey, Peter A.; Macdonald, David W.; Machovina, Brian; Peres, Carlos A.; Wallach, Arian D.

    2016-01-01

    Terrestrial mammals are experiencing a massive collapse in their population sizes and geographical ranges around the world, but many of the drivers, patterns and consequences of this decline remain poorly understood. Here we provide an analysis showing that bushmeat hunting for mostly food and medicinal products is driving a global crisis whereby 301 terrestrial mammal species are threatened with extinction. Nearly all of these threatened species occur in developing countries where major coexisting threats include deforestation, agricultural expansion, human encroachment and competition with livestock. The unrelenting decline of mammals suggests many vital ecological and socio-economic services that these species provide will be lost, potentially changing ecosystems irrevocably. We discuss options and current obstacles to achieving effective conservation, alongside consequences of failure to stem such anthropogenic mammalian extirpation. We propose a multi-pronged conservation strategy to help save threatened mammals from immediate extinction and avoid a collapse of food security for hundreds of millions of people. PMID:27853564

  12. Bushmeat hunting and extinction risk to the world's mammals.

    PubMed

    Ripple, William J; Abernethy, Katharine; Betts, Matthew G; Chapron, Guillaume; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Galetti, Mauro; Levi, Taal; Lindsey, Peter A; Macdonald, David W; Machovina, Brian; Newsome, Thomas M; Peres, Carlos A; Wallach, Arian D; Wolf, Christopher; Young, Hillary

    2016-10-01

    Terrestrial mammals are experiencing a massive collapse in their population sizes and geographical ranges around the world, but many of the drivers, patterns and consequences of this decline remain poorly understood. Here we provide an analysis showing that bushmeat hunting for mostly food and medicinal products is driving a global crisis whereby 301 terrestrial mammal species are threatened with extinction. Nearly all of these threatened species occur in developing countries where major coexisting threats include deforestation, agricultural expansion, human encroachment and competition with livestock. The unrelenting decline of mammals suggests many vital ecological and socio-economic services that these species provide will be lost, potentially changing ecosystems irrevocably. We discuss options and current obstacles to achieving effective conservation, alongside consequences of failure to stem such anthropogenic mammalian extirpation. We propose a multi-pronged conservation strategy to help save threatened mammals from immediate extinction and avoid a collapse of food security for hundreds of millions of people.

  13. How global extinctions impact regional biodiversity in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Shan; Davies, T. Jonathan; Gittleman, John L.

    2012-01-01

    Phylogenetic diversity (PD) represents the evolutionary history of a species assemblage and is a valuable measure of biodiversity because it captures not only species richness but potentially also genetic and functional diversity. Preserving PD could be critical for maintaining the functional integrity of the world's ecosystems, and species extinction will have a large impact on ecosystems in areas where the ecosystem cost per species extinction is high. Here, we show that impacts from global extinctions are linked to spatial location. Using a phylogeny of all mammals, we compare regional losses of PD against a model of random extinction. At regional scales, losses differ dramatically: several biodiversity hotspots in southern Asia and Amazonia will lose an unexpectedly large proportion of PD. Global analyses may therefore underestimate the impacts of extinction on ecosystem processes and function because they occur at finer spatial scales within the context of natural biogeography. PMID:21957091

  14. Drivers and hotspots of extinction risk in marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Ana D; Boyer, Alison G; Kim, Hwahwan; Pompa-Mansilla, Sandra; Hamilton, Marcus J; Costa, Daniel P; Ceballos, Gerardo; Brown, James H

    2012-02-28

    The world's oceans are undergoing profound changes as a result of human activities. However, the consequences of escalating human impacts on marine mammal biodiversity remain poorly understood. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identifies 25% of marine mammals as at risk of extinction, but the conservation status of nearly 40% of marine mammals remains unknown due to insufficient data. Predictive models of extinction risk are crucial to informing present and future conservation needs, yet such models have not been developed for marine mammals. In this paper, we: (i) used powerful machine-learning and spatial-modeling approaches to understand the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of marine mammal extinction risk; (ii) used this information to predict risk across all marine mammals, including IUCN "Data Deficient" species; and (iii) conducted a spatially explicit assessment of these results to understand how risk is distributed across the world's oceans. Rate of offspring production was the most important predictor of risk. Additional predictors included taxonomic group, small geographic range area, and small social group size. Although the interaction of both intrinsic and extrinsic variables was important in predicting risk, overall, intrinsic traits were more important than extrinsic variables. In addition to the 32 species already on the IUCN Red List, our model identified 15 more species, suggesting that 37% of all marine mammals are at risk of extinction. Most at-risk species occur in coastal areas and in productive regions of the high seas. We identify 13 global hotspots of risk and show how they overlap with human impacts and Marine Protected Areas.

  15. Adaptive radiation of multituberculate mammals before the extinction of dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Gregory P; Evans, Alistair R; Corfe, Ian J; Smits, Peter D; Fortelius, Mikael; Jernvall, Jukka

    2012-03-14

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction approximately 66 million years ago is conventionally thought to have been a turning point in mammalian evolution. Prior to that event and for the first two-thirds of their evolutionary history, mammals were mostly confined to roles as generalized, small-bodied, nocturnal insectivores, presumably under selection pressures from dinosaurs. Release from these pressures, by extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, triggered ecological diversification of mammals. Although recent individual fossil discoveries have shown that some mammalian lineages diversified ecologically during the Mesozoic era, comprehensive ecological analyses of mammalian groups crossing the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary are lacking. Such analyses are needed because diversification analyses of living taxa allow only indirect inferences of past ecosystems. Here we show that in arguably the most evolutionarily successful clade of Mesozoic mammals, the Multituberculata, an adaptive radiation began at least 20 million years before the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs and continued across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Disparity in dental complexity, which relates to the range of diets, rose sharply in step with generic richness and disparity in body size. Moreover, maximum dental complexity and body size demonstrate an adaptive shift towards increased herbivory. This dietary expansion tracked the ecological rise of angiosperms and suggests that the resources that were available to multituberculates were relatively unaffected by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Taken together, our results indicate that mammals were able to take advantage of new ecological opportunities in the Mesozoic and that at least some of these opportunities persisted through the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Similar broad-scale ecomorphological inventories of other radiations may help to constrain the possible causes of mass extinctions.

  16. Correlates of rediscovery and the detectability of extinction in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Diana O.; Blomberg, Simon P.

    2011-01-01

    Extinction is difficult to detect, even in well-known taxa such as mammals. Species with long gaps in their sighting records, which might be considered possibly extinct, are often rediscovered. We used data on rediscovery rates of missing mammals to test whether extinction from different causes is equally detectable and to find which traits affect the probability of rediscovery. We find that species affected by habitat loss were much more likely to be misclassified as extinct or to remain missing than those affected by introduced predators and diseases, or overkill, unless they had very restricted distributions. We conclude that extinctions owing to habitat loss are most difficult to detect; hence, impacts of habitat loss on extinction have probably been overestimated, especially relative to introduced species. It is most likely that the highest rates of rediscovery will come from searching for species that have gone missing during the 20th century and have relatively large ranges threatened by habitat loss, rather than from additional effort focused on charismatic missing species. PMID:20880890

  17. Habitat as a mediator of mesopredator-driven mammal extinction.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Peter J; Nano, Catherine E M; Ward, Simon J; Stewart, Alistair; Pavey, Chris R; Luck, Gary W; Dickman, Chris R

    2017-02-10

    A prevailing view in dryland systems is that mammals are constrained by the scarcity of fertile soils and primary productivity. An alternative view is that predation is a primary driver of mammal assemblages, especially in Australia, where two introduced mesopredators - the feral cat Felis catus and red fox Vulpes vulpes - have decimated the dryland mammal fauna. We evaluate productivity (bottom-up) versus predation (top-down) as drivers of native mammal assemblage structure in dryland Australia. We find that predation is likely a major driver of extant mammal richness, but that its effect is strongly mediated by habitat type. The most rugged and densely grassed habitats support more mammal species than the more productive and topographically simple habitat types. Further, 12 critical weight range (CWR) species (35 - 5500 g) are extinct from the continent's central region, and severity of loss correlates negatively with ruggedness and positively with productivity. We expect that habitat mediates predation from red foxes and feral cats by governing their density and foraging efficiency. We show that large areas of rugged terrain are vital refuges for Australian dryland mammals, and we predict these habitats will support the persistence of CWR species in the face of ongoing mammal declines elsewhere in Australia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  18. How the Red Queen drives terrestrial mammals to extinction.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2013-07-19

    Most species disappear by the processes of background extinction, yet those processes are poorly understood. We analyzed the evolutionary dynamics of 19 Cenozoic terrestrial mammalian clades with rich fossil records that are now fully extinct or in diversity decline. We find their diversity loss was not just a consequence of "gamblers ruin" but resulted from the evolutionary loss to the Red Queen, a failure to keep pace with a deteriorating environment. Diversity loss is driven equally by both depressed origination rates and elevated extinction rates. Although we find diversity-dependent origination and extinction rates, the diversity of each clade only transiently equaled the implied equilibrium diversity. Thus, the processes that drove diversity loss in terrestrial mammal clades were fundamentally nonequilibrial and overwhelmed diversity-dependent processes.

  19. Body size and extinction risk in terrestrial mammals above the species level.

    PubMed

    Tomiya, Susumu

    2013-12-01

    Mammalian body mass strongly correlates with life history and population properties at the scale of mouse to elephant. Large body size is thus often associated with elevated extinction risk. I examined the North American fossil record (28-1 million years ago) of 276 terrestrial genera to uncover the relationship between body size and extinction probability above the species level. Phylogenetic comparative analysis revealed no correlation between sampling-adjusted durations and body masses ranging 7 orders of magnitude, an observation that was corroborated by survival analysis. Most of the ecological and temporal groups within the data set showed the same lack of relationship. Size-biased generic extinctions do not constitute a general feature of the Holarctic mammalian faunas in the Neogene. Rather, accelerated loss of large mammals occurred during intervals that experienced combinations of regional aridification and increased biomic heterogeneity within continents. The latter phenomenon is consistent with the macroecological prediction that large geographic ranges are critical to the survival of large mammals in evolutionary time. The frequent lack of size selectivity in generic extinctions can be reconciled with size-biased species loss if extinctions of large and small mammals at the species level are often driven by ecological perturbations of different spatial and temporal scales, while those at the genus level are more synchronized in time as a result of fundamental, multiscale environmental shifts.

  20. Ecological predictors of extinction risks of endemic mammals of China.

    PubMed

    Chen, You-Hua

    2014-07-01

    In this brief report, we analyzed ecological correlates of risk of extinction for mammals endemic to China using phylogenetic eigenvector methods to control for the effect of phylogenetic inertia. Extinction risks were based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and ecological explanatory attributes that include range size and climatic variables. When the effect of phylogenetic inertia were controlled, climate became the best predictor for quantifying and evaluating extinction risks of endemic mammals in China, accounting for 13% of the total variation. Range size seems to play a trivial role, explaining ~1% of total variation; however, when non-phylogenetic variation partitioning analysis was done, the role of range size then explained 7.4% of total variation. Consequently, phylogenetic inertia plays a substantial role in increasing the explanatory power of range size on the extinction risks of mammals endemic to China. Limitations of the present study are discussed, with a focus on under-represented sampling of endemic mammalian species.

  1. Latent extinction risk and the future battlegrounds of mammal conservation.

    PubMed

    Cardillo, Marcel; Mace, Georgina M; Gittleman, John L; Purvis, Andy

    2006-03-14

    Global conservation prioritization usually emphasizes areas with highest species richness or where many species are thought to be at imminent risk of extinction. However, these strategies may overlook areas where many species have biological traits that make them particularly sensitive to future human impact but are not yet threatened because such impact is currently low. In this article, we identify such areas for the world's mammals using latent extinction risk, the discrepancy between a species' current extinction risk and that predicted from models on the basis of biological traits. Species with positive latent risk are currently less threatened than their biology would suggest, usually because they inhabit regions or habitats still comparatively unmodified by human activity. Using large new geographic, biological, and phylogenetic databases for nearly 4,000 mammal species, we map the global geographic distribution of latent risk to reveal areas where the mammal fauna is still relatively unthreatened but has high inherent sensitivity to disturbance. These hotspots include large areas such as the Nearctic boreal forests and tundra that are unrepresented in most current prioritization schemes, as well as high-biodiversity areas such as the island arc from Indonesia to the south Pacific. Incorporating latent extinction risk patterns into conservation planning could help guard against future biodiversity loss by anticipating and preventing species declines before they begin.

  2. Ontogenetic and life history trait changes associated with convergent ecological specializations in extinct ungulate mammals.

    PubMed

    Gomes Rodrigues, Helder; Herrel, Anthony; Billet, Guillaume

    2017-01-31

    Investigating life history traits in mammals is crucial to understand their survival in changing environments. However, these parameters are hard to estimate in a macroevolutionary context. Here we show that the use of dental ontogenetic parameters can provide clues to better understand the adaptive nature of phenotypic traits in extinct species such as South American notoungulates. This recently extinct order of mammals evolved in a context of important geological, climatic, and environmental variations. Interestingly, notoungulates were mostly herbivorous and acquired high-crowned teeth very early in their evolutionary history. We focused on the variations in crown height, dental eruption pattern, and associated body mass of 69 notoungulate taxa, placed in their phylogenetic and geological contexts. We showed that notoungulates evolved higher crowns several times between 45 and 20 Ma, independently of the variation in body mass. Interestingly, the independent acquisitions of ever-growing teeth were systematically accompanied by eruption of molars faster than permanent premolars. These repeated associations of dental innovations have never been documented for other mammals and raise questions on their significance and causal relationships. We suggest that these correlated changes could originate from ontogenetic adjustments favored by structural constraints, and may indicate accelerated life histories. Complementarily, these more durable and efficient dentitions could be selected to cope with important ingestions of abrasive particles in the context of intensified volcanism and increasing aridity. This study demonstrates that assessing both life history and ecological traits allows a better knowledge of the specializations of extinct mammals that evolved under strong environmental constraints.

  3. Sexual selection and the risk of extinction in mammals.

    PubMed Central

    Morrow, Edward H.; Fricke, Claudia

    2004-01-01

    Sexual selection is commonly envisaged as a force working in opposition to natural selection, because extravagant or exaggerated traits could apparently have never evolved via natural selection alone. There is good evidence that a selection load imposed by sexual selection may be eased experimentally by restricting the opportunity for it to operate. Sexual selection could therefore potentially play an important role in influencing the risk of extinction that a population faces, thereby contributing to the apparent selectivity of extinctions. Conversely, recent theory predicts that the likelihood of extinction may decrease when sexual selection is operating because it could accelerate the rate of adaptation in concert with natural selection. So far, comparative evidence (coming mostly from birds) has generally indicated support for the former scenario, but the question remains open. The aim of this study was therefore to examine whether the level of sexual selection (measured as residual testes mass and sexual size dimorphism) was related to the risk of extinction that mammals are currently experiencing. We found no evidence for a relationship between these factors, although our analyses may have been confounded by the possible dominating effect of contemporary anthropogenic factors. PMID:15556893

  4. Species longevity in North American fossil mammals.

    PubMed

    Prothero, Donald R

    2014-08-01

    Species longevity in the fossil record is related to many paleoecological variables and is important to macroevolutionary studies, yet there are very few reliable data on average species durations in Cenozoic fossil mammals. Many of the online databases (such as the Paleobiology Database) use only genera of North American Cenozoic mammals and there are severe problems because key groups (e.g. camels, oreodonts, pronghorns and proboscideans) have no reliable updated taxonomy, with many invalid genera and species and/or many undescribed genera and species. Most of the published datasets yield species duration estimates of approximately 2.3-4.3 Myr for larger mammals, with small mammals tending to have shorter species durations. My own compilation of all the valid species durations in families with updated taxonomy (39 families, containing 431 genera and 998 species, averaging 2.3 species per genus) yields a mean duration of 3.21 Myr for larger mammals. This breaks down to 4.10-4.39 Myr for artiodactyls, 3.14-3.31 Myr for perissodactyls and 2.63-2.95 Myr for carnivorous mammals (carnivorans plus creodonts). These averages are based on a much larger, more robust dataset than most previous estimates, so they should be more reliable for any studies that need species longevity to be accurately estimated.

  5. Extinction rates in North American freshwater fishes, 1900-2010

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Burkhead, Noel M.

    2012-01-01

    Widespread evidence shows that the modern rates of extinction in many plants and animals exceed background rates in the fossil record. In the present article, I investigate this issue with regard to North American freshwater fishes. From 1898 to 2006, 57 taxa became extinct, and three distinct populations were extirpated from the continent. Since 1989, the numbers of extinct North American fishes have increased by 25%. From the end of the nineteenth century to the present, modern extinctions varied by decade but significantly increased after 1950 (post-1950s mean = 7.5 extinct taxa per decade). In the twentieth century, freshwater fishes had the highest extinction rate worldwide among vertebrates. The modern extinction rate for North American freshwater fishes is conservatively estimated to be 877 times greater than the background extinction rate for freshwater fishes (one extinction every 3 million years). Reasonable estimates project that future increases in extinctions will range from 53 to 86 species by 2050.

  6. Extinction rates in North American freshwater fishes, 1900-2010

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Burkhead, Noel M.

    2012-01-01

    Widespread evidence shows that the modern rates of extinction in many plants and animals exceed background rates in the fossil record. In the present article, I investigate this issue with regard to North American freshwater fishes. From 1898 to 2006, 57 taxa became extinct, and three distinct populations were extirpated from the continent. Since 1989, the numbers of extinct North American fishes have increased by 25%. From the end of the nineteenth century to the present, modern extinctions varied by decade but significantly increased after 1950 (post-1950s mean = 7.5 extinct taxa per decade). The modern extinction rate for North American freshwater fishes is conservatively estimated to be 877 times greater than the background extinction rate for freshwater fishes (one extinction every 3 million years). Reasonable estimates project that future increases in extinctions will range from 53 to 86 species by 2050.

  7. The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene

    PubMed Central

    Turvey, Samuel T.; Fritz, Susanne A.

    2011-01-01

    Although the recent historical period is usually treated as a temporal base-line for understanding patterns of mammal extinction, mammalian biodiversity loss has also taken place throughout the Late Quaternary. We explore the spatial, taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns of 241 mammal species extinctions known to have occurred during the Holocene up to the present day. To assess whether our understanding of mammalian threat processes has been affected by excluding these taxa, we incorporate extinct species data into analyses of the impact of body mass on extinction risk. We find that Holocene extinctions have been phylogenetically and spatially concentrated in specific taxa and geographical regions, which are often not congruent with those disproportionately at risk today. Large-bodied mammals have also been more extinction-prone in most geographical regions across the Holocene. Our data support the extinction filter hypothesis, whereby regional faunas from which susceptible species have already become extinct now appear less threatened; they may also suggest that different processes are responsible for driving past and present extinctions. We also find overall incompleteness and inter-regional biases in extinction data from the recent fossil record. Although direct use of fossil data in future projections of extinction risk is therefore not straightforward, insights into extinction processes from the Holocene record are still useful in understanding mammalian threat. PMID:21807737

  8. The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene.

    PubMed

    Turvey, Samuel T; Fritz, Susanne A

    2011-09-12

    Although the recent historical period is usually treated as a temporal base-line for understanding patterns of mammal extinction, mammalian biodiversity loss has also taken place throughout the Late Quaternary. We explore the spatial, taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns of 241 mammal species extinctions known to have occurred during the Holocene up to the present day. To assess whether our understanding of mammalian threat processes has been affected by excluding these taxa, we incorporate extinct species data into analyses of the impact of body mass on extinction risk. We find that Holocene extinctions have been phylogenetically and spatially concentrated in specific taxa and geographical regions, which are often not congruent with those disproportionately at risk today. Large-bodied mammals have also been more extinction-prone in most geographical regions across the Holocene. Our data support the extinction filter hypothesis, whereby regional faunas from which susceptible species have already become extinct now appear less threatened; they may also suggest that different processes are responsible for driving past and present extinctions. We also find overall incompleteness and inter-regional biases in extinction data from the recent fossil record. Although direct use of fossil data in future projections of extinction risk is therefore not straightforward, insights into extinction processes from the Holocene record are still useful in understanding mammalian threat.

  9. Cenozoic Bolide Impacts and Biotic Change in North American Mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alroy, John

    2003-01-01

    North American mammals experienced a major mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary that is tied unambiguously to the Chicxulub impact event. Immediately afterwards, there was an immense adaptive radiation that greatly expanded taxonomic diversity and the range of body sizes and ecological strategies. However, ties between later, Cenozoic impact events and specific episodes in mammalian evolution cannot be demonstrated. A time series of maximum known crater sizes within 1.0-million-year-long temporal bins is shown not to cross-correlate with five separate measures of taxonomic turnover rate, one measure of change in relative taxonomic composition, and four measures of change in body mass distributions. The lack of correlation persists even after excluding the volatile Paleocene mammalian data, adding dummy data to represent intervals without known craters, or lagging the time series against each other for up to 5 million years. Furthermore, the data fail to support broad-brush correspondences between ages of major (>20 km in diameter) craters and the timing of five key, post-K/T biotic transitions, including medium-sized extinction episodes during the late Paleocene and latest Miocene. The results challenge the idea that extraterrestrial impacts drive all, most, or even many extinction and radiation episodes in terrestrial organisms, and add to other evidence that natural, long-term biotic changes are often independent of changes in the physical environment.

  10. Ongoing unraveling of a continental fauna: decline and extinction of Australian mammals since European settlement.

    PubMed

    Woinarski, John C Z; Burbidge, Andrew A; Harrison, Peter L

    2015-04-14

    The highly distinctive and mostly endemic Australian land mammal fauna has suffered an extraordinary rate of extinction (>10% of the 273 endemic terrestrial species) over the last ∼200 y: in comparison, only one native land mammal from continental North America became extinct since European settlement. A further 21% of Australian endemic land mammal species are now assessed to be threatened, indicating that the rate of loss (of one to two extinctions per decade) is likely to continue. Australia's marine mammals have fared better overall, but status assessment for them is seriously impeded by lack of information. Much of the loss of Australian land mammal fauna (particularly in the vast deserts and tropical savannas) has been in areas that are remote from human population centers and recognized as relatively unmodified at global scale. In contrast to general patterns of extinction on other continents where the main cause is habitat loss, hunting, and impacts of human development, particularly in areas of high and increasing human population pressures, the loss of Australian land mammals is most likely due primarily to predation by introduced species, particularly the feral cat, Felis catus, and European red fox, Vulpes vulpes, and changed fire regimes.

  11. Ongoing unraveling of a continental fauna: Decline and extinction of Australian mammals since European settlement

    PubMed Central

    Woinarski, John C. Z.; Burbidge, Andrew A.; Harrison, Peter L.

    2015-01-01

    The highly distinctive and mostly endemic Australian land mammal fauna has suffered an extraordinary rate of extinction (>10% of the 273 endemic terrestrial species) over the last ∼200 y: in comparison, only one native land mammal from continental North America became extinct since European settlement. A further 21% of Australian endemic land mammal species are now assessed to be threatened, indicating that the rate of loss (of one to two extinctions per decade) is likely to continue. Australia’s marine mammals have fared better overall, but status assessment for them is seriously impeded by lack of information. Much of the loss of Australian land mammal fauna (particularly in the vast deserts and tropical savannas) has been in areas that are remote from human population centers and recognized as relatively unmodified at global scale. In contrast to general patterns of extinction on other continents where the main cause is habitat loss, hunting, and impacts of human development, particularly in areas of high and increasing human population pressures, the loss of Australian land mammals is most likely due primarily to predation by introduced species, particularly the feral cat, Felis catus, and European red fox, Vulpes vulpes, and changed fire regimes. PMID:25675493

  12. The 'individualization' of large North American mammals.

    PubMed

    Ruth, J L; Fain, S R

    1993-01-01

    The enforcement of wildlife laws and the captive breeding of threatened/endangered species requires the ability to identify individual animals. DNA profiles of a variety of large North American mammals, birds, and fish were generated using ten different oligonucleotide probes. The probes tested were four multilocus probes [33.6, 33.15, JE46, and (TGTC)5] and six 'human unilocus' probes [MS1 (D1S7), CMM101 (D14S13), YNH24 (D2S44), EFD52 (D17S26), TBQ7 (D10S28), and MS43 (D12S11). Each of the probes was chemically synthesized, and labeled by the attachment of alkaline phosphatase; after hybridization, the probes were detected by chemiluminescence catalyzed by the enzyme. Initial screening against zoo blots including samples of bear, wolf, large cat, wild sheep, deer, birds, marine mammals, and fish indicated that three multilocus probes [33.15, 33.6, (TGTC)5] gave informative patterns containing 15-40 bands for most or all of the animals tested, as did two of the 'human unilocus' probes (MS1 and CMM101). The other five probes appeared informative only in some species (for example, YNH24 against canids). Subsequent screenings of populations within species were used to determine genetic diversity by analysis of observed bandsharing (S). Large heterologous populations, such as white-tailed deer, exhibited highly diverse band patterns (S < or = 0.2). Geographically isolated and/or genetically constricted animals, such as endangered Mexican wolves, Tule elk, and Columbian white-tailed deer, exhibited much higher frequencies of bandsharing (0.6 < or = S < or = 0.95).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  13. Serial population extinctions in a small mammal indicate Late Pleistocene ecosystem instability.

    PubMed

    Brace, Selina; Palkopoulou, Eleftheria; Dalén, Love; Lister, Adrian M; Miller, Rebecca; Otte, Marcel; Germonpré, Mietje; Blockley, Simon P E; Stewart, John R; Barnes, Ian

    2012-12-11

    The Late Pleistocene global extinction of many terrestrial mammal species has been a subject of intensive scientific study for over a century, yet the relative contributions of environmental changes and the global expansion of humans remain unresolved. A defining component of these extinctions is a bias toward large species, with the majority of small-mammal taxa apparently surviving into the present. Here, we investigate the population-level history of a key tundra-specialist small mammal, the collared lemming (Dicrostonyx torquatus), to explore whether events during the Late Pleistocene had a discernible effect beyond the large mammal fauna. Using ancient DNA techniques to sample across three sites in North-West Europe, we observe a dramatic reduction in genetic diversity in this species over the last 50,000 y. We further identify a series of extinction-recolonization events, indicating a previously unrecognized instability in Late Pleistocene small-mammal populations, which we link with climatic fluctuations. Our results reveal climate-associated, repeated regional extinctions in a keystone prey species across the Late Pleistocene, a pattern likely to have had an impact on the wider steppe-tundra community, and one that is concordant with environmental change as a major force in structuring Late Pleistocene biodiversity.

  14. An allometric approach to quantify the extinction vulnerability of birds and mammals.

    PubMed

    Hilbers, J P; Schipper, A M; Hendriks, A J; Verones, F; Pereira, H M; Huijbregts, M A J

    2016-03-01

    Methods to quantify the vulnerability of species to extinction are typically limited by the availability of species-specific input data pertaining to life-history characteristics and population dynamics. This lack of data hampers global biodiversity assessments and conservation planning. Here, we developed a new framework that systematically quantifies extinction risk based on allometric relationships between various wildlife demographic parameters and body size. These allometric relationships have a solid theoretical and ecological foundation. Extinction risk indicators included are (1) the probability of extinction, (2) the mean time to extinction, and (3) the critical patch size. We applied our framework to assess the global extinction vulnerability of terrestrial carnivorous and non-carnivorous birds and mammals. Irrespective of the indicator used, large-bodied species were found to be more vulnerable to extinction than their smaller counterparts. The patterns with body size were confirmed for all species groups by a comparison with IUCN data on the proportion of extant threatened species: the models correctly predicted a multimodal distribution with body size for carnivorous birds and a monotonic distribution for mammals and non-carnivorous birds. Carnivorous mammals were found to have higher extinction risks than non-carnivores, while birds were more prone to extinction than mammals. These results are explained by the allometric relationships, predicting the vulnerable species groups to have lower intrinsic population growth rates, smaller population sizes, lower carrying capacities, or larger dispersal distances, which, in turn, increase the importance of losses due to environmental stochastic effects and dispersal activities. Our study is the first to integrate population viability analysis and allometry into a novel, process-based framework that is able to quantify extinction risk of a large number of species without requiring data-intensive, species

  15. Holocene extinction dynamics of Equus hydruntinus, a late-surviving European megafaunal mammal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crees, Jennifer J.; Turvey, Samuel T.

    2014-05-01

    The European wild ass (Equus hydruntinus) is a globally extinct Eurasian equid. This species was widespread in Europe and southwest Asia during the Late Pleistocene, but its distribution became restricted to southern Europe and adjacent geographic regions in the Holocene. Previous research on E. hydruntinus has focused predominantly on its taxonomy and Late Pleistocene distribution. However, its Holocene distribution and extinction remain poorly understood, despite the fact that the European wild ass represents one of Europe's very few globally extinct Holocene megafaunal mammal species. We summarise all available Holocene zooarchaeological spatio-temporal occurrence data for the species, and analyse patterns of its distribution and extinction using point pattern analysis (kernel density estimation and Clark Evans index) and optimal linear estimation. We demonstrate that the geographic range of E. hydruntinus became highly fragmented into discrete subpopulations during the Holocene, which were associated with separate regions of open habitat and which became progressively extinct between the Neolithic and Iron Age. These data challenge previous suggestions of the late survival of E. hydruntinus into the medieval period in Spain, and instead suggest that postglacial climate-driven vegetational changes were a primary factor responsible for extinction of the species, driving isolation of small remnant subpopulations that may have been increasingly vulnerable to human exploitation. This study contributes to a more nuanced understanding of Late Quaternary species extinctions in Eurasia, suggesting that they were temporally staggered and distinct in their respective extinction trajectories.

  16. Phylogenetic correlates of extinction risk in mammals: species in older lineages are not at greater risk.

    PubMed

    Verde Arregoitia, Luis Darcy; Blomberg, Simon P; Fisher, Diana O

    2013-08-22

    Phylogenetic information is becoming a recognized basis for evaluating conservation priorities, but associations between extinction risk and properties of a phylogeny such as diversification rates and phylogenetic lineage ages remain unclear. Limited taxon-specific analyses suggest that species in older lineages are at greater risk. We calculate quantitative properties of the mammalian phylogeny and model extinction risk as an ordinal index based on International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List categories. We test for associations between lineage age, clade size, evolutionary distinctiveness and extinction risk for 3308 species of terrestrial mammals. We show no significant global or regional associations, and three significant relationships within taxonomic groups. Extinction risk increases for evolutionarily distinctive primates and decreases with lineage age when lemurs are excluded. Lagomorph species (rabbits, hares and pikas) that have more close relatives are less threatened. We examine the relationship between net diversification rates and extinction risk for 173 genera and find no pattern. We conclude that despite being under-represented in the frequency distribution of lineage ages, species in older, slower evolving and distinct lineages are not more threatened or extinction-prone. Their extinction, however, would represent a disproportionate loss of unique evolutionary history.

  17. South American mammal zoogeography: evidence from convergent evolution in desert rodents.

    PubMed

    Mares, M A

    1975-05-01

    Current theories regarding colonization of South America by mammals are divided between those supported by fossil evidence, which suggest the original mammal fauna of the isolated continent was augmented by early immigrants (primates, caviomorph rodents, and later, procyonids) with a final large influx of northern mammals occurring with the formation of the Panama land bridge, and an opposing view which states that the purported "recent invaders" are too taxonomically and ecologically differentiated to have colonized since the land bridge arose. The second theory suggests that most extant mammals entered before the Plio-Pleistocene land connection. An analysis of degree of physiological adaptation, natural history, distribution patterns, and a multivariate assessment of convergent evolution of Monte Desert rodents indicate that South American cricetine rodents are not highly specialized for desert life. Their degree of adaptation could be accounted for, in large part, by adaptations for arid or semiarid Andean habitats. No Monte Desert rodent has developed the specialized desert traits that have evolved in most desert rodent faunas of the world, although extinct marsupials similar to living bipedal desert rodents were present in the Monte as recently as late Pliocene. Evidence suggests that Monte caviomorphs have been associated with the desert for a longer period than cricetines, and that the latter represent a fairly recent invasion of the Monte Desert. The data thus support the first hypothesis of South American mammal colonization.

  18. Evolutionary diversity of bile salts in reptiles and mammals, including analysis of ancient human and extinct giant ground sloth coprolites

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Bile salts are the major end-metabolites of cholesterol and are also important in lipid and protein digestion and in influencing the intestinal microflora. We greatly extend prior surveys of bile salt diversity in both reptiles and mammals, including analysis of 8,000 year old human coprolites and coprolites from the extinct Shasta ground sloth (Nothrotherium shastense). Results While there is significant variation of bile salts across species, bile salt profiles are generally stable within families and often within orders of reptiles and mammals, and do not directly correlate with differences in diet. The variation of bile salts generally accords with current molecular phylogenies of reptiles and mammals, including more recent groupings of squamate reptiles. For mammals, the most unusual finding was that the Paenungulates (elephants, manatees, and the rock hyrax) have a very different bile salt profile from the Rufous sengi and South American aardvark, two other mammals classified with Paenungulates in the cohort Afrotheria in molecular phylogenies. Analyses of the approximately 8,000 year old human coprolites yielded a bile salt profile very similar to that found in modern human feces. Analysis of the Shasta ground sloth coprolites (approximately 12,000 years old) showed the predominant presence of glycine-conjugated bile acids, similar to analyses of bile and feces of living sloths, in addition to a complex mixture of plant sterols and stanols expected from an herbivorous diet. Conclusions The bile salt synthetic pathway has become longer and more complex throughout vertebrate evolution, with some bile salt modifications only found within single groups such as marsupials. Analysis of the evolution of bile salt structures in different species provides a potentially rich model system for the evolution of a complex biochemical pathway in vertebrates. Our results also demonstrate the stability of bile salts in coprolites preserved in arid climates

  19. Evidence and mapping of extinction debts for global forest-dwelling reptiles, amphibians and mammals

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Youhua; Peng, Shushi

    2017-01-01

    Evidence of extinction debts for the global distributions of forest-dwelling reptiles, mammals and amphibians was tested and the debt magnitude was estimated and mapped. By using different correlation tests and variable importance analysis, the results showed that spatial richness patterns for the three forest-dwelling terrestrial vertebrate groups had significant and stronger correlations with past forest cover area and other variables in the 1500 s, implying the evidence for extinction debts. Moreover, it was likely that the extinction debts have been partially paid, given that their global richness patterns were also significantly correlated with contemporary forest variables in the 2000 s (but the absolute magnitudes of the correlation coefficients were usually smaller than those calculated for historical forest variables). By utilizing species-area relationships, spatial extinction-debt magnitudes for the three vertebrate groups at the global scale were estimated and the hotspots of extinction debts were identified. These high-debt hotspots were generally situated in areas that did not spatially overlap with hotspots of species richness or high extinction-risk areas based on IUCN threatened status to a large extent. This spatial mismatch pattern suggested that necessary conservation efforts should be directed toward high-debt areas that are still overlooked. PMID:28300200

  20. Evidence and mapping of extinction debts for global forest-dwelling reptiles, amphibians and mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Youhua; Peng, Shushi

    2017-03-01

    Evidence of extinction debts for the global distributions of forest-dwelling reptiles, mammals and amphibians was tested and the debt magnitude was estimated and mapped. By using different correlation tests and variable importance analysis, the results showed that spatial richness patterns for the three forest-dwelling terrestrial vertebrate groups had significant and stronger correlations with past forest cover area and other variables in the 1500 s, implying the evidence for extinction debts. Moreover, it was likely that the extinction debts have been partially paid, given that their global richness patterns were also significantly correlated with contemporary forest variables in the 2000 s (but the absolute magnitudes of the correlation coefficients were usually smaller than those calculated for historical forest variables). By utilizing species-area relationships, spatial extinction-debt magnitudes for the three vertebrate groups at the global scale were estimated and the hotspots of extinction debts were identified. These high-debt hotspots were generally situated in areas that did not spatially overlap with hotspots of species richness or high extinction-risk areas based on IUCN threatened status to a large extent. This spatial mismatch pattern suggested that necessary conservation efforts should be directed toward high-debt areas that are still overlooked.

  1. Evidence and mapping of extinction debts for global forest-dwelling reptiles, amphibians and mammals.

    PubMed

    Chen, Youhua; Peng, Shushi

    2017-03-16

    Evidence of extinction debts for the global distributions of forest-dwelling reptiles, mammals and amphibians was tested and the debt magnitude was estimated and mapped. By using different correlation tests and variable importance analysis, the results showed that spatial richness patterns for the three forest-dwelling terrestrial vertebrate groups had significant and stronger correlations with past forest cover area and other variables in the 1500 s, implying the evidence for extinction debts. Moreover, it was likely that the extinction debts have been partially paid, given that their global richness patterns were also significantly correlated with contemporary forest variables in the 2000 s (but the absolute magnitudes of the correlation coefficients were usually smaller than those calculated for historical forest variables). By utilizing species-area relationships, spatial extinction-debt magnitudes for the three vertebrate groups at the global scale were estimated and the hotspots of extinction debts were identified. These high-debt hotspots were generally situated in areas that did not spatially overlap with hotspots of species richness or high extinction-risk areas based on IUCN threatened status to a large extent. This spatial mismatch pattern suggested that necessary conservation efforts should be directed toward high-debt areas that are still overlooked.

  2. Timing and dynamics of Late Pleistocene mammal extinctions in southwestern Australia.

    PubMed

    Prideaux, Gavin J; Gully, Grant A; Couzens, Aidan M C; Ayliffe, Linda K; Jankowski, Nathan R; Jacobs, Zenobia; Roberts, Richard G; Hellstrom, John C; Gagan, Michael K; Hatcher, Lindsay M

    2010-12-21

    Explaining the Late Pleistocene demise of many of the world's larger terrestrial vertebrates is arguably the most enduring and debated topic in Quaternary science. Australia lost >90% of its larger species by around 40 thousand years (ka) ago, but the relative importance of human impacts and increased aridity remains unclear. Resolving the debate has been hampered by a lack of sites spanning the last glacial cycle. Here we report on an exceptional faunal succession from Tight Entrance Cave, southwestern Australia, which shows persistence of a diverse mammal community for at least 100 ka leading up to the earliest regional evidence of humans at 49 ka. Within 10 millennia, all larger mammals except the gray kangaroo and thylacine are lost from the regional record. Stable-isotope, charcoal, and small-mammal records reveal evidence of environmental change from 70 ka, but the extinctions occurred well in advance of the most extreme climatic phase. We conclude that the arrival of humans was probably decisive in the southwestern Australian extinctions, but that changes in climate and fire activity may have played facilitating roles. One-factor explanations for the Pleistocene extinctions in Australia are likely oversimplistic.

  3. Pre-Wisconsinan mammals from Jamaica and models of late Quaternary extinction in the greater Antilles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacPhee, R. D. E.; Ford, Derek C.; McFarlane, Donald A.

    1989-01-01

    The vertebrate fauna recovered from indurated conglomerates at Wallingford Roadside Cave (central Jamaica) is shown to be in excess of 100,000 yr old according to uranium series and electron spin resonance dating. The Wallingford local fauna is therefore pre-Wisconsinan in age, and Roadside Cave is now the oldest radiometrically dated locality in the West Indies containing identifiable species of land mammals. In the absence of a good radiometric record for Quaternary paleontological sites in the Caribbean, there is no satisfactory basis for determining whether most extinct Antillean mammals died out in a "blitzkrieg"-like event immediately following initial human colonization in the mid-Holocene. Fossils of Clidomys (Heptaxodontidae, Caviomorpha), the giant Wallingford rodent, have never been found in situ in sediments of demonstrably Holocene age, and its extinction may antedate the middle Holocene. This is also a possibility for the primate Xenothrix mcgregori, although its remains have been found in loose cave earth. A major, climate-driven bout of terrestrial vertebrate extinction at about 14,000-12,000 yr B.P. has been hypothesized for the West Indies by G. Pregill and S. L. Olson ( Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics12, 75-98, 1981), but at present there is nothing to connect the disappearance of Clidomys with this event either. Quaternary extinctions in the Caribbean may prove to be of critical significance for evaluating the reality of New World blitzkrieg, but not until an effort is mounted to constrain them rigorously using modern radiometric approaches.

  4. Determinants of loss of mammal species during the Late Quaternary 'megafauna' extinctions: life history and ecology, but not body size.

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, C N

    2002-01-01

    Extinctions of megafauna species during the Late Quaternary dramatically reduced the global diversity of mammals. There is intense debate over the causes of these extinctions, especially regarding the extent to which humans were involved. Most previous analyses of this question have focused on chronologies of extinction and on the archaeological evidence for human-megafauna interaction. Here, I take an alternative approach: comparison of the biological traits of extinct species with those of survivors. I use this to demonstrate two general features of the selectivity of Late Quaternary mammal extinctions in Australia, Eurasia, the Americas and Madagascar. First, large size was not directly related to risk of extinction; rather, species with slow reproductive rates were at high risk regardless of their body size. This finding rejects the 'blitzkrieg' model of overkill, in which extinctions were completed during brief intervals of selective hunting of large-bodied prey. Second, species that survived despite having low reproductive rates typically occurred in closed habitats and many were arboreal or nocturnal. Such traits would have reduced their exposure to direct interaction with people. Therefore, although this analysis rejects blitzkrieg as a general scenario for the mammal megafauna extinctions, it is consistent with extinctions being due to interaction with human populations. PMID:12427315

  5. Historical Mammal Extinction on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) Correlates with Introduced Infectious Disease

    PubMed Central

    Wyatt, Kelly B.; Campos, Paula F.; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Hynes, Wayne H.; DeSalle, Rob; Daszak, Peter; MacPhee, Ross D. E.; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2008-01-01

    It is now widely accepted that novel infectious disease can be a leading cause of serious population decline and even outright extinction in some invertebrate and vertebrate groups (e.g., amphibians). In the case of mammals, however, there are still no well-corroborated instances of such diseases having caused or significantly contributed to the complete collapse of species. A case in point is the extinction of the endemic Christmas Island rat (Rattus macleari): although it has been argued that its disappearance ca. AD 1900 may have been partly or wholly caused by a pathogenic trypanosome carried by fleas hosted on recently-introduced black rats (Rattus rattus), no decisive evidence for this scenario has ever been adduced. Using ancient DNA methods on samples from museum specimens of these rodents collected during the extinction window (AD 1888–1908), we were able to resolve unambiguously sequence evidence of murid trypanosomes in both endemic and invasive rats. Importantly, endemic rats collected prior to the introduction of black rats were devoid of trypanosome signal. Hybridization between endemic and black rats was also previously hypothesized, but we found no evidence of this in examined specimens, and conclude that hybridization cannot account for the disappearance of the endemic species. This is the first molecular evidence for a pathogen emerging in a naïve mammal species immediately prior to its final collapse. PMID:18985148

  6. Near-complete extinction of native small mammal fauna 25 years after forest fragmentation.

    PubMed

    Gibson, Luke; Lynam, Antony J; Bradshaw, Corey J A; He, Fangliang; Bickford, David P; Woodruff, David S; Bumrungsri, Sara; Laurance, William F

    2013-09-27

    Tropical forests continue to be felled and fragmented around the world. A key question is how rapidly species disappear from forest fragments and how quickly humans must restore forest connectivity to minimize extinctions. We surveyed small mammals on forest islands in Chiew Larn Reservoir in Thailand 5 to 7 and 25 to 26 years after isolation and observed the near-total loss of native small mammals within 5 years from <10-hectare (ha) fragments and within 25 years from 10- to 56-ha fragments. Based on our results, we developed an island biogeographic model and estimated mean extinction half-life (50% of resident species disappearing) to be 13.9 years. These catastrophic extinctions were probably partly driven by an invasive rat species; such biotic invasions are becoming increasingly common in human-modified landscapes. Our results are thus particularly relevant to other fragmented forest landscapes and suggest that small fragments are potentially even more vulnerable to biodiversity loss than previously thought.

  7. A model for the Holocene extinction of the mammal megafauna in Ecuador

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ficcarelli, G.; Coltorti, M.; Moreno-Espinosa, M.; Pieruccini, P. L.; Rook, L.; Torre, D.

    2003-03-01

    This paper presents the results of multidisciplinary research in the Ecuadorian coastal regions, with particular emphasis on the Santa Elena Peninsula. The new evidence, together with previous data gathered on the Ecuadorian cordillera during the last 12 years, allows us to formulate a model that accounts for most of the mammal megafauna extinction at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. After the illustration of geomorphological and paleontological evidences of the area of the Santa Elena Peninsula (and other sites), and of a summary of the paleoclimatic data, the main results and conclusions of this work are: (1) Late Pleistocene mammal assemblages survived in the Ecuadorian coast until the Early Holocene sea level rise; (2) Prior to the extinction of most of the megafauna elements (mastodons, ground sloths, equids, sabre-tooth felids), the mammal communities at Santa Elena Peninsula comprise elements with differing habitat requirements, attesting conditions of high biological pressure; (3) At the El Cautivo site (Santa Elena Peninsula), we have discovered Holocene sediments containing the first known occurrences in Ecuador of lithic artifacts that are associated with mammal megafauna remains; (4) During the last 10,000 years, the coastal region of Ecuador underwent significant changes in vegetation cover. At the Pleistocene/Holocene transition the climate changed from very arid conditions to humid conditions. Our data indicates that the megafauna definitively abandoned the Cordillera areas around 12,000 yr BP due to t he increasing aridity, and subsequently migrated to coastal areas where ecological conditions still were suitable, Santa Elena Peninsula and mainly Amazonian areas being typical. We conclude that the unusual high faunal concentrations and the change to dense vegetation cover (due to a rapid increase in precipitation in the lower Holocene) at 8000-6000 yr BP, caused the final collapse and extinction of most elements of the mammal megafauna

  8. Severe extinction and rapid recovery of mammals across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary, and the effects of rarity on patterns of extinction and recovery.

    PubMed

    Longrich, N R; Scriberas, J; Wills, M A

    2016-08-01

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinction ranks among the most severe extinctions of all time; however, patterns of extinction and recovery remain incompletely understood. In particular, it is unclear how severe the extinction was, how rapid the recovery was and how sampling biases might affect our understanding of these processes. To better understand terrestrial extinction and recovery and how sampling influences these patterns, we collected data on the occurrence and abundance of fossil mammals to examine mammalian diversity across the K-Pg boundary in North America. Our data show that the extinction was more severe and the recovery more rapid than previously thought. Extinction rates are markedly higher than previously estimated: of 59 species, four survived (93% species extinction, 86% of genera). Survival is correlated with geographic range size and abundance, with widespread, common species tending to survive. This creates a sampling artefact in which rare species are both more vulnerable to extinction and less likely to be recovered, such that the fossil record is inherently biased towards the survivors. The recovery was remarkably rapid. Within 300 000 years, local diversity recovered and regional diversity rose to twice Cretaceous levels, driven by increased endemicity; morphological disparity increased above levels observed in the Cretaceous. The speed of the recovery tends to be obscured by sampling effects; faunas show increased endemicity, such that a rapid, regional increase in diversity and disparity is not seen in geographically restricted studies. Sampling biases that operate against rare taxa appear to obscure the severity of extinction and the pace of recovery across the K-Pg boundary, and similar biases may operate during other extinction events.

  9. Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Janečka, Jan E; Gatesy, John; Ryder, Oliver A; Fisher, Colleen A; Teeling, Emma C; Goodbla, Alisha; Eizirik, Eduardo; Simão, Taiz L L; Stadler, Tanja; Rabosky, Daniel L; Honeycutt, Rodney L; Flynn, John J; Ingram, Colleen M; Steiner, Cynthia; Williams, Tiffani L; Robinson, Terence J; Burk-Herrick, Angela; Westerman, Michael; Ayoub, Nadia A; Springer, Mark S; Murphy, William J

    2011-10-28

    Previous analyses of relations, divergence times, and diversification patterns among extant mammalian families have relied on supertree methods and local molecular clocks. We constructed a molecular supermatrix for mammalian families and analyzed these data with likelihood-based methods and relaxed molecular clocks. Phylogenetic analyses resulted in a robust phylogeny with better resolution than phylogenies from supertree methods. Relaxed clock analyses support the long-fuse model of diversification and highlight the importance of including multiple fossil calibrations that are spread across the tree. Molecular time trees and diversification analyses suggest important roles for the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) mass extinction in opening up ecospace that promoted interordinal and intraordinal diversification, respectively. By contrast, diversification analyses provide no support for the hypothesis concerning the delayed rise of present-day mammals during the Eocene Period.

  10. Tracking the past: interspersed repeats in an extinct Afrotherian mammal, Mammuthus primigenius.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Fangqing; Qi, Ji; Schuster, Stephan C

    2009-08-01

    The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) died out about several thousand years ago, yet recent paleogenomic studies have successfully recovered genetic information from both the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of this extinct species. Mammoths belong to Afrotheria, a group of mammals exhibiting extreme morphological diversity and large genome sizes. In this study, we found that the mammoth genome contains a larger proportion of interspersed repeats than any other mammalian genome reported so far, in which the proliferation of the RTE family of retrotransposons (covering 12% of the genome) may be the main reason for an increased genome size. Phylogenetic analysis showed that RTEs in mammoth are closely related to the family BovB/RTE. The incongruence of the reconstructed RTE phylogeny indicates that RTEs in mammoth may be acquired through an ancient lateral gene transfer event. A recent proliferation of SINEs was also found in the probocidean lineage, whereas the Afrotherian-wide SINEs in mammoth have undergone a rather flat and stepwise expansion. Comparisons of the transposable elements (TEs) between mammoth and other mammals may shed light on the evolutionary history of TEs in various mammalian lineages.

  11. A new phylogeny for basal Trechnotheria and Cladotheria and affinities of South American endemic Late Cretaceous mammals.

    PubMed

    Averianov, Alexander O; Martin, Thomas; Lopatin, Alexey V

    2013-04-01

    The endemic South American mammals Meridiolestida, considered previously as dryolestoid cladotherians, are found to be non-cladotherian trechnotherians related to spalacotheriid symmetrodontans based on a parsimony analysis of 137 morphological characters among 44 taxa. Spalacotheriidae is the sister taxon to Meridiolestida, and the latter clade is derived from a primitive spalacolestine that migrated to South America from North America at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous. Meridiolestida survived until the early Paleocene (Peligrotherium) and early Miocene (Necrolestes) in South America, and their extinction is probably linked to the increasing competition with metatherian and eutherian tribosphenic mammals. The clade Meridiolestida plus Spalacotheriidae is the sister taxon to Cladotheria and forms a new clade Alethinotheria. Alethinotheria and its sister taxon Zhangheotheria, new clade (Zhangheotheriidae plus basal taxa), comprise Trechnotheria. Cladotheria is divided into Zatheria (plus stem taxa, including Amphitherium) and Dryolestida, including Dryolestidae and a paraphyletic array of basal dryolestidans (formerly classified as "Paurodontidae"). The South American Vincelestes and Groebertherium are basal dryolestidans.

  12. A new phylogeny for basal Trechnotheria and Cladotheria and affinities of South American endemic Late Cretaceous mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Averianov, Alexander O.; Martin, Thomas; Lopatin, Alexey V.

    2013-04-01

    The endemic South American mammals Meridiolestida, considered previously as dryolestoid cladotherians, are found to be non-cladotherian trechnotherians related to spalacotheriid symmetrodontans based on a parsimony analysis of 137 morphological characters among 44 taxa. Spalacotheriidae is the sister taxon to Meridiolestida, and the latter clade is derived from a primitive spalacolestine that migrated to South America from North America at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous. Meridiolestida survived until the early Paleocene ( Peligrotherium) and early Miocene ( Necrolestes) in South America, and their extinction is probably linked to the increasing competition with metatherian and eutherian tribosphenic mammals. The clade Meridiolestida plus Spalacotheriidae is the sister taxon to Cladotheria and forms a new clade Alethinotheria. Alethinotheria and its sister taxon Zhangheotheria, new clade (Zhangheotheriidae plus basal taxa), comprise Trechnotheria. Cladotheria is divided into Zatheria (plus stem taxa, including Amphitherium) and Dryolestida, including Dryolestidae and a paraphyletic array of basal dryolestidans (formerly classified as "Paurodontidae"). The South American Vincelestes and Groebertherium are basal dryolestidans.

  13. Molecular dating of caprines using ancient DNA sequences of Myotragus balearicus, an extinct endemic Balearic mammal

    PubMed Central

    Lalueza-Fox, Carles; Castresana, Jose; Sampietro, Lourdes; Marquès-Bonet, Tomàs; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Bertranpetit, Jaume

    2005-01-01

    Background Myotragus balearicus was an endemic bovid from the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean) that became extinct around 6,000-4,000 years ago. The Myotragus evolutionary lineage became isolated in the islands most probably at the end of the Messinian crisis, when the desiccation of the Mediterranean ended, in a geological date established at 5.35 Mya. Thus, the sequences of Myotragus could be very valuable for calibrating the mammalian mitochondrial DNA clock and, in particular, the tree of the Caprinae subfamily, to which Myotragus belongs. Results We have retrieved the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (1,143 base pairs), plus fragments of the mitochondrial 12S gene and the nuclear 28S rDNA multi-copy gene from a well preserved Myotragus subfossil bone. The best resolved phylogenetic trees, obtained with the cytochrome b gene, placed Myotragus in a position basal to the Ovis group. Using the calibration provided by the isolation of Balearic Islands, we calculated that the initial radiation of caprines can be dated at 6.2 ± 0.4 Mya. In addition, alpine and southern chamois, considered until recently the same species, split around 1.6 ± 0.3 Mya, indicating that the two chamois species have been separated much longer than previously thought. Conclusion Since there are almost no extant endemic mammals in Mediterranean islands, the sequence of the extinct Balearic endemic Myotragus has been crucial for allowing us to use the Messinian crisis calibration point for dating the caprines phylogenetic tree. PMID:16332256

  14. Drivers of extinction risk in African mammals: the interplay of distribution state, human pressure, conservation response and species biology

    PubMed Central

    Di Marco, Moreno; Buchanan, Graeme M.; Szantoi, Zoltan; Holmgren, Milena; Grottolo Marasini, Gabriele; Gross, Dorit; Tranquilli, Sandra; Boitani, Luigi; Rondinini, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Although conservation intervention has reversed the decline of some species, our success is outweighed by a much larger number of species moving towards extinction. Extinction risk modelling can identify correlates of risk and species not yet recognized to be threatened. Here, we use machine learning models to identify correlates of extinction risk in African terrestrial mammals using a set of variables belonging to four classes: species distribution state, human pressures, conservation response and species biology. We derived information on distribution state and human pressure from satellite-borne imagery. Variables in all four classes were identified as important predictors of extinction risk, and interactions were observed among variables in different classes (e.g. level of protection, human threats, species distribution ranges). Species biology had a key role in mediating the effect of external variables. The model was 90% accurate in classifying extinction risk status of species, but in a few cases the observed and modelled extinction risk mismatched. Species in this condition might suffer from an incorrect classification of extinction risk (hence require reassessment). An increased availability of satellite imagery combined with improved resolution and classification accuracy of the resulting maps will play a progressively greater role in conservation monitoring. PMID:24733953

  15. Constraining the time of extinction of the South American fox Dusicyon avus (Carnivora, Canidae) during the late Holocene.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prevosti, Francisco; Santiago, Fernando; Prates, Luciano; Salemme, Mónica; Martin, Fabiana

    2010-05-01

    The mass extinction at the end of the Pleistocene affected South America during the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene, when megamammals and large mammals disappeared. Several carnivores became extinct, like the sabretooth Smilodon, the short face bear (Arctotherium) and some large canids (i.e. Protocyon, Canis dirus). After this mass event virtually no carnivores became extinct in South America. The only exception is the fox Dusicyon avus, a middle sized canid (estimated body mass between 10-15 kg) with a more carnivore diet than the living South American foxes (i.e. Lycalopex culpaeus). The last record of the species comes from middle-late Holocene archaeological sites in the Pampean Region (Argentina) and Patagonia (Argentina and Chile). During the Late Pleistocene D. avus had a wide distribution, that covered part of Uruguay, Argentina (Buenos Aires province) and the southernmost Chile. Albeit some remains from late Holocene sites have been published, these remains lack of isotopic dates that could (allow?) constraint (to determine) the date of extinction of this fox. In this contribution we present several new records from the Pampean Region and Patagonia, and several taxon dates. The new records indicate that D. avus disappeared in the late Holocene at least ≈ 3000 years BP in the island of Tierra del Fuego (Patagonia) and ≈ 1600 BP in the continent. Since at this time humans were occupying most of the Pampas and Patagonia a revision of the causes behind the extinction of this fox is required.

  16. The changing role of mammal life histories in Late Quaternary extinction vulnerability on continents and islands.

    PubMed

    Lyons, S Kathleen; Miller, Joshua H; Fraser, Danielle; Smith, Felisa A; Boyer, Alison; Lindsey, Emily; Mychajliw, Alexis M

    2016-06-01

    Understanding extinction drivers in a human-dominated world is necessary to preserve biodiversity. We provide an overview of Quaternary extinctions and compare mammalian extinction events on continents and islands after human arrival in system-specific prehistoric and historic contexts. We highlight the role of body size and life-history traits in these extinctions. We find a significant size-bias except for extinctions on small islands in historic times. Using phylogenetic regression and classification trees, we find that while life-history traits are poor predictors of historic extinctions, those associated with difficulty in responding quickly to perturbations, such as small litter size, are good predictors of prehistoric extinctions. Our results are consistent with the idea that prehistoric and historic extinctions form a single continuing event with the same likely primary driver, humans, but the diversity of impacts and affected faunas is much greater in historic extinctions.

  17. Mass Extinction and the Disappearance of Unknown Mammal Species: Scenario and Perspectives of a Biodiversity Hotspot's Hotspot.

    PubMed

    Mendes Pontes, Antonio Rossano; Beltrão, Antonio Carlos Mariz; Normande, Iran Campello; Malta, Alexandre de Jesus Rodrigues; Silva Júnior, Antonio Paulo da; Santos, André Maurício Melo

    2016-01-01

    We aimed to determine the conservation status of medium- and large-sized mammals and evaluate the impact of 500 years of forest fragmentation on this group of animals in the Pernambuco Endemism Center, in the biogeographical zone of the Atlantic forest north of the São Francisco River in northeastern Brazil. Line transect surveys were performed in 21 forest fragments, resulting in a checklist of the mammals of the entire Pernambuco Endemism Center area. We ran a generalized linear model (Factorial ANCOVA) to analyze to what extent the vegetation type, fragment area, isolation, sampling effort (as total kilometers walked), or higher-order interactions predicted (a) richness and (b) sighting rates. To determine if the distribution of the species within the forest fragments exhibited a nested pattern, we used the NODF metric. Subsequently, we performed a Binomial Logistic Regression to predict the probability of encountering each species according to fragment size. Out of 38 medium- and large-sized mammal species formerly occurring in the study area, only 53.8% (n = 21) were sighted. No fragment hosted the entire remaining mammal community, and only four species (19%) occurred in very small fragments (73.3% of the remaining forest fragments, with a mean size of 2.8 ha). The mammalian community was highly simplified, with all large mammals being regionally extinct. Neither the species richness nor sighting rate was controlled by the vegetation type, the area of the forest fragments, isolation or any higher-order interaction. Although a highly significant nested subset pattern was detected, it was not related to the ranking of the area of forest fragments or isolation. The probability of the occurrence of a mammal species in a given forest patch varied unpredictably, and the probability of detecting larger species was even observed to decrease with increasing patch size. In an ongoing process of mass extinction, half of the studied mammals have gone extinct. The

  18. Mass Extinction and the Disappearance of Unknown Mammal Species: Scenario and Perspectives of a Biodiversity Hotspot’s Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Mendes Pontes, Antonio Rossano; Beltrão, Antonio Carlos Mariz; Normande, Iran Campello; Malta, Alexandre de Jesus Rodrigues; da Silva Júnior, Antonio Paulo; Santos, André Maurício Melo

    2016-01-01

    We aimed to determine the conservation status of medium- and large-sized mammals and evaluate the impact of 500 years of forest fragmentation on this group of animals in the Pernambuco Endemism Center, in the biogeographical zone of the Atlantic forest north of the São Francisco River in northeastern Brazil. Line transect surveys were performed in 21 forest fragments, resulting in a checklist of the mammals of the entire Pernambuco Endemism Center area. We ran a generalized linear model (Factorial ANCOVA) to analyze to what extent the vegetation type, fragment area, isolation, sampling effort (as total kilometers walked), or higher-order interactions predicted (a) richness and (b) sighting rates. To determine if the distribution of the species within the forest fragments exhibited a nested pattern, we used the NODF metric. Subsequently, we performed a Binomial Logistic Regression to predict the probability of encountering each species according to fragment size. Out of 38 medium- and large-sized mammal species formerly occurring in the study area, only 53.8% (n = 21) were sighted. No fragment hosted the entire remaining mammal community, and only four species (19%) occurred in very small fragments (73.3% of the remaining forest fragments, with a mean size of 2.8 ha). The mammalian community was highly simplified, with all large mammals being regionally extinct. Neither the species richness nor sighting rate was controlled by the vegetation type, the area of the forest fragments, isolation or any higher-order interaction. Although a highly significant nested subset pattern was detected, it was not related to the ranking of the area of forest fragments or isolation. The probability of the occurrence of a mammal species in a given forest patch varied unpredictably, and the probability of detecting larger species was even observed to decrease with increasing patch size. In an ongoing process of mass extinction, half of the studied mammals have gone extinct. The

  19. Hypothesis on the cause of extinction of the South American mastodonts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ficcarelli, G.; Azzaroli, A.; Bertini, A.; Coltorti, M.; Mazza, P.; Mezzabotta, C.; Espinosa, M. Moreno; Rook, L.; Torre, D.

    1997-01-01

    Paleontological, geomorphological and sedimentological investigations on the Cangahua Formation in the Interandean depression of Northern and Central Ecuador have provided information on the evolution of the Andean paleoenvironment during the Late Pleistocene. Pyroclastic and windblown sediments were deposited during cold and dry phases of the last glaciation, interrupted many times by the development of forest-steppe and steppe paleosoils during interstadials. An erosional phase which closed the Cangahua sedimentation was followed by the deposition of colluvial sediments, characterized by a high number of minor pedogenetic episodes. The colluviums are confidently referable to the Holocene. The upper part of the Cangahua Formation is rich in mammal fossils and is probably referable to the Last Glacial Maximum. The fossiliferous sequences suggest that mastodonts disappeared before mylodonts and equids. We hypothesize that the increased cold and aridity of the Last Glacial Maximum, which deeply affected the Cordillera, caused the extinction of most of the megafauna and the mastodonts seem to have been the most sensitive to the environmental degradation. The final history of South American mastodonts, represented by Haplomastodon and Stegomastodon, spans the latest Pleistocene and probably the earliest Holocene. Haplomastodon was dispersed in the highlands within the tropical belt and Stegomastodon in plains of the southernmost part of Brazil, in Paraguay, Uraguay, Argentine, central and northern Chile. Both Haplomastodon and Stegomastodon suffered the same negative effects of the Last Glacial Maximum when their habitats underwent intense desertifications under dry and cold conditions. They disappeared in a mosaic way in the course of the latest Pleistocene, the last representatives probably surviving in favorable restricted areas where however the considerably increased selective pressure was in the long run devastating. In our opinion the human impact was not a

  20. Inferring extinction in North American and Hawaiian birds in the presence of sighting uncertainty

    PubMed Central

    Jarić, Ivan

    2016-01-01

    For most species the timing of extinction events is uncertain, occurring sometime after the last sighting. However, the sightings themselves may also be uncertain. Recently a number of methods have been developed that incorporate sighting uncertainty in the inference of extinction based on a series of sightings. Here we estimate the timing of extinction for 41 of 52 North American and Hawaiian bird taxa and populations, the results of which suggest all became extinct before 2009. By acknowledging sighting uncertainty it results in two opposite effects, one pushing the timing of extinction away from the last sighting and the other drawing the timing of extinction nearer to it. However, for 14 assessed taxa and populations the upper 95% bounds lie beyond the end of the observation period and therefore suggest the possibility of continued persistence. This has important implications for conservation decision-makers and potentially reduces the likelihood of Romeo’s Error. PMID:27635365

  1. Testing for Depéret's Rule (Body Size Increase) in Mammals using Combined Extinct and Extant Data

    PubMed Central

    Bokma, Folmer; Godinot, Marc; Maridet, Olivier; Ladevèze, Sandrine; Costeur, Loïc; Solé, Floréal; Gheerbrant, Emmanuel; Peigné, Stéphane; Jacques, Florian; Laurin, Michel

    2016-01-01

    Whether or not evolutionary lineages in general show a tendency to increase in body size has often been discussed. This tendency has been dubbed “Cope's rule” but because Cope never hypothesized it, we suggest renaming it after Depéret, who formulated it clearly in 1907. Depéret's rule has traditionally been studied using fossil data, but more recently a number of studies have used present-day species. While several paleontological studies of Cenozoic placental mammals have found support for increasing body size, most studies of extant placentals have failed to detect such a trend. Here, we present a method to combine information from present-day species with fossil data in a Bayesian phylogenetic framework. We apply the method to body mass estimates of a large number of extant and extinct mammal species, and find strong support for Depéret's rule. The tendency for size increase appears to be driven not by evolution toward larger size in established species, but by processes related to the emergence of new species. Our analysis shows that complementary data from extant and extinct species can greatly improve inference of macroevolutionary processes. PMID:26508768

  2. The evolution of mammal body sizes: responses to Cenozoic climate change in North American mammals.

    PubMed

    Lovegrove, B G; Mowoe, M O

    2013-06-01

    Explanations for the evolution of body size in mammals have remained surprisingly elusive despite the central importance of body size in evolutionary biology. Here, we present a model which argues that the body sizes of Nearctic mammals were moulded by Cenozoic climate and vegetation changes. Following the early Eocene Climate Optimum, forests retreated and gave way to open woodland and savannah landscapes, followed later by grasslands. Many herbivores that radiated in these new landscapes underwent a switch from browsing to grazing associated with increased unguligrade cursoriality and body size, the latter driven by the energetics and constraints of cellulose digestion (fermentation). Carnivores also increased in size and digitigrade, cursorial capacity to occupy a size distribution allowing the capture of prey of the widest range of body sizes. With the emergence of larger, faster carnivores, plantigrade mammals were constrained from evolving to large body sizes and most remained smaller than 1 kg throughout the middle Cenozoic. We find no consistent support for either Cope's Rule or Bergmann's Rule in plantigrade mammals, the largest locomotor guild (n = 1186, 59% of species in the database). Some cold-specialist plantigrade mammals, such as beavers and marmots, showed dramatic increases in body mass following the Miocene Climate Optimum which may, however, be partially explained by Bergmann's rule. This study reemphasizes the necessity of considering the evolutionary history and resultant form and function of mammalian morphotypes when attempting to understand contemporary mammalian body size distributions.

  3. Late Cenozoic onset of the latitudinal diversity gradient of North American mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcot, Jonathan D.; Fox, David L.; Niebuhr, Spencer R.

    2016-06-01

    The decline of species richness from equator to pole, or latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG), is nearly universal among clades of living organisms, yet whether it was such a pervasive pattern in the geologic past remains uncertain. Here, we calculate the strength of the LDG for terrestrial mammals in North America over the past 65 My, using 27,903 fossil occurrences of Cenozoic terrestrial mammals from western North America downloaded from the Paleobiology Database. Accounting for temporal and spatial variation in sampling, the LDG was substantially weaker than it is today for most of the Cenozoic and the robust modern LDG of North American mammals evolved only over the last 4 My. The strength of the LDG correlates negatively with global temperature, suggesting a role of global climate patterns in the establishment and maintenance of the LDG for North American mammals.

  4. Late Cenozoic onset of the latitudinal diversity gradient of North American mammals

    PubMed Central

    Marcot, Jonathan D.; Fox, David L.; Niebuhr, Spencer R.

    2016-01-01

    The decline of species richness from equator to pole, or latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG), is nearly universal among clades of living organisms, yet whether it was such a pervasive pattern in the geologic past remains uncertain. Here, we calculate the strength of the LDG for terrestrial mammals in North America over the past 65 My, using 27,903 fossil occurrences of Cenozoic terrestrial mammals from western North America downloaded from the Paleobiology Database. Accounting for temporal and spatial variation in sampling, the LDG was substantially weaker than it is today for most of the Cenozoic and the robust modern LDG of North American mammals evolved only over the last 4 My. The strength of the LDG correlates negatively with global temperature, suggesting a role of global climate patterns in the establishment and maintenance of the LDG for North American mammals. PMID:27298355

  5. Late Cenozoic onset of the latitudinal diversity gradient of North American mammals.

    PubMed

    Marcot, Jonathan D; Fox, David L; Niebuhr, Spencer R

    2016-06-28

    The decline of species richness from equator to pole, or latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG), is nearly universal among clades of living organisms, yet whether it was such a pervasive pattern in the geologic past remains uncertain. Here, we calculate the strength of the LDG for terrestrial mammals in North America over the past 65 My, using 27,903 fossil occurrences of Cenozoic terrestrial mammals from western North America downloaded from the Paleobiology Database. Accounting for temporal and spatial variation in sampling, the LDG was substantially weaker than it is today for most of the Cenozoic and the robust modern LDG of North American mammals evolved only over the last 4 My. The strength of the LDG correlates negatively with global temperature, suggesting a role of global climate patterns in the establishment and maintenance of the LDG for North American mammals.

  6. Constraint envelope analyses of macroecological patterns reveal climatic effects on Pleistocene mammal extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lima-Ribeiro, Matheus S.; Hortal, Joaquín; Varela, Sara; Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre F.

    2014-07-01

    Quantitative analysis of macroecological patterns for late Pleistocene assemblages can be useful for disentangling the causes of late Quaternary extinctions (LQE). However, previous analyses have usually assumed linear relationships between macroecological traits, such as body size and range size/range shift, that may have led to erroneous interpretations. Here, we analyzed mammalian datasets to show how macroecological patterns support climate change as an important driver of the LQE, which is contrary to previous analyses that did not account for more complex relationships among traits. We employed quantile regression methods that allow a detailed and fine-tuned quantitative analysis of complex macroecological patterns revealed as polygonal relationships (i.e., constraint envelopes). We showed that these triangular-shaped envelopes that describe the macroecological relationship between body size and geographical range shift reflect nonrandom extinction processes under which the large-bodied species are more prone to extinction during events of severe habitat loss, such as glacial/interglacial transitions. Hence, we provide both a theoretical background and methodological framework to better understand how climate change induces body size-biased species sorting and shapes complex macroecological patterns.

  7. American Indian Studies in the Extinct Languages of Southeastern New England

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Brien, Frank Waabu

    2005-01-01

    This monograph contains 13 self-contained brief treatises that comprise material on linguistic, historical and cultural studies of the extinct American Indian languages of southeastern New England. These Indian languages, and their dialects, were once spoken principally in the States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. They are called…

  8. Keystone effects of an alien top-predator stem extinctions of native mammals.

    PubMed

    Letnic, Mike; Koch, Freya; Gordon, Chris; Crowther, Mathew S; Dickman, Christopher R

    2009-09-22

    Alien predators can have catastrophic effects on ecosystems and are thought to be much more harmful to biodiversity than their native counterparts. However, trophic cascade theory and the mesopredator release hypothesis predict that the removal of top predators will result in the reorganization of trophic webs and loss of biodiversity. Using field data collected throughout arid Australia, we provide evidence that removal of an alien top-predator, the dingo, has cascading effects through lower trophic levels. Dingo removal was linked to increased activity of herbivores and an invasive mesopredator, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and to the loss of grass cover and native species of small mammals. Using species distribution data, we predict that reintroducing or maintaining dingo populations would produce a net benefit for the conservation of threatened native mammals across greater than 2.42 x 10(6) km(2) of Australia. Our study provides evidence that an alien top predator can assume a keystone role and be beneficial for biodiversity conservation, and also that mammalian carnivores more generally can generate strong trophic cascades in terrestrial ecosystems.

  9. Timing of mammal-like reptile extinctions across the Permian-Triassic boundary in South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacLeod, Kenneth G.; Smith, Roger M. H.; Koch, Paul L.; Ward, Peter D.

    2000-03-01

    The rate, timing, and pattern of change in different regions and paleoenvironments are critical for distinguishing among potential causes for the Permian-Triassic (P-T) extinction. Carbon isotopic stratigraphy can provide global chronostratigraphic control. We report a large δ13C excursion at the P-T boundary and no long-term Permian δ13C trends for samples from the interior of Pangea. Stratigraphic gaps between available samples limit the resolution of our δ13C curve, but the excursion is within a 15-m-thick zone of overlap between Permian and Triassic taxa. Sedimentological and taphonomic observations demonstrate that this 15 m interval does not represent geologically instantaneous deposition. Together these data support a rapid and globally synchronous P-T event, but suggest that it occurred over a geologically resolvable interval of time.

  10. A unique feeding strategy of the extinct marine mammal Kolponomos: convergence on sabretooths and sea otters.

    PubMed

    Tseng, Z Jack; Grohé, Camille; Flynn, John J

    2016-03-16

    Mammalian molluscivores feed mainly by shell-crushing or suction-feeding. The extinct marine arctoid, Kolponomos, has been interpreted as an otter-like shell-crusher based on similar dentitions. However, neither the masticatory biomechanics of the shell-crushing adaptation nor the way Kolponomos may have captured hard-shelled prey have been tested. Based on mandibular symphyseal morphology shared by Kolponomos and sabre-toothed carnivores, we hypothesize a sabretooth-like mechanism for Kolponomos prey-capture, whereby the mandible functioned as an anchor. Torque generated from jaw closure and head flexion was used to dislodge prey by prying, with prey then crushed using cheek teeth. We test this hypothesized feeding sequence using phylogenetically informed biomechanical simulations and shape analyses, and find a strongly supported, shared high mandibular stiffness in simulated prey-capture bites and mandibular shape in Kolponomos and the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon. These two distantly related taxa converged on using mandibles to anchor cranial torqueing forces when prying substrate-bound prey in the former and sabre-driving forces during prey-killing in the latter. Simulated prey-crushing bites indicate that Kolponomos and sea otters exhibit alternative structural stiffness-bite efficiency combinations in mandibular biomechanical adaptation for shell-crushing. This unique feeding system of Kolponomos exemplifies a mosaic of form-function convergence relative to other Carnivora.

  11. A unique feeding strategy of the extinct marine mammal Kolponomos: convergence on sabretooths and sea otters

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Mammalian molluscivores feed mainly by shell-crushing or suction-feeding. The extinct marine arctoid, Kolponomos, has been interpreted as an otter-like shell-crusher based on similar dentitions. However, neither the masticatory biomechanics of the shell-crushing adaptation nor the way Kolponomos may have captured hard-shelled prey have been tested. Based on mandibular symphyseal morphology shared by Kolponomos and sabre-toothed carnivores, we hypothesize a sabretooth-like mechanism for Kolponomos prey-capture, whereby the mandible functioned as an anchor. Torque generated from jaw closure and head flexion was used to dislodge prey by prying, with prey then crushed using cheek teeth. We test this hypothesized feeding sequence using phylogenetically informed biomechanical simulations and shape analyses, and find a strongly supported, shared high mandibular stiffness in simulated prey-capture bites and mandibular shape in Kolponomos and the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon. These two distantly related taxa converged on using mandibles to anchor cranial torqueing forces when prying substrate-bound prey in the former and sabre-driving forces during prey-killing in the latter. Simulated prey-crushing bites indicate that Kolponomos and sea otters exhibit alternative structural stiffness-bite efficiency combinations in mandibular biomechanical adaptation for shell-crushing. This unique feeding system of Kolponomos exemplifies a mosaic of form-function convergence relative to other Carnivora. PMID:26936242

  12. Extinction and re-evolution of similar adaptive types (ecomorphs) in Cenozoic North American ungulates and carnivores reflect van der Hammen's cycles.

    PubMed

    Meehan, T J; Martin, L D

    2003-03-01

    Numerous patterns in periodicity (e.g., climate, extinction, and sedimentary cycles) and evolutionary change (e.g., chronofaunas and coordinated stasis) have been described based on aspects of the geologic record. Recently, convergent occurrences of faunal types or "repeating faunas" have received attention, but a highly specific, iterative pattern was first reported over 40 years ago. In the late 1950s, van der Hammen described climatic/floral cycles on the order of six million years based on a succession of A, B, and C pollen community types in South America. These A-B-C cycles are also seen in the replacement pattern of particular carnivore and ungulate adaptive types in Cenozoic North America as reported by Martin in the 1980s. For example, in the last 36 million years, there were four iterations of a sabertooth cat ecomorph independently evolving, dominating the niche through an A-B-C cycle, and then going extinct. Here we show further support for the existence of these cycles in the dominance turnover in hippo and dog ecomorphs in the North American Cenozoic. Shared patterns of extinction and re-evolution of adaptive types among plants and mammals across two continents suggest a global mechanism, which appears to be climatic change. Iterative climatic cycles of various scales may form a predictive framework for understanding fundamental patterns in the geologic record, such as radiations, extinction, rates of change, convergence, and sedimentary cycles.

  13. A land-bridge island perspective on mammalian extinctions in western North American parks.

    PubMed

    Newmark, W D

    In recent years, a number of authors have suggested several geometric principles for the design of nature reserves based upon the hypothesis that nature reserves are analogous to land-bridge islands. Land-bridge islands are islands that were formerly connected to the mainland and were created by a rise in the level of the ocean. Land-bridge islands are considered supersaturated with species in that the ratio of island to mainland species numbers is higher than expected from the area of the island. As a result, the rate of extinction should exceed the rate of colonization on a land-bridge island, resulting in a loss of species that is suggested to be related to the size and degree of isolation of the island. If nature reserves are considered to be similar to land-bridge islands, because most are slowly becoming isolated from their surroundings by habitat disturbance outside the reserves, several predictions follow. First, the total number of extinctions should exceed the total number of colonizations within a reverse; second, the number of extinctions should be inversely related to reserve size; and third, the number of extinctions should be directly related to reserve age. I report here that the natural post-establishment loss of mammalian species in 14 western North American national parks is consistent with these predictions of the land-bridge island hypothesis and that all but the largest western North American national parks are too small to retain an intact mammalian fauna.

  14. A large carnivorous mammal from the Late Cretaceous and the North American origin of marsupials

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Gregory P.; Ekdale, Eric G.; Hoganson, John W.; Calede, Jonathan J.; Vander Linden, Abby

    2016-01-01

    Marsupial mammal relatives (stem metatherians) from the Mesozoic Era (252–66 million years ago) are mostly known from isolated teeth and fragmentary jaws. Here we report on the first near-complete skull remains of a North American Late Cretaceous metatherian, the stagodontid Didelphodon vorax. Our phylogenetic analysis indicates that marsupials or their closest relatives evolved in North America, as part of a Late Cretaceous diversification of metatherians, and later dispersed to South America. In addition to being the largest known Mesozoic therian mammal (node-based clade of eutherians and metatherians), Didelphodon vorax has a high estimated bite force and other craniomandibular and dental features that suggest it is the earliest known therian to invade a durophagous predator–scavenger niche. Our results broaden the scope of the ecomorphological diversification of Mesozoic mammals to include therian lineages that, in this case, were linked to the origin and evolution of marsupials. PMID:27929063

  15. A large carnivorous mammal from the Late Cretaceous and the North American origin of marsupials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Gregory P.; Ekdale, Eric G.; Hoganson, John W.; Calede, Jonathan J.; Vander Linden, Abby

    2016-12-01

    Marsupial mammal relatives (stem metatherians) from the Mesozoic Era (252-66 million years ago) are mostly known from isolated teeth and fragmentary jaws. Here we report on the first near-complete skull remains of a North American Late Cretaceous metatherian, the stagodontid Didelphodon vorax. Our phylogenetic analysis indicates that marsupials or their closest relatives evolved in North America, as part of a Late Cretaceous diversification of metatherians, and later dispersed to South America. In addition to being the largest known Mesozoic therian mammal (node-based clade of eutherians and metatherians), Didelphodon vorax has a high estimated bite force and other craniomandibular and dental features that suggest it is the earliest known therian to invade a durophagous predator-scavenger niche. Our results broaden the scope of the ecomorphological diversification of Mesozoic mammals to include therian lineages that, in this case, were linked to the origin and evolution of marsupials.

  16. Abundance not linked to survival across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: patterns in North American bivalves.

    PubMed

    Lockwood, Rowan

    2003-03-04

    Ecological studies suggest that rare taxa are more likely to go extinct than abundant ones, but the influence of abundance on survivorship in the fossil record has received little attention. An analysis of Late Maastrichtian bivalve subgenera from the North American Coastal Plain found no evidence that survivorship is tied to abundance across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 million years ago), regardless of abundance metric or spatial scale examined. The fact that abundance does not promote survivorship in end-Cretaceous bivalves suggests that the factors influencing survivorship during mass extinctions in the fossil record may differ from those operating during intervals of background extinction.

  17. Revised timing of the South American early Paleogene land mammal ages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodburne, Michael O.; Goin, Francisco J.; Raigemborn, Maria Sol; Heizler, Matt; Gelfo, Javier N.; Oliveira, Edison V.

    2014-10-01

    A new Ar/Ar date on the Las Flores Tuff (Río Chico Group, Las Flores Fm., central Patagonia, Argentina) yielded an age of 49.512 ± 0.019 Ma. This tuff, which stratigraphically overlies the mammal-bearing deposits that produced the Las Flores fauna, helps constrain the age of the Itaboraian SALMA [South American Land Mammal Age] to which that fauna is referred. The new data also have implications for the age of succeeding mammal biochrons, such as the Riochican and “Sapoan” which are revised to being somewhat younger than previously interpreted. Although closer in age than formerly interpreted, they still are biotically distinct. Concomitant evaluations suggest that the Itaboraian SALMA is perhaps more contemporary with the EECO (Early Eocene Climatic Optimum) than previously considered. The Riochican may be interpreted as post-EECO, with its cooler climate consistent in that regard. A recent reconsideration of the chronology of elements of the Salamanca Formation resulted in the downward revision of the ages of the Peligran SALMA and the Carodnia Zone biochrons. These operations, together with our results, reflect a 9 m.y. gap in the late Paleocene and early Eocene land mammal record in South America.

  18. Ancient DNA analysis of the extinct North American flat-headed peccary (Platygonus compressus).

    PubMed

    Perry, Tahlia; van Loenen, Ayla L; Heiniger, Holly; Lee, Carol; Gongora, Jaime; Cooper, Alan; Mitchell, Kieren J

    2017-03-28

    The geographical range of extant peccaries extends from the southwestern United States through Central America and into northern Argentina. However, from the Miocene until the Pleistocene now-extinct peccary species inhabited the entirety of North America. Relationships among the living and extinct species have long been contentious. Similarly, how and when peccaries moved from North to South America is unclear. The North American flat-headed peccary (Platygonus compressus) became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene and is one of the most abundant subfossil taxa found in North America, yet despite this extensive fossil record its phylogenetic position has not been resolved. This study is the first to present DNA data from the flat-headed peccary and full mitochondrial genome sequences of all the extant peccary species. We performed a molecular phylogenetic analysis to determine the relationships among ancient and extant peccary species. Our results suggested that the flat-headed peccary is sister-taxon to a clade comprising the extant peccary species. Divergence date estimates from our molecular dating analyses suggest that if extant peccary diversification occurred in South America then their common ancestor must have dispersed from North America to South America well before the establishment of the Isthmus of Panama. We also investigated the genetic diversity of the flat-headed peccary by performing a preliminary population study on specimens from Sheriden Cave, Ohio. Flat-headed peccaries from Sheriden Cave appear to be genetically diverse and show no signature of population decline prior to extinction. Including additional extinct Pleistocene peccary species in future phylogenetic analyses will further clarify peccary evolution.

  19. Ancient DNA from the extinct South American giant glyptodont Doedicurus sp. (Xenarthra: Glyptodontidae) reveals that glyptodonts evolved from Eocene armadillos.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Scanferla, Agustin; Soibelzon, Esteban; Bonini, Ricardo; Ochoa, Javier; Cooper, Alan

    2016-07-01

    Glyptodonts were giant (some of them up to ~2400 kg), heavily armoured relatives of living armadillos, which became extinct during the Late Pleistocene/early Holocene alongside much of the South American megafauna. Although glyptodonts were an important component of Cenozoic South American faunas, their early evolution and phylogenetic affinities within the order Cingulata (armoured New World placental mammals) remain controversial. In this study, we used hybridization enrichment and high-throughput sequencing to obtain a partial mitochondrial genome from Doedicurus sp., the largest (1.5 m tall, and 4 m long) and one of the last surviving glyptodonts. Our molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that glyptodonts fall within the diversity of living armadillos. Reanalysis of morphological data using a molecular 'backbone constraint' revealed several morphological characters that supported a close relationship between glyptodonts and the tiny extant fairy armadillos (Chlamyphorinae). This is surprising as these taxa are among the most derived cingulates: glyptodonts were generally large-bodied and heavily armoured, while the fairy armadillos are tiny (~9-17 cm) and adapted for burrowing. Calibration of our phylogeny with the first appearance of glyptodonts in the Eocene resulted in a more precise timeline for xenarthran evolution. The osteological novelties of glyptodonts and their specialization for grazing appear to have evolved rapidly during the Late Eocene to Early Miocene, coincident with global temperature decreases and a shift from wet closed forest towards drier open woodland and grassland across much of South America. This environmental change may have driven the evolution of glyptodonts, culminating in the bizarre giant forms of the Pleistocene.

  20. Dispersal, niche breadth and population extinction: colonization ratios predict range size in North American dragonflies.

    PubMed

    McCauley, Shannon J; Davis, Christopher J; Werner, Earl E; Robeson, Michael S

    2014-07-01

    Species' range sizes are shaped by fundamental differences in species' ecological and evolutionary characteristics, and understanding the mechanisms determining range size can shed light on the factors responsible for generating and structuring biological diversity. Moreover, because geographic range size is associated with a species' risk of extinction and their ability to respond to global changes in climate and land use, understanding these mechanisms has important conservation implications. Despite the hypotheses that dispersal behaviour is a strong determinant of species range areas, few data are available to directly compare the relationship between dispersal behaviour and range size. Here, we overcome this limitation by combining data from a multispecies dispersal experiment with additional species-level trait data that are commonly hypothesized to affect range size (e.g. niche breadth, local abundance and body size.). This enables us to examine the relationship between these species-level traits and range size across North America for fifteen dragonfly species. Ten models based on a priori predictions about the relationship between species traits and range size were evaluated and two models were identified as good predictors of species range size. These models indicated that only two species' level traits, dispersal behaviour and niche breadth were strongly related to range size. The evidence from these two models indicated that dragonfly species that disperse more often and further had larger North American ranges. Extinction and colonization dynamics are expected to be a key linkage between dispersal behaviour and range size in dragonflies. To evaluate how extinction and colonization dynamics among dragonflies were related to range size we used an independent data set of extinction and colonization rates for eleven dragonfly species and assessed the relationship between these populations rates and North American range areas for these species. We found a

  1. Implications of diet for the extinction of saber-toothed cats and American lions.

    PubMed

    Desantis, Larisa R G; Schubert, Blaine W; Scott, Jessica R; Ungar, Peter S

    2012-01-01

    The saber-toothed cat, Smilodon fatalis, and American lion, Panthera atrox, were among the largest terrestrial carnivores that lived during the Pleistocene, going extinct along with other megafauna ∼12,000 years ago. Previous work suggests that times were difficult at La Brea (California) during the late Pleistocene, as nearly all carnivores have greater incidences of tooth breakage (used to infer greater carcass utilization) compared to today. As Dental Microwear Texture Analysis (DMTA) can differentiate between levels of bone consumption in extant carnivores, we use DMTA to clarify the dietary niches of extinct carnivorans from La Brea. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that times were tough at La Brea with carnivorous taxa utilizing more of the carcasses. Our results show no evidence of bone crushing by P. atrox, with DMTA attributes most similar to the extant cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, which actively avoids bone. In contrast, S. fatalis has DMTA attributes most similar to the African lion Panthera leo, implying that S. fatalis did not avoid bone to the extent previously suggested by SEM microwear data. DMTA characters most indicative of bone consumption (i.e., complexity and textural fill volume) suggest that carcass utilization by the extinct carnivorans was not necessarily more complete during the Pleistocene at La Brea; thus, times may not have been "tougher" than the present. Additionally, minor to no significant differences in DMTA attributes from older (∼30-35 Ka) to younger (∼11.5 Ka) deposits offer little evidence that declining prey resources were a primary cause of extinction for these large cats.

  2. Genomic Data from Extinct North American Camelops Revise Camel Evolutionary History.

    PubMed

    Heintzman, Peter D; Zazula, Grant D; Cahill, James A; Reyes, Alberto V; MacPhee, Ross D E; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-09-01

    Recent advances in paleogenomic technologies have enabled an increasingly detailed understanding of the evolutionary relationships of now-extinct mammalian taxa. However, a number of enigmatic Quaternary species have never been characterized with molecular data, often because available fossils are rare or are found in environments that are not optimal for DNA preservation. Here, we analyze paleogenomic data extracted from bones attributed to the late Pleistocene western camel, Camelops cf. hesternus, a species that was distributed across central and western North America until its extinction approximately 13,000 years ago. Despite a modal sequence length of only around 35 base pairs, we reconstructed high-coverage complete mitochondrial genomes and low-coverage partial nuclear genomes for each specimen. We find that Camelops is sister to African and Asian bactrian and dromedary camels, to the exclusion of South American camelids (llamas, guanacos, alpacas, and vicuñas). These results contradict previous morphology-based phylogenetic models for Camelops, which suggest instead a closer relationship between Camelops and the South American camelids. The molecular data imply a Late Miocene divergence of the Camelops clade from lineages that separately gave rise to the extant camels of Eurasia. Our results demonstrate the increasing capacity of modern paleogenomic methods to resolve evolutionary relationships among distantly related lineages.

  3. Audubon Mammal Study Program.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Audubon Society, New York, NY.

    Included are an illustrated student reader, "The Story of Mammals," a leaders' guide, a large wall chart picturing 39 North American mammals, and a separate booklet describing the mammals on the wall chart. The student reader presents these main topics: What Is a Mammal?; How Mammals Differ From Each Other; Where, When, and How To Find Mammals;…

  4. Splendid oddness: revisiting the curious trophic relationships of South American Pleistocene mammals and their abundance.

    PubMed

    Fariña, Richard A; Czerwonogora, Ada; di Giacomo, Mariana

    2014-03-01

    The South American Pleistocene mammal fauna includes great-sized animals that have intrigued scientists for over two centuries. Here we intend to update the knowledge on its palaeoecology and provide new evidence regarding two approaches: energetics and population density and relative abundance of fossils per taxa. To determine whether an imbalance exists, population density models were applied to several South American fossil faunas and the results compared to those that best describe the palaeoecology of African faunas. The results on the abundance study for Uruguay and the province of Buenos Aires during the Lujanian stage/age reveal that bulk-feeding ground sloths (Lestodon and Glossotherium) were more represented in the first territory, while the more selective Scelidotherium and Megatherium were more abundant in the second. Although the obtained values were corrected to avoid size-related taphonomic biases, linear regressions of abundance vs. body mass plots did not fit the expected either for first or second consumers. South American Pleistocene faunas behave differently from what models suggest they should. Changes in sea level and available area could account for these differences; the possibility of a floodplain in the area then emerged could explain seasonal changes, which would modify the calculations of energetics and abundance.

  5. Mountaintop island age determines species richness of boreal mammals in the American Southwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Frey, J.K.; Bogan, M.A.; Yates, Terry L.

    2007-01-01

    Models that describe the mechanisms responsible for insular patterns of species richness include the equilibrium theory of island biogeography and the nonequilibrium vicariance model. The relative importance of dispersal or vicariance in structuring insular distribution patterns can be inferred from these models. Predictions of the alternative models were tested for boreal mammals in the American Southwest. Age of mountaintop islands of boreal habitat was determined by constructing a geographic cladogram based on characteristics of intervening valley barriers. Other independent variables included area and isolation of mountaintop islands. Island age was the most important predictor of species richness. In contrast with previous studies of species richness patterns in this system, these results supported the nonequilibrium vicariance model, which indicates that vicariance has been the primary determinant of species distribution patterns in this system.

  6. [Extinction of large herbivore mammals: niche characteristics of musk ox Ovibos moschatus and reindeer Rangifer tarandus coexisting in isolation].

    PubMed

    Sheremet'ev, I S; Rosenfel'd, S B; Sipko, T P; Gruzdev, A R

    2014-01-01

    The extinction of large northern herbivores is a puzzle for many biologists. It is long debated whether climate change or human activity was the main factor of the extinction. The survival of the weak trophic competitors should reject the climatic hypothesis. Extant species of Pleistocene communities allow testing this explicitly. Up to date, reindeer and musk ox coexist in the Arctic territory. Their island populations provide a unique natural experiment to assess the role of competition. On Wrangel Island, their population sizes show the opposite trends and the same situation recurs on other Arctic islands--the reindeer population size decreases with the muskoxen population increasing. We have shown that the trends are defined by food-web structure. Niche overlap between species is found to .be considerable and cannot be facilitated by habitat partitioning. The number of plant species in the muskoxen diet was higher than in the reindeer. The exclusive part of the muskoxen diet was higher as well. Food webs in all of the habitat types showed the same relation. However, the changes in herbivores distribution during the Pleistocene demonstrate the opposite pattern. Therefore, the competitive advantage could not save the Palaearctic musk ox, and the extinction seems to be a result of selective overkill. Conclusively, the human activity may be considered as the main factor of the Late Pleistocene herbivore extinctions, and the musk ox reintroducing should be coupled with extensive conservational measures.

  7. A paleothermometer based on abundances of 13C-18O bonds in bioapatite: Calibration and reconstruction of the body temperatures of extinct Cenozoic mammals and Mesozoic dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eagle, R.; Schauble, E. A.; Tripati, A. K.; Fricke, H. C.; Tuetken, T.; Eiler, J. M.

    2009-12-01

    The stable isotope compositions of biologically precipitated apatite in bone, teeth, and scales are widely used to obtain information on the diet, behavior, and physiology of extinct organisms, and to reconstruct past climate in terrestrial and marine settings. Here we report the application of a new type of geochemical measurement to bioapatite, a ‘clumped isotope’ thermometer based on the thermodynamically driven preference for 13C and 18O to bond with each other within carbonate ions in the crystal lattice of apatite. This effect is dependent on temperature but unlike conventional stable isotope paleotemperature proxies, is independent from the isotopic composition of water from which the mineral formed. We show that the abundance of 13C-18O bonds in the carbonate component of apatite from modern teeth is proportional to the body temperature of the organism, with an accuracy of 1-2oC, and that the empirical calibration is supported by a theoretical model of isotopic ordering. We also report initial paleothermometry results from analyses of Cenozoic fossil mammal teeth and Mesozoic dinosaur teeth. Therefore, clumped isotope analysis of bioapatite represents a new approach in the study of the physiology of extinct species by allowing the first relatively assumption-free measurement of their body temperatures. It will also open new avenues in the study of paleoclimate, as the measurements of clumped isotopes in apatite from fossils, such as conodonts and brachiopods, as well as phosphorites, have the potential to record environmental temperatures.

  8. A species-level phylogeny of all extant and late Quaternary extinct mammals using a novel heuristic-hierarchical Bayesian approach.

    PubMed

    Faurby, Søren; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2015-03-01

    Across large clades, two problems are generally encountered in the estimation of species-level phylogenies: (a) the number of taxa involved is generally so high that computation-intensive approaches cannot readily be utilized and (b) even for clades that have received intense study (e.g., mammals), attention has been centered on relatively few selected species, and most taxa must therefore be positioned on the basis of very limited genetic data. Here, we describe a new heuristic-hierarchical Bayesian approach and use it to construct a species-level phylogeny for all extant and late Quaternary extinct mammals. In this approach, species with large quantities of genetic data are placed nearly freely in the mammalian phylogeny according to these data, whereas the placement of species with lower quantities of data is performed with steadily stricter restrictions for decreasing data quantities. The advantages of the proposed method include (a) an improved ability to incorporate phylogenetic uncertainty in downstream analyses based on the resulting phylogeny, (b) a reduced potential for long-branch attraction or other types of errors that place low-data taxa far from their true position, while maintaining minimal restrictions for better-studied taxa, and (c) likely improved placement of low-data taxa due to the use of closer outgroups.

  9. Revised geochronology of the Casamayoran South American Land Mammal Age: Climatic and biotic implications

    PubMed Central

    Kay, Richard F.; Madden, Richard H.; Vucetich, M. Guiomar; Carlini, Alfredo A.; Mazzoni, Mario M.; Re, Guillermo H.; Heizler, Matthew; Sandeman, Hamish

    1999-01-01

    Isotopic age determinations (40Ar/39Ar) and associated magnetic polarity stratigraphy for Casamayoran age fauna at Gran Barranca (Chubut, Argentina) indicate that the Barrancan “subage” of the Casamayoran South American Land Mammal “Age” is late Eocene, 18 to 20 million years younger than hitherto supposed. Correlations of the radioisotopically dated magnetic polarity stratigraphy at Gran Barranca with the Cenozoic geomagnetic polarity time scale indicate that Barrancan faunal levels at the Gran Barranca date to within the magnetochronologic interval from 35.34 to 36.62 megannums (Ma) or 35.69 to 37.60 Ma. This age revision constrains the timing of an adaptive shift in mammalian herbivores toward hypsodonty. Specifically, the appearance of large numbers of hypsodont taxa in South America occurred sometime between 36 and 32 Ma (late Eocene–early Oligocene), at approximately the same time that other biotic and geologic evidence has suggested the Southern high latitudes experienced climatic cooling associated with Antarctic glaciation. PMID:10557304

  10. Evolution of bone compactness in extant and extinct moles (Talpidae): exploring humeral microstructure in small fossorial mammals

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Talpids include forms with different degree of fossoriality, with major specializations in the humerus in the case of the fully fossorial moles. We studied the humeral microanatomy of eleven extant and eight extinct talpid taxa of different lifestyles and of two non-fossorial outgroups and examined the effects of size and phylogeny. We tested the hypothesis that bone microanatomy is different in highly derived humeri of fossorial taxa than in terrestrial and semi-aquatic ones, likely due to special mechanical strains to which they are exposed to during digging. This study is the first comprehensive examination of histological parameters in an ecologically diverse and small-sized mammalian clade. Results No pattern of global bone compactness was found in the humeri of talpids that could be related to biomechanical specialization, phylogeny or size. The transition zone from the medullary cavity to the cortical compacta was larger and the ellipse ratio smaller in fossorial talpids than in non-fossorial talpids. No differences were detected between the two distantly related fossorial clades, Talpini and Scalopini. Conclusions At this small size, the overall morphology of the humerus plays a predominant role in absorbing the load, and microanatomical features such as an increase in bone compactness are less important, perhaps due to insufficient gravitational effects. The ellipse ratio of bone compactness shows relatively high intraspecific variation, and therefore predictions from this ratio based on single specimens are invalid. PMID:23442022

  11. Trends in North American small mammals found in common barn-owl (Tyto alba) dietary studies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clark, D.R.; Bunck, C.M.

    1991-01-01

    Data on mammals were compiled from published studies of common barn-owl (Tyto alba) pellets. Mammalian composition of pellet samples was analyzed within geographic regions in regard to year, mean annual precipitation, latitude, and number of individual mammals in the sample. Percentages of individuals in pellets that were shrews increased whereas the percentages of rodents decreased with greater mean annual precipitation, especially in northern and western areas of North America. From the 1920s through 1980s, in northern and eastern areas the percentage of species that was shrews decreased, and in northern and central areas the percentage of individuals that was murid rats and mice increased. Human alterations of habitats during these seven decades are postulated to have caused changes in available small mammals, leading to changes in the barn-owl diet.

  12. Insights into the Evolutionary History of an Extinct South American Freshwater Snail Based on Historical DNA.

    PubMed

    Vogler, Roberto E; Beltramino, Ariel A; Strong, Ellen E; Rumi, Alejandra; Peso, Juana G

    2016-01-01

    Highly oxygenated freshwater habitats in the High Paraná River (Argentina-Paraguay) were home to highly endemic snails of the genus Aylacostoma, which face extinction owing to the impoundment of the Yacyretá Reservoir in the 1990s. Two species, A. chloroticum and A. brunneum, are currently included in an ongoing ex situ conservation programme, whereas A. guaraniticum and A. stigmaticum are presumed extinct. Consequently, the validity and affinities of the latter two have remained enigmatic. Here, we provide the first molecular data on the extinct A. stigmaticum by means of historical DNA analysis. We describe patterns of molecular evolution based on partial sequences of the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA gene from the extinct species and from those being bred within the ex situ programme. We further use this gene to derive a secondary structure model, to examine the specific status of A. stigmaticum and to explore the evolutionary history of these snails. The secondary structure model based on A. stigmaticum revealed that most polymorphic sites are located in unpaired regions. Our results support the view that the mitochondrial 12S region is an efficient marker for the discrimination of species, and the extinct A. stigmaticum is recognized here as a distinct evolutionary genetic species. Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed a sister group relationship between A. chloroticum and A. brunneum, and estimated divergence times suggest that diversification of Aylacostoma in the High Paraná River might have started in the late Miocene via intra-basin speciation due to a past marine transgression. Finally, our findings reveal that DNA may be obtained from dried specimens at least 80 years after their collection, and confirms the feasibility of extracting historical DNA from museum collections for elucidating evolutionary patterns and processes in gastropods.

  13. Insights into the Evolutionary History of an Extinct South American Freshwater Snail Based on Historical DNA

    PubMed Central

    Strong, Ellen E.; Rumi, Alejandra; Peso, Juana G.

    2016-01-01

    Highly oxygenated freshwater habitats in the High Paraná River (Argentina–Paraguay) were home to highly endemic snails of the genus Aylacostoma, which face extinction owing to the impoundment of the Yacyretá Reservoir in the 1990s. Two species, A. chloroticum and A. brunneum, are currently included in an ongoing ex situ conservation programme, whereas A. guaraniticum and A. stigmaticum are presumed extinct. Consequently, the validity and affinities of the latter two have remained enigmatic. Here, we provide the first molecular data on the extinct A. stigmaticum by means of historical DNA analysis. We describe patterns of molecular evolution based on partial sequences of the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA gene from the extinct species and from those being bred within the ex situ programme. We further use this gene to derive a secondary structure model, to examine the specific status of A. stigmaticum and to explore the evolutionary history of these snails. The secondary structure model based on A. stigmaticum revealed that most polymorphic sites are located in unpaired regions. Our results support the view that the mitochondrial 12S region is an efficient marker for the discrimination of species, and the extinct A. stigmaticum is recognized here as a distinct evolutionary genetic species. Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed a sister group relationship between A. chloroticum and A. brunneum, and estimated divergence times suggest that diversification of Aylacostoma in the High Paraná River might have started in the late Miocene via intra-basin speciation due to a past marine transgression. Finally, our findings reveal that DNA may be obtained from dried specimens at least 80 years after their collection, and confirms the feasibility of extracting historical DNA from museum collections for elucidating evolutionary patterns and processes in gastropods. PMID:28033407

  14. Small mammal diversity loss in response to late-Pleistocene climatic change.

    PubMed

    Blois, Jessica L; McGuire, Jenny L; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2010-06-10

    Communities have been shaped in numerous ways by past climatic change; this process continues today. At the end of the Pleistocene epoch about 11,700 years ago, North American communities were substantially altered by the interplay of two events. The climate shifted from the cold, arid Last Glacial Maximum to the warm, mesic Holocene interglacial, causing many mammal species to shift their geographic distributions substantially. Populations were further stressed as humans arrived on the continent. The resulting megafaunal extinction event, in which 70 of the roughly 220 largest mammals in North America (32%) became extinct, has received much attention. However, responses of small mammals to events at the end of the Pleistocene have been much less studied, despite the sensitivity of these animals to current and future environmental change. Here we examine community changes in small mammals in northern California during the last 'natural' global warming event at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition and show that even though no small mammals in the local community became extinct, species losses and gains, combined with changes in abundance, caused declines in both the evenness and richness of communities. Modern mammalian communities are thus depauperate not only as a result of megafaunal extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene but also because of diversity loss among small mammals. Our results suggest that across future landscapes there will be some unanticipated effects of global change on diversity: restructuring of small mammal communities, significant loss of richness, and perhaps the rising dominance of native 'weedy' species.

  15. The youngest South American rhynchocephalian, a survivor of the K/Pg extinction.

    PubMed

    Apesteguía, Sebastián; Gómez, Raúl O; Rougier, Guillermo W

    2014-10-07

    Rhynchocephalian lepidosaurs, though once widespread worldwide, are represented today only by the tuatara (Sphenodon) of New Zealand. After their apparent early Cretaceous extinction in Laurasia, they survived in southern continents. In South America, they are represented by different lineages of Late Cretaceous eupropalinal forms until their disappearance by the Cretaceous/Palaeogene (K/Pg) boundary. We describe here the only unambiguous Palaeogene rhynchocephalian from South America; this new taxon is a younger species of the otherwise Late Cretaceous genus Kawasphenodon. Phylogenetic analysis confirms the allocation of the genus to the clade Opisthodontia. The new form from the Palaeogene of Central Patagonia is much smaller than Kawasphenodon expectatus from the Late Cretaceous of Northern Patagonia. The new species shows that at least one group of rhynchocephalians not related to the extant Sphenodon survived in South America beyond the K/Pg extinction event. Furthermore, it adds to other trans-K/Pg ectotherm tetrapod taxa, suggesting that the end-Cretaceous extinction affected Patagonia more benignly than the Laurasian landmasses.

  16. The youngest South American rhynchocephalian, a survivor of the K/Pg extinction

    PubMed Central

    Apesteguía, Sebastián; Gómez, Raúl O.; Rougier, Guillermo W.

    2014-01-01

    Rhynchocephalian lepidosaurs, though once widespread worldwide, are represented today only by the tuatara (Sphenodon) of New Zealand. After their apparent early Cretaceous extinction in Laurasia, they survived in southern continents. In South America, they are represented by different lineages of Late Cretaceous eupropalinal forms until their disappearance by the Cretaceous/Palaeogene (K/Pg) boundary. We describe here the only unambiguous Palaeogene rhynchocephalian from South America; this new taxon is a younger species of the otherwise Late Cretaceous genus Kawasphenodon. Phylogenetic analysis confirms the allocation of the genus to the clade Opisthodontia. The new form from the Palaeogene of Central Patagonia is much smaller than Kawasphenodon expectatus from the Late Cretaceous of Northern Patagonia. The new species shows that at least one group of rhynchocephalians not related to the extant Sphenodon survived in South America beyond the K/Pg extinction event. Furthermore, it adds to other trans-K/Pg ectotherm tetrapod taxa, suggesting that the end-Cretaceous extinction affected Patagonia more benignly than the Laurasian landmasses. PMID:25143041

  17. Neotropical mammal diversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange: spatial and temporal variation in South America's fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Carrillo, Juan D.; Forasiepi, Analía; Jaramillo, Carlos; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2015-01-01

    The vast mammal diversity of the Neotropics is the result of a long evolutionary history. During most of the Cenozoic, South America was an island continent with an endemic mammalian fauna. This isolation ceased during the late Neogene after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, resulting in an event known as the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). In this study, we investigate biogeographic patterns in South America, just before or when the first immigrants are recorded and we review the temporal and geographical distribution of fossil mammals during the GABI. We performed a dissimilarity analysis which grouped the faunal assemblages according to their age and their geographic distribution. Our data support the differentiation between tropical and temperate assemblages in South America during the middle and late Miocene. The GABI begins during the late Miocene (~10–7 Ma) and the putative oldest migrations are recorded in the temperate region, where the number of GABI participants rapidly increases after ~5 Ma and this trend continues during the Pleistocene. A sampling bias toward higher latitudes and younger records challenges the study of the temporal and geographic patterns of the GABI. PMID:25601879

  18. Neotropical mammal diversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange: spatial and temporal variation in South America's fossil record.

    PubMed

    Carrillo, Juan D; Forasiepi, Analía; Jaramillo, Carlos; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2014-01-01

    The vast mammal diversity of the Neotropics is the result of a long evolutionary history. During most of the Cenozoic, South America was an island continent with an endemic mammalian fauna. This isolation ceased during the late Neogene after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, resulting in an event known as the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). In this study, we investigate biogeographic patterns in South America, just before or when the first immigrants are recorded and we review the temporal and geographical distribution of fossil mammals during the GABI. We performed a dissimilarity analysis which grouped the faunal assemblages according to their age and their geographic distribution. Our data support the differentiation between tropical and temperate assemblages in South America during the middle and late Miocene. The GABI begins during the late Miocene (~10-7 Ma) and the putative oldest migrations are recorded in the temperate region, where the number of GABI participants rapidly increases after ~5 Ma and this trend continues during the Pleistocene. A sampling bias toward higher latitudes and younger records challenges the study of the temporal and geographic patterns of the GABI.

  19. Expected time-invariant effects of biological traits on mammal species duration

    PubMed Central

    Smits, Peter D.

    2015-01-01

    Determining which biological traits influence differences in extinction risk is vital for understanding the differential diversification of life and for making predictions about species’ vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts. Here I present a hierarchical Bayesian survival model of North American Cenozoic mammal species durations in relation to species-level ecological factors, time of origination, and phylogenetic relationships. I find support for the survival of the unspecialized as a time-invariant generalization of trait-based extinction risk. Furthermore, I find that phylogenetic and temporal effects are both substantial factors associated with differences in species durations. Finally, I find that the estimated effects of these factors are partially incongruous with how these factors are correlated with extinction risk of the extant species. These findings parallel previous observations that background extinction is a poor predictor of mass extinction events and suggest that attention should be focused on mass extinctions to gain insight into modern species loss. PMID:26438873

  20. Rapid body size decline in Alaskan Pleistocene horses before extinction.

    PubMed

    Guthrie, R Dale

    2003-11-13

    About 70% of North American large mammal species were lost at the end of the Pleistocene epoch. The causes of this extinction--the role of humans versus that of climate--have been the focus of much controversy. Horses have figured centrally in that debate, because equid species dominated North American late Pleistocene faunas in terms of abundance, geographical distribution, and species variety, yet none survived into the Holocene epoch. The timing of these equid regional extinctions and accompanying evolutionary changes are poorly known. In an attempt to document better the decline and demise of two Alaskan Pleistocene equids, I selected a large number of fossils from the latest Pleistocene for radiocarbon dating. Here I show that horses underwent a rapid decline in body size before extinction, and I propose that the size decline and subsequent regional extinction at 12,500 radiocarbon years before present are best attributed to a coincident climatic/vegetational shift. The present data do not support human overkill and several other proposed extinction causes, and also show that large mammal species responded somewhat individualistically to climate changes at the end of the Pleistocene.

  1. Biostratigraphic implications of the first Eocene land-mammal fauna from the North American coastal plain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westgate, James W.

    1988-11-01

    A newly discovered vertebrate fossil assemblage, the Casa Blanca local fauna, comes from the Laredo Formation, Claiborne Group, of Webb County, Texas, and is the first reported Eocene land-mammal fauna from the coastal plain of North America. The mammalian fauna is correlated with the Serendipity and Candelaria local faunas of west Texas, the Uinta C faunas of the Rocky Mountains, the Santiago Formation local fauna of southern California, and the Swift Current Creek local fauna of Saskatchewan. The vertebrate-bearing deposit lies about 32 m above a horizon containing the marine gastropod Turritella cortezi, which ranges from east Texas to northeast Mexico in the lower half of the Cook Mountain and Laredo Formations and is a guide fossil to the Hurricane Lentil in the Cook Mountain Formation. Nannoplankton found in these middle Eocene formations belong to the upper half of Nannoplankton Zone I6 and allow correlation with European beds of late Lutetian to early Bartonian age.

  2. Biostratigraphic implications of the first Eocene land-mammal fauna from the North American coastal plain

    SciTech Connect

    Westgate, J.W. )

    1988-11-01

    A newly discovered vertebrate fossil assemblage, the Casa Blanca local fauna, comes from the Laredo Formation, Claiborne Group, of Webb County, Texas, and is the first reported Eocene land-mammal fauna from the coastal plain of North America. The mammalian fauna is correlated with the Serendipity and Canderlaria local faunas of west Texas, the Uinta C faunas of the Rocky Mountains, the Santiago Formation local fauna of southern California, and the Swift Current Creek local fauna of Saskatchewan, The vertebrate-bearing deposit lies about 32 m above a horizon containing the marine gastropod Turritella cortezi, which ranges from east Texas to northeast Mexico in the lower half of the Cook Mountain and Laredo Formations and is a guide fossil to the Hurricane Lentil in the Cook Mountain Formation. Nannoplankton found in these middle Eocene formations belong to the upper half of Nannoplankton Zone 16 and allow correlation with European beds of late Lutetian to early Bartonian age.

  3. Miocene Mammals and Central American Seaways: Fauna of the Canal Zone indicates separation of Central and South America during most of the Tertiary.

    PubMed

    Whitmore, F C; Stewart, R H

    1965-04-09

    The presence of Miocene mammals of North American affinity in the Panama Canal Zone indicates that Central America was attached to North America. That this attachment was a broad and stable land mass is shown by the close relation of the Panama Miocene herbivores to the widely distributed Miocene herbivore fauna of North America. A continuous connection existed probably throughout the Tertiary, to the west and north of the isthmian region, but the tectonically active isthmus probably was broken up into an archipelago during most of Tertiary time. Between the islands ran the Strait of Panama; from time to time parts of the isthmian area were connected to the stable land to the west, allowing eastward migration of land animals. The mammals of North American affinity in the Cucaracha Formation were found only a few kilometers from the western end of the San Blas Area, a stable land mass in eastern Panama that was separated from South America by the Bolivar Trough during most of the interval between Oligocene and Pliocene time (16). The Strait of Panama was a less stable barrier than the Bolivar Trough; this being so, it is likely that the San Blas Area was inhabited by land animals of North American rather than South American affinity. Thus, the disappearance of the Bolivar seaway in Pliocene time would have allowed, probably for the first time, mingling of the North and South American mammal faunas.

  4. Local Colonization-Extinction Dynamics Generate Lags in the Response to Climate Change in Eastern North American Forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Talluto, M. V.; Boulangeat, I.; Vissault, S.; Gravel, D.

    2015-12-01

    Climate change is likely to push many species to the limits of their ecological niches and lead to mismatches between species ranges and local environmental conditions. Forested ecosystems in particular may have difficulty tracking climate change due to slow growth and dispersal rates. Correlative species distribution models (SDMs), commonly used to predict the response of species distributions to climate change, relate species occurrences to climate to describe the present niche; however they often project into the future without accounting for slow processes that might produce lags in the response to climate change. An alternative type of model that analyzes patch-scale colonization and extinction (C-E) rates along an environmental gradient has been successful in describing species range limits in theoretical studies. Because the model is stochastic and dynamic, it is more robust to changes in the environmental gradient than static SDMs. We applied such a model to 40 of the most abundant trees in eastern North American forests, using repeated observations across multiple decades to parameterize the C-E rates. We show that C-E rates for many species respond to climate in a manner that generates predicted range limits when the species is at equilibrium with the environment. Moreover, current distributions of many species are significantly out of equilibrium with the present climate, with predicted range limits shifted 10s to 100s of km northward from the present distribution. These results suggest that present warming has already exceeded the thermal tolerance at the southern range limits for the dominant trees of eastern North American forests, producing millions of ha of newly suitable areas north of the present distribution of these species that have not yet been colonized, as well as large southern regions where species are present but expected to be lost in the long-term as dead trees are not replaced, even if no further climate warming occurs.

  5. Disappearance of the last lions and hyenas of Europe in the Late Quaternary - a chain reaction of large mammal prey migration, extinction and human antagonism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.

    2010-05-01

    there are no records of indirectly dated hyena and lion remains being younger then even Aurignacian/Early Gravettian (35.000-28.000 BP). Those largest Late Quaternary predators must have got extinct in northern Germany with the Late Weichselian/Wuermian extending Skandinavian Glacier, which reached northern Europe between Hamburg and Berlin its maximum extension about 24.000 BP (Skupin et al. 1993). The two largest predators of the Late Quaternary of Europe seem to have been well represented in the Gravettian and up to Magdalénian Late Palaeolithic of southern Europe, in which mainly lions, but only rarely hyenas are well documented within the cave and mobile art (e.g Breuil 1952, Begouen and Clottes 1987, Chauvet et al. 1995, Diedrich and Rathgeber in review, Diedrich 2005). Hyenas and lions must have been represented in the Gravettian, Early and Middle and possibly even ?Late Magdalenian in southern Europe, which must have resulted from a southern migration of those predators during the Late Weichselian/Wuermian together with the megafauna and humans. The disappearance of hyenas and lions also correlate with the extinction of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros in northern Germany. The large mammals such as elephants and rhinoceroses were highly important for hyenas and lions during the Late Quaternary. Hyenas had a systematic scavenging strategy on both large prey which was even "transferred" until today compared to modern spotted hyenas and lions of Africa (Diedrich 2010d, e, in prep). Where those Late Quaternary giant mammals such as woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros were absent in middle mountainous regions (e.g. Sauerland Karst, Harz Mountain Karst, Bohemian Karst, Thuringian Karst) those had to kill other medium sized animals such as horse or steppe bison and those in larger amounts (Diedrich 2008, 2010c). Woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth seem to be not known in northern Germany after Aurignacian/?Early Gravettian times (Sauerland Karst and Münsterland Bay

  6. Influence of Tertiary paleoenvironmental changes on the diversification of South American mammals: a relaxed molecular clock study within xenarthrans

    PubMed Central

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Vizcaíno, Sergio F; Douzery, Emmanuel JP

    2004-01-01

    Background Comparative genomic data among organisms allow the reconstruction of their phylogenies and evolutionary time scales. Molecular timings have been recently used to suggest that environmental global change have shaped the evolutionary history of diverse terrestrial organisms. Living xenarthrans (armadillos, anteaters and sloths) constitute an ideal model for studying the influence of past environmental changes on species diversification. Indeed, extant xenarthran species are relicts from an evolutionary radiation enhanced by their isolation in South America during the Tertiary era, a period for which major climate variations and tectonic events are relatively well documented. Results We applied a Bayesian approach to three nuclear genes in order to relax the molecular clock assumption while accounting for differences in evolutionary dynamics among genes and incorporating paleontological uncertainties. We obtained a molecular time scale for the evolution of extant xenarthrans and other placental mammals. Divergence time estimates provide substantial evidence for contemporaneous diversification events among independent xenarthran lineages. This correlated pattern of diversification might possibly relate to major environmental changes that occurred in South America during the Cenozoic. Conclusions The observed synchronicity between planetary and biological events suggests that global change played a crucial role in shaping the evolutionary history of extant xenarthrans. Our findings open ways to test this hypothesis further in other South American mammalian endemics like hystricognath rodents, platyrrhine primates, and didelphid marsupials. PMID:15115541

  7. Species extinction mires ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Holzman, D.

    1990-03-26

    Extinction is normal in the evolution of life, but amphibians, insects, birds and mammals are vanishing at an alarming pace. While habitat destruction, overexploitation and pollution are among the main causes, some disappearances cannot be explained. The extinction problem among amphibians mirrors the general, worldwide phenomenon. A synergism of insults may be responsible. Chance events such as a dry year might occasionally clean out a pond. But a larger lake nearby would replenish it. Now acid pollution adds to the ponds' burden while stocking of amphibian-eating sport fish in the lake - which happens even in natural parks - would destroy the source of replenishment. Some fear that extinctions ultimately could destroy nature's fabric.

  8. Impact of Non-Native Terrestrial Mammals on the Structure of the Terrestrial Mammal Food Web of Newfoundland, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Strong, Justin S.; Leroux, Shawn J.

    2014-01-01

    The island of Newfoundland is unique because it has as many non-native terrestrial mammals as native ones. The impacts of non-native species on native flora and fauna can be profound and invasive species have been identified as one of the primary drivers of species extinction. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of a non-native species assemblage on community and ecosystem properties. We reviewed the literature to build the first terrestrial mammal food web for the island of Newfoundland and then used network analyses to investigate how the timing of introductions and trophic position of non-native species has affected the structure of the terrestrial mammal food web in Newfoundland. The first non-native mammals (house mouse and brown rat) became established in Newfoundland with human settlement in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Coyotes and southern red-backed voles are the most recent mammals to establish themselves on the island in 1985 and 1998, respectively. The fraction of intermediate species increased with the addition of non-native mammals over time whereas the fraction of basal and top species declined over time. This increase in intermediate species mediated by non-native species arrivals led to an overall increase in the terrestrial mammal food web connectance and generality (i.e. mean number of prey per predator). This diverse prey base and sources of carrion may have facilitated the natural establishment of coyotes on the island. Also, there is some evidence that the introduction of non-native prey species such as the southern red-backed vole has contributed to the recovery of the threatened American marten. Long-term monitoring of the food web is required to understand and predict the impacts of the diverse novel interactions that are developing in the terrestrial mammal food web of Newfoundland. PMID:25170923

  9. Impact of non-native terrestrial mammals on the structure of the terrestrial mammal food web of Newfoundland, Canada.

    PubMed

    Strong, Justin S; Leroux, Shawn J

    2014-01-01

    The island of Newfoundland is unique because it has as many non-native terrestrial mammals as native ones. The impacts of non-native species on native flora and fauna can be profound and invasive species have been identified as one of the primary drivers of species extinction. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of a non-native species assemblage on community and ecosystem properties. We reviewed the literature to build the first terrestrial mammal food web for the island of Newfoundland and then used network analyses to investigate how the timing of introductions and trophic position of non-native species has affected the structure of the terrestrial mammal food web in Newfoundland. The first non-native mammals (house mouse and brown rat) became established in Newfoundland with human settlement in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Coyotes and southern red-backed voles are the most recent mammals to establish themselves on the island in 1985 and 1998, respectively. The fraction of intermediate species increased with the addition of non-native mammals over time whereas the fraction of basal and top species declined over time. This increase in intermediate species mediated by non-native species arrivals led to an overall increase in the terrestrial mammal food web connectance and generality (i.e. mean number of prey per predator). This diverse prey base and sources of carrion may have facilitated the natural establishment of coyotes on the island. Also, there is some evidence that the introduction of non-native prey species such as the southern red-backed vole has contributed to the recovery of the threatened American marten. Long-term monitoring of the food web is required to understand and predict the impacts of the diverse novel interactions that are developing in the terrestrial mammal food web of Newfoundland.

  10. Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions.

    PubMed

    Ricketts, Taylor H; Dinerstein, Eric; Boucher, Tim; Brooks, Thomas M; Butchart, Stuart H M; Hoffmann, Michael; Lamoreux, John F; Morrison, John; Parr, Mike; Pilgrim, John D; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Sechrest, Wes; Wallace, George E; Berlin, Ken; Bielby, Jon; Burgess, Neil D; Church, Don R; Cox, Neil; Knox, David; Loucks, Colby; Luck, Gary W; Master, Lawrence L; Moore, Robin; Naidoo, Robin; Ridgely, Robert; Schatz, George E; Shire, Gavin; Strand, Holly; Wettengel, Wes; Wikramanayake, Eric

    2005-12-20

    Slowing rates of global biodiversity loss requires preventing species extinctions. Here we pinpoint centers of imminent extinction, where highly threatened species are confined to single sites. Within five globally assessed taxa (i.e., mammals, birds, selected reptiles, amphibians, and conifers), we find 794 such species, three times the number recorded as having gone extinct since 1500. These species occur in 595 sites, concentrated in tropical forests, on islands, and in mountainous areas. Their taxonomic and geographical distribution differs significantly from that of historical extinctions, indicating an expansion of the current extinction episode beyond sensitive species and places toward the planet's most biodiverse mainland regions. Only one-third of the sites are legally protected, and most are surrounded by intense human development. These sites represent clear opportunities for urgent conservation action to prevent species loss.

  11. Rethinking Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Niv, Yael; Daw, Nathaniel; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2015-01-01

    Extinction serves as the leading theoretical framework and experimental model to describe how learned behaviors diminish through absence of anticipated reinforcement. In the past decade, extinction has moved beyond the realm of associative learning theory and behavioral experimentation in animals and has become a topic of considerable interest in the neuroscience of learning, memory, and emotion. Here, we review research and theories of extinction, both as a learning process and as a behavioral technique, and consider whether traditional understandings warrant a re-examination. We discuss the neurobiology, cognitive factors, and major computational theories, and revisit the predominant view that extinction results in new learning that interferes with expression of the original memory. Additionally, we reconsider the limitations of extinction as a technique to prevent the relapse of maladaptive behavior, and discuss novel approaches, informed by contemporary theoretical advances, that augment traditional extinction methods to target and potentially alter maladaptive memories. PMID:26447572

  12. Rethinking Extinction.

    PubMed

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E; Niv, Yael; Daw, Nathaniel; Phelps, Elizabeth A

    2015-10-07

    Extinction serves as the leading theoretical framework and experimental model to describe how learned behaviors diminish through absence of anticipated reinforcement. In the past decade, extinction has moved beyond the realm of associative learning theory and behavioral experimentation in animals and has become a topic of considerable interest in the neuroscience of learning, memory, and emotion. Here, we review research and theories of extinction, both as a learning process and as a behavioral technique, and consider whether traditional understandings warrant a re-examination. We discuss the neurobiology, cognitive factors, and major computational theories, and revisit the predominant view that extinction results in new learning that interferes with expression of the original memory. Additionally, we reconsider the limitations of extinction as a technique to prevent the relapse of maladaptive behavior and discuss novel approaches, informed by contemporary theoretical advances, that augment traditional extinction methods to target and potentially alter maladaptive memories.

  13. Ecological Diversity in South American Mammals: Their Geographical Distribution Shows Variable Associations with Phylogenetic Diversity and Does Not Follow the Latitudinal Richness Gradient.

    PubMed

    Fergnani, Paula Nilda; Ruggiero, Adriana

    2015-01-01

    The extent to which the latitudinal gradient in species richness may be paralleled by a similar gradient of increasing functional or phylogenetic diversity is a matter of controversy. We evaluated whether taxonomic richness (TR) is informative in terms of ecological diversity (ED, an approximation to functional diversity) and phylogenetic diversity (AvPD) using data on 531 mammal species representing South American old autochthonous (marsupials, xenarthrans), mid-Cenozoic immigrants (hystricognaths, primates) and newcomers (carnivorans, artiodactyls). If closely related species are ecologically more similar than distantly related species, AvPD will be a strong predictor of ED; however, lower ED than predicted from AvPD may be due to species retaining most of their ancestral characters, suggesting niche conservatism. This pattern could occur in tropical rainforests for taxa of tropical affinity (old autochthonous and mid-Cenozoic immigrants) and in open and arid habitats for newcomers. In contrast, higher ED than expected from AvPD could occur, possibly in association with niche evolution, in arid and open habitats for taxa of tropical affinity and in forested habitats for newcomers. We found that TR was a poor predictor of ED and AvPD. After controlling for TR, there was considerable variability in the extent to which AvPD accounted for ED. Taxa of tropical affinity did not support the prediction of ED deficit within tropical rainforests, rather, they showed a mosaic of regions with an excess of ED interspersed with zones of ED deficit within the tropics; newcomers showed ED deficit in arid and open regions. Some taxa of tropical affinity showed excess of ED in tropical desert areas (hystricognaths) or temperate semideserts (xenarthrans); newcomers showed excess of ED at cold-temperate latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. This result suggests that extreme climatic conditions at both temperate and tropical latitudes may have promoted niche evolution in mammals.

  14. Ecological Diversity in South American Mammals: Their Geographical Distribution Shows Variable Associations with Phylogenetic Diversity and Does Not Follow the Latitudinal Richness Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Fergnani, Paula Nilda; Ruggiero, Adriana

    2015-01-01

    The extent to which the latitudinal gradient in species richness may be paralleled by a similar gradient of increasing functional or phylogenetic diversity is a matter of controversy. We evaluated whether taxonomic richness (TR) is informative in terms of ecological diversity (ED, an approximation to functional diversity) and phylogenetic diversity (AvPD) using data on 531 mammal species representing South American old autochthonous (marsupials, xenarthrans), mid-Cenozoic immigrants (hystricognaths, primates) and newcomers (carnivorans, artiodactyls). If closely related species are ecologically more similar than distantly related species, AvPD will be a strong predictor of ED; however, lower ED than predicted from AvPD may be due to species retaining most of their ancestral characters, suggesting niche conservatism. This pattern could occur in tropical rainforests for taxa of tropical affinity (old autochthonous and mid-Cenozoic immigrants) and in open and arid habitats for newcomers. In contrast, higher ED than expected from AvPD could occur, possibly in association with niche evolution, in arid and open habitats for taxa of tropical affinity and in forested habitats for newcomers. We found that TR was a poor predictor of ED and AvPD. After controlling for TR, there was considerable variability in the extent to which AvPD accounted for ED. Taxa of tropical affinity did not support the prediction of ED deficit within tropical rainforests, rather, they showed a mosaic of regions with an excess of ED interspersed with zones of ED deficit within the tropics; newcomers showed ED deficit in arid and open regions. Some taxa of tropical affinity showed excess of ED in tropical desert areas (hystricognaths) or temperate semideserts (xenarthrans); newcomers showed excess of ED at cold-temperate latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. This result suggests that extreme climatic conditions at both temperate and tropical latitudes may have promoted niche evolution in mammals

  15. Dietary controls on extinction versus survival among avian megafauna in the late Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Stidham, Thomas A.; Bowen, Gabriel J.; Emslie, Steven D.; Koch, Paul L.

    2006-08-01

    The late Pleistocene extinction decimated terrestrial megafaunal communities in North America, but did not affect marine mammal populations. In coastal regions, marine megafauna may have provided a buffer that allowed some large predators or scavengers, such as California condors (Gymnogyps californianus), to survive into the Holocene. To track the influence of marine resources on avifaunas we analyzed the carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope composition of collagen from late Pleistocene vultures and raptors, including species that survived the extinction (condor, bald eagle, golden eagle) and extinct species (teratorn, black vulture). At the Rancho La Brea and McKittrick tar pits of southern California, isotope values for extinct teratorns (Teratornis merriami, n = 10) and black vultures (Coragyps occidentalis, n = 8) show that they fed entirely in a terrestrial C3 ecosystem. In contrast, La Brea condors cluster into two groups, one with a terrestrial diet (n = 4), and the other with a strong marine influence (n = 5). At localities in the American southwest, Texas, and Florida, where condors became extinct, they have isotope values indicating entirely terrestrial diets (n = 10). Our results suggest that dependence upon terrestrial megafaunal carrion as a food source led to the extinction of inland California condor populations and coastal populations of teratorns and black vultures at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, whereas use of marine foods allowed coastal condor populations to survive.

  16. South american geochronology: radiometric time scale for middle to late tertiary mammal-bearing horizons in patagonia.

    PubMed

    Marshall, L G; Pascual, R; Curtis, G H; Drake, R E

    1977-03-25

    Radiometric (potassium-argon) age determinations for basalts and tuffs associated with middle to late Tertiary mammal-bearing horizons in Patagonia, southern Argentina, permit refinement of boundaries and hiatuses between beds of Deseadan (early Oligocene) through Friasian (middle to late Miocene) age. At two localities beds of Deseadan age are overlain by basalts, which gave dates of 33.6 and 35.4 million years ago; 34.0 million years ago is tentatively accepted as a terminal date for known Deseadan. At several localities beds of Colhuehuapian age are underlain by basalts, which gave dates ranging from 28.8 to 24.3 million years ago; 25.0 million years is tentatively taken as a basal age for known Colhuehuapian. The paleontological hiatus between known Deseadan and known Colhuehuapian is thus in the order of 9.0 million years. Two tuffs from the Santa Cruz Formation (Santacrucian) gave ages of 21.7 and 18.5 million years. Plagioclase and biotite concentrates of an ignimbrite from the Collón Curá Formation (Friasian) gave ages ranging from 15.4 to 14.0 million years.

  17. Alien species as a driver of recent extinctions.

    PubMed

    Bellard, Céline; Cassey, Phillip; Blackburn, Tim M

    2016-02-01

    We assessed the prevalence of alien species as a driver of recent extinctions in five major taxa (plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), using data from the IUCN Red List. Our results show that alien species are the second most common threat associated with species that have gone completely extinct from these taxa since AD 1500. Aliens are the most common threat associated with extinctions in three of the five taxa analysed, and for vertebrate extinctions overall.

  18. Alien species as a driver of recent extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Bellard, Céline; Cassey, Phillip

    2016-01-01

    We assessed the prevalence of alien species as a driver of recent extinctions in five major taxa (plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), using data from the IUCN Red List. Our results show that alien species are the second most common threat associated with species that have gone completely extinct from these taxa since AD 1500. Aliens are the most common threat associated with extinctions in three of the five taxa analysed, and for vertebrate extinctions overall. PMID:26888913

  19. Biostratigraphic case studies of six major extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sloan, R. E.

    1988-01-01

    Biostratigraphic case studies of six major extinctions show all are gradual save one, which is a catastrophic extinction of terrestrial origin. These extinctions show a continuum of environmental insults from major to minor. The major causes of these extinctions are positive and negative eustatic sea level changes, temperature, or ecological competition. Extraterrestrial causes should not be posited without positive association with a stratigraphically sharp extinction. The Cretaceous-Tertiary terrestrial extinction is considerably smaller in percentage of extinction than the marine extinction and is spread over 10 my of the Cretaceous and 1 my of the Tertiary. Sixty percent of the 30 dinosaurs in the northern Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada had become extinct in the 9 my before the late Maastrichtian sea level drop. The best data on the Permo-Triassic terrestrial extinction are from the Karoo basin of South Africa. This is a series of 6 extinctions in some 8 my, recorded in some 2800 meters of sediment. Precision of dating is enhanced by the high rate of accumulation of these sediments. Few data are readily available on the timing of the marine Permo-Triassic extinction, due to the very restricted number of sequences of Tatarian marine rocks. The terminal Ordovician extinction at 438 my is relatively rapid, taking place over about 0.5 my. The most significant aspect of this extinction is a eustatic sea level lowering associated with a major episode of glaciation. New data on this extinction is the reduction from 61 genera of trilobites in North America to 14, for a 77 percent extinction. Another Ordovician extinction present over 10 percent of the North American craton occurs at 454 my in the form of a catastrophic extinction due to a volcanic eruption which blanketed the U.S. east of the Transcontinental Arch. This is the only other sizeable extinction in the Ordovician.

  20. Functional Resilience against Climate-Driven Extinctions - Comparing the Functional Diversity of European and North American Tree Floras.

    PubMed

    Liebergesell, Mario; Reu, Björn; Stahl, Ulrike; Freiberg, Martin; Welk, Erik; Kattge, Jens; Cornelissen, J Hans C; Peñuelas, Josep; Wirth, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Future global change scenarios predict a dramatic loss of biodiversity for many regions in the world, potentially reducing the resistance and resilience of ecosystem functions. Once before, during Plio-Pleistocene glaciations, harsher climatic conditions in Europe as compared to North America led to a more depauperate tree flora. Here we hypothesize that this climate driven species loss has also reduced functional diversity in Europe as compared to North America. We used variation in 26 traits for 154 North American and 66 European tree species and grid-based co-occurrences derived from distribution maps to compare functional diversity patterns of the two continents. First, we identified similar regions with respect to contemporary climate in the temperate zone of North America and Europe. Second, we compared the functional diversity of both continents and for the climatically similar sub-regions using the functional dispersion-index (FDis) and the functional richness index (FRic). Third, we accounted in these comparisons for grid-scale differences in species richness, and, fourth, investigated the associated trait spaces using dimensionality reduction. For gymnosperms we find similar functional diversity on both continents, whereas for angiosperms functional diversity is significantly greater in Europe than in North America. These results are consistent across different scales, for climatically similar regions and considering species richness patterns. We decomposed these differences in trait space occupation into differences in functional diversity vs. differences in functional identity. We show that climate-driven species loss on a continental scale might be decoupled from or at least not linearly related to changes in functional diversity. This might be important when analyzing the effects of climate-driven biodiversity change on ecosystem functioning.

  1. Functional Resilience against Climate-Driven Extinctions – Comparing the Functional Diversity of European and North American Tree Floras

    PubMed Central

    Liebergesell, Mario; Stahl, Ulrike; Freiberg, Martin; Welk, Erik; Kattge, Jens; Cornelissen, J. Hans C.; Peñuelas, Josep

    2016-01-01

    Future global change scenarios predict a dramatic loss of biodiversity for many regions in the world, potentially reducing the resistance and resilience of ecosystem functions. Once before, during Plio-Pleistocene glaciations, harsher climatic conditions in Europe as compared to North America led to a more depauperate tree flora. Here we hypothesize that this climate driven species loss has also reduced functional diversity in Europe as compared to North America. We used variation in 26 traits for 154 North American and 66 European tree species and grid-based co-occurrences derived from distribution maps to compare functional diversity patterns of the two continents. First, we identified similar regions with respect to contemporary climate in the temperate zone of North America and Europe. Second, we compared the functional diversity of both continents and for the climatically similar sub-regions using the functional dispersion-index (FDis) and the functional richness index (FRic). Third, we accounted in these comparisons for grid-scale differences in species richness, and, fourth, investigated the associated trait spaces using dimensionality reduction. For gymnosperms we find similar functional diversity on both continents, whereas for angiosperms functional diversity is significantly greater in Europe than in North America. These results are consistent across different scales, for climatically similar regions and considering species richness patterns. We decomposed these differences in trait space occupation into differences in functional diversity vs. differences in functional identity. We show that climate-driven species loss on a continental scale might be decoupled from or at least not linearly related to changes in functional diversity. This might be important when analyzing the effects of climate-driven biodiversity change on ecosystem functioning. PMID:26848836

  2. Extinction risk escalates in the tropics.

    PubMed

    Vamosi, Jana C; Vamosi, Steven M

    2008-01-01

    The latitudinal biodiversity gradient remains one of the most widely recognized yet puzzling patterns in nature. Presently, the high level of extinction of tropical species, referred to as the "tropical biodiversity crisis", has the potential to erode this pattern. While the connection between species richness, extinction, and speciation has long intrigued biologists, these interactions have experienced increased poignancy due to their relevancy to where we should concentrate our conservation efforts. Natural extinction is a phenomenon thought to have its own latitudinal gradient, with lower extinction rates in the tropics being reported in beetles, birds, mammals, and bivalves. Processes that have buffered ecosystems from high extinction rates in the past may also buffer ecosystems against disturbance of anthropogenic origin. While potential parallels between historical and present-day extinction patterns have been acknowledged, they remain only superficially explored and plant extinction patterns have been particularly neglected. Studies on the disappearances of animal species have reached conflicting conclusions, with the rate of extinction appearing either higher or lower in species richness hotspots. Our global study of extinction risk in vascular plants finds disproportionately higher extinction risk in tropical countries, even when indicators of human pressure (GDP, population density, forest cover change) are taken into account. Our results are at odds with the notion that the tropics represent a museum of plant biodiversity (places of historically lowered extinction) and we discuss mechanisms that may reconcile this apparent contradiction.

  3. Relating sub-surface ice features to physiological stress in a climate sensitive mammal, the American pika (Ochotona princeps).

    PubMed

    Wilkening, Jennifer L; Ray, Chris; Varner, Johanna

    2015-01-01

    The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is considered a sentinel species for detecting ecological effects of climate change. Pikas are declining within a large portion of their range, and ongoing research suggests loss of sub-surface ice as a mechanism. However, no studies have demonstrated physiological responses of pikas to sub-surface ice features. Here we present the first analysis of physiological stress in pikas living in and adjacent to habitats underlain by ice. Fresh fecal samples were collected non-invasively from two adjacent sites in the Rocky Mountains (one with sub-surface ice and one without) and analyzed for glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM). We also measured sub-surface microclimates in each habitat. Results indicate lower GCM concentration in sites with sub-surface ice, suggesting that pikas are less stressed in favorable microclimates resulting from sub-surface ice features. GCM response was well predicted by habitat characteristics associated with sub-surface ice features, such as lower mean summer temperatures. These results suggest that pikas inhabiting areas without sub-surface ice features are experiencing higher levels of physiological stress and may be more susceptible to changing climates. Although post-deposition environmental effects can confound analyses based on fecal GCM, we found no evidence for such effects in this study. Sub-surface ice features are key to water cycling and storage and will likely represent an increasingly important component of water resources in a warming climate. Fecal samples collected from additional watersheds as part of current pika monitoring programs could be used to further characterize relationships between pika stress and sub-surface ice features.

  4. Relating Sub-Surface Ice Features to Physiological Stress in a Climate Sensitive Mammal, the American Pika (Ochotona princeps)

    PubMed Central

    Wilkening, Jennifer L.; Ray, Chris; Varner, Johanna

    2015-01-01

    The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is considered a sentinel species for detecting ecological effects of climate change. Pikas are declining within a large portion of their range, and ongoing research suggests loss of sub-surface ice as a mechanism. However, no studies have demonstrated physiological responses of pikas to sub-surface ice features. Here we present the first analysis of physiological stress in pikas living in and adjacent to habitats underlain by ice. Fresh fecal samples were collected non-invasively from two adjacent sites in the Rocky Mountains (one with sub-surface ice and one without) and analyzed for glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM). We also measured sub-surface microclimates in each habitat. Results indicate lower GCM concentration in sites with sub-surface ice, suggesting that pikas are less stressed in favorable microclimates resulting from sub-surface ice features. GCM response was well predicted by habitat characteristics associated with sub-surface ice features, such as lower mean summer temperatures. These results suggest that pikas inhabiting areas without sub-surface ice features are experiencing higher levels of physiological stress and may be more susceptible to changing climates. Although post-deposition environmental effects can confound analyses based on fecal GCM, we found no evidence for such effects in this study. Sub-surface ice features are key to water cycling and storage and will likely represent an increasingly important component of water resources in a warming climate. Fecal samples collected from additional watersheds as part of current pika monitoring programs could be used to further characterize relationships between pika stress and sub-surface ice features. PMID:25803587

  5. Collagen Sequence Analysis of the Extinct Giant Ground Sloths Lestodon and Megatherium

    PubMed Central

    Buckley, Michael; Fariña, Richard A.; Lawless, Craig; Tambusso, P. Sebastián; Varela, Luciano; Carlini, Alfredo A.; Powell, Jaime E.; Martinez, Jorge G.

    2015-01-01

    For over 200 years, fossils of bizarre extinct creatures have been described from the Americas that have ranged from giant ground sloths to the ‘native’ South American ungulates, groups of mammals that evolved in relative isolation on South America. Ground sloths belong to the South American xenarthrans, a group with modern although morphologically and ecologically very different representatives (anteaters, armadillos and sloths), which has been proposed to be one of the four main eutherian clades. Recently, proteomics analyses of bone collagen have recently been used to yield a molecular phylogeny for a range of mammals including the unusual ‘Malagasy aardvark’ shown to be most closely related to the afrotherian tenrecs, and the south American ungulates supporting their morphological association with condylarths. However, proteomics results generate partial sequence information that could impact upon the phylogenetic placement that has not been appropriately tested. For comparison, this paper examines the phylogenetic potential of proteomics-based sequencing through the analysis of collagen extracted from two extinct giant ground sloths, Lestodon and Megatherium. The ground sloths were placed as sister taxa to extant sloths, but with a closer relationship between Lestodon and the extant sloths than the basal Megatherium. These results highlight that proteomics methods could yield plausible phylogenies that share similarities with other methods, but have the potential to be more useful in fossils beyond the limits of ancient DNA survival. PMID:26540101

  6. Collagen Sequence Analysis of the Extinct Giant Ground Sloths Lestodon and Megatherium.

    PubMed

    Buckley, Michael; Fariña, Richard A; Lawless, Craig; Tambusso, P Sebastián; Varela, Luciano; Carlini, Alfredo A; Powell, Jaime E; Martinez, Jorge G

    2015-01-01

    For over 200 years, fossils of bizarre extinct creatures have been described from the Americas that have ranged from giant ground sloths to the 'native' South American ungulates, groups of mammals that evolved in relative isolation on South America. Ground sloths belong to the South American xenarthrans, a group with modern although morphologically and ecologically very different representatives (anteaters, armadillos and sloths), which has been proposed to be one of the four main eutherian clades. Recently, proteomics analyses of bone collagen have recently been used to yield a molecular phylogeny for a range of mammals including the unusual 'Malagasy aardvark' shown to be most closely related to the afrotherian tenrecs, and the south American ungulates supporting their morphological association with condylarths. However, proteomics results generate partial sequence information that could impact upon the phylogenetic placement that has not been appropriately tested. For comparison, this paper examines the phylogenetic potential of proteomics-based sequencing through the analysis of collagen extracted from two extinct giant ground sloths, Lestodon and Megatherium. The ground sloths were placed as sister taxa to extant sloths, but with a closer relationship between Lestodon and the extant sloths than the basal Megatherium. These results highlight that proteomics methods could yield plausible phylogenies that share similarities with other methods, but have the potential to be more useful in fossils beyond the limits of ancient DNA survival.

  7. Estimating human effects on global extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, D. H.

    1987-12-01

    A quantitative technique for estimating extinctions due to clearing of natural ecosystems is described. Applied on a global scale, the method yields preliminary figures on extinctions of flowering plants, butterflies, land birds and land mammals ranging from 5.4 to 15.3% for the period from the beginning of agriculture until the year 1980. Actual numbers of extinctions of mammals and birds to date are much lower, possibly in part due to a tendency for the technique to overestimate species loss at the global scale. However, delayed extinctions of species whose populations have been reduced but not exterminated by habitat destruction are likely, suggesting that human impacts may be more serious than they currently appear.

  8. Extinctions of life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1988-01-01

    This meeting presentation examines mass extinctions through earth's history. Extinctions are charted for marine families and marine genera. Timing of marine genera extinctions is discussed. Periodicity in extinctions during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras is plotted and compared with Paleozoic extinction peaks. The role of extinction in evolution and mankind's role in present extinctions are examined.

  9. The changing fates of the world's mammals

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Michael; Belant, Jerrold L.; Chanson, Janice S.; Cox, Neil A.; Lamoreux, John; Rodrigues, Ana S. L.; Schipper, Jan; Stuart, Simon N.

    2011-01-01

    A recent complete assessment of the conservation status of 5487 mammal species demonstrated that at least one-fifth are at risk of extinction in the wild. We retrospectively identified genuine changes in extinction risk for mammals between 1996 and 2008 to calculate changes in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Index (RLI). Species-level trends in the conservation status of mammalian diversity reveal that extinction risk in large-bodied species is increasing, and that the rate of deterioration has been most accelerated in the Indomalayan and Australasian realms. Expanding agriculture and hunting have been the main drivers of increased extinction risk in mammals. Site-based protection and management, legislation, and captive-breeding and reintroduction programmes have led to improvements in 24 species. We contextualize these changes, and explain why both deteriorations and improvements may be under-reported. Although this study highlights where conservation actions are leading to improvements, it fails to account for instances where conservation has prevented further deteriorations in the status of the world's mammals. The continued utility of the RLI is dependent on sustained investment to ensure repeated assessments of mammals over time and to facilitate future calculations of the RLI and measurement against global targets. PMID:21844039

  10. Australian Extinctions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Massive extinctions of animals and the arrival of the first humans in ancient Australia--which occurred 45,000 to 55,000 years ago--may be linked. Researchers at the Carnegie Institution, University of Colorado, Australian National University, and Bates College believe that massive fires set by the first humans may have altered the ecosystem of…

  11. Allometry in dinosaurs and mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-03-01

    The proportions of the leg bones change as the size of an animal becomes larger since the mass of the animal increases at a faster rate than the cross-sectional area of its leg bones. For the case of elastic similarity (in which the longitudinal stress in the legs remains constant in animals of all sizes), the diameter d and length L of the femur should be related as d = A L3/2. For geometric similarity (in which all dimensions are scaled by the same factor), d = A L. For animals with femora longer than 20 cm, we find the power law relationship to be d = A Lb with b = 1.13 +/- 0.06 for extant mammals (the largest mammal being Loxodonta africana with a 1.00-m-long femur) and b = 1.18 +/- 0.02 for dinosaurs (the largest dinosaur being Brachiosaurus brancai with a 2.03-m-long femur). These data show that extinct dinosaurs and extant animals scale in the same basic manner. The large sauropods (with femora twice as long as found in elephants) scale in a manner consistent with extrapolation of the scaling shown by extant mammals. These results argue that extinct dinosaurs moved in a manner very similar to extant mammals.

  12. A late Paleocene probable metatherian (?deltatheroidan) survivor of the Cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ni, Xijun; Li, Qiang; Stidham, Thomas A; Li, Lüzhou; Lu, Xiaoyu; Meng, Jin

    2016-12-07

    Deltatheroidans are primitive metatherian mammals (relatives of marsupials), previously thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous mass extinction. Here, we report a tiny new deltatheroidan mammal (Gurbanodelta kara gen. et sp. nov.) discovered at the South Gobi locality in China (Xinjiang Province) that is the first Cenozoic record of this clade and renders Deltatheroida a Lazarus taxon (with a new record 10 million years younger than their supposed extinction). The vertebrate fauna associated with Gurbanodelta is most similar to that from the slightly older late Paleocene Subeng locality in Inner Mongolia. The upper molars of Gurbanodelta exhibit a broad stylar shelf with one prominent cusp (stylocone), and a paracone that is sharp and significantly taller than the metacone. The lower molar tentatively assigned to Gurbanodelta has a very small talonid without an entoconid. This combination of these features is known only in deltatheroidans. Phylogenetic analysis places Gurbanodelta as the sister taxon of the North American latest Cretaceous Nanocuris. Gurbanodelta is the smallest-known deltatheroidan, and roughly the same size as the smallest living marsupial. It is likely that the Gurbanodelta lineage dispersed between Asia and North America as part of known intercontinental mammalian dispersals in the late Paleocene, or possibly earlier.

  13. A late Paleocene probable metatherian (?deltatheroidan) survivor of the Cretaceous mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ni, Xijun; Li, Qiang; Stidham, Thomas A.; Li, Lüzhou; Lu, Xiaoyu; Meng, Jin

    2016-01-01

    Deltatheroidans are primitive metatherian mammals (relatives of marsupials), previously thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous mass extinction. Here, we report a tiny new deltatheroidan mammal (Gurbanodelta kara gen. et sp. nov.) discovered at the South Gobi locality in China (Xinjiang Province) that is the first Cenozoic record of this clade and renders Deltatheroida a Lazarus taxon (with a new record 10 million years younger than their supposed extinction). The vertebrate fauna associated with Gurbanodelta is most similar to that from the slightly older late Paleocene Subeng locality in Inner Mongolia. The upper molars of Gurbanodelta exhibit a broad stylar shelf with one prominent cusp (stylocone), and a paracone that is sharp and significantly taller than the metacone. The lower molar tentatively assigned to Gurbanodelta has a very small talonid without an entoconid. This combination of these features is known only in deltatheroidans. Phylogenetic analysis places Gurbanodelta as the sister taxon of the North American latest Cretaceous Nanocuris. Gurbanodelta is the smallest-known deltatheroidan, and roughly the same size as the smallest living marsupial. It is likely that the Gurbanodelta lineage dispersed between Asia and North America as part of known intercontinental mammalian dispersals in the late Paleocene, or possibly earlier. PMID:27924847

  14. Marine Mammals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Meith, Nikki

    Marine mammals have not only fascinated and inspired human beings for thousands of years, but they also support a big business by providing flesh for sea-borne factories, sustaining Arctic lifestyles and traditions, and attracting tourists to ocean aquaria. While they are being harpooned, bludgeoned, shot, netted, and trained to jump through…

  15. Invasive mammal eradication on islands results in substantial conservation gains.

    PubMed

    Jones, Holly P; Holmes, Nick D; Butchart, Stuart H M; Tershy, Bernie R; Kappes, Peter J; Corkery, Ilse; Aguirre-Muñoz, Alfonso; Armstrong, Doug P; Bonnaud, Elsa; Burbidge, Andrew A; Campbell, Karl; Courchamp, Franck; Cowan, Philip E; Cuthbert, Richard J; Ebbert, Steve; Genovesi, Piero; Howald, Gregg R; Keitt, Bradford S; Kress, Stephen W; Miskelly, Colin M; Oppel, Steffen; Poncet, Sally; Rauzon, Mark J; Rocamora, Gérard; Russell, James C; Samaniego-Herrera, Araceli; Seddon, Philip J; Spatz, Dena R; Towns, David R; Croll, Donald A

    2016-04-12

    More than US$21 billion is spent annually on biodiversity conservation. Despite their importance for preventing or slowing extinctions and preserving biodiversity, conservation interventions are rarely assessed systematically for their global impact. Islands house a disproportionately higher amount of biodiversity compared with mainlands, much of which is highly threatened with extinction. Indeed, island species make up nearly two-thirds of recent extinctions. Islands therefore are critical targets of conservation. We used an extensive literature and database review paired with expert interviews to estimate the global benefits of an increasingly used conservation action to stem biodiversity loss: eradication of invasive mammals on islands. We found 236 native terrestrial insular faunal species (596 populations) that benefitted through positive demographic and/or distributional responses from 251 eradications of invasive mammals on 181 islands. Seven native species (eight populations) were negatively impacted by invasive mammal eradication. Four threatened species had their International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List extinction-risk categories reduced as a direct result of invasive mammal eradication, and no species moved to a higher extinction-risk category. We predict that 107 highly threatened birds, mammals, and reptiles on the IUCN Red List-6% of all these highly threatened species-likely have benefitted from invasive mammal eradications on islands. Because monitoring of eradication outcomes is sporadic and limited, the impacts of global eradications are likely greater than we report here. Our results highlight the importance of invasive mammal eradication on islands for protecting the world's most imperiled fauna.

  16. Invasive mammal eradication on islands results in substantial conservation gains

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Holly P.; Holmes, Nick D.; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Tershy, Bernie R.; Kappes, Peter J.; Corkery, Ilse; Aguirre-Muñoz, Alfonso; Armstrong, Doug P.; Bonnaud, Elsa; Burbidge, Andrew A.; Campbell, Karl; Courchamp, Franck; Cowan, Philip E.; Cuthbert, Richard J.; Ebbert, Steve; Genovesi, Piero; Howald, Gregg R.; Keitt, Bradford S.; Kress, Stephen W.; Miskelly, Colin M.; Oppel, Steffen; Poncet, Sally; Rauzon, Mark J.; Rocamora, Gérard; Russell, James C.; Samaniego-Herrera, Araceli; Seddon, Philip J.; Spatz, Dena R.; Towns, David R.; Croll, Donald A.

    2016-01-01

    More than US$21 billion is spent annually on biodiversity conservation. Despite their importance for preventing or slowing extinctions and preserving biodiversity, conservation interventions are rarely assessed systematically for their global impact. Islands house a disproportionately higher amount of biodiversity compared with mainlands, much of which is highly threatened with extinction. Indeed, island species make up nearly two-thirds of recent extinctions. Islands therefore are critical targets of conservation. We used an extensive literature and database review paired with expert interviews to estimate the global benefits of an increasingly used conservation action to stem biodiversity loss: eradication of invasive mammals on islands. We found 236 native terrestrial insular faunal species (596 populations) that benefitted through positive demographic and/or distributional responses from 251 eradications of invasive mammals on 181 islands. Seven native species (eight populations) were negatively impacted by invasive mammal eradication. Four threatened species had their International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List extinction-risk categories reduced as a direct result of invasive mammal eradication, and no species moved to a higher extinction-risk category. We predict that 107 highly threatened birds, mammals, and reptiles on the IUCN Red List—6% of all these highly threatened species—likely have benefitted from invasive mammal eradications on islands. Because monitoring of eradication outcomes is sporadic and limited, the impacts of global eradications are likely greater than we report here. Our results highlight the importance of invasive mammal eradication on islands for protecting the world's most imperiled fauna. PMID:27001852

  17. Mass extinctions caused by large bolide impacts

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, L.W.

    1987-07-01

    Evidence indicates that the collision of Earth and a large piece of Solar System derbris such as a meteoroid, asteroid or comet caused the great extinctions of 65 million years ago, leading to the transition from the age of the dinosaurs to the age of the mammals.

  18. Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge.

    PubMed

    Lee, Tamsin E; Fisher, Diana O; Blomberg, Simon P; Wintle, Brendan A

    2017-02-01

    Each year, two or three species that had been considered to be extinct are rediscovered. Uncertainty about whether or not a species is extinct is common, because rare and highly threatened species are difficult to detect. Biological traits such as body size and range size are expected to be associated with extinction. However, these traits, together with the intensity of search effort, might influence the probability of detection and extinction differently. This makes statistical analysis of extinction and rediscovery challenging. Here, we use a variant of survival analysis known as cure rate modelling to differentiate factors that influence rediscovery from those that influence extinction. We analyse a global data set of 99 mammals that have been categorized as extinct or possibly extinct. We estimate the probability that each of these mammals is still extant and thus estimate the proportion of missing (presumed extinct) mammals that are incorrectly assigned extinction. We find that body mass and population density are predictors of extinction, and body mass and search effort predict rediscovery. In mammals, extinction rate increases with body mass and population density, and these traits act synergistically to greatly elevate extinction rate in large species that also occurred in formerly dense populations. However, when they remain extant, larger-bodied missing species are rediscovered sooner than smaller species. Greater search effort increases the probability of rediscovery in larger species of missing mammals, but has a minimal effect on small species, which take longer to be rediscovered, if extant. By separating the effects of species characteristics on extinction and detection, and using models with the assumption that a proportion of missing species will never be rediscovered, our new approach provides estimates of extinction probability in species with few observation records and scant ecological information.

  19. Interstellar Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gontcharov, G. A.

    2016-12-01

    This review describes our current understanding of interstellar extinction. This differ substantially from the ideas of the 20th century. With infrared surveys of hundreds of millions of stars over the entire sky, such as 2MASS, SPITZER-IRAC, and WISE, we have looked at the densest and most rarefied regions of the interstellar medium at distances of a few kpc from the Sun. Observations at infrared and microwave wavelengths, where the bulk of the interstellar dust absorbs and radiates, have brought us closer to an understanding of the distribution of the dust particles on scales of the Galaxy and the universe. We are in the midst of a scientific revolution in our understanding of the interstellar medium and dust. Progress in, and the key results of, this revolution are still difficult to predict. Nevertheless, (a) a physically justified model has been developed for the spatial distribution of absorbing material over the nearest few kiloparsecs, including the Gould belt as a dust container, which gives an accurate estimate of the extinction for any object just by its galactic coordinates. It is also clear that (b) the interstellar medium contains roughly half the mass of matter in the galactic vicinity of the solar system (the other half is made up of stars, their remnants, and dark matter) and (c) the interstellar medium and, especially, dust, differ substantially in different regions of space and deep space cannot be understood by only studying near space.

  20. Impossible Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cockell, Charles S.

    2003-03-01

    Every 225 million years the Earth, and all the life on it, completes one revolution around the Milky Way Galaxy. During this remarkable journey, life is influenced by calamitous changes. Comets and asteroids strike the surface of the Earth, stars explode, enormous volcanoes erupt, and, more recently, humans litter the planet with waste. Many animals and plants become extinct during the voyage, but humble microbes, simple creatures made of a single cell, survive this journey. This book takes a tour of the microbial world, from the coldest and deepest places on Earth to the hottest and highest, and witnesses some of the most catastrophic events that life can face. Impossible Extinction tells this remarkable story to the general reader by explaining how microbes have survived on Earth for over three billion years. Charles Cockell received his doctorate from the University of Oxford, and is currently a microbiologist with rhe Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI), based at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. His research focusses on astrobiology, life in the extremes and the human exploration of Mars. Cockell has been on expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctic, Mongolia, and in 1993 he piloted a modified insect-collecting ultra-light aircraft over the Indonesian rainforests. He is Chair of the Twenty-one Eleven Foundation for Exploration, a charity that supports expeditions that forge links between space exploration and environmentalism.

  1. Les mammiferes aquatiques: lexique anglais-francais des mammiferes marins actuels ou recemment disparus, y compris les especes d'eau douce des groupes surtout marins (Aquatic Mammals: English-French Glossary of Livinq or Recently Extinct Marine Mammals, Including the Fresh Water Species of Prevalently Marine Groups).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nekrassoff, Vladimir N.

    1980-01-01

    Introduces a new glossary of aquatic mammals representing recent taxonomic revisions. Describes its design, which consists of the glossary proper, listing the scientific name of each entry followed by its English and French equivalents, and of two indexes, listing other common names for the same entries referred back to the scientific term. (MES)

  2. THE subfossil occurrence and paleoecological significance of small mammals at ankilitelo cave, southwestern Madagascar

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muldoon, K.M.; De Blieux, D. D.; Simons, E.L.; Chatrath, P.S.

    2009-01-01

    Small mammals are rarely reported from subfossil sites in Madagascar despite their importance for paleoenvironmental reconstruction, especially as it relates to recent ecological changes on the island. We describe the uniquely rich subfossil small mammal fauna from Ankilitelo Cave, southwestern Madagascar. The Ankilitelo fauna is dated to the late Holocene (???500 years ago), documenting the youngest appearances of the extinct giant lemur taxa Palaeopropithecus, Megaladapis, and Archaeolemur, in association with abundant remains of small vertebrates, including bats, tenrecs, carnivorans, rodents, and primates. The Ankilitelo fauna is composed of 34 mammalian species, making it one of the most diverse Holocene assemblages in Madagascar. The fauna comprises the 1 st report of the short-tailed shrew tenrec (Microgale brevicaudata) and the ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans) in southwestern Madagascar. Further, Ankilitelo documents the presence of southwestern species that are rare or that have greatly restricted ranges today, such as Nasolo's shrew tenrec (M. nasoloi), Grandidier's mongoose (Galidictis grandidieri), the narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata), and the giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena). A simple cause for the unusual small mammal occurrences at Ankilitelo is not obvious. Synergistic interactions between climate change, recent fragmentation and human-initiated degradation of forested habitats, and community-level processes, such as predation, most likely explain the disjunct distributions of the small mammals documented at Ankilitelo. ?? 2009 American Society of Mammalogists.

  3. Dynamics of extinction debt across five taxonomic groups.

    PubMed

    Halley, John M; Monokrousos, Nikolaos; Mazaris, Antonios D; Newmark, William D; Vokou, Despoina

    2016-07-25

    Species extinction following habitat loss is well documented. However, these extinctions do not happen immediately. The biodiversity surplus (extinction debt) declines with some delay through the process of relaxation. Estimating the time constants of relaxation, mainly the expected time to first extinction and the commonly used time for half the extinction debt to be paid off (half-life), is crucial for conservation purposes. Currently, there is no agreement on the rate of relaxation and the factors that it depends on. Here we find that half-life increases with area for all groups examined in a large meta-analysis of extinction data. A common pattern emerges if we use average number of individuals per species before habitat loss as an area index: for mammals, birds, reptiles and plants, the relationship has an exponent close to a half. We also find that the time to first determined extinction is short and increases slowly with area.

  4. Mammals of the Sea.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1986

    1986-01-01

    Presents information on sea mammals, including definitions and characteristics of cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sirenians. Contains descriptions of the teaching activities "Whale Music,""Draw A Whale to Scale,""Adopt a Sea Mammal," and "Sea Mammal Sleuths." (TW)

  5. What Makes a Mammal a Mammal?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1986

    1986-01-01

    Describes the distinctive characteristics of mammals and compares modern mammals with their prehistoric relatives as well as with other animal groups. Includes activities and ready-to-copy games, illustrations, and diagrams of wolves, vertebrates, and past and present mammals. (ML)

  6. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record.

  7. Predation selectively culls medium-sized species from island mammal faunas.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Emily; Cardillo, Marcel

    2014-01-01

    Globally, elevated extinction risk in mammals is strongly associated with large body size. However, in regions where introduced predators exert strong top-down pressure on mammal populations, the selectivity of extinctions may be skewed towards species of intermediate body size, leading to a hump-shaped relationship between size and extinction risk. The existence of this kind of extinction pattern, and its link to predation, has been contentious and difficult to demonstrate. Here, we test the hypothesis of a hump-shaped body size-extinction relationship, using a database of 927 island mammal populations. We show that the size-selectivity of extinctions on many islands has exceeded that expected under null models. On islands with introduced predators, extinctions are biased towards intermediate body sizes, but this bias does not occur on islands without predators. Hence, on islands with a large-bodied mammal fauna, predators are selectively culling species from the lower end of the size distribution, and on islands with a small-bodied fauna they are culling species from the upper end. These findings suggest that it will be difficult to use predictable generalizations about extinction patterns, such as a positive body size-extinction risk association, to anticipate future species declines and plan conservation strategies accordingly.

  8. The nature of extinction.

    PubMed

    Delord, Julien

    2007-09-01

    The phenomenon of species extinction raises more and more concern among ecologists facing the actual crisis of biodiversity. Scientific investigations of the causes and effects of extinction must be completed by a philosophical analysis of the concept of extinction that aims to clarify the meanings of the term 'extinction' and to analyse modalities, criteria and degrees of extinction. We will focus our attention on the apparent paradox of the possible 'resurrection' of species in the near future with the help of genetic biotechnology and cloning techniques. The ontological background of the extinction concept is analysed in relation to the idea of species as classes. We will also show that there is no simple analogy between death and species extinction, and develop a conceptualist and dualistic system of supra-individual entities (species vs. population), supported by an instrumentalist approach to genetic manipulations which transform species into interactive kinds, which can go extinct and be recreated.

  9. The maximum rate of mammal evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, Alistair R.; Jones, David; Boyer, Alison G.; Brown, James H.; Costa, Daniel P.; Ernest, S. K. Morgan; Fitzgerald, Erich M. G.; Fortelius, Mikael; Gittleman, John L.; Hamilton, Marcus J.; Harding, Larisa E.; Lintulaakso, Kari; Lyons, S. Kathleen; Okie, Jordan G.; Saarinen, Juha J.; Sibly, Richard M.; Smith, Felisa A.; Stephens, Patrick R.; Theodor, Jessica M.; Uhen, Mark D.

    2012-03-01

    How fast can a mammal evolve from the size of a mouse to the size of an elephant? Achieving such a large transformation calls for major biological reorganization. Thus, the speed at which this occurs has important implications for extensive faunal changes, including adaptive radiations and recovery from mass extinctions. To quantify the pace of large-scale evolution we developed a metric, clade maximum rate, which represents the maximum evolutionary rate of a trait within a clade. We applied this metric to body mass evolution in mammals over the last 70 million years, during which multiple large evolutionary transitions occurred in oceans and on continents and islands. Our computations suggest that it took a minimum of 1.6, 5.1, and 10 million generations for terrestrial mammal mass to increase 100-, and 1,000-, and 5,000-fold, respectively. Values for whales were down to half the length (i.e., 1.1, 3, and 5 million generations), perhaps due to the reduced mechanical constraints of living in an aquatic environment. When differences in generation time are considered, we find an exponential increase in maximum mammal body mass during the 35 million years following the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. Our results also indicate a basic asymmetry in macroevolution: very large decreases (such as extreme insular dwarfism) can happen at more than 10 times the rate of increases. Our findings allow more rigorous comparisons of microevolutionary and macroevolutionary patterns and processes.

  10. The maximum rate of mammal evolution.

    PubMed

    Evans, Alistair R; Jones, David; Boyer, Alison G; Brown, James H; Costa, Daniel P; Ernest, S K Morgan; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Fortelius, Mikael; Gittleman, John L; Hamilton, Marcus J; Harding, Larisa E; Lintulaakso, Kari; Lyons, S Kathleen; Okie, Jordan G; Saarinen, Juha J; Sibly, Richard M; Smith, Felisa A; Stephens, Patrick R; Theodor, Jessica M; Uhen, Mark D

    2012-03-13

    How fast can a mammal evolve from the size of a mouse to the size of an elephant? Achieving such a large transformation calls for major biological reorganization. Thus, the speed at which this occurs has important implications for extensive faunal changes, including adaptive radiations and recovery from mass extinctions. To quantify the pace of large-scale evolution we developed a metric, clade maximum rate, which represents the maximum evolutionary rate of a trait within a clade. We applied this metric to body mass evolution in mammals over the last 70 million years, during which multiple large evolutionary transitions occurred in oceans and on continents and islands. Our computations suggest that it took a minimum of 1.6, 5.1, and 10 million generations for terrestrial mammal mass to increase 100-, and 1,000-, and 5,000-fold, respectively. Values for whales were down to half the length (i.e., 1.1, 3, and 5 million generations), perhaps due to the reduced mechanical constraints of living in an aquatic environment. When differences in generation time are considered, we find an exponential increase in maximum mammal body mass during the 35 million years following the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. Our results also indicate a basic asymmetry in macroevolution: very large decreases (such as extreme insular dwarfism) can happen at more than 10 times the rate of increases. Our findings allow more rigorous comparisons of microevolutionary and macroevolutionary patterns and processes.

  11. Resolving the relationships of Paleocene placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Halliday, Thomas J D; Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2017-02-01

    The 'Age of Mammals' began in the Paleocene epoch, the 10 million year interval immediately following the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction. The apparently rapid shift in mammalian ecomorphs from small, largely insectivorous forms to many small-to-large-bodied, diverse taxa has driven a hypothesis that the end-Cretaceous heralded an adaptive radiation in placental mammal evolution. However, the affinities of most Paleocene mammals have remained unresolved, despite significant advances in understanding the relationships of the extant orders, hindering efforts to reconstruct robustly the origin and early evolution of placental mammals. Here we present the largest cladistic analysis of Paleocene placentals to date, from a data matrix including 177 taxa (130 of which are Palaeogene) and 680 morphological characters. We improve the resolution of the relationships of several enigmatic Paleocene clades, including families of 'condylarths'. Protungulatum is resolved as a stem eutherian, meaning that no crown-placental mammal unambiguously pre-dates the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Our results support an Atlantogenata-Boreoeutheria split at the root of crown Placentalia, the presence of phenacodontids as closest relatives of Perissodactyla, the validity of Euungulata, and the placement of Arctocyonidae close to Carnivora. Periptychidae and Pantodonta are resolved as sister taxa, Leptictida and Cimolestidae are found to be stem eutherians, and Hyopsodontidae is highly polyphyletic. The inclusion of Paleocene taxa in a placental phylogeny alters interpretations of relationships and key events in mammalian evolutionary history. Paleocene mammals are an essential source of data for understanding fully the biotic dynamics associated with the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. The relationships presented here mark a critical first step towards accurate reconstruction of this important interval in the evolution of the modern fauna.

  12. Recovery trends in marine mammal populations.

    PubMed

    Magera, Anna M; Mills Flemming, Joanna E; Kaschner, Kristin; Christensen, Line B; Lotze, Heike K

    2013-01-01

    Marine mammals have greatly benefitted from a shift from resource exploitation towards conservation. Often lauded as symbols of conservation success, some marine mammal populations have shown remarkable recoveries after severe depletions. Others have remained at low abundance levels, continued to decline, or become extinct or extirpated. Here we provide a quantitative assessment of (1) publicly available population-level abundance data for marine mammals worldwide, (2) abundance trends and recovery status, and (3) historic population decline and recent recovery. We compiled 182 population abundance time series for 47 species and identified major data gaps. In order to compare across the largest possible set of time series with varying data quality, quantity and frequency, we considered an increase in population abundance as evidence of recovery. Using robust log-linear regression over three generations, we were able to classify abundance trends for 92 spatially non-overlapping populations as Significantly Increasing (42%), Significantly Decreasing (10%), Non-Significant Change (28%) and Unknown (20%). Our results were comparable to IUCN classifications for equivalent species. Among different groupings, pinnipeds and other marine mammals (sirenians, polar bears and otters) showed the highest proportion of recovering populations, likely benefiting from relatively fast life histories and nearshore habitats that provided visibility and protective management measures. Recovery was less frequent among cetaceans, but more common in coastal than offshore populations. For marine mammals with available historical abundance estimates (n = 47), larger historical population declines were associated with low or variable recent recoveries so far. Overall, our results show that many formerly depleted marine mammal populations are recovering. However, data-deficient populations and those with decreasing and non-significant trends require attention. In particular, increased study of

  13. Recovery Trends in Marine Mammal Populations

    PubMed Central

    Magera, Anna M.; Mills Flemming, Joanna E.; Kaschner, Kristin; Christensen, Line B.; Lotze, Heike K.

    2013-01-01

    Marine mammals have greatly benefitted from a shift from resource exploitation towards conservation. Often lauded as symbols of conservation success, some marine mammal populations have shown remarkable recoveries after severe depletions. Others have remained at low abundance levels, continued to decline, or become extinct or extirpated. Here we provide a quantitative assessment of (1) publicly available population-level abundance data for marine mammals worldwide, (2) abundance trends and recovery status, and (3) historic population decline and recent recovery. We compiled 182 population abundance time series for 47 species and identified major data gaps. In order to compare across the largest possible set of time series with varying data quality, quantity and frequency, we considered an increase in population abundance as evidence of recovery. Using robust log-linear regression over three generations, we were able to classify abundance trends for 92 spatially non-overlapping populations as Significantly Increasing (42%), Significantly Decreasing (10%), Non-Significant Change (28%) and Unknown (20%). Our results were comparable to IUCN classifications for equivalent species. Among different groupings, pinnipeds and other marine mammals (sirenians, polar bears and otters) showed the highest proportion of recovering populations, likely benefiting from relatively fast life histories and nearshore habitats that provided visibility and protective management measures. Recovery was less frequent among cetaceans, but more common in coastal than offshore populations. For marine mammals with available historical abundance estimates (n = 47), larger historical population declines were associated with low or variable recent recoveries so far. Overall, our results show that many formerly depleted marine mammal populations are recovering. However, data-deficient populations and those with decreasing and non-significant trends require attention. In particular, increased

  14. [Jaws of primitive mammals].

    PubMed

    Tsubamoto, Takehisa

    2005-06-01

    Some of main osteological differences between mammals and reptiles are seen in the number of bones that constitute lower jaw and in jaw articulation. A lower jaw of mammals consists of only one bone, while in reptiles it consists of several bones (e.g., four to six in lizards and five in crocodiles). The jaw articulation in mammals is performed by squamosal of the skull and the mandible ( = dentary), while in reptiles it is done by quadrate of the skull and articular of the lower jaw. When mammals first appeared about 200 million years ago in the Mesozoic Era, the jaws of primitive mammals were morphologically intermediate between those of reptiles and typical mammals. Here, I briefly introduce the evolution of lower jaw morphology from the reptilian one to the mammalian one, showing lower jaw features of some mammal-like reptiles and primitive mammals.

  15. Predicting how populations decline to extinction

    PubMed Central

    Collen, Ben; McRae, Louise; Deinet, Stefanie; De Palma, Adriana; Carranza, Tharsila; Cooper, Natalie; Loh, Jonathan; Baillie, Jonathan E. M.

    2011-01-01

    Global species extinction typically represents the endpoint in a long sequence of population declines and local extinctions. In comparative studies of extinction risk of contemporary mammalian species, there appear to be some universal traits that may predispose taxa to an elevated risk of extinction. In local population-level studies, there are limited insights into the process of population decline and extinction. Moreover, there is still little appreciation of how local processes scale up to global patterns. Advancing the understanding of factors which predispose populations to rapid declines will benefit proactive conservation and may allow us to target at-risk populations as well as at-risk species. Here, we take mammalian population trend data from the largest repository of population abundance trends, and combine it with the PanTHERIA database on mammal traits to answer the question: what factors can be used to predict decline in mammalian abundance? We find in general that environmental variables are better determinants of cross-species population-level decline than intrinsic biological traits. For effective conservation, we must not only describe which species are at risk and why, but also prescribe ways to counteract this. PMID:21807738

  16. Modelling the extinction of Steller's sea cow

    PubMed Central

    Turvey, S.T; Risley, C.L

    2005-01-01

    Steller's sea cow, a giant sirenian discovered in 1741 and extinct by 1768, is one of the few megafaunal mammal species to have died out during the historical period. The species is traditionally considered to have been exterminated by ‘blitzkrieg’-style direct overharvesting for food, but it has also been proposed that its extinction resulted from a sea urchin population explosion triggered by extirpation of local sea otter populations that eliminated the shallow-water kelps on which sea cows fed. Hunting records from eighteenth century Russian expeditions to the Commander Islands, in conjunction with life-history data extrapolated from dugongs, permit modelling of sea cow extinction dynamics. Sea cows were massively and wastefully overexploited, being hunted at over seven times the sustainable limit, and suggesting that the initial Bering Island sea cow population must have been higher than suggested by previous researchers to allow the species to survive even until 1768. Environmental changes caused by sea otter declines are unlikely to have contributed to this extinction event. This indicates that megafaunal extinctions can be effected by small bands of hunters using pre-industrial technologies, and highlights the catastrophic impact of wastefulness when overexploiting resources mistakenly perceived as ‘infinite’. PMID:17148336

  17. Modelling the extinction of Steller's sea cow.

    PubMed

    Turvey, S T; Risley, C L

    2006-03-22

    Steller's sea cow, a giant sirenian discovered in 1741 and extinct by 1768, is one of the few megafaunal mammal species to have died out during the historical period. The species is traditionally considered to have been exterminated by 'blitzkrieg'-style direct overharvesting for food, but it has also been proposed that its extinction resulted from a sea urchin population explosion triggered by extirpation of local sea otter populations that eliminated the shallow-water kelps on which sea cows fed. Hunting records from eighteenth century Russian expeditions to the Commander Islands, in conjunction with life-history data extrapolated from dugongs, permit modelling of sea cow extinction dynamics. Sea cows were massively and wastefully overexploited, being hunted at over seven times the sustainable limit, and suggesting that the initial Bering Island sea cow population must have been higher than suggested by previous researchers to allow the species to survive even until 1768. Environmental changes caused by sea otter declines are unlikely to have contributed to this extinction event. This indicates that megafaunal extinctions can be effected by small bands of hunters using pre-industrial technologies, and highlights the catastrophic impact of wastefulness when overexploiting resources mistakenly perceived as 'infinite'.

  18. Is extinction forever?

    PubMed Central

    Bridge, Eli S.; Crawford, Priscilla H. C.; Hough, Daniel J.; Kelly, Jeffrey F.; Patten, Michael A.

    2015-01-01

    Mistrust of science has seeped into public perception of the most fundamental aspect of conservation—extinction. The term ought to be straightforward, and yet, there is a disconnect between scientific discussion and public views. This is not a mere semantic issue, rather one of communication. Within a population dynamics context, we say that a species went locally extinct, later to document its return. Conveying our findings matters, for when we use local extinction, an essentially nonsensical phrase, rather than extirpation, which is what is meant, then we contribute to, if not create outright, a problem for public understanding of conservation, particularly as local extinction is often shortened to extinction in media sources. The public that receives the message of our research void of context and modifiers comes away with the idea that extinction is not forever or, worse for conservation as a whole, that an extinction crisis has been invented. PMID:25711479

  19. Of Mammoths and Men: A Case Study in Extinction.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schiller, Nancy A.; Herreid, Clyde Freeman

    2001-01-01

    Explores various theories for the extinction of the great Ice Age mammals and Homo neanderthalensis. Presents an activity in which students research evidence for and against the various hypotheses, then meet in class to discuss the merits of each. (Author/ASK)

  20. Parallel extinction risk and global distribution of languages and species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutherland, William J.

    2003-05-01

    There are global threats to biodiversity with current extinction rates well above background levels. Although less well publicized, numerous human languages have also become extinct, and others are threatened with extinction. However, estimates of the number of threatened languages vary considerably owing to the wide range of criteria used. For example, languages have been classified as threatened if the number of speakers is less than 100, 500, 1,000, 10,000, 20,000 or 100,000 (ref. 3). Here I show, by applying internationally agreed criteria for classifying species extinction risk, that languages are more threatened than birds or mammals. Rare languages are more likely to show evidence of decline than commoner ones. Areas with high language diversity also have high bird and mammal diversity and all three show similar relationships to area, latitude, area of forest and, for languages and birds, maximum altitude. The time of human settlement has little effect on current language diversity. Although similar factors explain the diversity of languages and biodiversity, the factors explaining extinction risk for birds and mammals (high altitude, high human densities and insularity) do not explain the numbers of endangered languages.

  1. Protection of Marine Mammals.

    PubMed

    Knoll, Michaela; Ciaccia, Ettore; Dekeling, René; Kvadsheim, Petter; Liddell, Kate; Gunnarsson, Stig-Lennart; Ludwig, Stefan; Nissen, Ivor; Lorenzen, Dirk; Kreimeyer, Roman; Pavan, Gianni; Meneghetti, Nello; Nordlund, Nina; Benders, Frank; van der Zwan, Timo; van Zon, Tim; Fraser, Leanne; Johansson, Torbjörn; Garmelius, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Within the European Defense Agency (EDA), the Protection of Marine Mammals (PoMM) project, a comprehensive common marine mammal database essential for risk mitigation tools, was established. The database, built on an extensive dataset collection with the focus on areas of operational interest for European navies, consists of annual and seasonal distribution and density maps, random and systematic sightings, an encyclopedia providing knowledge on the characteristics of 126 marine mammal species, data on marine mammal protection areas, and audio information including numerous examples of various vocalizations. Special investigations on marine mammal acoustics were carried out to improve the detection and classification capabilities.

  2. Rafinesque’s names for western American mammals, including the earliest scientific name for the coyote (Canis latrans Say, 1822), based on the apocryphal journal of Charles Le Raye

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Woodman, Neal

    2015-01-01

    In 1817, the naturalist Constantine S. Rafinesque named nine new species of mammals from the American West, indicating the recently published journal of Charles Le Raye as the primary source for his descriptions. Le Raye was purported to be a French Canadian fur trader who, as a captive of the Sioux, had traveled across broad portions of the Missouri and Yellowstone river drainages a few years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) traversed much of the same region. Le Raye's journal was relied upon by generations of scholars as a valuable source documenting the native peoples and natural history of the Upper Missouri river in the era just prior to European settlement. Subsequent research, however, has shown that Le Raye never existed, and his purported journal is fraudulent. Despite this, Rafinesque's creation of the names followed conventional and accepted practice at the time, and they are porentially available. Fortunately, much of the Le Raye journal was based on verifiable sources, such as Patrick Gass's published account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Identification of the original source materials makes it possible to establish the correct application of Rafinesque's names and to determine their current status. This process reveals that the earliest scientific name for the coyote (Canis latrans Say, 1822) was Canis chlorops Rafinesque, 1817; this name is now a nomen oblitum, however, and is no longer available.

  3. Radiocarbon dating of extinct fauna in the Americas recovered from tar pits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jull, A. J. T.; Iturralde-Vinent, M.; O'Malley, J. M.; MacPhee, R. D. E.; McDonald, H. G.; Martin, P. S.; Moody, J.; Rincón, A.

    2004-08-01

    We have obtained radiocarbon dates by accelerator mass spectrometry on bones of extinct large mammals from tar pits. Results on some samples of Glyptodon and Holmesina (extinct large mammals similar to armadillos) yielded ages of >25 and >21 ka, respectively. We also studied the radiocarbon ages of three different samples of bones from the extinct Cuban ground sloth, Parocnus bownii, which yielded dates ranging from 4960 ± 280 to 11 880 ± 420 yr BP. In order to remove the tar component pretreat the samples sufficiently to obtain reliable dates, we cleaned the samples by Soxhlet extraction in benzene. Resulting samples of collagenous material were often small.

  4. Secondary extinctions of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Brodie, Jedediah F; Aslan, Clare E; Rogers, Haldre S; Redford, Kent H; Maron, John L; Bronstein, Judith L; Groves, Craig R

    2014-12-01

    Extinctions beget further extinctions when species lose obligate mutualists, predators, prey, or hosts. Here, we develop a conceptual model of species and community attributes affecting secondary extinction likelihood, incorporating mechanisms that buffer organisms against partner loss. Specialized interactors, including 'cryptic specialists' with diverse but nonredundant partner assemblages, incur elevated risk. Risk is also higher for species that cannot either evolve new traits following partner loss or obtain novel partners in communities reorganizing under changing environmental conditions. Partner loss occurs alongside other anthropogenic impacts; multiple stressors can circumvent ecological buffers, enhancing secondary extinction risk. Stressors can also offset each other, reducing secondary extinction risk, a hitherto unappreciated phenomenon. This synthesis suggests improved conservation planning tactics and critical directions for research on secondary extinctions.

  5. Genomic ancestry of the American puma (Puma concolor).

    PubMed

    Culver, M; Johnson, W E; Pecon-Slattery, J; O'Brien, S J

    2000-01-01

    Puma concolor, a large American cat species, occupies the most extensive range of any New World terrestrial mammal, spanning 110 degrees of latitude from the Canadian Yukon to the Straits of Magellan. Until the recent Holocene, pumas coexisted with a diverse array of carnivores including the American lion (Panthera atrox), the North American cheetah (Miracynonyx trumani), and the saber toothed tiger (Smilodon fatalis). Genomic DNA specimens from 315 pumas of specified geographic origin (261 contemporary and 54 museum specimens) were collected for molecular genetic and phylogenetic analyses of three mitochondrial gene sequences (16S rRNA, ATPase-8, and NADH-5) plus composite microsatellite genotypes (10 feline loci). Six phylogeographic groupings or subspecies were resolved, and the entire North American population (186 individuals from 15 previously named subspecies) was genetically homogeneous in overall variation relative to central and South American populations. The marked uniformity of mtDNA and a reduction in microsatellite allele size expansion indicates that North American pumas derive from a recent (late Pleistocene circa 10,000 years ago) replacement and recolonization by a small number of founders who themselves originated from a centrum of puma genetic diversity in eastern South America 200,000-300,000 years ago. The recolonization of North American pumas was coincident with a massive late Pleistocene extinction event that eliminated 80% of large vertebrates in North America and may have extirpated pumas from that continent as well.

  6. Population structure and historical demography of South American sea lions provide insights into the catastrophic decline of a marine mammal population

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, J. I.; Kowalski, G. J.; Klimova, A.; Staniland, I. J.; Baylis, A. M. M.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the causes of population decline is crucial for conservation management. We therefore used genetic analysis both to provide baseline data on population structure and to evaluate hypotheses for the catastrophic decline of the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) at the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the South Atlantic. We genotyped 259 animals from 23 colonies across the Falklands at 281 bp of the mitochondrial hypervariable region and 22 microsatellites. A weak signature of population structure was detected, genetic diversity was moderately high in comparison with other pinniped species, and no evidence was found for the decline being associated with a strong demographic bottleneck. By combining our mitochondrial data with published sequences from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, we also uncovered strong maternally directed population structure across the geographical range of the species. In particular, very few shared haplotypes were found between the Falklands and South America, and this was reflected in correspondingly low migration rate estimates. These findings do not support the prominent hypothesis that the decline was caused by migration to Argentina, where large-scale commercial harvesting operations claimed over half a million animals. Thus, our study not only provides baseline data for conservation management but also reveals the potential for genetic studies to shed light upon long-standing questions pertaining to the history and fate of natural populations. PMID:27493782

  7. Population structure and historical demography of South American sea lions provide insights into the catastrophic decline of a marine mammal population.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, J I; Kowalski, G J; Klimova, A; Eberhart-Phillips, L J; Staniland, I J; Baylis, A M M

    2016-07-01

    Understanding the causes of population decline is crucial for conservation management. We therefore used genetic analysis both to provide baseline data on population structure and to evaluate hypotheses for the catastrophic decline of the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) at the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the South Atlantic. We genotyped 259 animals from 23 colonies across the Falklands at 281 bp of the mitochondrial hypervariable region and 22 microsatellites. A weak signature of population structure was detected, genetic diversity was moderately high in comparison with other pinniped species, and no evidence was found for the decline being associated with a strong demographic bottleneck. By combining our mitochondrial data with published sequences from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, we also uncovered strong maternally directed population structure across the geographical range of the species. In particular, very few shared haplotypes were found between the Falklands and South America, and this was reflected in correspondingly low migration rate estimates. These findings do not support the prominent hypothesis that the decline was caused by migration to Argentina, where large-scale commercial harvesting operations claimed over half a million animals. Thus, our study not only provides baseline data for conservation management but also reveals the potential for genetic studies to shed light upon long-standing questions pertaining to the history and fate of natural populations.

  8. I. Sexual, individual, and geographical variation in leucosticte tephrocotis, II.Geographical variation among North American mammals, especially in respect to size

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, J.A.

    1876-01-01

    Having recently had an opportunity (through the kindness of Professor Baird) of studying with some care the magnificent series of skulls of the North American Mammalia belonging to the National Museum (amounting often to eighty or a hundred specimens of a single species), I have been strongly impressed with the different degrees of variability exhibited by the representatives of the species and genera of even the same family. The variation in size, for instance, with latitude, in the Wolves and Foxes is surprisingly great, amounting in some species (as will be shown later) to 25 per cent. of the average size of the species, while in other species of the Ferae it is almost nil. Contrary to the general supposition, the variation in size among representatives of the same species is not always a decrease with the decrease of the latitude of the locality, but is in some cases exactly the reverse, in some species there being a very considerable and indisputable increase southward. This, for instance, is very markedly true of some species of Felis and in Procyon lotor. Consequently, the very generally-received impression that in North America the species of Mammalia diminish in size southward, or with the decrease in the latitude (and altitude) of the locality, requires modification. While such is generally the case, the reverse of this too often occurs, with occasional instances also of a total absence of variation in size with locality, to be considered as forming "the exceptions" necessary to "prove the rule".

  9. Gradual extinction reduces reinstatement

    PubMed Central

    Shiban, Youssef; Wittmann, Jasmin; Weißinger, Mara; Mühlberger, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    The current study investigated whether gradually reducing the frequency of aversive stimuli during extinction can prevent the return of fear. Thirty-one participants of a three-stage procedure (acquisition, extinction and a reinstatement test on day 2) were randomly assigned to a standard extinction (SE) and gradual extinction (GE) procedure. The two groups differed only in the extinction procedure. While the SE group ran through a regular extinction process without any negative events, the frequency of the aversive stimuli during the extinction phase was gradually reduced for the GE group. The unconditioned stimulus (US) was an air blast (5 bar, 10 ms). A spider and a scorpion were used as conditioned stimuli (CS). The outcome variables were contingency ratings and physiological measures (skin conductance response, SCR and startle response). There were no differences found between the two groups for the acquisition and extinction phases concerning contingency ratings, SCR, or startle response. GE compared to SE significantly reduced the return of fear in the reinstatement test for the startle response but not for SCR or contingency ratings. This study was successful in translating the findings in rodent to humans. The results suggest that the GE process is suitable for increasing the efficacy of fear extinction. PMID:26441581

  10. Mass extinction: a commentary.

    PubMed

    Raup, D M

    1987-01-01

    Four neocatastrophist claims about mass extinction are currently being debated; they are that: 1, the late Cretaceous mass extinction was caused by large body impact; 2, as many as five other major extinctions were caused by impact; 3, the timing of extinction events since the Permian is uniformly periodic; and 4, the ages of impact craters on Earth are also periodic and in phase with the extinctions. Although strongly interconnected the four claims are independent in the sense that none depends on the others. Evidence for a link between impact and extinction is strong but still needs more confirmation through bed-by-bed and laboratory studies. An important area for future research is the question of whether extinction is a continuous process, with the rate increasing at times of mass extinctions, or whether it is episodic at all scales. If the latter is shown to be generally true, then species are at risk of extinction only rarely during their existence and catastrophism, in the sense of isolated events of extreme stress, is indicated. This is line of reasoning can only be considered an hypothesis for testing. In a larger context, paleontologists may benefit from a research strategy that looks to known Solar System and Galactic phenomena for predictions about environmental effects on earth. The recent success in the recognition of Milankovitch Cycles in the late Pleistocene record is an example of the potential of this research area.

  11. Mass extinction: a commentary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1987-01-01

    Four neocatastrophist claims about mass extinction are currently being debated; they are that: 1, the late Cretaceous mass extinction was caused by large body impact; 2, as many as five other major extinctions were caused by impact; 3, the timing of extinction events since the Permian is uniformly periodic; and 4, the ages of impact craters on Earth are also periodic and in phase with the extinctions. Although strongly interconnected the four claims are independent in the sense that none depends on the others. Evidence for a link between impact and extinction is strong but still needs more confirmation through bed-by-bed and laboratory studies. An important area for future research is the question of whether extinction is a continuous process, with the rate increasing at times of mass extinctions, or whether it is episodic at all scales. If the latter is shown to be generally true, then species are at risk of extinction only rarely during their existence and catastrophism, in the sense of isolated events of extreme stress, is indicated. This is line of reasoning can only be considered an hypothesis for testing. In a larger context, paleontologists may benefit from a research strategy that looks to known Solar System and Galactic phenomena for predictions about environmental effects on earth. The recent success in the recognition of Milankovitch Cycles in the late Pleistocene record is an example of the potential of this research area.

  12. Opportunities and costs for preventing vertebrate extinctions.

    PubMed

    Conde, Dalia A; Colchero, Fernando; Güneralp, Burak; Gusset, Markus; Skolnik, Ben; Parr, Michael; Byers, Onnie; Johnson, Kevin; Young, Glyn; Flesness, Nate; Possingham, Hugh; Fa, John E

    2015-03-16

    Despite an increase in policy and management responses to the global biodiversity crisis, implementation of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets still shows insufficient progress [1]. These targets, strategic goals defined by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), address major causes of biodiversity loss in part by establishing protected areas (Target 11) and preventing species extinctions (Target 12). To achieve this, increased interventions will be required for a large number of sites and species. The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) [2], a consortium of conservation-oriented organisations that aims to protect Critically Endangered and Endangered species restricted to single sites, has identified 920 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, conifers and reef-building corals in 588 'trigger' sites [3]. These are arguably the most irreplaceable category of important biodiversity conservation sites. Protected area coverage of AZE sites is a key indicator of progress towards Target 11 [1]. Moreover, effective conservation of AZE sites is essential to achieve Target 12, as the loss of any of these sites would certainly result in the global extinction of at least one species [2]. However, averting human-induced species extinctions within AZE sites requires enhanced planning tools to increase the chances of success [3]. Here, we assess the potential for ensuring the long-term conservation of AZE vertebrate species (157 mammals, 165 birds, 17 reptiles and 502 amphibians) by calculating a conservation opportunity index (COI) for each species. The COI encompasses a set of measurable indicators that quantify the possibility of achieving successful conservation of a species in its natural habitat (COIh) and by establishing insurance populations in zoos (COIc).

  13. Beliefs about Human Extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Tonn, Bruce Edward

    2009-11-01

    This paper presents the results of a web-based survey about futures issues. Among many questions, respondents were asked whether they believe humans will become extinct. Forty-five percent of the almost 600 respondents believe that humans will become extinct. Many of those holding this believe felt that humans could become extinct within 500-1000 years. Others estimated extinction 5000 or more years into the future. A logistic regression model was estimated to explore the bases for this belief. It was found that people who describe themselves a secular are more likely to hold this belief than people who describe themselves as being Protestant. Older respondents and those who believe that humans have little control over their future also hold this belief. In addition, people who are more apt to think about the future and are better able to imagine potential futures tend to also believe that humans will become extinct.

  14. Post-Clovis survival of American Mastodon in the southern Great Lakes Region of North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Woodman, N.; Beavan, Athfield N.

    2009-01-01

    The end of the Pleistocene in North America was marked by a wave of extinctions of large mammals, with the last known appearances of many species falling between ca. 11,000-10,000??14C yr BP. Temporally, this period overlaps with the Clovis Paleoindian cultural complex (11,190-10,530??14C yr BP) and with sudden climatic changes that define the beginning of the Younger Dryas chronozone (ca. 11,000-10,000??14C yr BP), both of which have been considered as potential proximal causes of this extinction event. Radiocarbon dating of enamel and filtered bone collagen from an extinct American Mastodon (Mammut americanum) from northern Indiana, USA, by accelerator mass spectrometer yielded direct dates of 10,055 ?? 40??14C yr BP and 10,032 ?? 40??14C yr BP, indicating that the animal survived beyond the Clovis time period and into the late Younger Dryas. Although the late survival of this species in mid-continental North America does not remove either humans or climatic change as contributing causes for the late Pleistocene extinctions, neither Clovis hunters nor the climatic perturbations initiating the Younger Dryas chronozone were immediately responsible for driving mastodons to extinction. ?? 2009 University of Washington.

  15. Post-Clovis survival of American Mastodon in the southern Great Lakes Region of North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodman, Neal; Beavan Athfield, Nancy

    2009-11-01

    The end of the Pleistocene in North America was marked by a wave of extinctions of large mammals, with the last known appearances of many species falling between ca. 11,000-10,000 14C yr BP. Temporally, this period overlaps with the Clovis Paleoindian cultural complex (11,190-10,530 14C yr BP) and with sudden climatic changes that define the beginning of the Younger Dryas chronozone (ca. 11,000-10,000 14C yr BP), both of which have been considered as potential proximal causes of this extinction event. Radiocarbon dating of enamel and filtered bone collagen from an extinct American Mastodon ( Mammut americanum) from northern Indiana, USA, by accelerator mass spectrometer yielded direct dates of 10,055 ± 40 14C yr BP and 10,032 ± 40 14C yr BP, indicating that the animal survived beyond the Clovis time period and into the late Younger Dryas. Although the late survival of this species in mid-continental North America does not remove either humans or climatic change as contributing causes for the late Pleistocene extinctions, neither Clovis hunters nor the climatic perturbations initiating the Younger Dryas chronozone were immediately responsible for driving mastodons to extinction.

  16. Asynchronous extinction of late Quaternary sloths on continents and islands.

    PubMed

    Steadman, David W; Martin, Paul S; MacPhee, Ross D E; Jull, A J T; McDonald, H Gregory; Woods, Charles A; Iturralde-Vinent, Manuel; Hodgins, Gregory W L

    2005-08-16

    Whatever the cause, it is extraordinary that dozens of genera of large mammals became extinct during the late Quaternary throughout the Western Hemisphere, including 90% of the genera of the xenarthran suborder Phyllophaga (sloths). Radiocarbon dates directly on dung, bones, or other tissue of extinct sloths place their "last appearance" datum at approximately 11,000 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP) or slightly less in North America, approximately 10,500 yr BP in South America, and approximately 4,400 yr BP on West Indian islands. This asynchronous situation is not compatible with glacial-interglacial climate change forcing these extinctions, especially given the great elevational, latitudinal, and longitudinal variation of the sloth-bearing continental sites. Instead, the chronology of last appearance of extinct sloths, whether on continents or islands, more closely tracks the first arrival of people.

  17. Effects of overtraining on extinction in newts (Cynops pyrrhogaster).

    PubMed

    Shibasaki, Masahiro; Ishida, Masato

    2012-11-01

    The overtraining extinction effect (OEE), a phenomenon in which extended training facilitates extinction, has been found in mammals and reptiles. However, fish have never shown OEE. No study has yet investigated OEE in newts, a representative amphibian species. We tested whether newts, Cynops pyrrhogaster, show OEE in a straight-array task. All animals received five trials per day and were given a piece of dried worm during reinforced trials. They showed significant acquisition and extinction effects in reinforced and nonreinforced trials. However, we found no difference in extinction performance between a group with 25-trial acquisition and one with 75-trial acquisition, suggesting that OEE was not found in newts. OEE has generally been explained in terms of frustration-related mechanisms. Our results suggest that emotional reactions to nonreward, such as frustration, may not influence behavior in amphibians.

  18. Asynchronous extinction of late Quaternary sloths on continents and islands

    PubMed Central

    Steadman, David W.; Martin, Paul S.; MacPhee, Ross D. E.; Jull, A. J. T.; McDonald, H. Gregory; Woods, Charles A.; Iturralde-Vinent, Manuel; Hodgins, Gregory W. L.

    2005-01-01

    Whatever the cause, it is extraordinary that dozens of genera of large mammals became extinct during the late Quaternary throughout the Western Hemisphere, including 90% of the genera of the xenarthran suborder Phyllophaga (sloths). Radiocarbon dates directly on dung, bones, or other tissue of extinct sloths place their “last appearance” datum at ≈11,000 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP) or slightly less in North America, ≈10,500 yr BP in South America, and ≈4,400 yr BP on West Indian islands. This asynchronous situation is not compatible with glacial–interglacial climate change forcing these extinctions, especially given the great elevational, latitudinal, and longitudinal variation of the sloth-bearing continental sites. Instead, the chronology of last appearance of extinct sloths, whether on continents or islands, more closely tracks the first arrival of people. PMID:16085711

  19. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  20. Past and estimated future impact of invasive alien mammals on insular threatened vertebrate populations.

    PubMed

    McCreless, Erin E; Huff, David D; Croll, Donald A; Tershy, Bernie R; Spatz, Dena R; Holmes, Nick D; Butchart, Stuart H M; Wilcox, Chris

    2016-08-18

    Invasive mammals on islands pose severe, ongoing threats to global biodiversity. However, the severity of threats from different mammals, and the role of interacting biotic and abiotic factors in driving extinctions, remain poorly understood at a global scale. Here we model global extirpation patterns for island populations of threatened and extinct vertebrates. Extirpations are driven by interacting factors including invasive rats, cats, pigs, mustelids and mongooses, native species taxonomic class and volancy, island size, precipitation and human presence. We show that controlling or eradicating the relevant invasive mammals could prevent 41-75% of predicted future extirpations. The magnitude of benefits varies across species and environments; for example, managing invasive mammals on small, dry islands could halve the extirpation risk for highly threatened birds and mammals, while doing so on large, wet islands may have little benefit. Our results provide quantitative estimates of conservation benefits and, when combined with costs in a return-on-investment framework, can guide efficient conservation strategies.

  1. Global mammal distributions, biodiversity hotspots, and conservation.

    PubMed

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R

    2006-12-19

    Hotspots, which have played a central role in the selection of sites for reserves, require careful rethinking. We carried out a global examination of distributions of all nonmarine mammals to determine patterns of species richness, endemism, and endangerment, and to evaluate the degree of congruence among hotspots of these three measures of diversity in mammals. We then compare congruence of hotspots in two animal groups (mammals and birds) to assess the generality of these patterns. We defined hotspots as the richest 2.5% of cells in a global equal-area grid comparable to 1 degrees latitude x 1 degrees longitude. Hotspots of species richness, "endemism," and extinction threat were noncongruent. Only 1% of cells and 16% of species were common to the three types of mammalian hotspots. Congruence increased with increases in both the geographic scope of the analysis and the percentage of cells defined as being hotspots. The within-mammal hotspot noncongruence was similar to the pattern recently found for birds. Thus, assigning global conservation priorities based on hotspots is at best a limited strategy.

  2. Is extinction age dependent?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Doran, N.A.; Arnold, A.J.; Parker, W.C.; Huffer, F.W.

    2006-01-01

    Age-dependent extinction is an observation with important biological implications. Van Valen's Red Queen hypothesis triggered three decades of research testing its primary implication: that age is independent of extinction. In contrast to this, later studies with species-level data have indicated the possible presence of age dependence. Since the formulation of the Red Queen hypothesis, more powerful tests of survivorship models have been developed. This is the first report of the application of the Cox Proportional Hazards model to paleontological data. Planktonic foraminiferal morphospecies allow the taxonomic and precise stratigraphic resolution necessary for the Cox model. As a whole, planktonic foraminiferal morphospecies clearly show age-dependent extinction. In particular, the effect is attributable to the presence of shorter-ranged species (range < 4 myr) following extinction events. These shorter-ranged species also possess tests with unique morphological architecture. The morphological differences are probably epiphenomena of underlying developmental and heterochronic processes of shorter-ranged species that survived various extinction events. Extinction survivors carry developmental and morphological characteristics into postextinction recovery times, and this sets them apart from species populations established independently of extinction events. Copyright ?? 2006, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

  3. Exotic Mammal Laparoscopy.

    PubMed

    Sladakovic, Izidora; Divers, Stephen J

    2016-01-01

    Laparoscopy is an evolving field in veterinary medicine, and there is an increased interest in using laparoscopic techniques in nondomestic mammals, including zoo animals, wildlife, and exotic pets. The aim of this article is to summarize the approach to laparoscopic procedures, including instrumentation, patient selection and preparation, and surgical approaches, and to review the current literature on laparoscopy in exotic mammals.

  4. Mammals in Our Lives.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1986

    1986-01-01

    Examines how humans have treated mammals throughout history. Identifies both the problems facing animals and the corrective efforts that are currently underway. Student activities include stories, games, a scavenger hunt, a mural, a puzzle, and a survey focusing on mammals. (ML)

  5. Protection from extinction.

    PubMed

    Rescorla, Robert A

    2003-05-01

    The effect of the presence of a conditioned inhibitor on extinction of excitatory conditioning was studied in one magazine approach and three autoshaping experiments using rats and pigeons. In each case, the presence of an inhibitor reduced responding to an exciter during extinction but allowed substantial recovery of responding to that exciter when subsequently tested separately. Control stimuli with a history of being irrelevant to reinforcement or being nonreinforced had less of a protective effect. This constitutes a clear demonstration of protection from extinction, a phenomenon of substantial theoretical and applied importance.

  6. Human population density and extinction risk in the world's carnivores.

    PubMed

    Cardillo, Marcel; Purvis, Andy; Sechrest, Wes; Gittleman, John L; Bielby, Jon; Mace, Georgina M

    2004-07-01

    Understanding why some species are at high risk of extinction, while others remain relatively safe, is central to the development of a predictive conservation science. Recent studies have shown that a species' extinction risk may be determined by two types of factors: intrinsic biological traits and exposure to external anthropogenic threats. However, little is known about the relative and interacting effects of intrinsic and external variables on extinction risk. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we show that extinction risk in the mammal order Carnivora is predicted more strongly by biology than exposure to high-density human populations. However, biology interacts with human population density to determine extinction risk: biological traits explain 80% of variation in risk for carnivore species with high levels of exposure to human populations, compared to 45% for carnivores generally. The results suggest that biology will become a more critical determinant of risk as human populations expand. We demonstrate how a model predicting extinction risk from biology can be combined with projected human population density to identify species likely to move most rapidly towards extinction by the year 2030. African viverrid species are particularly likely to become threatened, even though most are currently considered relatively safe. We suggest that a preemptive approach to species conservation is needed to identify and protect species that may not be threatened at present but may become so in the near future.

  7. A life-history approach to the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction.

    PubMed

    Zuo, Wenyun; Smith, Felisa A; Charnov, Eric L

    2013-10-01

    A major criticism of the "overkill" theory for the late Pleistocene extinction in the Americas has been the seeming implausibility of a relatively small number of humans selectively killing off millions of large-bodied mammals. Critics argue that early Paleoindian hunters had to be extremely selective to have produced the highly size-biased extinction pattern characteristic of this event. Here, we derive a probabilistic extinction model that predicts the extinction risk of mammals at any body mass without invoking selective human harvest. The new model systematically analyzes the variability in life-history characteristics, such as the instantaneous mortality rate, age of first reproduction, and the maximum net reproductive rate. It captures the body size-biased extinction pattern in the late Pleistocene and precisely predicts the percentage of unexpectedly persisting large mammals and extinct small ones. A test with a global late Quaternary mammal database well supports the model. The model also emphasizes that quantitatively analyzing patterns of variability in ecological factors can shed light on diverse behaviors and patterns in nature. From a macro-scale conservation perspective, our model can be modified to predict the fate of biota under the pressures from both climate change and human impacts.

  8. Ancient collagen reveals evolutionary history of the endemic South American ‘ungulates’

    PubMed Central

    Buckley, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Since the late eighteenth century, fossils of bizarre extinct creatures have been described from the Americas, revealing a previously unimagined chapter in the history of mammals. The most bizarre of these are the ‘native’ South American ungulates thought to represent a group of mammals that evolved in relative isolation on South America, but with an uncertain affinity to any particular placental lineage. Many authors have considered them descended from Laurasian ‘condylarths’, which also includes the probable ancestors of perissodactyls and artiodactyls, whereas others have placed them either closer to the uniquely South American xenarthrans (anteaters, armadillos and sloths) or the basal afrotherians (e.g. elephants and hyraxes). These hypotheses have been debated owing to conflicting morphological characteristics and the hitherto inability to retrieve molecular information. Of the ‘native’ South American mammals, only the toxodonts and litopterns persisted until the Late Pleistocene–Early Holocene. Owing to known difficulties in retrieving ancient DNA (aDNA) from specimens from warm climates, this research presents a molecular phylogeny for both Macrauchenia patachonica (Litopterna) and Toxodon platensis (Notoungulata) recovered using proteomics-based (liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry) sequencing analyses of bone collagen. The results place both taxa in a clade that is monophyletic with the perissodactyls, which today are represented by horses, rhinoceroses and tapirs. PMID:25833851

  9. Temporal Dynamics of Recovery from Extinction Shortly after Extinction Acquisition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Archbold, Georgina E.; Dobbek, Nick; Nader, Karim

    2013-01-01

    Evidence suggests that extinction is new learning. Memory acquisition involves both short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) components; however, few studies have examined early phases of extinction retention. Retention of auditory fear extinction was examined at various time points. Shortly (1-4 h) after extinction acquisition…

  10. Can we avoid the Sixth Mass Extinction? Setting today's extinction crisis in the context of the Big Five

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnosky, A. D.

    2012-12-01

    While the ultimate extinction driver now—Homo sapiens—is unique with respect to the drivers of past extinctions, comparison of parallel neontological and paleontological information helps calibrate how far the so-called Sixth Mass Extinction has progressed and whether it is inevitable. Such comparisons document that rates of extinction today are approaching or exceeding those that characterized the Big Five Mass Extinctions. Continuation of present extinction rates for vertebrates, for example, would result in 75% species loss—the minimum benchmark exhibited in the Big Five extinctions—within 3 to 22 centuries, assuming constant rates of loss and no threshold effects. Preceding and during each of the Big Five, the global ecosystem experienced major changes in climate, atmospheric chemisty, and ocean chemistry—not unlike what is being observed presently. Nevertheless, only 1-2% of well-assessed modern species have been lost over the past five centuries, still far below what characterized past mass extinctions in the strict paleontological sense. For mammals, adding in the end-Pleistocene species that died out would increase the species-loss percentage by some 5%. If threatened vertebrate species were to actually go extinct, losses would rise to between 14 and 40%, depending on the group. Such observations highlight that, although many species have already had their populations drastically reduced to near-critical levels, the Sixth Mass Extinction has not yet progressed to the point where it is unavoidable. Put another way, the vast majority of species that have occupied the world in concert with Homo sapiens are still alive and are possible to save. That task, however, will require slowing the abnormally high extinction rates that are now in progress, which in turn requires unified efforts to cap human population growth, decrease the average human footprint, reduce fossil fuel use while simultaneously increasing clean energy technologies, integrate

  11. Extinction of oscillating populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Naftali R.; Meerson, Baruch

    2016-03-01

    Established populations often exhibit oscillations in their sizes that, in the deterministic theory, correspond to a limit cycle in the space of population sizes. If a population is isolated, the intrinsic stochasticity of elemental processes can ultimately bring it to extinction. Here we study extinction of oscillating populations in a stochastic version of the Rosenzweig-MacArthur predator-prey model. To this end we develop a WKB (Wentzel, Kramers and Brillouin) approximation to the master equation, employing the characteristic population size as the large parameter. Similar WKB theories have been developed previously in the context of population extinction from an attracting multipopulation fixed point. We evaluate the extinction rates and find the most probable paths to extinction from the limit cycle by applying Floquet theory to the dynamics of an effective four-dimensional WKB Hamiltonian. We show that the entropic barriers to extinction change in a nonanalytic way as the system passes through the Hopf bifurcation. We also study the subleading pre-exponential factors of the WKB approximation.

  12. Extinction with multiple excitors.

    PubMed

    McConnell, Bridget L; Miguez, Gonzalo; Miller, Ralph R

    2013-06-01

    Four conditioned suppression experiments with rats, using an ABC renewal design, investigated the effects of compounding the target conditioned excitor with additional, nontarget conditioned excitors during extinction. Experiment 1 showed stronger extinction, as evidenced by less renewal, when the target excitor was extinguished in compound with a second excitor, relative to when it was extinguished with associatively neutral stimuli. Critically, this deepened extinction effect was attenuated (i.e., more renewal occurred) when a third excitor was added during extinction training. This novel demonstration contradicts the predictions of associative learning models based on total error reduction, but it is explicable in terms of a counteraction effect within the framework of the extended comparator hypothesis. The attenuated deepened extinction effect was replicated in Experiments 2a and 3, which also showed that pretraining consisting of weakening the association between the two additional excitors (Experiments 2a and 2b) or weakening the association between one of the additional excitors and the unconditioned stimulus (Experiment 3) attenuated the counteraction effect, thereby resulting in a decrease in responding to the target excitor. These results suggest that more than simple total error reduction determines responding after extinction.

  13. Convergent dental adaptations in pseudo-tribosphenic and tribosphenic mammals.

    PubMed

    Luo, Zhe-Xi; Ji, Qiang; Yuan, Chong-Xi

    2007-11-01

    Tribosphenic molars of basal marsupials and placentals are a major adaptation, with the protocone (pestle) of the upper molar crushing and grinding in the talonid basin (mortar) on the lower molar. The extinct pseudo-tribosphenic mammals have a reversed tribosphenic molar in which a pseudo-talonid is anterior to the trigonid, to receive the pseudo-protocone of the upper molar. The pseudo-protocone is analogous to the protocone, but the anteriorly placed pseudo-talonid is opposite to the posterior talonid basin of true tribosphenic mammals. Here we describe a mammal of the Middle Jurassic period with highly derived pseudo-tribosphenic molars but predominantly primitive mandibular and skeletal features, and place it in a basal position in mammal phylogeny. Its shoulder girdle and limbs show fossorial features similar to those of mammaliaforms and monotremes, but different compared with those of the earliest-known Laurasian tribosphenic (boreosphenid) mammals. The find reveals a much greater range of dental evolution in Mesozoic mammals than in their extant descendants, and strengthens the hypothesis of homoplasy of 'tribosphenic-like' molars among mammals.

  14. The role of local versus biogeographical processes in influencing diversity and body-size variation in mammal assemblages.

    PubMed

    Lopez, Luiz Carlos S; Figueiredo, Marcos S L; Fracasso, Maria Paula de Aguiar; Mesquita, Daniel Oliveira; Anjos, Ulisses Umbelino; Grelle, Carlos Eduardo Viveiros

    2016-03-01

    Our objective was to estimate and analyze the body-size distribution parameters of terrestrial mammal assemblages at different spatial scales, and to determine whether these parameters are controlled by local ecological processes or by larger-scale ones. Based on 93 local assemblages, plus the complete mammal assemblage from three continents (Africa, North, and South America), we estimated three key distribution parameters (diversity/size slope, skewness, and modal size) and compared the values to those expected if size distributions are mainly controlled by local interactions. Mammal diversity decreased much faster as body size increased than predicted by fractal niche theory, both at continental and at local scales, with continental distributions showing steeper slopes than the localities within them. South America showed a steeper slope (after controlling for species diversity), compared to Africa and North America, at local and continental scales. We also found that skewness and modal body size can show strikingly different correlations with predictor variables, such as species richness and median size, depending on the use of untransformed versus log-transformed data, due to changes in the distribution density generated by log-transformation. The main differences in slope, skewness, and modal size between local and continental scales appear to arise from the same biogeographical process, where small-sized species increase in diversity much faster (due to higher spatial turnover rates) than large-sized species. This process, which can operate even in the absence of competitive saturation at local scales, generates continental assemblages with steeper slopes, smaller modal sizes, and higher right skewness (toward small-sized species) compared to local communities. In addition, historical factors can also affect the size distribution slopes, which are significantly steeper, in South American mammal assemblages (probably due to stronger megafauna extinction events

  15. [Jaws of herbivorous mammals].

    PubMed

    Konishi, Shogo

    2005-08-01

    The jaws of herbivorous mammals are characterized by their large occlusal surface of the molar; high crown of the molar; long snout; etc. However, elephants, the biggest herbivorous mammal, have other characteristics. In the evolutionary trends of proboscidean skulls, concomitant with the increase in tusk size comes on the enlargement, antero-posterior shortening, dorso-ventral elongation of the cranium with increasing cheek teeth size. Naturally, the jaw follows the same evolutionary trends as the cranium.

  16. Ecotoxicology of wild mammals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Shore, R.F.

    2000-01-01

    An international group of 32 scientists has critically reviewed the scientific literature on exposure and effects of environmental contaminants in wild mammals. Although the absolute number of toxicological studies in domesticated and wild mammals eclipses that for birds, a detailed examination of scientific publications and databases reveal that information for 'wild' birds is actually greater than that for 'wild' mammals. Of the various taxa of mammals, ecotoxicological data is most noticeably lacking for marsupials and monotremes. In contrast, rodents (comprising 43% of all mammal species) have been studied extensively, despite evidence of their tolerance to some organochlorine compounds, rodenticides, and even radionuclides. Mammalian species at greatest risk of exposure include those that consume a high percentage of their body weight on a daily basis (e.g., shrews, moles and bats). Aquatic mammals tend to bioaccumulate tremendous burdens of lipophilic contaminants, although storage in their fat depots may actually limit toxicity. Carnivores appear to be more sensitive to adverse effects of environmental contaminants than herbivores. Remarkably few of the thousands of compounds manufactured worldwide have been toxicologically evaluated in wild mammals, and concentrations of even fewer have been monitored in tissues. Overarching research needs include: development of new exposure/effects models and better methods for estimation of species sensitivities; generation of comparative data on contaminant bioavailability, sublethal responses and detoxication mechanisms; enhanced understanding of pesticide, industrial contaminant and metal interactions; identification of endocrine disruptive contaminants and their overall ecological significance; and finally, estimating the relative contribution of environmental contamination as a factor affecting wild mammal populations.

  17. Rewinding the process of mammalian extinction.

    PubMed

    Saragusty, Joseph; Diecke, Sebastian; Drukker, Micha; Durrant, Barbara; Friedrich Ben-Nun, Inbar; Galli, Cesare; Göritz, Frank; Hayashi, Katsuhiko; Hermes, Robert; Holtze, Susanne; Johnson, Stacey; Lazzari, Giovanna; Loi, Pasqualino; Loring, Jeanne F; Okita, Keisuke; Renfree, Marilyn B; Seet, Steven; Voracek, Thomas; Stejskal, Jan; Ryder, Oliver A; Hildebrandt, Thomas B

    2016-07-01

    With only three living individuals left on this planet, the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) could be considered doomed for extinction. It might still be possible, however, to rescue the (sub)species by combining novel stem cell and assisted reproductive technologies. To discuss the various practical options available to us, we convened a multidisciplinary meeting under the name "Conservation by Cellular Technologies." The outcome of this meeting and the proposed road map that, if successfully implemented, would ultimately lead to a self-sustaining population of an extremely endangered species are outlined here. The ideas discussed here, while centered on the northern white rhinoceros, are equally applicable, after proper adjustments, to other mammals on the brink of extinction. Through implementation of these ideas we hope to establish the foundation for reversal of some of the effects of what has been termed the sixth mass extinction event in the history of Earth, and the first anthropogenic one. Zoo Biol. 35:280-292, 2016. © 2016 The Authors. Zoo Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R; Barnosky, Anthony D; García, Andrés; Pringle, Robert M; Palmer, Todd M

    2015-06-01

    The oft-repeated claim that Earth's biota is entering a sixth "mass extinction" depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the "background" rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

  19. The delayed rise of present-day mammals.

    PubMed

    Bininda-Emonds, Olaf R P; Cardillo, Marcel; Jones, Kate E; MacPhee, Ross D E; Beck, Robin M D; Grenyer, Richard; Price, Samantha A; Vos, Rutger A; Gittleman, John L; Purvis, Andy

    2007-03-29

    Did the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event, by eliminating non-avian dinosaurs and most of the existing fauna, trigger the evolutionary radiation of present-day mammals? Here we construct, date and analyse a species-level phylogeny of nearly all extant Mammalia to bring a new perspective to this question. Our analyses of how extant lineages accumulated through time show that net per-lineage diversification rates barely changed across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. Instead, these rates spiked significantly with the origins of the currently recognized placental superorders and orders approximately 93 million years ago, before falling and remaining low until accelerating again throughout the Eocene and Oligocene epochs. Our results show that the phylogenetic 'fuses' leading to the explosion of extant placental orders are not only very much longer than suspected previously, but also challenge the hypothesis that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event had a major, direct influence on the diversification of today's mammals.

  20. Stress and Fear Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Maren, Stephen; Holmes, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Stress has a critical role in the development and expression of many psychiatric disorders, and is a defining feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress also limits the efficacy of behavioral therapies aimed at limiting pathological fear, such as exposure therapy. Here we examine emerging evidence that stress impairs recovery from trauma by impairing fear extinction, a form of learning thought to underlie the suppression of trauma-related fear memories. We describe the major structural and functional abnormalities in brain regions that are particularly vulnerable to stress, including the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus, which may underlie stress-induced impairments in extinction. We also discuss some of the stress-induced neurochemical and molecular alterations in these brain regions that are associated with extinction deficits, and the potential for targeting these changes to prevent or reverse impaired extinction. A better understanding of the neurobiological basis of stress effects on extinction promises to yield novel approaches to improving therapeutic outcomes for PTSD and other anxiety and trauma-related disorders. PMID:26105142

  1. Biological extinction in earth history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

    Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.

  2. Supernovae and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vandenbergh, S.

    1994-01-01

    Shklovsky and others have suggested that some of the major extinctions in the geological record might have been triggered by explosions of nearby supernovae. The frequency of such extinction events will depend on the galactic supernova frequency and on the distance up to which a supernova explosion will produce lethal effects upon terrestrial life. In the present note it will be assumed that a killer supernova has to occur so close to Earth that it will be embedded in a young, active, supernova remnant. Such young remnants typically have radii approximately less than 3 pc (1 x 10(exp 19) cm). Larger (more pessimistic?) killer radii have been adopted by Ruderman, Romig, and by Ellis and Schramm. From observations of historical supernovae, van den Bergh finds that core-collapse (types Ib and II) supernovae occur within 4 kpc of the Sun at a rate of 0.2 plus or minus 0.1 per century. Adopting a layer thickness of 0.3 kpc for the galacitc disk, this corresponds to a rate of approximately 1.3 x 10(exp -4) supernovae pc(exp -3) g.y.(exp -1). Including supernovae of type Ia will increase the total supernovae rate to approximately 1.5 x 10(exp -4) supernovae pc(exp -3) g.y.(exp -1). For a lethal radius of R pc the rate of killer events will therefore be 1.7 (R/3)(exp 3) x 10(exp -2) supernovae per g.y. However, a frequency of a few extinctions per g.y. is required to account for the extinctions observed during the phanerozoic. With R (extinction) approximately 3 pc, the galactic supernova frequency is therefore too low by 2 orders of magnitude to account for the major extinctions in the geological record.

  3. Similar Associations of Tooth Microwear and Morphology Indicate Similar Diet across Marsupial and Placental Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Christensen, Hilary B.

    2014-01-01

    Low-magnification microwear techniques have been used effectively to infer diets within many unrelated mammalian orders, but the extent to which patterns are comparable among such different groups, including long extinct mammal lineages, is unknown. Microwear patterns between ecologically equivalent placental and marsupial mammals are found to be statistically indistinguishable, indicating that microwear can be used to infer diet across the mammals. Microwear data were compared to body size and molar shearing crest length in order to develop a system to distinguish the diet of mammals. Insectivores and carnivores were difficult to distinguish from herbivores using microwear alone, but combining microwear data with body size estimates and tooth morphology provides robust dietary inferences. This approach is a powerful tool for dietary assessment of fossils from extinct lineages and from museum specimens of living species where field study would be difficult owing to the animal’s behavior, habitat, or conservation status. PMID:25099537

  4. Similar associations of tooth microwear and morphology indicate similar diet across marsupial and placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Hilary B

    2014-01-01

    Low-magnification microwear techniques have been used effectively to infer diets within many unrelated mammalian orders, but the extent to which patterns are comparable among such different groups, including long extinct mammal lineages, is unknown. Microwear patterns between ecologically equivalent placental and marsupial mammals are found to be statistically indistinguishable, indicating that microwear can be used to infer diet across the mammals. Microwear data were compared to body size and molar shearing crest length in order to develop a system to distinguish the diet of mammals. Insectivores and carnivores were difficult to distinguish from herbivores using microwear alone, but combining microwear data with body size estimates and tooth morphology provides robust dietary inferences. This approach is a powerful tool for dietary assessment of fossils from extinct lineages and from museum specimens of living species where field study would be difficult owing to the animal's behavior, habitat, or conservation status.

  5. Single nanowire extinction spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Giblin, Jay; Vietmeyer, Felix; McDonald, Matthew P; Kuno, Masaru

    2011-08-10

    Here we show the first direct extinction spectra of single one-dimensional (1D) semiconductor nanostructures obtained at room temperature utilizing a spatial modulation approach. (1) For these materials, ensemble averaging in conventional extinction spectroscopy has limited our understanding of the interplay between carrier confinement and their electrostatic interactions. (2-4) By probing individual CdSe nanowires (NWs), we have identified and assigned size-dependent exciton transitions occurring across the visible. In turn, we have revealed the existence of room temperature 1D excitons in the narrowest NWs.

  6. Extinction from a paleontological perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1993-01-01

    Extinction of widespread species is common in evolutionary time (millions of years) but rare in ecological time (hundreds or thousands of years). In the fossil record, there appears to be a smooth continuum between background and mass extinction; and the clustering of extinctions at mass extinctions cannot be explained by the chance coincidence of independent events. Although some extinction is selective, much is apparently random in that survivors have no recognizable superiority over victims. Extinction certainly plays an important role in evolution, but whether it is constructive or destructive has not yet been determined.

  7. Avian extinction and mammalian introductions on oceanic islands.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, Tim M; Cassey, Phillip; Duncan, Richard P; Evans, Karl L; Gaston, Kevin J

    2004-09-24

    The arrival of humans on oceanic islands has precipitated a wave of extinctions among the islands' native birds. Nevertheless, the magnitude of this extinction event varies markedly between avifaunas. We show that the probability that a bird species has been extirpated from each of 220 oceanic islands is positively correlated with the number of exotic predatory mammal species established on those islands after European colonization and that the effect of these predators is greater on island endemic species. In contrast, the proportions of currently threatened species are independent of the numbers of exotic mammalian predator species, suggesting that the principal threat to island birds has changed through time as species susceptible to exotic predators have been driven extinct.

  8. Ecotoxicology of Wild Mammals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2001-01-01

    An international group of 32 scientists has critically reviewed the scientific literature on exposure and effects of environmental contaminants in wild mammals. The underlying theme of this text is encompassed by the following four questions: What exactly do we know about environmental contaminants in mammals? What are the commonalities and differences between mammal orders/species in the effects that contaminants have? How and to what degree of accuracy can we predict the adverse effects of environmental contaminants on mammalian wildlife? How significant are contaminant insults compared with other density-independent and -dependent factors such as habitat loss, climatic factors and disease? The book is organized three topical sections including introductory chapters that provide a background on environmental contaminants and the mammalian orders, eight taxonomic chapters discussing all aspects of the exposure to and effects of contaminants in mammalian orders, and four thematic chapters that review and discuss generic issues including biomarkers, prediction and extrapolation of exposure and effects, hazard and risk assessment, and the relative significance of contaminants on mammals compared with other commonly encountered stressors. A final a summary chapter identifies phylogenetic trends, critical data gaps, and overarching research needs. Although the absolute number of toxicological studies in domesticated and wild mammals eclipses that wildlife species, a detailed examination of our knowledge base reveals that information for 'wild' birds is actually greater than that for 'wild' mammals. Of the various mammalian taxa, ecotoxicological data is most noticeably lacking for marsupials and monotremes. In contrast, rodents (comprising 43% of all mammal species) have been studied extensively, despite evidence of their tolerance to some organochlorine compounds, rodenticides, and even radionuclides. Mammalian species at greatest risk of exposure include those that

  9. A dating success story: genomes and fossils converge on placental mammal origins.

    PubMed

    Goswami, Anjali

    2012-08-10

    The timing of the placental mammal radiation has been a source of contention for decades. The fossil record of mammals extends over 200 million years, but no confirmed placental mammal fossils are known prior to 64 million years ago, which is approximately 1.5 million years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction that saw the end of non-avian dinosaurs. Thus, it came as a great surprise when the first published molecular clock studies suggested that placental mammals originated instead far back in the Cretaceous, in some cases doubling divergence estimates based on fossils. In the last few decades, more than a hundred new genera of Mesozoic mammals have been discovered, and molecular divergence studies have grown from simple clock-like models applied to a few genes to sophisticated analyses of entire genomes. Yet, molecular and fossil-based divergence estimates for placental mammal origins have remained remote, with knock-on effects for macro-scale reconstructions of mammal evolution. A few recent molecular studies have begun to converge with fossil-based estimates, and a new phylogenomic study in particular shows that the palaeontological record was mostly correct; most placental mammal orders diversified after the K-Pg mass extinction. While a small gap still remains for Late Cretaceous supraordinal divergences, this study has significantly improved the congruence between molecular and palaeontological data and heralds a broader integration of these fields of evolutionary science.

  10. A Cretaceous eutriconodont and integument evolution in early mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Thomas; Marugán-Lobón, Jesús; Vullo, Romain; Martín-Abad, Hugo; Luo, Zhe-Xi; Buscalioni, Angela D.

    2015-10-01

    The Mesozoic era (252-66 million years ago), known as the domain of dinosaurs, witnessed a remarkable ecomorphological diversity of early mammals. The key mammalian characteristics originated during this period and were prerequisite for their evolutionary success after extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Many ecomorphotypes familiar to modern mammal fauna evolved independently early in mammalian evolutionary history. Here we report a 125-million-year-old eutriconodontan mammal from Spain with extraordinary preservation of skin and pelage that extends the record of key mammalian integumentary features into the Mesozoic era. The new mammalian specimen exhibits such typical mammalian features as pelage, mane, pinna, and a variety of skin structures: keratinous dermal scutes, protospines composed of hair-like tubules, and compound follicles with primary and secondary hairs. The skin structures of this new Mesozoic mammal encompass the same combination of integumentary features as those evolved independently in other crown Mammalia, with similarly broad structural variations as in extant mammals. Soft tissues in the thorax and abdomen (alveolar lungs and liver) suggest the presence of a muscular diaphragm. The eutriconodont has molariform tooth replacement, ossified Meckel's cartilage of the middle ear, and specialized xenarthrous articulations of posterior dorsal vertebrae, convergent with extant xenarthran mammals, which strengthened the vertebral column for locomotion.

  11. A Cretaceous eutriconodont and integument evolution in early mammals.

    PubMed

    Martin, Thomas; Marugán-Lobón, Jesús; Vullo, Romain; Martín-Abad, Hugo; Luo, Zhe-Xi; Buscalioni, Angela D

    2015-10-15

    The Mesozoic era (252-66 million years ago), known as the domain of dinosaurs, witnessed a remarkable ecomorphological diversity of early mammals. The key mammalian characteristics originated during this period and were prerequisite for their evolutionary success after extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Many ecomorphotypes familiar to modern mammal fauna evolved independently early in mammalian evolutionary history. Here we report a 125-million-year-old eutriconodontan mammal from Spain with extraordinary preservation of skin and pelage that extends the record of key mammalian integumentary features into the Mesozoic era. The new mammalian specimen exhibits such typical mammalian features as pelage, mane, pinna, and a variety of skin structures: keratinous dermal scutes, protospines composed of hair-like tubules, and compound follicles with primary and secondary hairs. The skin structures of this new Mesozoic mammal encompass the same combination of integumentary features as those evolved independently in other crown Mammalia, with similarly broad structural variations as in extant mammals. Soft tissues in the thorax and abdomen (alveolar lungs and liver) suggest the presence of a muscular diaphragm. The eutriconodont has molariform tooth replacement, ossified Meckel's cartilage of the middle ear, and specialized xenarthrous articulations of posterior dorsal vertebrae, convergent with extant xenarthran mammals, which strengthened the vertebral column for locomotion.

  12. Biogeography and extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Jablonski, D.

    1985-01-01

    The geographic ranges of species and clades, and the deployment of those clades among biogeographic provinces, are important determinants of rates and patterns of extinction. Studies of Late Cretaceous mollusks of the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain confirm that species duration is closely correlated with geographic range during times of normal, background extinction. When species that originate in the last 2 myr of the Cretaceous, the correlation increases significantly. The fact that even these truncated species frequently attained broad geographic ranges indicates that during background times duration is a function of geographic range and not vice versa. However, during the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, it is clade geographic range and not the within-province ranges of its constituent species that determines survivorship: about 55% of the widespread genera but only 12% of the endemic genera survive, regardless of the ranges of their individual species. Thus, clade geographic range is an irreducible property, with effects decoupled from species-level or organismic traits that determine species' geographic ranges. Clades with tropical distributions suffer disproportionately, again independent of species' geographic range magnitudes. Survivorship of taxa or morphologies during mass extinctions may have little to do with adaptation at the organismic or even species level, but depends at least in part on clade-level traits that are less important during background times.

  13. Context, Learning, and Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gershman, Samuel J.; Blei, David M.; Niv, Yael

    2010-01-01

    A. Redish et al. (2007) proposed a reinforcement learning model of context-dependent learning and extinction in conditioning experiments, using the idea of "state classification" to categorize new observations into states. In the current article, the authors propose an interpretation of this idea in terms of normative statistical inference. They…

  14. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Barnosky, Anthony D.; García, Andrés; Pringle, Robert M.; Palmer, Todd M.

    2015-01-01

    The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing. PMID:26601195

  15. The threat of disease increases as species move toward extinction.

    PubMed

    Heard, Matthew J; Smith, Katherine F; Ripp, Kelsey J; Berger, Melanie; Chen, Jane; Dittmeier, Justin; Goter, Maggie; McGarvey, Stephen T; Ryan, Elizabeth

    2013-12-01

    At local scales, infectious disease is a common driver of population declines, but globally it is an infrequent contributor to species extinction and endangerment. For species at risk of extinction from disease important questions remain unanswered, including when does disease become a threat to species and does it co-occur, predictably, with other threats? Using newly compiled data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, we examined the relative role and co-occurrence of threats associated with amphibians, birds, and mammals at 6 levels of extinction risk (i.e., Red List status categories: least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, and extinct in the wild/extinct). We tested the null hypothesis that the proportion of species threatened by disease is the same in all 6 Red List status categories. Our approach revealed a new method for determining when disease most frequently threatens species at risk of extinction. The proportion of species threatened by disease varied significantly between IUCN status categories and linearly increased for amphibians, birds, and all species combined as these taxa move from move from least concern to critically endangered. Disease was infrequently the single contributing threat. However, when a species was negatively affected by a major threat other than disease (e.g., invasive species, land-use change) that species was more likely to be simultaneously threatened by disease than species that had no other threats. Potential drivers of these trends include ecological factors, clustering of phylogenetically related species in Red List status categories, discovery bias among species at greater risk of extinction, and availability of data. We echo earlier calls for baseline data on the presence of parasites and pathogens in species when they show the first signs of extinction risk and arguably before. La Amenaza de Enfermedades Incrementa a Medida que las Especies se

  16. The evolution of maximum body size of terrestrial mammals.

    PubMed

    Smith, Felisa A; Boyer, Alison G; Brown, James H; Costa, Daniel P; Dayan, Tamar; Ernest, S K Morgan; Evans, Alistair R; Fortelius, Mikael; Gittleman, John L; Hamilton, Marcus J; Harding, Larisa E; Lintulaakso, Kari; Lyons, S Kathleen; McCain, Christy; Okie, Jordan G; Saarinen, Juha J; Sibly, Richard M; Stephens, Patrick R; Theodor, Jessica; Uhen, Mark D

    2010-11-26

    The extinction of dinosaurs at the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary was the seminal event that opened the door for the subsequent diversification of terrestrial mammals. Our compilation of maximum body size at the ordinal level by sub-epoch shows a near-exponential increase after the K/Pg. On each continent, the maximum size of mammals leveled off after 40 million years ago and thereafter remained approximately constant. There was remarkable congruence in the rate, trajectory, and upper limit across continents, orders, and trophic guilds, despite differences in geological and climatic history, turnover of lineages, and ecological variation. Our analysis suggests that although the primary driver for the evolution of giant mammals was diversification to fill ecological niches, environmental temperature and land area may have ultimately constrained the maximum size achieved.

  17. The mechanisms causing extinction debts.

    PubMed

    Hylander, Kristoffer; Ehrlén, Johan

    2013-06-01

    Extinction debts can result from many types of habitat changes involving mechanisms other than metapopulation processes. This is a fact that most recent literature on extinction debts pays little attention to. We argue that extinction debts can arise because (i) individuals survive in resistant life-cycle stages long after habitat quality change, (ii) stochastic extinctions of populations that have become small are not immediate, and (iii) metapopulations survive long after that connectivity has decreased if colonization-extinction dynamics is slow. A failure to distinguish between these different mechanisms and to simultaneously consider both the size of the extinction debt and the relaxation time hampers our understanding of how extinction debts arise and our ability to prevent ultimate extinctions.

  18. Mountain uplift explains differences in Palaeogene patterns of mammalian evolution and extinction between North America and Europe.

    PubMed

    Eronen, Jussi T; Janis, Christine M; Chamberlain, C Page; Mulch, Andreas

    2015-06-22

    Patterns of late Palaeogene mammalian evolution appear to be very different between Eurasia and North America. Around the Eocene-Oligocene (EO) transition global temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere plummet: following this, European mammal faunas undergo a profound extinction event (the Grande Coupure), while in North America they appear to pass through this temperature event unscathed. Here, we investigate the role of surface uplift to environmental change and mammalian evolution through the Palaeogene (66-23 Ma). Palaeogene regional surface uplift in North America caused large-scale reorganization of precipitation patterns, particularly in the continental interior, in accord with our combined stable isotope and ecometric data. Changes in mammalian faunas reflect that these were dry and high-elevation palaeoenvironments. The scenario of Middle to Late Eocene (50-37 Ma) surface uplift, together with decreasing precipitation in higher-altitude regions of western North America, explains the enigma of the apparent lack of the large-scale mammal faunal change around the EO transition that characterized western Europe. We suggest that North American mammalian faunas were already pre-adapted to cooler and drier conditions preceding the EO boundary, resulting from the effects of a protracted history of surface uplift.

  19. Osmoregulation in marine mammals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ortiz, R. M.

    2001-01-01

    Osmoregulation in marine mammals has been investigated for over a century; however, a review of recent advances in our understanding of water and electrolyte balance and of renal function in marine mammals is warranted. The following topics are discussed: (i) kidney structure and urine concentrating ability, (ii) sources of water, (iii) the effects of feeding, fasting and diving, (iv) the renal responses to infusions of varying salinity and (v) hormonal regulation. The kidneys of pinnipeds and cetaceans are reniculate in structure, unlike those of terrestrial mammals (except bears), but this difference does not confer any greater concentrating ability. Pinnipeds, cetaceans, manatees and sea otters can concentrate their urine above the concentration of sea water, but only pinnipeds and otters have been shown to produce urine concentrations of Na+ and Cl- that are similar to those in sea water. This could afford them the capacity to drink sea water and not lose fresh water. However, with few exceptions, drinking is not a common behavior in pinnipeds and cetaceans. Water balance is maintained in these animals via metabolic and dietary water, while incidental ingestion and dietary salt may help maintain electrolyte homeostasis. Unlike most other aquatic mammals, sea otters commonly drink sea water and manatees frequently drink fresh water. Among the various taxonomic groups of marine mammals, the sensitivity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system appears to be influenced by the availability of Na+. The antidiuretic role of vasopressin remains inconclusive in marine mammals, while the natriuretic function of atrial natriuretic peptide has yet to be examined. Ideas on the direction of future studies are presented.

  20. Venomous mammals: a review.

    PubMed

    Ligabue-Braun, Rodrigo; Verli, Hugo; Carlini, Célia Regina

    2012-06-01

    The occurrence of venom in mammals has long been considered of minor importance, but recent fossil discoveries and advances in experimental techniques have cast new light into this subject. Mammalian venoms form a heterogeneous group having different compositions and modes of action and are present in three classes of mammals, Insectivora, Monotremata, and Chiroptera. A fourth order, Primates, is proposed to have venomous representatives. In this review we highlight recent advances in the field while summarizing biochemical characteristics of these secretions and their effects upon humans and other animals. Historical aspects of venom discovery and evolutionary hypothesis regarding their origin are also discussed.

  1. New Ages for the Last Australian Megafauna: Continent-Wide Extinction About 46,000 Years Ago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, Richard G.; Flannery, Timothy F.; Ayliffe, Linda K.; Yoshida, Hiroyuki; Olley, Jon M.; Prideaux, Gavin J.; Laslett, Geoff M.; Baynes, Alexander; Smith, M. A.; Jones, Rhys; Smith, Barton L.

    2001-06-01

    All Australian land mammals, reptiles, and birds weighing more than 100 kilograms, and six of the seven genera with a body mass of 45 to 100 kilograms, perished in the late Quaternary. The timing and causes of these extinctions remain uncertain. We report burial ages for megafauna from 28 sites and infer extinction across the continent around 46,400 years ago (95% confidence interval, 51,200 to 39,800 years ago). Our results rule out extreme aridity at the Last Glacial Maximum as the cause of extinction, but not other climatic impacts; a ``blitzkrieg'' model of human-induced extinction; or an extended period of anthropogenic ecosystem disruption.

  2. Influence of continental history on the ecological specialization and macroevolutionary processes in the mammalian assemblage of South America: Differences between small and large mammals

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

    Background This paper tests Vrba's resource-use hypothesis, which predicts that generalist species have lower specialization and extinction rates than specialists, using the 879 species of South American mammals. We tested several predictions about this hypothesis using the biomic specialization index (BSI) for each species, which is based on its geographical range within different climate-zones. The four predictions tested are: (1) there is a high frequency of species restricted to a single biome, which henceforth are referred to as stenobiomic species, (2) certain clades are more stenobiomic than others, (3) there is a higher proportion of biomic specialists in biomes that underwent through major expansion-contraction alternation due to the glacial-interglacial cycles, (4) certain combinations of inhabited biomes occur more frequently among species than do others. Results Our results are consistent with these predictions. (1) We found that 42 % of the species inhabit only one biome. (2) There are more generalists among species of Carnivora than in clades of herbivores. However, Artiodactyla, shows a distribution along the specialization gradient different from the one expected. (3) Biomic specialists are predominant in tropical rainforest and desert biomes. Nevertheless, we found some differences between small and large mammals in relation to these results. Stenobiomic species of micromammalian clades are more abundant in most biomes than expected by chance, while in the case of macromammalian clades stenobiomic species are more frequent than expected in tropical rainforest, tropical deciduous woodland and desert biomes only. (4) The most frequent combinations of inhabited biomes among the South American mammals are those with few biomes, i.e., the ones that suffered a higher rate of vicariance due to climatic cycles. Conclusion Our results agree with the resource-use hypothesis and, therefore, with a major role of the past climatic changes as drivers of

  3. Mass Extinctions Past and Present.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allmon, Warren Douglas

    1987-01-01

    Discusses some parallels that seem to exist between mass extinction recognizable in the geologic record and the impending extinction of a significant proportion of the earth's species due largely to tropical deforestation. Describes some recent theories of causal factors and periodicities in mass extinction. (Author/TW)

  4. Morbilliviruses in marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Hall, A J

    1995-01-01

    Two of the three recently discovered aquatic morbilliviruses have been responsible for mass mortalities among marine mammals; both affect more than one host species, but susceptibility to infection varies considerably between species. Apparent differences between the dynamics of aquatic morbilliviruses and their terrestrial counterparts may be a consequence of high levels of interspecific transmission.

  5. Mammals in Winter.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wapner, Suzanne

    1985-01-01

    Mammals that tolerate the winter cold and stay active all year exploit the harsh northern climate to their advantage. By simple experiments and observation you can better understand their adaptations which include furry bodies, snowshoe feet, extra blubber, light coloration, and strategically distributed food caches. (JHZ)

  6. When Did Carcharocles megalodon Become Extinct? A New Analysis of the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F.

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon (“Megalodon”) is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9–2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  7. When did Carcharocles megalodon become extinct? A new analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon ("Megalodon") is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9-2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems.

  8. Neuronal circuits of fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Herry, Cyril; Ferraguti, Francesco; Singewald, Nicolas; Letzkus, Johannes J; Ehrlich, Ingrid; Lüthi, Andreas

    2010-02-01

    Fear extinction is a form of inhibitory learning that allows for the adaptive control of conditioned fear responses. Although fear extinction is an active learning process that eventually leads to the formation of a consolidated extinction memory, it is a fragile behavioural state. Fear responses can recover spontaneously or subsequent to environmental influences, such as context changes or stress. Understanding the neuronal substrates of fear extinction is of tremendous clinical relevance, as extinction is the cornerstone of psychological therapy of several anxiety disorders and because the relapse of maladaptative fear and anxiety is a major clinical problem. Recent research has begun to shed light on the molecular and cellular processes underlying fear extinction. In particular, the acquisition, consolidation and expression of extinction memories are thought to be mediated by highly specific neuronal circuits embedded in a large-scale brain network including the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and brain stem. Moreover, recent findings indicate that the neuronal circuitry of extinction is developmentally regulated. Here, we review emerging concepts of the neuronal circuitry of fear extinction, and highlight novel findings suggesting that the fragile phenomenon of extinction can be converted into a permanent erasure of fear memories. Finally, we discuss how research on genetic animal models of impaired extinction can further our understanding of the molecular and genetic bases of human anxiety disorders.

  9. Pulsar extinction. [astrophysics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sturrock, P. A.; Baker, K.; Turk, J. S.

    1975-01-01

    Radio emission from pulsars, attributed to an instability associated with the creation of electron-positron pairs from gamma rays was investigated. The condition for pair creation therefore lead to an extinction condition. The relevant physical processes were analyzed in the context of a mathematical model, according to which radiation originated at the polar caps and magnetic field lines changed from a closed configuration to an open configuration at the force balance or corotation radius.

  10. Extinction in SC galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giovanelli, Riccardo; Haynes, Martha P.; Salzer, John J.; Wegner, Gary; da Costa, Luiz N.; Freudling, Wolfram

    1994-06-01

    We analyze the photometric properties of a sample of Sbc-Sc galaxies with known redshifts, single-dish H I profiles, and Charge Coupled Device (CCD) I band images. We derive laws that relate the measured isophotal radius at muI = 23.5, magnitude, scale length, and H I flux to the face-on aspect. We find spiral galaxies to be substantially less transparent than suggested in most previous determinations, but not as opaque as claimed by Valentijn (1990). Regions in the disk farther than two or three scale lengths from the center are close to completely transparent. In addition to statistically derived relations for the inclination dependence of photometric parameters, we present the results of a modeling exercise that utilizes the 'triplex' model of Disney et al. (1989) to obtain upper limits of the disk opacity. Within the framework of that model, and with qualitative consideration of the effects of scattering on extinction, we estimate late spiral disks at I band to have central optical depths tauI(0) less than 5 and dust absorbing layers with scale heights on the order of half that of the stellar component or less. We discuss our results in light of previous determinations of internal extinction relations and point out the substantial impact of internal extinction on the scatter of the Tully-Fisher relation. We also find that the visual diameters by which large catalogs are constructed (UGC, ESO-Uppsala) are nearly proportional to face-on isophotal diameters.

  11. 76 FR 72680 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-11-25

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA078 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine.... Environmental Research and Services, Fairbanks, AK, to conduct research on marine mammals in Alaska. ADDRESSES... authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the...

  12. 77 FR 2512 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-01-18

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA905 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine...; receipt of application. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that Dorian Houser, Ph.D., National Marine Mammal... under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et...

  13. 75 FR 77616 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-13

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XP18 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as...

  14. 76 FR 76949 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-09

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XR52 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as...

  15. 77 FR 9627 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-02-17

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XB005 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine.../2\\ W. 4th Avenue, Olympia, WA 98501, has applied in due form for a permit to take marine mammals in... subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as...

  16. 75 FR 68605 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-11-08

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XX23 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Marine Science Center, Newport, OR has been issued a permit to conduct research on marine mammals... authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the...

  17. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-09-30

    and Neurobiology, 2009. 165(28-39). 4. Fahlman, A., et al., Deep diving mammals : Dive behavior and circulatory adjustments contribute to bends...1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals Peter L...NGO) scrutiny of the complex relationship between ocean noise, bubble injury and marine mammal strandings (http://www.awionline.org/oceans/Noise

  18. Deglaciation explains bat extinction in the Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Dávalos, Liliana M; Russell, Amy L

    2012-12-01

    Ecological factors such as changing climate on land and interspecific competition have been debated as possible causes of postglacial Caribbean extinction. These hypotheses, however, have not been tested against a null model of climate-driven postglacial area loss. Here, we use a new Quaternary mammal database and deep-sea bathymetry to estimate species-area relationships (SARs) at present and during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) for bats of the Caribbean, and to model species loss as a function of area loss from rising sea level. Island area was a significant predictor of species richness in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and Lesser Antilles at all time periods, except for the Lesser Antilles during the LGM. Parameters of LGM and current SARs were similar in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, but not the Lesser Antilles, which had fewer estimated species during the LGM than expected given their size. Estimated postglacial species losses in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles were largely explained by inferred area loss from rising sea level in the Holocene. However, there were more species in the Bahamas at present, and fewer species in the smaller Greater Antilles, than expected given island size and the end-Pleistocene/early Holocene SARs. Poor fossil sampling and ecological factors may explain these departures from the null. Our analyses illustrate the importance of changes in area in explaining patterns of species richness through time and emphasize the role of the SAR as a null hypothesis in explorations of the impact of novel ecological interactions on extinction.

  19. Anthropogenic extinction of top carnivores and interspecific animal behaviour: implications of the rapid decoupling of a web involving wolves, bears, moose and ravens.

    PubMed Central

    Berger, J

    1999-01-01

    The recent extinction of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) by humans from 95-99% of the contiguous USA and Mexico in less than 100 years has resulted in dramatically altered and expanded prey communities. Such rampant ecological change and putative ecological instability has not occurred in North American northern boreal zones. This geographical variation in the loss of large carnivores as a consequence of anthropogenic disturbance offers opportunities for examining the potential consequences of extinction on subtle but important ecological patterns involving behaviour and interspecific ecological interactions. In Alaska, where scavengers and large carnivores are associated with carcasses, field experiments involving sound playback simulations have demonstrated that at least one prey species, moose (Alces alces), is sensitive to the vocalizations of ravens (Corvus corax) and may rely on their cues to avoid predation. However, a similar relationship is absent on a predator-free island in Alaska's Cook Inlet and at two sites in the Jackson Hole region of the Rocky Mountains (USA) where grizzly bears and wolves have been extinct for 50-70 years. While prior study of birds and mammals has demonstrated that prey may retain predator recognition capabilities for thousands of years even after predation as a selective force has been relaxed, the results presented here establish that a desensitization in interspecific responsiveness can also occur in less than ten generations. These results affirm (i) a rapid decoupling in behaviour involving prey and scavengers as a consequence of anthropogenic-caused predator-prey disequilibriums, and (ii) subtle, community-level modifications in terrestrial ecosystems where large carnivores no longer exist. If knowledge about ecological and behavioural processes in extant systems is to be enhanced, the potential effects of recently extinct carnivores must be incorporated into current programmes. PMID:10629976

  20. Anthropogenic extinction of top carnivores and interspecific animal behaviour: implications of the rapid decoupling of a web involving wolves, bears, moose and ravens.

    PubMed

    Berger, J

    1999-11-22

    The recent extinction of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) by humans from 95-99% of the contiguous USA and Mexico in less than 100 years has resulted in dramatically altered and expanded prey communities. Such rampant ecological change and putative ecological instability has not occurred in North American northern boreal zones. This geographical variation in the loss of large carnivores as a consequence of anthropogenic disturbance offers opportunities for examining the potential consequences of extinction on subtle but important ecological patterns involving behaviour and interspecific ecological interactions. In Alaska, where scavengers and large carnivores are associated with carcasses, field experiments involving sound playback simulations have demonstrated that at least one prey species, moose (Alces alces), is sensitive to the vocalizations of ravens (Corvus corax) and may rely on their cues to avoid predation. However, a similar relationship is absent on a predator-free island in Alaska's Cook Inlet and at two sites in the Jackson Hole region of the Rocky Mountains (USA) where grizzly bears and wolves have been extinct for 50-70 years. While prior study of birds and mammals has demonstrated that prey may retain predator recognition capabilities for thousands of years even after predation as a selective force has been relaxed, the results presented here establish that a desensitization in interspecific responsiveness can also occur in less than ten generations. These results affirm (i) a rapid decoupling in behaviour involving prey and scavengers as a consequence of anthropogenic-caused predator-prey disequilibriums, and (ii) subtle, community-level modifications in terrestrial ecosystems where large carnivores no longer exist. If knowledge about ecological and behavioural processes in extant systems is to be enhanced, the potential effects of recently extinct carnivores must be incorporated into current programmes.

  1. A multispecies overkill simulation of the end-Pleistocene megafaunal mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Alroy, J

    2001-06-08

    A computer simulation of North American end-Pleistocene human and large herbivore population dynamics correctly predicts the extinction or survival of 32 out of 41 prey species. Slow human population growth rates, random hunting, and low maximum hunting effort are assumed; additional parameters are based on published values. Predictions are close to observed values for overall extinction rates, human population densities, game consumption rates, and the temporal overlap of humans and extinct species. Results are robust to variation in unconstrained parameters. This fully mechanistic model accounts for megafaunal extinction without invoking climate change and secondary ecological effects.

  2. The key elements of a comprehensive global mammal conservation strategy.

    PubMed

    Rondinini, Carlo; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Boitani, Luigi

    2011-09-27

    A global strategy is necessary to achieve the level of coordination, synergy and therefore optimization of resources to achieve the broad goal of conserving mammals worldwide. Key elements for the development of such a strategy include: an institutional subject that owns the strategy; broad conservation goals, quantitative targets derived from them and appropriate indicators; data on the distribution of species, their threats, the cost-effectiveness of conservation actions; and a set of methods for the identification of conservation priorities. Previous global mammal research investigated phylogeny, extinction risk, and the species and areas that should be regarded as global conservation priorities. This theme issue presents new key elements: an updated Red List Index, a new list of evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species, new high-resolution mammal distribution models, a global connectivity analysis and scenarios of future mammal distribution based on climate and land-cover change. Area prioritization schemes account for mammalian phylogeny, governance and cost-benefit of measures to abate habitat loss. Three discussion papers lay the foundations for the development of a global unifying mammal conservation strategy, which should not be further deterred by the knowledge gaps still existing.

  3. Dental microwear textures: reconstructing diets of fossil mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeSantis, Larisa R. G.

    2016-06-01

    Dietary information of fossil mammals can be revealed via the analysis of tooth morphology, tooth wear, tooth geochemistry, and the microscopic wear patterns on tooth surfaces resulting from food processing. Although dental microwear has long been used by anthropologists and paleontologists to clarify diets in a diversity of mammals, until recently these methods focused on the counting of wear features (e.g., pits and scratches) from two-dimensional surfaces (typically via scanning electron microscopes or low-magnification light microscopes). The analysis of dental microwear textures can instead reveal dietary information in a broad range of herbivorous, omnivorous, and carnivorous mammals by characterizing microscopic tooth surfaces in three-dimensions, without the counting of individual surface features. To date, dental microwear textures in ungulates, xenarthrans, marsupials, carnivorans, and primates (including humans and their ancestors) are correlated with known dietary behavior in extant taxa and reconstruct ancient diets in a diversity of prehistoric mammals. For example, tough versus hard object feeding can be characterized across disparate phylogenetic groups and can distinguish grazers, folivorous, and flesh consumers (tougher food consumers) from woody browsers, frugivores, and bone consumers (harder object feeders). This paper reviews how dental microwear textures can be useful to reconstructing diets in a broad array of living and extinct mammals, with commentary on areas of future research.

  4. A List of the Marine Mammals of the World. Third Edition.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rice, Dale W.

    This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publication lists 116 species of living and recently extinct marine mammals of the world. Included are 36 species of Order Carnivora (polar bear, sea otter, and 34 pinnipeds); 5 species of Order Sirenia; 10 of Order Mysticeti (baleen whales); and 65 species of Order Odontoceti (tooth whales).…

  5. [Control of harmful mammals].

    PubMed

    van Eerdenburg, F J; Bouw, J; Zwart, P

    1987-07-15

    In the Netherlands, several millions of injurious small mammals are killed yearly. This concerns not only mice and rats but also moles, musk-rats and several other species of rodent. At the request of the Netherlands Society for the Protection of Animals, studies were done on the methods in killing these animals, the effectiveness of these methods and the possibilities of reducing the harm done to the animals. The most important results of these investigations are reported in the present paper.

  6. Ectoparasites of African Mammals.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1976-11-30

    This study consisted of ectoparasites from approximately 100,000 African small mammals, representing probably more than 500 species of which many are...study of ectoparasites may provide information concerning interactions among animal reservoirs of disease, and (3) an understanding of ecological...parameters for ectoparasites and their hosts may enhance understanding of epidemiological patterns. Of the four major groups dealt with, considerably more

  7. MEST- avoid next extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Dayong

    2012-11-01

    Asteroid 2011 AG5 will impact on Earth in 2040. (See Donald K. Yoemans, ``Asteroid 2011 AG5 - A Reality Check,'' NASA-JPL, 2012) In 2011, The author say: the dark hole will take the dark comet to impact our solar system in 20 years, and give a systemic model between the sun and its companion-dark hole to explain why were there periodicity mass extinction on earth. (see Dayong Cao, BAPS.2011.CAL.C1.7, BAPS.2011.DFD.LA.24, BAPS.2012.APR.K1.78 and BAPS.2011.APR.K1.17) The dark Asteroid 2011 AG5 (as a dark comet) is made of the dark matter which has a space-time (as frequence-amplitude square) center- a different systemic model from solar systemic model. It can asborb the space-time and wave. So it is ``dark.'' When many dark matters hit on our earth, they can break our atom structure and our genetic code to trigger the Mass Extinction. In our experiments, consciousness can change the systematic model and code by a life-informational technology. So it can change the output signals of the solar cell. (see Dayong Cao, BAPS.2011.MAR.C1.286 and BAPS.2012.MAR.P33.14) So we will develop the genetic code of lives to evolution and sublimation, will use the dark matter to change the systemic model between dark hole and sun and will avoid next extinction.

  8. Cool sperm: why some placental mammals have a scrotum.

    PubMed

    Lovegrove, B G

    2014-05-01

    Throughout the Cenozoic, the fitness benefits of the scrotum in placental mammals presumably outweighed the fitness costs through damage, yet a definitive hypothesis for its evolution remains elusive. Here, I present an hypothesis (Endothermic Pulses Hypothesis) which argues that the evolution of the scrotum was driven by Cenozoic pulses in endothermy, that is, increases in normothermic body temperature, which occurred in Boreotheria (rodents, primates, lagomorphs, carnivores, bats, lipotyphylans and ungulates) in response to factors such as cursoriality and climate adaptation. The model argues that stabilizing selection maintained an optimum temperature for spermatogenesis and sperm storage throughout the Cenozoic at the lower plesiomorphic levels of body temperature that prevailed in ancestral mammals for at least 163 million years. Evolutionary stasis may have been driven by reduced rates of germ-cell mutations at lower body temperatures. Following the extinction of the dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary 65.5 mya, immediate pulses in endothermy occurred associated with the dramatic radiation of the modern placental mammal orders. The fitness advantages of an optimum temperature of spermatogenesis outweighed the potential costs of testes externalization and paved the way for the evolution of the scrotum. The scrotum evolved within several hundred thousand years of the K-Pg extinction, probably associated initially with the evolution of cursoriality, and arguably facilitated mid- and late Cenozoic metabolic adaptations to factors such as climate, flight in bats and sociality in primates.

  9. Periodicity in marine extinction events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. John, Jr.; Raup, David M.

    1986-01-01

    The periodicity of extinction events is examined in detail. In particular, the temporal distribution of specific, identifiable extinction events is analyzed. The nature and limitations of the data base on the global fossil record is discussed in order to establish limits of resolution in statistical analyses. Peaks in extinction intensity which appear to differ significantly from background levels are considered, and new analyses of the temporal distribution of these peaks are presented. Finally, some possible causes of periodicity and of interdependence among extinction events over the last quarter billion years of earth history are examined.

  10. The impact of mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flessa, Karl W.

    1988-01-01

    In the years since Snowbird an explosive growth of research on the patterns, causes, and consequences of extinction was seen. The fossil record of extinction is better known, stratigraphic sections were scrutinized in great detail, and additional markers of environmental change were discovered in the rock record. However flawed, the fossil record is the only record that exists of natural extinction. Compilations from the primary literature contain a faint periodic signal: the extinctions of the past 250 my may be regulary spaced. The reality of the periodicity remains a subject for debate. The implications of periodicity are so profound that the debate is sure to continue. The greater precision from stratigraphic sections spanning extinction events has yet to resolve controversies concerning the rates at which extinctions occurred. Some sections seem to record sudden terminations, while others suggest gradual or steplike environmental deterioration. Unfortunately, the manner in which the strata record extinctions and compile stratigraphic ranges makes a strictly literal reading of the fossil record inadvisable. Much progress was made in the study of mass extinctions. The issues are more sharply defined but they are not fully resolved. Scenarios should look back to the phenomena they purport to explain - not just an iridium-rich layer, but the complex fabric of a mass extinction.

  11. Dosage Compensation in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Brockdorff, Neil; Turner, Bryan M.

    2015-01-01

    Many organisms show major chromosomal differences between sexes. In mammals, females have two copies of a large, gene-rich chromosome, the X, whereas males have one X and a small, gene-poor Y. The imbalance in expression of several hundred genes is lethal if not dealt with by dosage compensation. The male–female difference is addressed by silencing of genes on one female X early in development. However, both males and females now have only one active X chromosome. This is compensated by twofold up-regulation of genes on the active X. This complex system continues to provide important insights into mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. PMID:25731764

  12. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A; Peters, Shanan E; Fischer, Woodward W

    2012-05-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia.

  13. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A.; Peters, Shanan E.; Fischer, Woodward W.

    2012-01-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia. PMID:22511717

  14. Scenarios of large mammal loss in Europe for the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Rondinini, Carlo; Visconti, Piero

    2015-08-01

    Distributions and populations of large mammals are declining globally, leading to an increase in their extinction risk. We forecasted the distribution of extant European large mammals (17 carnivores and 10 ungulates) based on 2 Rio+20 scenarios of socioeconomic development: business as usual and reduced impact through changes in human consumption of natural resources. These scenarios are linked to scenarios of land-use change and climate change through the spatial allocation of land conversion up to 2050. We used a hierarchical framework to forecast the extent and distribution of mammal habitat based on species' habitat preferences (as described in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List database) within a suitable climatic space fitted to the species' current geographic range. We analyzed the geographic and taxonomic variation of habitat loss for large mammals and the potential effect of the reduced impact policy on loss mitigation. Averaging across scenarios, European large mammals were predicted to lose 10% of their habitat by 2050 (25% in the worst-case scenario). Predicted loss was much higher for species in northwestern Europe, where habitat is expected to be lost due to climate and land-use change. Change in human consumption patterns was predicted to substantially improve the conservation of habitat for European large mammals, but not enough to reduce extinction risk if species cannot adapt locally to climate change or disperse.

  15. Plate tectonics, seaways and climate in the historical biogeography of mammals.

    PubMed

    Cox, C B

    2000-01-01

    The marsupial and placental mammals originated at a time when the pattern of geographical barriers (oceans, shallow seas and mountains) was very different from that of today, and climates were warmer. The sequence of changes in these barriers, and their effects on the dispersal of the mammal families and on the faunas of mammals in the different continents, are reviewed. The mammal fauna of South America changed greatly in the Pliocene/Pleistocene, when the newly-complete Panama Isthmus allowed the North American fauna to enter the continent and replace most of the former South American mammal families. Marsupial, but not placental, mammals reached Australia via Antarctica before Australia became isolated, while rats and bats are the only placentals that dispersed naturally from Asia to Australia in the late Cenozoic. Little is known of the early history of the mammal fauna of India. A few mammal families reached Madagascar from Africa in the early Cenozoic over a chain of islands. Africa was isolated for much of the early Cenozoic, though some groups did succeed in entering from Europe. Before the climate cooled in the mid-Cenozoic, the mammal faunas of the Northern Hemisphere were much richer than those of today.

  16. Future hotspots of terrestrial mammal loss

    PubMed Central

    Visconti, Piero; Pressey, Robert L.; Giorgini, Daniele; Maiorano, Luigi; Bakkenes, Michel; Boitani, Luigi; Alkemade, Rob; Falcucci, Alessandra; Chiozza, Federica; Rondinini, Carlo

    2011-01-01

    Current levels of endangerment and historical trends of species and habitats are the main criteria used to direct conservation efforts globally. Estimates of future declines, which might indicate different priorities than past declines, have been limited by the lack of appropriate data and models. Given that much of conservation is about anticipating and responding to future threats, our inability to look forward at a global scale has been a major constraint on effective action. Here, we assess the geography and extent of projected future changes in suitable habitat for terrestrial mammals within their present ranges. We used a global earth-system model, IMAGE, coupled with fine-scale habitat suitability models and parametrized according to four global scenarios of human development. We identified the most affected countries by 2050 for each scenario, assuming that no additional conservation actions other than those described in the scenarios take place. We found that, with some exceptions, most of the countries with the largest predicted losses of suitable habitat for mammals are in Africa and the Americas. African and North American countries were also predicted to host the most species with large proportional global declines. Most of the countries we identified as future hotspots of terrestrial mammal loss have little or no overlap with the present global conservation priorities, thus confirming the need for forward-looking analyses in conservation priority setting. The expected growth in human populations and consumption in hotspots of future mammal loss mean that local conservation actions such as protected areas might not be sufficient to mitigate losses. Other policies, directed towards the root causes of biodiversity loss, are required, both in Africa and other parts of the world. PMID:21844048

  17. The formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews

    PubMed Central

    Shang, Shujiang; Wang, Cong; Guo, Chengbing; Huang, Xu; Wang, Liecheng; Zhang, Chen

    2015-01-01

    Fear is an emotion that is well-studied due to its importance for animal survival. Experimental animals, such as rats and mice, have been widely used to model fear. However, higher animals such as nonhuman primates have rarely been used to study fear due to ethical issues and high costs. Tree shrews are small mammals that are closely related to primates; they have been used to model human-related psychosocial conditions such as stress and alcohol tolerance. Here, we describe an experimental paradigm to study the formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews. We designed an experimental apparatus of a light/dark box with a voltage foot shock. We found that tree shrews preferred staying in the dark box in the daytime without stimulation and showed avoidance to voltage shocks applied to the footplate in a voltage-dependent manner. Foot shocks applied to the dark box for 5 days (10 min per day) effectively reversed the light–dark preference of the tree shrews, and this memory lasted for more than 50 days without any sign of memory decay (extinction) in the absence of further stimulation. However, this fear memory was reversed with 4 days of reverse training by applying the same stimulus to the light box. When reducing the stimulus intensity during the training period, a memory extinction and subsequently reinstatement effects were observed. Thus, our results describe an efficient method of monitoring fear memory formation and extinction in tree shrews. PMID:26283941

  18. The formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews.

    PubMed

    Shang, Shujiang; Wang, Cong; Guo, Chengbing; Huang, Xu; Wang, Liecheng; Zhang, Chen

    2015-01-01

    Fear is an emotion that is well-studied due to its importance for animal survival. Experimental animals, such as rats and mice, have been widely used to model fear. However, higher animals such as nonhuman primates have rarely been used to study fear due to ethical issues and high costs. Tree shrews are small mammals that are closely related to primates; they have been used to model human-related psychosocial conditions such as stress and alcohol tolerance. Here, we describe an experimental paradigm to study the formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews. We designed an experimental apparatus of a light/dark box with a voltage foot shock. We found that tree shrews preferred staying in the dark box in the daytime without stimulation and showed avoidance to voltage shocks applied to the footplate in a voltage-dependent manner. Foot shocks applied to the dark box for 5 days (10 min per day) effectively reversed the light-dark preference of the tree shrews, and this memory lasted for more than 50 days without any sign of memory decay (extinction) in the absence of further stimulation. However, this fear memory was reversed with 4 days of reverse training by applying the same stimulus to the light box. When reducing the stimulus intensity during the training period, a memory extinction and subsequently reinstatement effects were observed. Thus, our results describe an efficient method of monitoring fear memory formation and extinction in tree shrews.

  19. Genetic structure and extinction of the woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius.

    PubMed

    Barnes, Ian; Shapiro, Beth; Lister, Adrian; Kuznetsova, Tatiana; Sher, Andrei; Guthrie, Dale; Thomas, Mark G

    2007-06-19

    The interval since circa 50 Ka has been a period of significant species extinctions among the large mammal fauna. However, the relative roles of an increasing human presence and a synchronous series of complex environmental changes in these extinctions have yet to be fully resolved. Recent analyses of fossil material from Beringia have clarified our understanding of the spatiotemporal pattern of Late Pleistocene extinctions, identifying periods of population turnover well before the last glacial maximum (LGM: circa 21 Ka) or subsequent human expansion. To examine the role of pre-LGM population changes in shaping the genetic structure of an extinct species, we analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of woolly mammoths in western Beringia and across its range. We identify genetic signatures of a range expansion of mammoths, from eastern to western Beringia, after the last interglacial (circa 125 Ka), and then an extended period during which demographic inference indicates no population-size increase. The most marked change in diversity at this time is the loss of one of two major mitochondrial lineages.

  20. Originations and Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ray, Tane; Moseley, Leo; Jan, Naeem

    We analyse the fossil data of Benton1 with and without interpolation schemes. By Fourier transform analysis, we find a frequency dependence of the amplitude of 1/f for the various interpolation schemes used in the past. We illustrate that shuffling the interpolated data changes the spectra only slightly. On the other hand, an identical analysis performed on the raw (uninterpolated) fossil data gives a flat frequency spectrum. We conclude that the 1/f behavior is an artifact of the interpolation schemes. We next introduce a simulation of extinctions driven only by interactions between two trophic levels. Fourier transform analysis of the simulation data shows a frequency dependence of 1/f. When the data are grouped into a form resembling the fossil record the frequency dependence vanishes, giving a flat spectrum. Our simulation produces a frequency spectrum that agrees with the observed fossil record.

  1. Acoustic integrated extinction

    PubMed Central

    Norris, Andrew N.

    2015-01-01

    The integrated extinction (IE) is defined as the integral of the scattering cross section as a function of wavelength. Sohl et al. (2007 J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122, 3206–3210. (doi:10.1121/1.2801546)) derived an IE expression for acoustic scattering that is causal, i.e. the scattered wavefront in the forward direction arrives later than the incident plane wave in the background medium. The IE formula was based on electromagnetic results, for which scattering is causal by default. Here, we derive a formula for the acoustic IE that is valid for causal and non-causal scattering. The general result is expressed as an integral of the time-dependent forward scattering function. The IE reduces to a finite integral for scatterers with zero long-wavelength monopole and dipole amplitudes. Implications for acoustic cloaking are discussed and a new metric is proposed for broadband acoustic transparency. PMID:27547100

  2. Extinction of Harrington's mountain goat

    PubMed Central

    Mead, Jim I.; Martin, Paul S.; Euler, Robert C.; Long, Austin; Jull, A. J. T.; Toolin, Laurence J.; Donahue, Douglas J.; Linick, T. W.

    1986-01-01

    Keratinous horn sheaths of the extinct Harrington's mountain goat, Oreamnos harringtoni, were recovered at or near the surface of dry caves of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Twenty-three separate specimens from two caves were dated nondestructively by the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer (TAMS). Both the TAMS and the conventional dates indicate that Harrington's mountain goat occupied the Grand Canyon for at least 19,000 years prior to becoming extinct by 11,160 ± 125 radiocarbon years before present. The youngest average radiocarbon dates on Shasta ground sloths, Nothrotheriops shastensis, from the region are not significantly younger than those on extinct mountain goats. Rather than sequential extinction with Harrington's mountain goat disappearing from the Grand Canyon before the ground sloths, as one might predict in view of evidence of climatic warming at the time, the losses were concurrent. Both extinctions coincide with the regional arrival of Clovis hunters. Images PMID:16593655

  3. Interstellar extinction in the ultraviolet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bless, R. C.; Savage, B. D.

    1972-01-01

    Interstellar extinction curves over the region 3600-1100 A for 17 stars are presented. The observations were made by the two Wisconsin spectrometers onboard the OAO-2 with spectral resolutions of 10 A and 20 A. The extinction curves generally show a pronounced maximum at 2175 plus or minus 25 A, a broad minimum in the region 1800-1350 A, and finally a rapid rise to the far ultraviolet. Large extinction variations from star to star are found, especially in the far ultraviolet; however, with only two possible exceptions in this sample, the wavelength at the maximum of the extinction bump is essentially constant. These data are combined with visual and infrared observations to display the extinction behavior over a range in wavelength of about a factor of 20.

  4. Extinction of Harrington's Mountain Goat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mead, Jim I.; Martin, Paul S.; Euler, Robert C.; Long, Austin; Jull, A. J. T.; Toolin, Laurence J.; Donahue, Douglas J.; Linick, T. W.

    1986-02-01

    Keratinous horn sheaths of the extinct Harrington's mountain goat, Oreamnos harringtoni, were recovered at or near the surface of dry caves of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Twenty-three separate specimens from two caves were dated nondestructively by the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer (TAMS). Both the TAMS and the conventional dates indicate that Harrington's mountain goat occupied the Grand Canyon for at least 19,000 years prior to becoming extinct by 11,160 ± 125 radiocarbon years before present. The youngest average radiocarbon dates on Shasta ground sloths, Nothrotheriops shastensis, from the region are not significantly younger than those on extinct mountain goats. Rather than sequential extinction with Harrington's mountain goat disappearing from the Grand Canyon before the ground sloths, as one might predict in view of evidence of climatic warming at the time, the losses were concurrent. Both extinctions coincide with the regional arrival of Clovis hunters.

  5. Extinction of Harrington's mountain goat

    SciTech Connect

    Mead, J.I.; Martin, P.S.; Euler, R.C.; Long, A.; Jull, A.J.T.; Toolin, L.J.; Donahue, D.J.; Linick, T.W.

    1986-02-01

    Keratinous horn sheaths of the extinct Harrington's mountain goat, Oreamnos harringtoni, were recovered at or near the surface of dry caves of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Twenty-three separate specimens from two caves were dated nondestructively by the tandem accelerator mass spectrometer (TAMS). Both the TAMS and the conventional dates indicate that Harrington's mountain goat occupied the Grand Canyon for at least 19,000 years prior to becoming extinct by 11,160 +/- 125 radiocarbon years before present. The youngest average radiocarbon dates on Shasta ground sloths, Nothrotheriops shastensis, from the region are not significantly younger than those on extinct mountain goats. Rather than sequential extinction with Harrington's mountain goat disappearing from the Grand Canyon before the ground sloths, as one might predict in view of evidence of climatic warming at the time, the losses were concurrent. Both extinctions coincide with the regional arrival of Clovis hunters.

  6. Measuring Extinction with ALE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimmer, Peter C.; McGraw, J. T.; Gimmestad, G. G.; Roberts, D.; Stewart, J.; Smith, J.; Fitch, J.

    2007-12-01

    ALE (Astronomical LIDAR for Extinction) is deployed at the University of New Mexico's (UNM) Campus Observatory in Albuquerque, NM. It has begun a year-long testing phase prior deployment at McDonald Observatory in support of the CCD/Transit Instrument II (CTI-II). ALE is designed to produce a high-precision measurement of atmospheric absorption and scattering above the observatory site every ten minutes of every moderately clear night. LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) is the VIS/UV/IR analog of radar, using a laser, telescope and time-gated photodetector instead of a radio transmitter, dish and receiver. In the case of ALE -- an elastic backscatter LIDAR -- 20ns-long, eye-safe laser pulses are launched 2500 times per second from a 0.32m transmitting telescope co-mounted with a 50mm short-range receiver on an alt-az mounted 0.67m long-range receiver. Photons from the laser pulse are scattered and absorbed as the pulse propagates through the atmosphere, a portion of which are scattered into the field of view of the short- and long-range receiver telescopes and detected by a photomultiplier. The properties of a given volume of atmosphere along the LIDAR path are inferred from both the altitude-resolved backscatter signal as well as the attenuation of backscatter signal from altitudes above it. We present ALE profiles from the commissioning phase and demonstrate some of the astronomically interesting atmospheric information that can be gleaned from these data, including, but not limited to, total line-of-sight extinction. This project is funded by NSF Grant 0421087.

  7. Brain size is correlated with endangerment status in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Abelson, Eric S.

    2016-01-01

    Increases in relative encephalization (RE), brain size after controlling for body size, comes at a great metabolic cost and is correlated with a host of cognitive traits, from the ability to count objects to higher rates of innovation. Despite many studies examining the implications and trade-offs accompanying increased RE, the relationship between mammalian extinction risk and RE is unknown. I examine whether mammals with larger levels of RE are more or less likely to be at risk of endangerment than less-encephalized species. I find that extant species with large levels of encephalization are at greater risk of endangerment, with this effect being strongest in species with small body sizes. These results suggest that RE could be a valuable asset in estimating extinction vulnerability. Additionally, these findings suggest that the cost–benefit trade-off of RE is different in large-bodied species when compared with small-bodied species. PMID:26888034

  8. Brain size is correlated with endangerment status in mammals.

    PubMed

    Abelson, Eric S

    2016-02-24

    Increases in relative encephalization (RE), brain size after controlling for body size, comes at a great metabolic cost and is correlated with a host of cognitive traits, from the ability to count objects to higher rates of innovation. Despite many studies examining the implications and trade-offs accompanying increased RE, the relationship between mammalian extinction risk and RE is unknown. I examine whether mammals with larger levels of RE are more or less likely to be at risk of endangerment than less-encephalized species. I find that extant species with large levels of encephalization are at greater risk of endangerment, with this effect being strongest in species with small body sizes. These results suggest that RE could be a valuable asset in estimating extinction vulnerability. Additionally, these findings suggest that the cost-benefit trade-off of RE is different in large-bodied species when compared with small-bodied species.

  9. Detritus feeding as a buffer to extinction at the end of the Cretaceous

    SciTech Connect

    Sheehan, P.M.; Hansen, T.A.

    1986-10-01

    At the end of the Cretaceous the principal animals that became extinct, such as dinosaurs, marine animals that lived in the water column, and benthic filter feeders, were in food chains tied directly to living plant matter. Animal groups less affected by extinction, including marine benthic scavengers and deposit feeders, small insectivorous mammals, and members of stream communities, were in food chains dependent on dead plant material. The proposal that an asteroid or comet impact at the end of the Cretaceous produced a dust cloud that cut off photosynthesis for several months is consistent with this pattern of extinction. Food chains dependent on living plant matter crashed, while food chains based on detritus were buffered from extinction because there was a food supply adequate for the interval when photosynthesis was halted.

  10. Extinctions and introductions in the new zealand avifauna: cause and effect?

    PubMed

    Diamond, J M; Veitch, C R

    1981-01-30

    New Zealand, like many other islands, has suffered extinctions of native species and successful introductions of exotic species. It has been uncertain whether the introductions caused the extinctions or whether the extinctions permitted the introductions. On New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf islands, which are unusual in their near lack of introduced mammalian predators and complete lack of mammalian browsers, exotic bird species abundant in mainland New Zealand forest and reaching these islands are virtually absent from unmodified forest. Exotic bird species disappeared from Cuvier Island's forest after elimination of mammalian predators and browsers. Hence extinctions of native species were not due to competition from introduced species but to other factors (such as mammalian predators and habitat alteration). Only after decimation of native species and forest alteration by browsing mammals could exotic birds invade forest.

  11. Diversification rates and the latitudinal gradient of diversity in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Soria-Carrasco, Víctor; Castresana, Jose

    2012-01-01

    The latitudinal gradient of species richness has frequently been attributed to higher diversification rates of tropical groups. In order to test this hypothesis for mammals, we used a set of 232 genera taken from a mammalian supertree and, additionally, we reconstructed dated Bayesian phylogenetic trees of 100 genera. For each genus, diversification rate was estimated taking incomplete species sampling into account and latitude was assigned considering the heterogeneity in species distribution ranges. For both datasets, we found that the average diversification rate was similar among all latitudinal bands. Furthermore, when we used phylogenetically independent contrasts, we did not find any significant correlation between latitude and diversification parameters, including different estimates of speciation and extinction rates. Thus, other factors, such as the dynamics of dispersal through time, may be required to explain the latitudinal gradient of diversity in mammals. PMID:22896648

  12. The end-Permian mass extinction: A complex, multicausal extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Erwin, D. H.

    1994-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction was the most extensive in the history of life and remains one of the most complex. Understanding its causes is particularly important because it anchors the putative 26-m.y. pattern of periodic extinction. However, there is no good evidence for an impact and this extinction appears to be more complex than others, involving at least three phases. The first began with the onset of a marine regression during the Late Permian and resulting elimination of most marine basins, reduction in habitat area, and increased climatic instability; the first pulse of tetrapod extinctions occurred in South Africa at this time. The second phase involved increased regression in many areas (although apparently not in South China) and heightened climatic instability and environmental degradation. Release of gas hydrates, oxidation of marine carbon, and the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts occurred during this phase. The final phase of the extinction episode began with the earliest Triassic marine regression and destruction of nearshore continental habitats. Some evidence suggests oceanic anoxia may have developed during the final phase of the extinction, although it appears to have been insufficient to the sole cause of the extinction.

  13. Limits to captive breeding of mammals in zoos.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2015-06-01

    Captive breeding of mammals in zoos is the last hope for many of the best-known endangered species and has succeeded in saving some from certain extinction. However, the number of managed species selected is relatively small and focused on large-bodied, charismatic mammals that are not necessarily under strong threat and not always good candidates for reintroduction into the wild. Two interrelated and more fundamental questions go unanswered: have the major breeding programs succeeded at the basic level of maintaining and expanding populations, and is there room to expand them? I used published counts of births and deaths from 1970 to 2011 to quantify rates of growth of 118 captive-bred mammalian populations. These rates did not vary with body mass, contrary to strong predictions made in the ecological literature. Most of the larger managed mammalian populations expanded consistently and very few programs failed. However, growth rates have declined dramatically. The decline was predicted by changes in the ratio of the number of individuals within programs to the number of mammal populations held in major zoos. Rates decreased as the ratio of individuals in programs to populations increased. In other words, most of the programs that could exist already do exist. It therefore appears that debates over the general need for captive-breeding programs and the best selection of species are moot. Only a concerted effort could create room to manage a substantially larger number of endangered mammals.

  14. 75 FR 27294 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Marine Mammal Stranding Report/Marine Mammal...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-05-14

    ... Mammal Stranding Report/Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Disposition Report AGENCY: National Oceanic and... mammal stranding report provides information on strandings so that the National Marine Fisheries Service... facilities. This information is submitted primarily by volunteer members of the marine mammal...

  15. Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-01-01

    The effect of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K–Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K–Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K–Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene. PMID:27358361

  16. Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Halliday, Thomas John Dixon; Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-06-29

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K-Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K-Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K-Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene.

  17. Vacuoles in mammals

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    A vacuole is a membrane-bound subcellular structure involved in intracellular digestion. Instead of the large “vacuolar” organelles that are found in plants and fungi, animal cells possess lysosomes that are smaller in size and are enriched with hydrolytic enzymes similar to those found in the vacuoles. Large vacuolar structures are often observed in highly differentiated mammalian tissues such as embryonic visceral endoderm and absorbing epithelium. Vacuoles/lysosomes share a conserved mechanism of biogenesis, and they are at the terminal of the endocytic pathways, Recent genetic studies of the mammalian orthologs of Vam/Vps genes, which have essential functions for vacuole assembly, revealed that the dynamics of vacuoles/lysosomes are important for tissue differentiation and patterning through regulation of various molecular signaling events in mammals. PMID:23572040

  18. Genetic engineering of mammals.

    PubMed

    Wells, Kevin D

    2016-01-01

    Historically, genetic engineering for mammalian reproductive questions has been accomplished primarily in the mouse. However, all the genetic manipulations that can be done in the mouse can now be accomplished in most domesticated mammals. Random integration of transgenes, homologous recombination and gene editing are now routine for several mammalian species. For livestock, queries related to fertility can be asked directly for the species in question, without a need for a mouse model. For human clinical concerns, the most appropriate model should be selected based on physiology, anatomy, or even size. The mouse will continue to be a useful genetically engineered model. However, other species are now amenable to the full range of genetic manipulations and should be considered as possible models for human conditions when appropriate.

  19. Effects of corridors on home range sizes and interpatch movements of three small mammal species.

    SciTech Connect

    Mabry, Karen, E.; Barrett, Gary, W.

    2002-04-30

    Mabry, K.E., and G.W. Barrett. 2002. Effects of corridors on home range sizes and interpatch movements of three small mammal species. Landscape Ecol. 17:629-636. Corridors are predicted to benefit populations in patchy habitats by promoting movement, which should increase population densities, gene flow, and recolonization of extinct patch populations. However, few investigators have considered use of the total landscape, particularly the possibility of interpatch movement through matrix habitat, by small mammals. This study compares home range sizes of 3 species of small mammals, the cotton mouse, old field mouse and cotton rat between patches with and without corridors. Corridor presence did not have a statistically significant influence on average home range size. Habitat specialization and sex influenced the probability of an individual moving between 2 patches without corridors. The results of this study suggest that small mammals may be more capable of interpatch movement without corridors than is frequently assumed.

  20. Plant invasions and extinction debts.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Benjamin; Levine, Jonathan M

    2013-01-29

    Whether introduced species invasions pose a major threat to biodiversity is hotly debated. Much of this debate is fueled by recent findings that competition from introduced organisms has driven remarkably few plant species to extinction. Instead, native plant species in invaded ecosystems are often found in refugia: patchy, marginal habitats unsuitable to their nonnative competitors. However, whether the colonization and extinction dynamics of these refugia allow long-term native persistence is uncertain. Of particular concern is the possibility that invasive plants may induce an extinction debt in the native flora, where persistence over the short term masks deterministic extinction trajectories. We examined how invader impacts on landscape structure influence native plant persistence by combining recently developed quantitative techniques for evaluating metapopulation persistence with field measurements of an invaded plant community. We found that European grass invasion of an edaphically heterogeneous California landscape has greatly decreased the likelihood of the persistence of native metapopulations. It does so via two main pathways: (i) decreasing the size of native refugia, which reduces seed production and increases local extinction, and (ii) eroding the dispersal permeability of the matrix between refugia, which reduces their connectivity. Even when native plant extinction is the deterministic outcome of invasion, the time to extinction can be on the order of hundreds of years. We conclude that the relatively short time since invasion in many parts of the world is insufficient to observe the full impact of plant invasions on native biodiversity.

  1. Mass Extinctions in Earth's History

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, P. D.

    2002-12-01

    Mass extinctions are short intervals of elevated species death. Possible causes of Earth's mass extinctions are both external (astronomical) and internal (tectonic and biotic changes from planetary mechanisms). Paleontologists have identified five "major" mass extinctions (>50 die-off in less than a million years) and more than 20 other minor events over the past 550 million years. Earlier major extinction events undoubtedly also occurred, but we have no fossil record; these were probably associated with, for example, the early heavy bombardment that cleared out the solar system, the advent of oxygen in the atmosphere, and various "snowball Earth" events. Mass extinctions are viewed as both destructive (species death ) and constructive, in that they allow evolutionary innovation in the wake of species disappearances. From an astrobiological perspective, mass extinctions must be considered as able both to reduce biodiversity and even potentially end life on any planet. Of the five major mass extinctions identified on Earth, only one (the Cretaceous/Tertiary event 65 million years ago that famously killed off the dinosaurs ) is unambiguously related to the impact of an asteroid or comet ( 10-km diameter). The Permian/Triassic (250 Myr ago) and Triassic/Jurassic (202 Myr ago) events are now the center of debate between those favoring impact and those suggesting large volume flooding by basaltic lavas. The final two events, Ordovician (440 Myr ago) and Devonian (370 Myr ago) have no accepted causal mechanisms.

  2. The learning of fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Furini, Cristiane; Myskiw, Jociane; Izquierdo, Ivan

    2014-11-01

    Recent work on the extinction of fear-motivated learning places emphasis on its putative circuitry and on its modulation. Extinction is the learned inhibition of retrieval of previously acquired responses. Fear extinction is used as a major component of exposure therapy in the treatment of fear memories such as those of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is initiated and maintained by interactions between the hippocampus, basolateral amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which involve feedback regulation of the latter by the other two areas. Fear extinction depends on NMDA receptor activation. It is positively modulated by d-serine acting on the glycine site of NMDA receptors and blocked by AP5 (2-amino-5-phosphono propionate) in the three structures. In addition, histamine acting on H2 receptors and endocannabinoids acting on CB1 receptors in the three brain areas mentioned, and muscarinic cholinergic fibers from the medial septum to hippocampal CA1 positively modulate fear extinction. Importantly, fear extinction can be made state-dependent on circulating epinephrine, which may play a role in situations of stress. Exposure to a novel experience can strongly enhance the consolidation of fear extinction through a synaptic tagging and capture mechanism; this may be useful in the therapy of states caused by fear memory like PTSD.

  3. Extinction in young massive clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Marchi, Guido; Panagia, Nino

    2016-01-01

    Up to ages of ~100 Myr, massive clusters are still swamped in large amounts of gas and dust, causing considerable and uneven levels of extinction. At the same time, large grains (ices?) produced by type II supernovae profoundly alter the interstellar medium (ISM), thus resulting in extinction properties very different from those of the diffuse ISM. To obtain physically meaningful parameters of stars (luminosities, effective temperatures, masses, ages, etc.) we must understand and measure the local extinction law. We have developed a powerful method to unambiguously determine the extinction law everywhere across a cluster field, using multi-band photometry of red giant stars belonging to the red clump (RC) and are applying it to young massive clusters in the Local Group. In the Large Magellanic Cloud, with about 20 RC stars per arcmin2, for each field we can easily derive an accurate extinction curve over the entire wavelength range of the photometry. As an example, we present the extinction law of the Tarantula nebula (30 Dor) based on thousands of stars observed as part of the Hubble Tarantula Treasury Project. We discuss how the incautious adoption of the Milky Way extinction law in the analysis of massive star forming regions may lead to serious underestimates of the fluxes and of the star formation rates by factors of 2 or more.

  4. Deglaciation explains bat extinction in the Caribbean

    PubMed Central

    Dávalos, Liliana M; Russell, Amy L

    2012-01-01

    Ecological factors such as changing climate on land and interspecific competition have been debated as possible causes of postglacial Caribbean extinction. These hypotheses, however, have not been tested against a null model of climate-driven postglacial area loss. Here, we use a new Quaternary mammal database and deep-sea bathymetry to estimate species–area relationships (SARs) at present and during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) for bats of the Caribbean, and to model species loss as a function of area loss from rising sea level. Island area was a significant predictor of species richness in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and Lesser Antilles at all time periods, except for the Lesser Antilles during the LGM. Parameters of LGM and current SARs were similar in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, but not the Lesser Antilles, which had fewer estimated species during the LGM than expected given their size. Estimated postglacial species losses in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles were largely explained by inferred area loss from rising sea level in the Holocene. However, there were more species in the Bahamas at present, and fewer species in the smaller Greater Antilles, than expected given island size and the end-Pleistocene/early Holocene SARs. Poor fossil sampling and ecological factors may explain these departures from the null. Our analyses illustrate the importance of changes in area in explaining patterns of species richness through time and emphasize the role of the SAR as a null hypothesis in explorations of the impact of novel ecological interactions on extinction. PMID:23301171

  5. Dinosaur morphological diversity and the end-Cretaceous extinction.

    PubMed

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Butler, Richard J; Prieto-Márquez, Albert; Norell, Mark A

    2012-05-01

    The extinction of non-avian dinosaurs 65 million years ago is a perpetual topic of fascination, and lasting debate has focused on whether dinosaur biodiversity was in decline before end-Cretaceous volcanism and bolide impact. Here we calculate the morphological disparity (anatomical variability) exhibited by seven major dinosaur subgroups during the latest Cretaceous, at both global and regional scales. Our results demonstrate both geographic and clade-specific heterogeneity. Large-bodied bulk-feeding herbivores (ceratopsids and hadrosauroids) and some North American taxa declined in disparity during the final two stages of the Cretaceous, whereas carnivorous dinosaurs, mid-sized herbivores, and some Asian taxa did not. Late Cretaceous dinosaur evolution, therefore, was complex: there was no universal biodiversity trend and the intensively studied North American record may reveal primarily local patterns. At least some dinosaur groups, however, did endure long-term declines in morphological variability before their extinction.

  6. Climate warming and humans played different roles in triggering Late Quaternary extinctions in east and west Eurasia.

    PubMed

    Wan, Xinru; Zhang, Zhibin

    2017-03-29

    Climate change and humans are proposed as the two key drivers of total extinction of many large mammals in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, but disentangling their relative roles remains challenging owing to a lack of quantitative evaluation of human impact and climate-driven distribution changes on the extinctions of these large mammals in a continuous temporal-spatial dimension. Here, our analyses showed that temperature change had significant effects on mammoth (genus Mammuthus), rhinoceros (Rhinocerotidae), horse (Equidae) and deer (Cervidae). Rapid global warming was the predominant factor driving the total extinction of mammoths and rhinos in frigid zones from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Humans showed significant, negative effects on extirpations of the four mammalian taxa, and were the predominant factor causing the extinction or major extirpations of rhinos and horses. Deer survived both rapid climate warming and extensive human impacts. Our study indicates that both the current rates of warming and range shifts of species are much faster than those from the Late Pleistocene to Holocene. Our results provide new insight into the extinction of Late Quaternary megafauna by demonstrating taxon-, period- and region-specific differences in extinction drivers of climate change and human disturbances, and some implications about the extinction risk of animals by recent and ongoing climate warming.

  7. New theories about ancient extinctions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spall, H.

    1986-01-01

    But all this may be changing. Mass extinctions have been very much in the news in the last few years, triggered in large part by the proposal that the extinction of the dinosaurs and marine animals was caused by a catastrophic collision between the Earth and an extra-terrestrial body (bolide). Recently an equally contentious suggestion has been made that mass extinctions have swept the Earth every 26 to 31 million years for at least the last 250 million years-caused by encounters with some kind of extra-terrestrial object such as one of the asteroids or the comets. 

  8. Vertebrate extinctions and survival across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buffetaut, Eric

    1990-01-01

    A critical analysis of the fossil vertebrate record across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary shows that the available evidence is far less accurate than that concerning invertebrates and microfossils. Far-reaching conclusions have been drawn from generalisations about vertebrate extinctions in the continental realm based on the local record from western North America, but little is known about patterns of terminal Cretaceous vertebrate extinctions in other parts of the world, and even the western North American record is ambiguous. Despite this unsatisfactory record, it clearly appears that terminal Cretaceous vertebrate extinctions were highly selective, with some groups (e.g. dinosaurs) becoming completely extinct, whereas others seem to be virtually unaffected. This argues against devastating catastrophes of the kind postulated by some recent impact scenarios. However, the survival of groups known to be sensitive to climatic deterioration (such as crocodilians and other non-dinosaurian reptiles) indicates that alternative hypotheses involving gradual but fairly important climatic changes on a world-wide scale are not convincing either. The pattern of extinction and survival among vertebrates across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary may be explained as a consequence of the disruption of some food chains following a crisis in the plant kingdom, which itself may have been the result of the atmospheric consequences of unusual extraterrestrial or internal events.

  9. A new eutriconodont mammal and evolutionary development in early mammals.

    PubMed

    Luo, Zhe-Xi; Chen, Peiji; Li, Gang; Chen, Meng

    2007-03-15

    Detachment of the three tiny middle ear bones from the reptilian mandible is an important innovation of modern mammals. Here we describe a Mesozoic eutriconodont nested within crown mammals that clearly illustrates this transition: the middle ear bones are connected to the mandible via an ossified Meckel's cartilage. The connected ear and jaw structure is similar to the embryonic pattern in modern monotremes (egg-laying mammals) and placental mammals, but is a paedomorphic feature retained in the adult, unlike in monotreme and placental adults. This suggests that reversal to (or retention of) this premammalian ancestral condition is correlated with different developmental timing (heterochrony) in eutriconodonts. This new eutriconodont adds to the evidence of homoplasy of vertebral characters in the thoraco-lumbar transition and unfused lumbar ribs among early mammals. This is similar to the effect of homeobox gene patterning of vertebrae in modern mammals, making it plausible to extrapolate the effects of Hox gene patterning to account for homoplastic evolution of vertebral characters in early mammals.

  10. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises. PMID:27044713

  11. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth's Greatest Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K; Angielczyk, Kenneth D; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-04-05

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises.

  12. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-04-01

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises.

  13. Ice-age megafauna in Arctic Alaska: extinction, invasion, survival

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mann, Daniel H.; Groves, Pamela; Kunz, Michael L.; Reanier, Richard E.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.

    2013-01-01

    Radical restructuring of the terrestrial, large mammal fauna living in arctic Alaska occurred between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Steppe bison, horse, and woolly mammoth became extinct, moose and humans invaded, while muskox and caribou persisted. The ice age megafauna was more diverse in species and possibly contained 6× more individual animals than live in the region today. Megafaunal biomass during the last ice age may have been 30× greater than present. Horse was the dominant species in terms of number of individuals. Lions, short-faced bears, wolves, and possibly grizzly bears comprised the predator/scavenger guild. The youngest mammoth so far discovered lived ca 13,800 years ago, while horses and bison persisted on the North Slope until at least 12,500 years ago during the Younger Dryas cold interval. The first people arrived on the North Slope ca 13,500 years ago. Bone-isotope measurements and foot-loading characteristics suggest megafaunal niches were segregated along a moisture gradient, with the surviving species (muskox and caribou) utilizing the warmer and moister portions of the vegetation mosaic. As the ice age ended, the moisture gradient shifted and eliminated habitats utilized by the dryland, grazing species (bison, horse, mammoth). The proximate cause for this change was regional paludification, the spread of organic soil horizons and peat. End-Pleistocene extinctions in arctic Alaska represent local, not global extinctions since the megafaunal species lost there persisted to later times elsewhere. Hunting seems unlikely as the cause of these extinctions, but it cannot be ruled out as the final blow to megafaunal populations that were already functionally extinct by the time humans arrived in the region.

  14. Ice-age megafauna in Arctic Alaska: extinction, invasion, survival

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mann, Daniel H.; Groves, Pamela; Kunz, Michael L.; Reanier, Richard E.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.

    2013-06-01

    Radical restructuring of the terrestrial, large mammal fauna living in arctic Alaska occurred between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Steppe bison, horse, and woolly mammoth became extinct, moose and humans invaded, while muskox and caribou persisted. The ice age megafauna was more diverse in species and possibly contained 6× more individual animals than live in the region today. Megafaunal biomass during the last ice age may have been 30× greater than present. Horse was the dominant species in terms of number of individuals. Lions, short-faced bears, wolves, and possibly grizzly bears comprised the predator/scavenger guild. The youngest mammoth so far discovered lived ca 13,800 years ago, while horses and bison persisted on the North Slope until at least 12,500 years ago during the Younger Dryas cold interval. The first people arrived on the North Slope ca 13,500 years ago. Bone-isotope measurements and foot-loading characteristics suggest megafaunal niches were segregated along a moisture gradient, with the surviving species (muskox and caribou) utilizing the warmer and moister portions of the vegetation mosaic. As the ice age ended, the moisture gradient shifted and eliminated habitats utilized by the dryland, grazing species (bison, horse, mammoth). The proximate cause for this change was regional paludification, the spread of organic soil horizons and peat. End-Pleistocene extinctions in arctic Alaska represent local, not global extinctions since the megafaunal species lost there persisted to later times elsewhere. Hunting seems unlikely as the cause of these extinctions, but it cannot be ruled out as the final blow to megafaunal populations that were already functionally extinct by the time humans arrived in the region.

  15. What Caused the Mass Extinction?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alvarez, Walter; And Others

    1990-01-01

    Presented are the arguments of two different points of view on the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Evidence of extraterrestrial impact theory and massive volcanic eruption theory are discussed. (CW)

  16. Investigation of ultraviolet interstellar extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Payne, C.; Haramundanis, K. L.

    1973-01-01

    Results concerning interstellar extinction in the ultraviolet are reported. These results were initially obtained by using data from main-sequence stars and were extended to include supergiants and emission stars. The principal finding of the analysis of ultraviolet extinction is not only that it is wavelength dependent, but that if changes with galactic longitude in the U3 passband (lambda sub eff = 1621 A); it does not change significantly in the U2 passband (lambda sub eff = 2308 A). Where data are available in the U4 passband (lambda sub eff = 1537 A), they confirm the rapid rise of extinction in the ultraviolet found by other investigators. However, in all cases, emission stars must be used with great caution. It is important to realize that while extinction continues to rise toward shorter wavelengths in the ultraviolet, including the shortest ultraviolet wavelengths measured (1100 A), it no longer plays an important role in the X-ray region (50 A).

  17. Investigation of ultraviolet interstellar extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Payne-Gaposchkin, C.; Haramundanis, K. L.

    1973-01-01

    The progress made during the past six months in utilizing Celescope OAO-2 data in a study of extinction is reported along with conclusions drawn from each inquiry. Areas recommended for further investigation are indicated.

  18. Updating Martin's global extinction model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gillespie, Richard

    2008-12-01

    Australia has been cited as a weak link in anthropogenic models of megafauna extinction, but recent work suggests instead that the evidence for rapid extinction shortly after human arrival is robust. The global model is revisited, based on the contention that late Pleistocene megafauna extinctions took place rapidly on islands, and some islands (such as Australia and the Americas) are much larger than others. Modern dating methods are increasingly able to refine chronologies, and careful scrutiny suggests that hundreds of dates should be deleted from archives. An updated summary of results from New Zealand, North America and Australia is presented, with a brief discussion on why temperate refugia offering protection from climate change ultimately did not work, strongly supporting the global extinction hypothesis pioneered by Paul Martin.

  19. Pheromone reception in mammals.

    PubMed

    Bigiani, A; Mucignat-Caretta, C; Montani, G; Tirindelli, R

    2005-01-01

    Pheromonal communication is the most convenient way to transfer information regarding gender and social status in animals of the same species with the holistic goal of sustaining reproduction. This type of information exchange is based on pheromones, molecules often chemically unrelated, that are contained in body fluids like urine, sweat, specialized exocrine glands, and mucous secretions of genitals. So profound is the relevance of pheromones over the evolutionary process that a specific peripheral organ devoted to their recognition, namely the vomeronasal organ of Jacobson, and a related central pathway arose in most vertebrate species. Although the vomeronasal system is well developed in reptiles and amphibians, most mammals strongly rely on pheromonal communication. Humans use pheromones too; evidence on the existence of a specialized organ for their detection, however, is very elusive indeed. In the present review, we will focus our attention on the behavioral, physiological, and molecular aspects of pheromone detection in mammals. We will discuss the responses to pheromonal stimulation in different animal species, emphasizing the complicacy of this type of communication. In the light of the most recent results, we will also discuss the complex organization of the transduction molecules that underlie pheromone detection and signal transmission from vomeronasal neurons to the higher centers of the brain. Communication is a primary feature of living organisms, allowing the coordination of different behavioral paradigms among individuals. Communication has evolved through a variety of different strategies, and each species refined its own preferred communication medium. From a phylogenetic point of view, the most widespread and ancient way of communication is through chemical signals named pheromones: it occurs in all taxa, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. The release of specific pheromones into the environment is a sensitive and definite way to send messages to

  20. The Sixth Great Mass Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wagler, Ron

    2012-01-01

    Five past great mass extinctions have occurred during Earth's history. Humanity is currently in the midst of a sixth, human-induced great mass extinction of plant and animal life (e.g., Alroy 2008; Jackson 2008; Lewis 2006; McDaniel and Borton 2002; Rockstrom et al. 2009; Rohr et al. 2008; Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill 2007; Thomas et al. 2004;…

  1. Magnetic reversals and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1985-01-01

    The results of a study of reversals of the earth's magnetic field over the past 165 Myr are presented. A stationary periodicity of 30 Myr emerges which predicts pulses of increased reversal activity centered at 10, 40, 70, . . . Myr before the present. The correlation between the reversal intensity and biological extinctions is examined, and a nontrivial discrepancy is found between the magnetic and extinction periodicity.

  2. Series cell light extinction monitor

    DOEpatents

    Novick, Vincent J.

    1990-01-01

    A method and apparatus for using the light extinction measurements from two or more light cells positioned along a gasflow chamber in which the gas volumetric rate is known to determine particle number concentration and mass concentration of an aerosol independent of extinction coefficient and to determine estimates for particle size and mass concentrations. The invention is independent of particle size. This invention has application to measurements made during a severe nuclear reactor fuel damage test.

  3. Past and estimated future impact of invasive alien mammals on insular threatened vertebrate populations

    PubMed Central

    McCreless, Erin E.; Huff, David D.; Croll, Donald A.; Tershy, Bernie R.; Spatz, Dena R.; Holmes, Nick D.; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Wilcox, Chris

    2016-01-01

    Invasive mammals on islands pose severe, ongoing threats to global biodiversity. However, the severity of threats from different mammals, and the role of interacting biotic and abiotic factors in driving extinctions, remain poorly understood at a global scale. Here we model global extirpation patterns for island populations of threatened and extinct vertebrates. Extirpations are driven by interacting factors including invasive rats, cats, pigs, mustelids and mongooses, native species taxonomic class and volancy, island size, precipitation and human presence. We show that controlling or eradicating the relevant invasive mammals could prevent 41–75% of predicted future extirpations. The magnitude of benefits varies across species and environments; for example, managing invasive mammals on small, dry islands could halve the extirpation risk for highly threatened birds and mammals, while doing so on large, wet islands may have little benefit. Our results provide quantitative estimates of conservation benefits and, when combined with costs in a return-on-investment framework, can guide efficient conservation strategies. PMID:27535095

  4. Evolution of the patellar sesamoid bone in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Samuels, Mark E.; Regnault, Sophie

    2017-01-01

    The patella is a sesamoid bone located in the major extensor tendon of the knee joint, in the hindlimb of many tetrapods. Although numerous aspects of knee morphology are ancient and conserved among most tetrapods, the evolutionary occurrence of an ossified patella is highly variable. Among extant (crown clade) groups it is found in most birds, most lizards, the monotreme mammals and almost all placental mammals, but it is absent in most marsupial mammals as well as many reptiles. Here, we integrate data from the literature and first-hand studies of fossil and recent skeletal remains to reconstruct the evolution of the mammalian patella. We infer that bony patellae most likely evolved between four and six times in crown group Mammalia: in monotremes, in the extinct multituberculates, in one or more stem-mammal genera outside of therian or eutherian mammals and up to three times in therian mammals. Furthermore, an ossified patella was lost several times in mammals, not including those with absent hindlimbs: once or more in marsupials (with some re-acquisition) and at least once in bats. Our inferences about patellar evolution in mammals are reciprocally informed by the existence of several human genetic conditions in which the patella is either absent or severely reduced. Clearly, development of the patella is under close genomic control, although its responsiveness to its mechanical environment is also important (and perhaps variable among taxa). Where a bony patella is present it plays an important role in hindlimb function, especially in resisting gravity by providing an enhanced lever system for the knee joint. Yet the evolutionary origins, persistence and modifications of a patella in diverse groups with widely varying habits and habitats—from digging to running to aquatic, small or large body sizes, bipeds or quadrupeds—remain complex and perplexing, impeding a conclusive synthesis of form, function, development and genetics across mammalian evolution

  5. Evolution of the patellar sesamoid bone in mammals.

    PubMed

    Samuels, Mark E; Regnault, Sophie; Hutchinson, John R

    2017-01-01

    The patella is a sesamoid bone located in the major extensor tendon of the knee joint, in the hindlimb of many tetrapods. Although numerous aspects of knee morphology are ancient and conserved among most tetrapods, the evolutionary occurrence of an ossified patella is highly variable. Among extant (crown clade) groups it is found in most birds, most lizards, the monotreme mammals and almost all placental mammals, but it is absent in most marsupial mammals as well as many reptiles. Here, we integrate data from the literature and first-hand studies of fossil and recent skeletal remains to reconstruct the evolution of the mammalian patella. We infer that bony patellae most likely evolved between four and six times in crown group Mammalia: in monotremes, in the extinct multituberculates, in one or more stem-mammal genera outside of therian or eutherian mammals and up to three times in therian mammals. Furthermore, an ossified patella was lost several times in mammals, not including those with absent hindlimbs: once or more in marsupials (with some re-acquisition) and at least once in bats. Our inferences about patellar evolution in mammals are reciprocally informed by the existence of several human genetic conditions in which the patella is either absent or severely reduced. Clearly, development of the patella is under close genomic control, although its responsiveness to its mechanical environment is also important (and perhaps variable among taxa). Where a bony patella is present it plays an important role in hindlimb function, especially in resisting gravity by providing an enhanced lever system for the knee joint. Yet the evolutionary origins, persistence and modifications of a patella in diverse groups with widely varying habits and habitats-from digging to running to aquatic, small or large body sizes, bipeds or quadrupeds-remain complex and perplexing, impeding a conclusive synthesis of form, function, development and genetics across mammalian evolution. This

  6. Extinction, relapse, and behavioral momentum.

    PubMed

    Podlesnik, Christopher A; Shahan, Timothy A

    2010-05-01

    Previous experiments on behavioral momentum have shown that relative resistance to extinction of operant behavior in the presence of a discriminative stimulus depends upon the baseline rate or magnitude of reinforcement associated with that stimulus (i.e., the Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relation). Recently, we have shown that relapse of operant behavior in reinstatement, resurgence, and context renewal preparations also is a function of baseline stimulus-reinforcer relations. In this paper we present new data examining the role of baseline stimulus-reinforcer relations on resistance to extinction and relapse using a variety of baseline training conditions and relapse operations. Furthermore, we evaluate the adequacy of a behavioral momentum based model in accounting for the results. The model suggests that relapse occurs as a result of a decrease in the disruptive impact of extinction precipitated by a change in circumstances associated with extinction, and that the degree of relapse is a function of the pre-extinction baseline Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relation. Across experiments, relative resistance to extinction and relapse were greater in the presence of stimuli associated with more favorable conditions of reinforcement and were positively related to one another. In addition, the model did a good job in accounting for these effects. Thus, behavioral momentum theory may provide a useful quantitative approach for characterizing how differential reinforcement conditions contribute to relapse of operant behavior.

  7. Measuring Galactic Extinction: A Test

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arce, Héctor G.; Goodman, Alyssa A.

    1999-02-01

    We test the recently published all-sky reddening map of Schlegel, Finkbeiner, & Davis (hereafter SFD) using the extinction study of a region in the Taurus dark cloud complex by Arce & Goodman (hereafter AG). In their study, AG use four different techniques to measure the amount and structure of the extinction toward Taurus, and all four techniques agree very well. Thus, we believe that the AG results are a truthful representation of the extinction in the region and can be used to test the reliability of the SFD reddening map. The results of our test show that the SFD all-sky reddening map, which is based on data from COBE/DIRBE and IRAS/ISSA, overestimates the reddening by a factor of 1.3-1.5 in regions of smooth extinction with AV>0.5 mag. In some regions of steep extinction gradients, the SFD map underestimates the reddening value, probably because of its low spatial resolution. We expect that the astronomical community will be using the SFD reddening map extensively. We offer this Letter as a cautionary note about using the SFD map in regions of high extinction (AV>0.5 mag), since it might not be giving accurate reddening values there.

  8. Evolutionary and preservational constraints on origins of biologic groups: divergence times of eutherian mammals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foote, M.; Hunter, J. P.; Janis, C. M.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr

    1999-01-01

    Some molecular clock estimates of divergence times of taxonomic groups undergoing evolutionary radiation are much older than the groups' first observed fossil record. Mathematical models of branching evolution are used to estimate the maximal rate of fossil preservation consistent with a postulated missing history, given the sum of species durations implied by early origins under a range of species origination and extinction rates. The plausibility of postulated divergence times depends on origination, extinction, and preservation rates estimated from the fossil record. For eutherian mammals, this approach suggests that it is unlikely that many modern orders arose much earlier than their oldest fossil records.

  9. Where and How Are Roads Endangering Mammals in Southeast Asia's Forests?

    PubMed Central

    Clements, Gopalasamy Reuben; Lynam, Antony J.; Gaveau, David; Yap, Wei Lim; Lhota, Stanislav; Goosem, Miriam; Laurance, Susan; Laurance, William F.

    2014-01-01

    Habitat destruction and overhunting are two major drivers of mammal population declines and extinctions in tropical forests. The construction of roads can be a catalyst for these two threats. In Southeast Asia, the impacts of roads on mammals have not been well-documented at a regional scale. Before evidence-based conservation strategies can be developed to minimize the threat of roads to endangered mammals within this region, we first need to locate where and how roads are contributing to the conversion of their habitats and illegal hunting in each country. We interviewed 36 experts involved in mammal research from seven Southeast Asian countries to identify roads that are contributing the most, in their opinion, to habitat conversion and illegal hunting. Our experts highlighted 16 existing and eight planned roads - these potentially threaten 21% of the 117 endangered terrestrial mammals in those countries. Apart from gathering qualitative evidence from the literature to assess their claims, we demonstrate how species-distribution models, satellite imagery and animal-sign surveys can be used to provide quantitative evidence of roads causing impacts by (1) cutting through habitats where endangered mammals are likely to occur, (2) intensifying forest conversion, and (3) contributing to illegal hunting and wildlife trade. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to identify specific roads threatening endangered mammals in Southeast Asia. Further through highlighting the impacts of roads, we propose 10 measures to limit road impacts in the region. PMID:25521297

  10. A new symmetrodont mammal from China and its implications for mammalian evolution.

    PubMed

    Hu, Y; Wang, Y; Luo, Z; Li, C

    1997-11-13

    A new symmetrodont mammal has been discovered in the Mesozoic era (Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous period) of Liaoning Province, China. Archaic therian mammals, including symmetrodonts, are extinct relatives of the living marsupial and placental therians. However, these archaic therians have been mostly documented by fragmentary fossils. This newfossil taxon, represented by a nearly complete postcranial skeleton and a partial skull with dentition, is the best-preserved symmetrodont mammal yet discovered. It provides a new insight into the relationships of the major lineages of mammals and the evolution of the mammalian skeleton. Our analysis suggests that this new taxon represents a part of the early therian radiation before the divergence of living marsupials and placentals; that therians and multituberculates are more closely related to each other than either group is to other mammalian lineages; that archaic therians lacked the more parasagittal posture of the forelimb of most living therian mammals; and that archaic therians, such as symmetrodonts, retained the primitive feature of a finger-like promontorium (possibly with a straight cochlea) of the non-therian mammals. The fully coiled cochlea evolved later in more derived therian mammals, and is therefore convergent to the partially coiled cochlea of monotremes.

  11. Where and how are roads endangering mammals in Southeast Asia's forests?

    PubMed

    Clements, Gopalasamy Reuben; Lynam, Antony J; Gaveau, David; Yap, Wei Lim; Lhota, Stanislav; Goosem, Miriam; Laurance, Susan; Laurance, William F

    2014-01-01

    Habitat destruction and overhunting are two major drivers of mammal population declines and extinctions in tropical forests. The construction of roads can be a catalyst for these two threats. In Southeast Asia, the impacts of roads on mammals have not been well-documented at a regional scale. Before evidence-based conservation strategies can be developed to minimize the threat of roads to endangered mammals within this region, we first need to locate where and how roads are contributing to the conversion of their habitats and illegal hunting in each country. We interviewed 36 experts involved in mammal research from seven Southeast Asian countries to identify roads that are contributing the most, in their opinion, to habitat conversion and illegal hunting. Our experts highlighted 16 existing and eight planned roads - these potentially threaten 21% of the 117 endangered terrestrial mammals in those countries. Apart from gathering qualitative evidence from the literature to assess their claims, we demonstrate how species-distribution models, satellite imagery and animal-sign surveys can be used to provide quantitative evidence of roads causing impacts by (1) cutting through habitats where endangered mammals are likely to occur, (2) intensifying forest conversion, and (3) contributing to illegal hunting and wildlife trade. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to identify specific roads threatening endangered mammals in Southeast Asia. Further through highlighting the impacts of roads, we propose 10 measures to limit road impacts in the region.

  12. Sex control in mammals.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharya, B C

    1958-01-01

    As a step toward control of sex of offspring in mammals, a method for separation of X- and Y-chromosome sperm, based on the differing specific gravity of the 2 types, is described. Sperm sinking to the bottom of an appropriate viscous medium are predominantly the denser X-Chromosome sperm. 99 female rabbits were inseminated with sperm that had been suspended for 24 hours in colloidial media: 38 females received sperm taken from the bottom of a dense medium, and 61 received sperm drawn from the top of a lighter medium. Only 18.2% of the does became pregnant, probably due to insufficient concentration of sperm. Offspring of 4 does impregnated with the lightest fraction were 85.7% male offspring of 7 does impregnated with the heaviest fraction were 77.3% female (vs. 48.2% normal female sex raio; p less than .05). For 7 does impregnanted with sperm taken from nearer the middle of the medium, offspring were 51.7% male.

  13. Major Patterns in the History of Carnivorous Mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Valkenburgh, Blaire

    The history of carnivorous mammals is characterized by a series of rise-and-fall patterns of diversification in which declining clades are replaced by phylogenetically distinct but functionally similar clades. Seven such examples from the last 46 million years are described for North America and Eurasia. In three of the seven turnover events, competition with replacement taxa may have driven the decline of formerly dominant taxa. In the remaining four this is less likely because inferred functional similarity was minimal during the interval of temporal overlap between clades. However, competition still may have been important in producing the rise-and-fall pattern through suppression of evolution within replacement taxa; as long as the large carnivore ecospace was filled, the radiation of new taxa into that ecospace was limited, only occurring after the extinction of the incumbents. The apparently inevitable decline of incumbent taxa may reflect the tendency for clades of large carnivorous mammals to produce more specialized species as they mature, leading to increased vulnerability to extinction when environments change.

  14. Millennial-scale faunal record reveals differential resilience of European large mammals to human impacts across the Holocene.

    PubMed

    Crees, Jennifer J; Carbone, Chris; Sommer, Robert S; Benecke, Norbert; Turvey, Samuel T

    2016-03-30

    The use of short-term indicators for understanding patterns and processes of biodiversity loss can mask longer-term faunal responses to human pressures. We use an extensive database of approximately 18,700 mammalian zooarchaeological records for the last 11,700 years across Europe to reconstruct spatio-temporal dynamics of Holocene range change for 15 large-bodied mammal species. European mammals experienced protracted, non-congruent range losses, with significant declines starting in some species approximately 3000 years ago and continuing to the present, and with the timing, duration and magnitude of declines varying individually between species. Some European mammals became globally extinct during the Holocene, whereas others experienced limited or no significant range change. These findings demonstrate the relatively early onset of prehistoric human impacts on postglacial biodiversity, and mirror species-specific patterns of mammalian extinction during the Late Pleistocene. Herbivores experienced significantly greater declines than carnivores, revealing an important historical extinction filter that informs our understanding of relative resilience and vulnerability to human pressures for different taxa. We highlight the importance of large-scale, long-term datasets for understanding complex protracted extinction processes, although the dynamic pattern of progressive faunal depletion of European mammal assemblages across the Holocene challenges easy identification of 'static' past baselines to inform current-day environmental management and restoration.

  15. Farewell to life on land - thoracic strength as a new indicator to determine paleoecology in secondary aquatic mammals.

    PubMed

    Ando, Konami; Fujiwara, Shin-Ichi

    2016-12-01

    Habitat shifts from land to water have occurred independently in several mammal lineages. However, because we do not know completely about the relationship between skeletal morphology and function, both reliable life reconstructions of each extinct taxon and the timing of those shifts in locomotor strategies are yet to be fully understood. We estimated the strengths of rib cages against vertical compression in 26 extant and four extinct mammal specimens including cetartiodactyls, paenungulates, and carnivorans, representing 11 terrestrial, six semi-aquatic, and nine obligate aquatic taxa. Our analyses of extant taxa showed that strengths were high among terrestrial/semi-aquatic mammals, whose rib cages are subjected to vertical compression during the support on land, whereas strengths were low among obligate aquatic mammals, whose rib cages are not subjected to antigravity force in the water. We therefore propose rib strength as a new index to estimate the ability of an animal to be supported on land while being supported by either the forelimbs or thoracic region. According to our analyses of extinct taxa, this ability to be supported on land was rejected for a basal cetacean (Cetartiodactyla: Ambulocetus) and two desmostylians (Paenungulata: Paleoparadoxia and Neoparadoxia). However, this ability was not rejected for one desmostylian species (Desmostylus). Further study of the ribs of extant/extinct semi-aquatic taxa may help in understanding the ecological shifts in these groups.

  16. Millennial-scale faunal record reveals differential resilience of European large mammals to human impacts across the Holocene

    PubMed Central

    Crees, Jennifer J.; Carbone, Chris; Sommer, Robert S.; Benecke, Norbert; Turvey, Samuel T.

    2016-01-01

    The use of short-term indicators for understanding patterns and processes of biodiversity loss can mask longer-term faunal responses to human pressures. We use an extensive database of approximately 18 700 mammalian zooarchaeological records for the last 11 700 years across Europe to reconstruct spatio-temporal dynamics of Holocene range change for 15 large-bodied mammal species. European mammals experienced protracted, non-congruent range losses, with significant declines starting in some species approximately 3000 years ago and continuing to the present, and with the timing, duration and magnitude of declines varying individually between species. Some European mammals became globally extinct during the Holocene, whereas others experienced limited or no significant range change. These findings demonstrate the relatively early onset of prehistoric human impacts on postglacial biodiversity, and mirror species-specific patterns of mammalian extinction during the Late Pleistocene. Herbivores experienced significantly greater declines than carnivores, revealing an important historical extinction filter that informs our understanding of relative resilience and vulnerability to human pressures for different taxa. We highlight the importance of large-scale, long-term datasets for understanding complex protracted extinction processes, although the dynamic pattern of progressive faunal depletion of European mammal assemblages across the Holocene challenges easy identification of ‘static’ past baselines to inform current-day environmental management and restoration. PMID:27009229

  17. Pelagic larval duration predicts extinction risk in a freshwater fish clade.

    PubMed

    Douglas, Morgan; Keck, Benjamin P; Ruble, Crystal; Petty, Melissa; Shute, J R; Rakes, Patrick; Hulsey, C Darrin

    2013-01-01

    Pelagic larval duration (PLD) can influence evolutionary processes ranging from dispersal to extinction in aquatic organisms. Using estimates of PLD obtained from species of North American darters (Percidae: Etheostomatinae), we demonstrate that this freshwater fish clade exhibits surprising variation in PLD. Comparative analyses provide some evidence that higher stream gradients favour the evolution of shorter PLD. Additionally, similar to patterns in the marine fossil record in which lower PLD is associated with greater extinction probability, we found a reduced PLD in darter lineages was evolutionarily associated with extinction risk. Understanding the causes and consequences of PLD length could lead to better management and conservation of organisms in our increasingly imperiled aquatic environments.

  18. The stratigraphy of mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, Steven

    2015-04-01

    The discovery of the end-Cretaceous bolide impact and the recognition of mass extinctions through taxonomic compendia triggered keen interest in the stratigraphic pattern of species extinctions. A principal question has been whether patterns of fossil occurrence indicate gradual, stepwise, pulsed, or instantaneous extinction. Based on principles of sequence stratigraphy, marine ecology, and evolution, numerical models of fossil occurrences in stratigraphic sections indicate that the last occurrence of fossils does not generally indicate the time of extinction but is instead controlled by stratigraphic architecture. These models have been confirmed in multiple field studies from different sedimentary basins of different ages. These models identify several distinct processes controlling the last occurrence of fossils. Anything that lowers the probability of collection of a species, such as peak abundance or environmental tolerance, causes the last occurrence to be shifted backward in time relative to the time of extinction. Sequence-bounding subaerial unconformities generally also force the last occurrence backward in time, except in the case of reworking, which may place fossil remains in rocks younger than the time of extinction. Unconformities also cause last occurrences of multiple species to be clustered as a result of the hiatus. Surfaces of abrupt facies change, such as flooding surfaces and surfaces of forced regression, also cause last occurrences to be clustered, with such clustering reflecting the environmental preferences of species. Stratigraphic condensation can also cause clustering of last occurrences. All of these surfaces - subaerial unconformities, flooding surfaces, surfaces of forced regression, and condensed horizons - have highly predictable positions with depositional sequences. Thus, it is the normal expectation that last occurrences should be clustered in the fossil record, that these clusters should occur in stratigraphically predictable

  19. Thermal Transgressions and Phanerozoic Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Worsley, T. R.; Kidder, D. L.

    2007-12-01

    A number of significant Phanerozoic extinctions are associated with marine transgressions that were probably driven by rapid ocean warming. The conditions associated with what we call thermal transgressions are extremely stressful to life on Earth. The Earth system setting associated with end-Permian extinction exemplifies an end-member case of our model. The conditions favoring extreme warmth and sea-level increases driven by thermal expansion are also conducive to changes in ocean circulation that foster widespread anoxia and sulfidic subsurface ocean waters. Equable climates are characterized by reduced wind shear and weak surface ocean circulation. Late Permian and Early Triassic thermohaline circulation differs considerably from today's world, with minimal polar sinking and intensified mid-latitude sinking that delivers sulfate from shallow evaporative areas to deeper water where it is reduced to sulfide. Reduced nutrient input to oceans from land at many of the extinction intervals results from diminished silicate weathering and weakened delivery of iron via eolian dust. The falloff in iron-bearing dust leads to minimal nitrate production, weakening food webs and rendering faunas and floras more susceptible to extinction when stressed. Factors such as heat, anoxia, ocean acidification, hypercapnia, and hydrogen sulfide poisoning would significantly affect these biotas. Intervals of tectonic quiescence set up preconditions favoring extinctions. Reductions in chemical silicate weathering lead to carbon dioxide buildup, oxygen drawdown, nutrient depletion, wind and ocean current abatement, long-term global warming, and ocean acidification. The effects of extinction triggers such as large igneous provinces, bolide impacts, and episodes of sudden methane release are more potent against the backdrop of our proposed preconditions. Extinctions that have characteristics we call for in the thermal transgressions include the Early Cambrian Sinsk event, as well as

  20. Late Quaternary Megafaunal Extinctions in Northern Eurasia: Latest Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stuart, Anthony

    2010-05-01

    Anthony J. Stuart1 & Adrian M. Lister2 1 Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Email: tony.s@megafauna.org.uk 2 Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK. Email: a.lister@nhm.ac.uk. The global extinction of many spectacular species of megafauna (large terrestrial mammals, together with a few large reptiles and birds) within the last c. 50,000 years (Late Quaternary) has been attributed on the one hand to ‘overkill' by human hunters and on the other to environmental change. However, in spite of more than half a century of active interest and research the issue remains unresolved, largely because there are insufficient dated records of megafaunal species for most parts of the world. Northern Eurasia is an especially fruitful region in which to research megafaunal extinctions as it has a wealth of megafaunal material and crucially most extinctions occurred well within the range of radiocarbon dating. Our approach, in a series of projects over the last decade funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), involves amassing radiocarbon dates made directly on megafaunal material from across the entire region: a) by submitting a substantial number of samples (so far c. 500 dates) for AMS dating at Oxford (ORAU); b) obtaining AMS dates from colleagues working on aDNA projects; and c) carefully screening (‘auditing') dates from the literature. The dates (calibrated using OxCal) are plotted as time-sliced maps and as chronological/geographical charts. In our previous work we targeted a range of extinct species from Northern Eurasia: woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, giant deer, cave bear (in collaboration with Martina Pacher), cave lion, and spotted hyaena (which survives today only in Sub-Saharan Africa). By this means we have established a reliable chronology for these extinctions which we are able to compare with the climatic, vegetational and

  1. Paracoccidioides brasiliensis Infection in Small Wild Mammals.

    PubMed

    Sbeghen, Mônica Raquel; Zanata, Thais Bastos; Macagnan, Rafaela; de Abreu, Kaue Cachuba; da Cunha, Willian Luiz; Watanabe, Maria Angelica Ehara; de Camargo, Zoilo Pires; Ono, Mario Augusto

    2015-12-01

    Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis prevalent in Brazil and other Latin American countries. The etiological agents of PCM are the thermo-dimorphic fungi Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and P. lutzii. Taking into account that the natural habitat of Paracoccidioides spp. is still undefined, domestic and wild animals could be useful as indicators of Paracoccidioides spp. presence in endemic areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate the infection of small wild mammals by P. brasiliensis in an endemic area for human PCM. Samples from 38 wild mammals from different species such as Akodon sp., Thaptomys nigrita, Euryoryzomys russatus, Oligoryzomys nigripes, Monodelphis sp., Sooretamys angouya, Abrawayaomys angouya, Abrawayaomys ruschii and Akodontinae sp. were evaluated by ELISA, immunodiffusion, histopathology, nested PCR and culture. The overall positivity to gp43 observed in the ELISA was 23.7%. Samples from heart and liver of one O. nigripes were PCR positive, and the animal was also seropositive to gp43 in ELISA. This study showed that wild animals living in endemic areas for PCM are infected with P. brasiliensis and can be valuable epidemiological markers of the fungus presence in the environment. This is the first evidence of PCM infection in Akodon sp., E. russatus, T. nigrita and O. nigripes.

  2. 75 FR 76399 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-08

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XZ66 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Marine Fisheries Service. BILLING CODE 3510-22-P...

  3. Contrasting coloration in terrestrial mammals

    PubMed Central

    Caro, Tim

    2008-01-01

    Here I survey, collate and synthesize contrasting coloration in 5000 species of terrestrial mammals focusing on black and white pelage. After briefly reviewing alternative functional hypotheses for coloration in mammals, I examine nine colour patterns and combinations on different areas of the body and for each mammalian taxon to try to identify the most likely evolutionary drivers of contrasting coloration. Aposematism and perhaps conspecific signalling are the most consistent explanations for black and white pelage in mammals; background matching may explain white pelage. Evidence for contrasting coloration is being involved in crypsis through pattern blending, disruptive coloration or serving other functions, such as signalling dominance, lures, reducing eye glare or in temperature regulation has barely moved beyond anecdotal stages of investigation. Sexual dichromatism is limited in this taxon and its basis is unclear. Astonishingly, the functional significance of pelage coloration in most large charismatic black and white mammals that were new to science 150 years ago still remains a mystery. PMID:18990666

  4. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals Andreas...large, freely diving whales. We wanted to study physiological responses during diving in free-ranging, deep diving cetaceans. The idea was to measure...contain a sensor to be implanted into the muscle. The logger will collect physiological data from muscle tissue in freely diving marine mammals. The

  5. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-09-30

    isobestic point, the point where the spectra cross over (see below). Data from 5 marine mammal species (killer whale , 5 beluga whale , pilot whale ...spectra of HbO2 and HbR in several species of marine mammals (orcas, short-finned pilot whales , belugas , and northern elephant seals) and compare these...large, freely diving whales . We intend to use this data logger to measure muscle O2 saturation and determine how blood flow to muscle is altered during

  6. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Marine mammals. 14.18 Section 14.18....18 Marine mammals. Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who has lawfully taken a marine mammal on the high seas and who is authorized to import such marine mammal in...

  7. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Marine mammals. 14.18 Section 14.18....18 Marine mammals. Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who has lawfully taken a marine mammal on the high seas and who is authorized to import such marine mammal in...

  8. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Marine mammals. 14.18 Section 14.18....18 Marine mammals. Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who has lawfully taken a marine mammal on the high seas and who is authorized to import such marine mammal in...

  9. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ....18 Marine mammals. Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who has lawfully taken a marine mammal on the high seas and who is authorized to import such marine mammal in accordance... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Marine mammals. 14.18 Section...

  10. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ....18 Marine mammals. Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who has lawfully taken a marine mammal on the high seas and who is authorized to import such marine mammal in accordance... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Marine mammals. 14.18 Section...

  11. The extinction of the dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Butler, Richard J; Barrett, Paul M; Carrano, Matthew T; Evans, David C; Lloyd, Graeme T; Mannion, Philip D; Norell, Mark A; Peppe, Daniel J; Upchurch, Paul; Williamson, Thomas E

    2015-05-01

    Non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, geologically coincident with the impact of a large bolide (comet or asteroid) during an interval of massive volcanic eruptions and changes in temperature and sea level. There has long been fervent debate about how these events affected dinosaurs. We review a wealth of new data accumulated over the past two decades, provide updated and novel analyses of long-term dinosaur diversity trends during the latest Cretaceous, and discuss an emerging consensus on the extinction's tempo and causes. Little support exists for a global, long-term decline across non-avian dinosaur diversity prior to their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. However, restructuring of latest Cretaceous dinosaur faunas in North America led to reduced diversity of large-bodied herbivores, perhaps making communities more susceptible to cascading extinctions. The abruptness of the dinosaur extinction suggests a key role for the bolide impact, although the coarseness of the fossil record makes testing the effects of Deccan volcanism difficult.

  12. Flood basalts and extinction events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, Richard B.

    1993-01-01

    The largest known effusive eruptions during the Cenozoic and Mesozoic Eras, the voluminous flood basalts, have long been suspected as being associated with major extinctions of biotic species. Despite the possible errors attached to the dates in both time series of events, the significance level of the suspected correlation is found here to be 1 percent to 4 percent. Statistically, extinctions lag eruptions by a mean time interval that is indistinguishable from zero, being much less than the average residual derived from the correlation analysis. Oceanic flood basalts, however, must have had a different biological impact, which is still uncertain owing to the small number of known examples and differing physical factors. Although not all continental flood basalts can have produced major extinction events, the noncorrelating eruptions may have led to smaller marine extinction events that terminated at least some of the less catastrophically ending geologic stages. Consequently, the 26 Myr quasi-periodicity seen in major marine extinctions may be only a sampling effect, rather than a manifestation of underlying periodicity.

  13. Flood basalts and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morgan, W. Jason

    1988-01-01

    There appears to be a correlation between the times of flood basalts and mass-extinction events. There is a correlation of flood basalts and hotspot tracks--flood basalts appear to mark the beginning of a new hotspot. Perhaps there is an initial instability in the mantle that bursts forth as a flood basalt but then becomes a steady trickle that persists for many tens of millions of years. Suppose that flood basalts and not impacts cause the environmental changes that lead to mass-extinctions. This is a very testable hypothesis: it predicts that the ages of the flows should agree exactly with the times of extinctions. The Deccan and K-T ages agree with this hypothesis; An iridium anomaly at extinction boundaries apparently can be explained by a scaled-up eruption of the Hawaiian type; the occurrence of shocked-quartz is more of a problem. However if the flood basalts are all well dated and their ages indeed agree with extinction times, then surely some mechanism to appropriately produce shocked-quartz will be found.

  14. Quaternary climate change and the geographic ranges of mammals.

    PubMed

    Davies, T Jonathan; Purvis, Andy; Gittleman, John L

    2009-09-01

    A species' range can be a proxy for its ecological well-being. Species with small and shrinking range distributions are particularly vulnerable to extinction. Future climate change scenarios are predicted to affect species' geographical extents, but data on how species' distributions respond to changing climate are largely anecdotal, and our understanding of the determinants and limits to species geographic ranges is surprisingly poor. Here we show that mammal species in more historically variable environments have larger geographical ranges. However, the relationship between range size and long-term climate trends cannot be explained by variation in our estimates of habitat specificity. We suggest that large oscillations in Quaternary temperatures may have shaped the contemporary distribution of range sizes via the selective extirpation of small-ranged species during glacial expansion and/or recolonization by good dispersers after glacial retreats. The effect of current climate change on species' distributions and extinctions may therefore be determined by the geographical coincidence between historical and future climate scenarios, the "mesh size" of the extinction/dispersal filter imposed by past climate change, and whether similar ecological and evolutionary responses to historical climatic change are appropriate in an increasingly transformed and fragmented landscape.

  15. Post-Jurassic mammal-like reptile from the Palaeocene.

    PubMed

    Fox, R C; Youzwyshyn, G P; Krause, D W

    1992-07-16

    Mammal-like reptiles of the order Therapsida document the emergence of mammals from more primitive synapsids and are of unique zoological and palaeontological interest on that account. Therapsids, first appearing in the Early Permian, were thought to become extinct in the Middle Jurassic, soon after the Late Triassic origin of mammals. Here, however, we report the discovery of a therapsid from the late Palaeocene, 100 million years younger than the youngest previous occurrence of the order. This discovery nearly doubles the stratigraphic range of therapsids and furnishes their first record from the Cenozoic. The documenting fossils, an incomplete dentary containing three teeth, and four isolated teeth from other, conspecific individuals (Fig. 1), are from the Paskapoo Formation, at Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, from beds yielding a diverse mammalian fauna of early Tiffanian age. These specimens are catalogued in the collections of the University of Alberta Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology (UALVP) and provide the basis for a new taxon, as named and described below: (see text)

  16. Geomolecular Dating and the Origin of Placental Mammals.

    PubMed

    Phillips, Matthew J

    2016-05-01

    In modern evolutionary divergence analysis the role of geological information extends beyond providing a timescale, to informing molecular rate variation across the tree. Here I consider the implications of this development. I use fossil calibrations to test the accuracy of models of molecular rate evolution for placental mammals, and reveal substantial misspecification associated with life history rate correlates. Adding further calibrations to reduce dating errors at specific nodes unfortunately tends to transfer underlying rate errors to adjacent branches. Thus, tight calibration across the tree is vital to buffer against rate model errors. I argue that this must include allowing maximum bounds to be tight when good fossil records permit, otherwise divergences deep in the tree will tend to be inflated by the interaction of rate errors and asymmetric confidence in minimum and maximum bounds. In the case of placental mammals I sought to reduce the potential for transferring calibration and rate model errors across the tree by focusing on well-supported calibrations with appropriately conservative maximum bounds. The resulting divergence estimates are younger than others published recently, and provide the long-anticipated molecular signature for the placental mammal radiation observed in the fossil record near the 66 Ma Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

  17. 50 CFR 18.25 - Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal... IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE AND PLANTS (CONTINUED) MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 18.25 Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products. (a) The provisions of the Act and these regulations shall not apply:...

  18. 50 CFR 18.25 - Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 8 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal... IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE AND PLANTS (CONTINUED) MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 18.25 Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products. (a) The provisions of the Act and these regulations shall not apply:...

  19. 50 CFR 18.25 - Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 6 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal... IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE AND PLANTS (CONTINUED) MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 18.25 Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products. (a) The provisions of the Act and these regulations shall not apply:...

  20. 50 CFR 18.25 - Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal... IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE AND PLANTS (CONTINUED) MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 18.25 Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products. (a) The provisions of the Act and these regulations shall not apply:...

  1. 50 CFR 18.25 - Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal... IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE AND PLANTS (CONTINUED) MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 18.25 Exempted marine mammals or marine mammal products. (a) The provisions of the Act and these regulations shall not apply:...

  2. Retrieval and Reconsolidation Accounts of Fear Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ponnusamy, Ravikumar; Zhuravka, Irina; Poulos, Andrew M.; Shobe, Justin; Merjanian, Michael; Huang, Jeannie; Wolvek, David; O’Neill, Pia-Kelsey; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2016-01-01

    Extinction is the primary mode for the treatment of anxiety disorders. However, extinction memories are prone to relapse. For example, fear is likely to return when a prolonged time period intervenes between extinction and a subsequent encounter with the fear-provoking stimulus (spontaneous recovery). Therefore there is considerable interest in the development of procedures that strengthen extinction and to prevent such recovery of fear. We contrasted two procedures in rats that have been reported to cause such deepened extinction. One where extinction begins before the initial consolidation of fear memory begins (immediate extinction) and another where extinction begins after a brief exposure to the consolidated fear stimulus. The latter is thought to open a period of memory vulnerability similar to that which occurs during initial consolidation (reconsolidation update). We also included a standard extinction treatment and a control procedure that reversed the brief exposure and extinction phases. Spontaneous recovery was only found with the standard extinction treatment. In a separate experiment we tested fear shortly after extinction (i.e., within 6 h). All extinction procedures, except reconsolidation update reduced fear at this short-term test. The findings suggest that strengthened extinction can result from alteration in both retrieval and consolidation processes. PMID:27242459

  3. Limitations on K-T mass extinction theories based upon the vertebrate record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Archibald, J. David; Bryant, Laurie J.

    1988-01-01

    Theories of extinction are only as good as the patterns of extinction that they purport to explain. Often such patterns are ignored. For the terminal Cretaceous events, different groups of organisms in different environments show different patterns of extinction that to date cannot be explained by a single causal mechanism. Several patterns of extinction (and/or preservational bias) can be observed for the various groups of vertebrates from the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation and lower Paleocene Tullock Formation in eastern Montana. The taxonomic level at which the percentage of survivals (or extinctions) is calculated will have an effect upon the perception of faunal turnover. In addition to the better known mammals and better publicized dinosaurs, there are almost 60 additional species of reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish in the HELL Creek Formation. Simple arithmetic suggests only 33 percent survival of these vertebrates from the Hell Creek Fm. into the Tullock Fm. A more critical examination of the data shows that almost all Hell Creek species not found in the Tullock are represented in one of the following categories; extremely rare forms, elasmobranch fish that underwent rapid speciation taxa that although not known or rare in the Tullock, are found elsewhere. Each of the categories is largely the result of the following biases: taphonomy, ecological differences, taxonomic artifact paleogeography. The two most important factors appear to be the possible taphonomic biases and the taxonomic artifacts. The extinction patterns among the vertebrates do not appear to be attributable to any single cause, catastrophic or otherwise.

  4. Reconstructing past ecological networks: the reconfiguration of seed-dispersal interactions after megafaunal extinction.

    PubMed

    Pires, Mathias M; Galetti, Mauro; Donatti, Camila I; Pizo, Marco A; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Guimarães, Paulo R

    2014-08-01

    The late Quaternary megafaunal extinction impacted ecological communities worldwide, and affected key ecological processes such as seed dispersal. The traits of several species of large-seeded plants are thought to have evolved in response to interactions with extinct megafauna, but how these extinctions affected the organization of interactions in seed-dispersal systems is poorly understood. Here, we combined ecological and paleontological data and network analyses to investigate how the structure of a species-rich seed-dispersal network could have changed from the Pleistocene to the present and examine the possible consequences of such changes. Our results indicate that the seed-dispersal network was organized into modules across the different time periods but has been reconfigured in different ways over time. The episode of megafaunal extinction and the arrival of humans changed how seed dispersers were distributed among network modules. However, the recent introduction of livestock into the seed-dispersal system partially restored the original network organization by strengthening the modular configuration. Moreover, after megafaunal extinctions, introduced species and some smaller native mammals became key components for the structure of the seed-dispersal network. We hypothesize that such changes in network structure affected both animal and plant assemblages, potentially contributing to the shaping of modern ecological communities. The ongoing extinction of key large vertebrates will lead to a variety of context-dependent rearranged ecological networks, most certainly affecting ecological and evolutionary processes.

  5. Late quaternary extinction of a tree species in eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Jackson, S T; Weng, C

    1999-11-23

    Widespread species- and genus-level extinctions of mammals in North America and Europe occurred during the last deglaciation [16,000-9,000 yr B.P. (by (14)C)], a period of rapid and often abrupt climatic and vegetational change. These extinctions are variously ascribed to environmental change and overkill by human hunters. By contrast, plant extinctions since the Middle Pleistocene are undocumented, suggesting that plant species have been able to respond to environmental changes of the past several glacial/interglacial cycles by migration. We provide evidence from morphological studies of fossil cones and anatomical studies of fossil needles that a now-extinct species of spruce (Picea critchfieldii sp. nov.) was widespread in eastern North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. P. critchfieldii was dominant in vegetation of the Lower Mississippi Valley, and extended at least as far east as western Georgia. P. critchfieldii disappeared during the last deglaciation, and its extinction is not directly attributable to human activities. Similarly widespread plant species may be at risk of extinction in the face of future climate change.

  6. The atmospheric extinction of light

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Stephen W.; Cowley, Michael; Powell, Sean; Carroll, Joshua

    2016-01-01

    An experiment is described that enables students to understand the properties of atmospheric extinction due to Rayleigh scattering. The experiment requires the use of red, green and blue lasers attached to a travelling microscope or similar device. The laser beams are passed through an artificial atmosphere, made from milky water, at varying depths, before impinging on either a light meter or a photodiode integral to a Picotech Dr. DAQ ADC. A plot of measured spectral intensity verses depth reveals the contribution Rayleigh scattering has to the extinction coefficient. For the experiment with the light meter, the extinction coefficients for red, green and blue light in the milky sample of water were 0.27, 0.36 and 0.47 cm-1 respectively and 0.032, 0.037 and 0.092 cm-1 for the Picotech Dr. DAQ ADC.

  7. Infectious Disease, Endangerment, and Extinction

    PubMed Central

    MacPhee, Ross D. E.; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2013-01-01

    Infectious disease, especially virulent infectious disease, is commonly regarded as a cause of fluctuation or decline in biological populations. However, it is not generally considered as a primary factor in causing the actual endangerment or extinction of species. We review here the known historical examples in which disease has, or has been assumed to have had, a major deleterious impact on animal species, including extinction, and highlight some recent cases in which disease is the chief suspect in causing the outright endangerment of particular species. We conclude that the role of disease in historical extinctions at the population or species level may have been underestimated. Recent methodological breakthroughs may lead to a better understanding of the past and present roles of infectious disease in influencing population fitness and other parameters. PMID:23401844

  8. Infectious disease, endangerment, and extinction.

    PubMed

    Macphee, Ross D E; Greenwood, Alex D

    2013-01-01

    Infectious disease, especially virulent infectious disease, is commonly regarded as a cause of fluctuation or decline in biological populations. However, it is not generally considered as a primary factor in causing the actual endangerment or extinction of species. We review here the known historical examples in which disease has, or has been assumed to have had, a major deleterious impact on animal species, including extinction, and highlight some recent cases in which disease is the chief suspect in causing the outright endangerment of particular species. We conclude that the role of disease in historical extinctions at the population or species level may have been underestimated. Recent methodological breakthroughs may lead to a better understanding of the past and present roles of infectious disease in influencing population fitness and other parameters.

  9. Speeding up spontaneous disease extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khasin, Michael

    2012-02-01

    The dynamics of epidemic in a susceptible population is affected both by the random character of interactions between the individuals and by environmental variations. As a consequence, the sizes of the population groups (infected, susceptible, etc.) fluctuate in the course of evolution of the epidemic. In a small community a rare large fluctuation in the number of infected can result in extinction of the disease. We suggest a novel paradigm of controlling the epidemic, where the control field, such as vaccination, is designed to maximize the rate of spontaneous disease extinction. We show that, for a limited-scope vaccination, the optimal vaccination protocol and its impact on the epidemics have universal features: (i) the vaccine must be applied in pulses, (ii) the spontaneous disease extinction is synchronized with the vaccination. We trace this universality to general properties of the response of large fluctuations to external perturbations.

  10. Habituation, latent inhibition, and extinction.

    PubMed

    Jordan, Wesley P; Todd, Travis P; Bucci, David J; Leaton, Robert N

    2015-06-01

    In two conditioned suppression experiments with a latent inhibition (LI) design, we measured the habituation of rats in preexposure, their LI during conditioning, and then extinction over days. In the first experiment, lick suppression, the preexposed group (PE) showed a significant initial unconditioned response (UR) to the target stimulus and significant long-term habituation (LTH) of that response over days. The significant difference between the PE and nonpreexposed (NPE) groups on the first conditioning trial was due solely to the difference in their URs to the conditioned stimulus (CS)-a habituated response (PE) and an unhabituated response (NPE). In the second experiment, bar-press suppression, little UR to the target stimulus was apparent during preexposure, and no detectable LTH. Thus, there was no difference between the PE and NPE groups on the first conditioning trial. Whether the UR to the CS confounds the interpretation of LI (Exp. 1) or not (Exp. 2) can only be known if the UR is measured. In both experiments, LI was observed in acquisition. Also in both experiments, rats that were preexposed and then conditioned to asymptote were significantly more resistant to extinction than were the rats not preexposed. This result contrasts with the consistently reported finding that preexposure either produces less resistance to extinction or has no effect on extinction. The effect of stimulus preexposure survived conditioning to asymptote and was reflected directly in extinction. These two experiments provide a cautionary procedural note for LI experiments and have shown an unexpected extinction effect that may provide new insights into the interpretation of LI.

  11. Extinction risk of soil biota.

    PubMed

    Veresoglou, Stavros D; Halley, John M; Rillig, Matthias C

    2015-11-23

    No species lives on earth forever. Knowing when and why species go extinct is crucial for a complete understanding of the consequences of anthropogenic activity, and its impact on ecosystem functioning. Even though soil biota play a key role in maintaining the functioning of ecosystems, the vast majority of existing studies focus on aboveground organisms. Many questions about the fate of belowground organisms remain open, so the combined effort of theorists and applied ecologists is needed in the ongoing development of soil extinction ecology.

  12. Extinction risk of soil biota

    PubMed Central

    Veresoglou, Stavros D.; Halley, John M.; Rillig, Matthias C.

    2015-01-01

    No species lives on earth forever. Knowing when and why species go extinct is crucial for a complete understanding of the consequences of anthropogenic activity, and its impact on ecosystem functioning. Even though soil biota play a key role in maintaining the functioning of ecosystems, the vast majority of existing studies focus on aboveground organisms. Many questions about the fate of belowground organisms remain open, so the combined effort of theorists and applied ecologists is needed in the ongoing development of soil extinction ecology. PMID:26593272

  13. Star formation and extinct radioactivities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cameron, A. G. W.

    1984-01-01

    An assessment is made of the evidence for the existence of now-extinct radioactivities in primitive solar system material, giving attention to implications for the early stages of sun and solar system formation. The characteristics of possible disturbances in dense molecular clouds which can initiate the formation of cloud cores is discussed, with emphasis on these disturbances able to generate fresh radioactivities. A one-solar mass red giant star on the asymptotic giant branch appears to have been the best candidate to account for the short-lived extinct radioactivities in the early solar system.

  14. The extinction of starlight revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wickramasinghe, N. C.; Jazbi, B.; Hoyle, F.

    1991-12-01

    The rigorous Kerker-Matijevic formulas for light scattering by coaxial double cylinders are used to calculate the extinction properties of hollow organic grains. A size distribution of such particles together with iron whiskers of radii 0.01 micron, silica spheres of radius 0.03 micron and free aromatic molecular clusters comprised of 50-100 atoms yield excellent agreement with data on the extinction of starlight. The mass ratios of silica to organics and of iron to organics are in good accord with cosmic abundance constraints.

  15. Forest losses predict bird extinctions in eastern North America.

    PubMed Central

    Pimm, S L; Askins, R A

    1995-01-01

    Claims that there will be a massive loss of species as tropical forests are cleared are based on the relationship between habitat area and the number of species. Few studies calibrate extinction with habitat reduction. Critics raise doubts about this calibration, noting that there has been extensive clearing of the eastern North American forest, yet only 4 of its approximately 200 bird species have gone extinct. We analyze the distribution of bird species and the timing and extent of forest loss. The forest losses were not concurrent across the region. Based on the maximum extent of forest losses, our calculations predict fewer extinctions than the number observed. At most, there are 28 species of birds restricted to the region. Only these species would be at risk even if all the forests were cleared. Far from providing comfort to those who argue that the current rapid rate of tropical deforestation might cause fewer extinctions than often claimed, our results suggest that the losses may be worse. In contrast to eastern North America, small regions of tropical forest often hold hundreds of endemic bird species. Images Fig. 2 PMID:11607581

  16. Facets of Pavlovian and operant extinction.

    PubMed

    Lattal, K Matthew; Lattal, Kennon A

    2012-05-01

    Research on extinction is of fundamental importance in both Pavlovian and operant approaches to the experimental analysis of learning. Although these approaches are often motivated by different empirical and theoretical questions, extinction has emerged as a research area in which common themes unite the two approaches. In this review, we focus on some common considerations in the analysis of Pavlovian and operant extinction. These include methodological challenges and interpretational issues in analyzing behavior during and after extinction. We consider the different roles that theory has played in the development of research on extinction in these preparations and conclude with some attention to applications of extinction.

  17. Interstellar grains: Effect of inclusions on extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Katyal, N.; Gupta, R.; Vaidya, D. B.

    2011-10-01

    A composite dust grain model which simultaneously explains the observed interstellar extinction, polarization, IR emission and the abundance constraints, is required. We present a composite grain model, which is made up of a host silicate oblate spheroid and graphite inclusions. The interstellar extinction curve is evaluated in the spectral region 3.4-0.1 μm using the extinction efficiencies of composite spheroidal grains for three axial ratios. Extinction curves are computed using the discrete dipole approximation (DDA). The model curves are subsequently compared with the average observed interstellar extinction curve and with an extinction curve derived from the IUE catalogue data.

  18. Complex Admixture Preceded and Followed the Extinction of Wisent in the Wild

    PubMed Central

    Hartmann, Stefanie; Paijmans, Johanna L. A.; Taron, Ulrike; Xenikoudakis, Georgios; Cahill, James A.; Heintzman, Peter D.; Shapiro, Beth; Baryshnikov, Gennady; Bunevich, Aleksei N.; Crees, Jennifer J.; Dobosz, Roland; Manaserian, Ninna; Okarma, Henryk; Tokarska, Małgorzata; Turvey, Samuel T.; Wójcik, Jan M.; Żyła, Waldemar; Szymura, Jacek M.; Hofreiter, Michael

    2017-01-01

    Retracing complex population processes that precede extreme bottlenecks may be impossible using data from living individuals. The wisent (Bison bonasus), Europe’s largest terrestrial mammal, exemplifies such a population history, having gone extinct in the wild but subsequently restored by captive breeding efforts. Using low coverage genomic data from modern and historical individuals, we investigate population processes occurring before and after this extinction. Analysis of aligned genomes supports the division of wisent into two previously recognized subspecies, but almost half of the genomic alignment contradicts this population history as a result of incomplete lineage sorting and admixture. Admixture between subspecies populations occurred prior to extinction and subsequently during the captive breeding program. Admixture with the Bos cattle lineage is also widespread but results from ancient events rather than recent hybridization with domestics. Our study demonstrates the huge potential of historical genomes for both studying evolutionary histories and for guiding conservation strategies. PMID:28007976

  19. Seed Dispersal Anachronisms: Rethinking the Fruits Extinct Megafauna Ate

    PubMed Central

    Guimarães, Paulo R.; Galetti, Mauro; Jordano, Pedro

    2008-01-01

    Background Some neotropical, fleshy-fruited plants have fruits structurally similar to paleotropical fruits dispersed by megafauna (mammals >103 kg), yet these dispersers were extinct in South America 10–15 Kyr BP. Anachronic dispersal systems are best explained by interactions with extinct animals and show impaired dispersal resulting in altered seed dispersal dynamics. Methodology/Principal Findings We introduce an operational definition of megafaunal fruits and perform a comparative analysis of 103 Neotropical fruit species fitting this dispersal mode. We define two megafaunal fruit types based on previous analyses of elephant fruits: fruits 4–10 cm in diameter with up to five large seeds, and fruits >10 cm diameter with numerous small seeds. Megafaunal fruits are well represented in unrelated families such as Sapotaceae, Fabaceae, Solanaceae, Apocynaceae, Malvaceae, Caryocaraceae, and Arecaceae and combine an overbuilt design (large fruit mass and size) with either a single or few (<3 seeds) extremely large seeds or many small seeds (usually >100 seeds). Within-family and within-genus contrasts between megafaunal and non-megafaunal groups of species indicate a marked difference in fruit diameter and fruit mass but less so for individual seed mass, with a significant trend for megafaunal fruits to have larger seeds and seediness. Conclusions/Significance Megafaunal fruits allow plants to circumvent the trade-off between seed size and dispersal by relying on frugivores able to disperse enormous seed loads over long-distances. Present-day seed dispersal by scatter-hoarding rodents, introduced livestock, runoff, flooding, gravity, and human-mediated dispersal allowed survival of megafauna-dependent fruit species after extinction of the major seed dispersers. Megafauna extinction had several potential consequences, such as a scale shift reducing the seed dispersal distances, increasingly clumped spatial patterns, reduced geographic ranges and limited genetic

  20. Endangered and Extinct Radioactivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leising, M. D.

    1993-07-01

    Gamma ray spectroscopy holds great promise for probing nucleosynthesis in individual nucleosynthesis events, via observations of short-lived radioactivity, and for measuring global galactic nucleosynthesis today with detections of longer-lived radioactivity. Many of the astrophysical issues addressed by these observations are precisely those that must be understood in order to interpret observations of extinct radioactivity in meteorites. It was somewhat surprising that the former case was realized first for a Type II supernova, when both 56Co [1] and 57Co [2] were detected in SN 1987A. These provide unprecedented constraints on models of Type II explosions. Live 26Al in the galaxy might come from Type II supernovae and their progenitors, and if this is eventually shown to be the case, can constrain massive star evolution, supernova nucleosynthesis, the galactic Type II supernova rate, and even models of the chemical evolution of the galaxy [3]. Titanium-44 is produced primarily in the alpha-rich freezeout from nuclear statistical equilibrium, possibly in Type Ia [4] and almost certainly in Type II supernovae [5]. The galactic recurrence time of these events is comparable to the 44Ti lifetime, so we expect to be able to see at most a few otherwise unseen 44Ti remnants at any given time. No such remnants have been detected yet [6]. Very simple arguments lead to the expectation that about 4 x 10^-4 M(sub)solar mass of 44Ca are produced per century. The product of the supernova frequency times the 44Ti yield per event must equal this number. Even assuming that only the latest event would be seen, rates in excess of 2 century^-1 are ruled out at >=99% confidence by the gamma ray limits. Only rates less than 0.3 century^-1 are acceptable at >5% confidence, and this means that the yield per event must be >10^-3 M(sub)solar mass to produce the requisite 44Ca. Rates this low are incompatible with current estimates for Type II supernovae and yields this high are also very

  1. Physiological and life history strategies of a fossil large mammal in a resource-limited environment.

    PubMed

    Köhler, Meike; Moyà-Solà, Salvador

    2009-12-01

    Because of their physiological and life history characteristics, mammals exploit adaptive zones unavailable to ectothermic reptiles. Yet, they perform best in energy-rich environments because their high and constant growth rates and their sustained levels of resting metabolism require continuous resource supply. In resource-limited ecosystems such as islands, therefore, reptiles frequently displace mammals because their slow and flexible growth rates and low metabolic rates permit them to operate effectively with low energy flow. An apparent contradiction of this general principle is the long-term persistence of certain fossil large mammals on energy-poor Mediterranean islands. The purpose of the present study is to uncover the developmental and physiological strategies that allowed fossil large mammals to cope with the low levels of resource supply that characterize insular ecosystems. Long-bone histology of Myotragus, a Plio-Pleistocene bovid from the Balearic Islands, reveals lamellar-zonal tissue throughout the cortex, a trait exclusive to ectothermic reptiles. The bone microstructure indicates that Myotragus grew unlike any other mammal but similar to crocodiles at slow and flexible rates, ceased growth periodically, and attained somatic maturity extremely late by approximately 12 years. This developmental pattern denotes that Myotragus, much like extant reptiles, synchronized its metabolic requirements with fluctuating resource levels. Our results suggest that developmental and physiological plasticity was crucial to the survival of this and, perhaps, other large mammals on resource-limited Mediterranean Islands, yet it eventually led to their extinction through a major predator, Homo sapiens.

  2. Blood flow to long bones indicates activity metabolism in mammals, reptiles and dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Seymour, Roger S.; Smith, Sarah L.; White, Craig R.; Henderson, Donald M.; Schwarz-Wings, Daniela

    2012-01-01

    The cross-sectional area of a nutrient foramen of a long bone is related to blood flow requirements of the internal bone cells that are essential for dynamic bone remodelling. Foramen area increases with body size in parallel among living mammals and non-varanid reptiles, but is significantly larger in mammals. An index of blood flow rate through the foramina is about 10 times higher in mammals than in reptiles, and even higher if differences in blood pressure are considered. The scaling of foramen size correlates well with maximum whole-body metabolic rate during exercise in mammals and reptiles, but less well with resting metabolic rate. This relates to the role of blood flow associated with bone remodelling during and following activity. Mammals and varanid lizards have much higher aerobic metabolic rates and exercise-induced bone remodelling than non-varanid reptiles. Foramen areas of 10 species of dinosaur from five taxonomic groups are generally larger than from mammals, indicating a routinely highly active and aerobic lifestyle. The simple measurement holds possibilities offers the possibility of assessing other groups of extinct and living vertebrates in relation to body size, behaviour and habitat. PMID:21733896

  3. Blood flow to long bones indicates activity metabolism in mammals, reptiles and dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Seymour, Roger S; Smith, Sarah L; White, Craig R; Henderson, Donald M; Schwarz-Wings, Daniela

    2012-02-07

    The cross-sectional area of a nutrient foramen of a long bone is related to blood flow requirements of the internal bone cells that are essential for dynamic bone remodelling. Foramen area increases with body size in parallel among living mammals and non-varanid reptiles, but is significantly larger in mammals. An index of blood flow rate through the foramina is about 10 times higher in mammals than in reptiles, and even higher if differences in blood pressure are considered. The scaling of foramen size correlates well with maximum whole-body metabolic rate during exercise in mammals and reptiles, but less well with resting metabolic rate. This relates to the role of blood flow associated with bone remodelling during and following activity. Mammals and varanid lizards have much higher aerobic metabolic rates and exercise-induced bone remodelling than non-varanid reptiles. Foramen areas of 10 species of dinosaur from five taxonomic groups are generally larger than from mammals, indicating a routinely highly active and aerobic lifestyle. The simple measurement holds possibilities offers the possibility of assessing other groups of extinct and living vertebrates in relation to body size, behaviour and habitat.

  4. The Western North American Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary interval and its content of shock-metamorphosed minerals: Implications concerning the K-T boundary impact-extinction theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Izett, G. A.

    1988-01-01

    At 20 sites in the Raton Basin of Colorado and New Mexico, and at several other sites in Wyoming, Montana, and Canada, a pair of claystone units, an Ir abundance anomaly, and a concentration of shock-metamorphosed minerals mark the palynological K-T boundary. The K-T boundary claystone, which is composed of kaolinite and small amounts of illite/smectite mixed-layer clay, is similar in most respects to kaolinite tonstein layers in coal beds. At some, but not all, K-T boundary localities, the boundary claystone contains solid kaolinite and hollow and solid goyazite spherules, 0.05 to 1.2 mm in diameter. The upper unit, the K-T boundary impact layer, consists chiefly of kaolinite and various amounts of illite/smectite mixed-layer clay. The impact layer and boundary claystone are similar chemically, except that the former has slightly more Fe, K, Ba, Cr, Cu, Li, V, and Zn than the latter. The facts that the boundary claystone and impact layer contain anomalous amounts of Ir, comprise a stratigraphic couplet at Western North American sites, and form thin, discrete layers, similar to air-fall units (volcanic or impact), suggest that the claystone units are of impact origin. Significantly, the impact layer contains as much as 2 percent clastic mineral grains, about 30 percent of which contain multiple sets of shock lamellae. Only one such concentration of shocked minerals has been found near the K-T boundary. The type of K-T boundary shock-metamorphosed materials (quartzite and metaquartzite) in the impact layer and the lack of shock lamellae in quartz and feldspar of pumice lapilli and granitic xenoliths in air-fall pumice units of silicic tuffs, such as the Bishop Tuff, eliminate the possibility that the shock-metamorphosed minerals in the K-T impact layer are of volcanic origin. The global size distribution and abundance of shock-metamorphosed mineral grains suggest that the K-T impact occurred in North America.

  5. Threat to the point: improving the value of comparative extinction risk analysis for conservation action.

    PubMed

    Murray, Kris A; Verde Arregoitia, Luis D; Davidson, Ana; Di Marco, Moreno; Di Fonzo, Martina M I

    2014-02-01

    Comparative extinction risk analysis is a common approach for assessing the relative plight of biodiversity and making conservation recommendations. However, the usefulness of such analyses for conservation practice has been questioned. One reason for underperformance may be that threats arising from global environmental changes (e.g., habitat loss, invasive species, climate change) are often overlooked, despite being widely regarded as proximal drivers of species' endangerment. We explore this problem by (i) reviewing the use of threats in this field and (ii) quantitatively investigating the effects of threat exclusion on the interpretation and potential application of extinction risk model results. We show that threat variables are routinely (59%) identified as significant predictors of extinction risk, yet while most studies (78%) include extrinsic factors of some kind (e.g., geographic or bioclimatic information), the majority (63%) do not include threats. Despite low overall usage, studies are increasingly employing threats to explain patterns of extinction risk. However, most continue to employ methods developed for the analysis of heritable traits (e.g., body size, fecundity), which may be poorly suited to the treatment of nonheritable predictors including threats. In our global mammal and continental amphibian extinction risk case studies, omitting threats reduced model predictive performance, but more importantly (i) reduced mechanistic information relevant to management; (ii) resulted in considerable disagreement in species classifications (12% and 5% for amphibians and mammals, respectively, translating to dozens and hundreds of species); and (iii) caused even greater disagreement (20-60%) in a downstream conservation application (species ranking). We conclude that the use of threats in comparative extinction risk analysis is important and increasing but currently in the early stages of development. Priorities for future studies include improving uptake

  6. Lagenidium giganteum pathogenicity in mammals.

    PubMed

    Vilela, Raquel; Taylor, John W; Walker, Edward D; Mendoza, Leonel

    2015-02-01

    Infections of mammals by species in the phylum Oomycota taxonomically and molecularly similar to known Lagenidium giganteum strains have increased. During 2013-2014, we conducted a phylogenetic study of 21 mammalian Lagenidium isolates; we found that 11 cannot be differentiated from L. giganteum strains that the US Environmental Protection Agency approved for biological control of mosquitoes; these strains were later unregistered and are no longer available. L. giganteum strains pathogenic to mammals formed a strongly supported clade with the biological control isolates, and both types experimentally infected mosquito larvae. However, the strains from mammals grew well at 25°C and 37°C, whereas the biological control strains developed normally at 25°C but poorly at higher temperatures. The emergence of heat-tolerant strains of L. giganteum pathogenic to lower animals and humans is of environmental and public health concern.

  7. Modeling Population Growth and Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gordon, Sheldon P.

    2009-01-01

    The exponential growth model and the logistic model typically introduced in the mathematics curriculum presume that a population grows exclusively. In reality, species can also die out and more sophisticated models that take the possibility of extinction into account are needed. In this article, two extensions of the logistic model are considered,…

  8. Extinction risk and diversification are linked in a plant biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Davies, T Jonathan; Smith, Gideon F; Bellstedt, Dirk U; Boatwright, James S; Bytebier, Benny; Cowling, Richard M; Forest, Félix; Harmon, Luke J; Muasya, A Muthama; Schrire, Brian D; Steenkamp, Yolande; van der Bank, Michelle; Savolainen, Vincent

    2011-05-01

    It is widely recognized that we are entering an extinction event on a scale approaching the mass extinctions seen in the fossil record. Present-day rates of extinction are estimated to be several orders of magnitude greater than background rates and are projected to increase further if current trends continue. In vertebrates, species traits, such as body size, fecundity, and geographic range, are important predictors of vulnerability. Although plants are the basis for life on Earth, our knowledge of plant extinctions and vulnerabilities is lagging. Here, we disentangle the underlying drivers of extinction risk in plants, focusing on the Cape of South Africa, a global biodiversity hotspot. By comparing Red List data for the British and South African floras, we demonstrate that the taxonomic distribution of extinction risk differs significantly between regions, inconsistent with a simple, trait-based model of extinction. Using a comprehensive phylogenetic tree for the Cape, we reveal a phylogenetic signal in the distribution of plant extinction risks but show that the most threatened species cluster within short branches at the tips of the phylogeny--opposite to trends in mammals. From analyzing the distribution of threatened species across 11 exemplar clades, we suggest that mode of speciation best explains the unusual phylogenetic structure of extinction risks in plants of the Cape. Our results demonstrate that explanations for elevated extinction risk in plants of the Cape flora differ dramatically from those recognized for vertebrates. In the Cape, extinction risk is higher for young and fast-evolving plant lineages and cannot be explained by correlations with simple biological traits. Critically, we find that the most vulnerable plant species are nonetheless marching towards extinction at a more rapid pace but, surprisingly, independently from anthropogenic effects. Our results have important implications for conservation priorities and cast doubts on the

  9. Human influence on distribution and extinctions of the late Pleistocene Eurasian megafauna.

    PubMed

    Pushkina, Diana; Raia, Pasquale

    2008-06-01

    Late Pleistocene extinctions are of interest to paleontological and anthropological research. In North America and Australia, human occupation occurred during a short period of time and overexploitation may have led to the extinction of mammalian megafauna. In northern Eurasia megafaunal extinctions are believed to have occurred over a relatively longer period of time, perhaps as a result of changing environmental conditions, but the picture is much less clear. To consider megafaunal extinction in Eurasia, we compare differences in the geographical distribution and commonness of extinct and extant species between paleontological and archaeological localities from the late middle Pleistocene to Holocene. Purely paleontological localities, as well as most extinct species, were distributed north of archaeological sites and of the extant species, suggesting that apart from possible differences in adaptations between humans and other species, humans could also have a detrimental effect on large mammal distribution. However, evidence for human overexploitation applies only to the extinct steppe bison Bison priscus. Other human-preferred species survive into the Holocene, including Rangifer tarandus, Equus ferus, Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus, Equus hemionus, Saiga tatarica, and Sus scrofa. Mammuthus primigenius and Megaloceros giganteus were rare in archaeological sites. Carnivores appear little influenced by human presence, although they become rarer in Holocene archaeological sites. Overall, the data are consistent with the conclusion that humans acted as efficient hunters selecting for the most abundant species. Our study supports the idea that the late Pleistocene extinctions were environmentally driven by climatic changes that triggered habitat fragmentation, species range reduction, and population decrease, after which human interference either by direct hunting or via indirect activities probably became critical.

  10. The late Quaternary extinction and future resurrection of birds on Pacific islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steadman, David W.; Martin, Paul S.

    2003-04-01

    People have lived on tropical Pacific islands over the past 30,000 years (Bismarcks, Solomons) or 3000 to 1000 years (the rest of Oceania). Their activities have led to the loss of many thousands of populations and as many as 2000 species of birds that probably otherwise would exist today. This extinction event is documented by avian fossils from archaeological (cultural) and paleontological (noncultural) sites from nearly 70 islands in 19 island groups. Extinction of birds in Oceania rivals the late Pleistocene loss of large mammals in North America as the best substantiated rapid extinction episode in the vertebrate fossil record. Some avian extinctions in Oceania occurred within a century or less after human arrival, while others required millennia or even tens of millennia. Any of these time frames is rapid in an evolutionary or geochronological sense. Inter-island differences in the speed and extent of extinction can be explained by variation in abiotic (A), biotic (B), and cultural (C) factors. Levels of extinction on large, near islands can be comparable to those on small, remote islands when C factors (such as high human population density and introduction of invasive plants and animals) override A factors (such as large land area or little isolation) or B factors (such as rich indigenous floras and faunas). An innovative, proactive conservation strategy is needed not only to prevent further extinctions of birds in Oceania, but also to restart evolution of some of the lineages that have suffered the most loss, such as flightless rails. This strategy should focus on islands with ABC traits that retard rather than enhance extinction.

  11. Ectoparasites in small exotic mammals.

    PubMed

    Fehr, Michael; Koestlinger, Saskia

    2013-09-01

    Ectoparasites inhabiting the skin are responsible for significant problems in small mammals, owing to ingestion of blood, lymph, sebaceous secretions, and scavenging skin debris, as well as a hypersensitivity reaction to parasite antigen resulting in severe pruritus and subsequent self-trauma-induced lesions. In general practice, the most common diagnosis in exotic pets is an unspecified mite infestation, but other ectoparasites such as lice, fleas, insects, or even helminths may cause dermatologic diseases. If treatment with topical insecticides is planned, the small mammal should be isolated for a few hours to enable drying and spreading of the product.

  12. 76 FR 35995 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation and...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-06-21

    ... Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation and Maintenance of the Neptune Liquefied Natural Gas Facility of Massachusetts; Correction AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS),...

  13. Revisiting black medical school extinctions in the Flexner era.

    PubMed

    Miller, Lynn E; Weiss, Richard M

    2012-04-01

    Abraham Flexner's 1910 exposé on medical education recommended that only two of the seven extant medical schools for blacks be preserved and that they should train their students to "serve their people humbly" as "sanitarians." Addressing charges of racism, this article traces the roots of the recommendation that blacks serve a limited professional role to the schools themselves and presents evidence that, in endorsing the continuance of Howard's and Meharry's medical programs, Flexner exhibited greater leniency than he had toward comparable schools for white students. Whether his recommendations to eliminate the other five schools were key factors in their extinction is addressed here by examining 1901-30 enrollment patterns. Those patterns suggest that actions of the American Medical Association and state licensing boards, combined with the broader problem of limited premedical educational opportunities for blacks, were more consequential than was the Flexner report both for the extinction of the schools and for the curtailed production of black doctors.

  14. Identification of monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors in birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, and purification and characterization of a monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitor from the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana.

    PubMed Central

    Rubenstein, D S; Thøgersen, I B; Pizzo, S V; Enghild, J J

    1993-01-01

    The alpha-macroglobulins are classified as broad-spectrum inhibitors because of their ability to entrap proteinases of different specificities and catalytic class. Tetrameric and dimeric alpha-macroglobulins have been identified in a wide variety of organisms including those as primitive as the mollusc Octopus vulgaris; however, monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors have been previously identified only in rodents. The monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors are believed to be analogous to the evolutionary precursor of the multimeric members of this family exemplified by the tetrameric human alpha 2-macroglobulin. Until now, monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors have only been identified in rodents and have therefore been considered an evolutionary anomaly. However, in this report we have utilized several sensitive assays to screen various plasmas and sera for the presence of monomeric alpha-macroglobulins, and our results suggest that monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors are present in organisms belonging to the avian, reptilian, amphibian and mammalian classes of the chordate phylum. This indicates that these proteins are more widespread than previously recognized and that their presence in rodents is not an anomaly. To demonstrate further that the identified proteins were indeed monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors, we purified the monomeric alpha-macroglobulin from the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana. We conclude that this protein is a monomer of 180 kDa on the basis of its behaviour on (i) pore-limit gel electrophoresis, (ii) non-reducing and reducing SDS/PAGE and (iii) gel-filtration chromatography. In addition, we demonstrate that this protein is an alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitor by virtue of (i) its ability to inhibit proteinases of different catalytic class, (ii) the presence of a putative internal beta-cysteinyl-gamma-glutamyl thioester and (iii) an inhibitory mechanism

  15. Biases in comparative analyses of extinction risk: mind the gap.

    PubMed

    González-Suárez, Manuela; Lucas, Pablo M; Revilla, Eloy

    2012-11-01

    1. Comparative analyses are used to address the key question of what makes a species more prone to extinction by exploring the links between vulnerability and intrinsic species' traits and/or extrinsic factors. This approach requires comprehensive species data but information is rarely available for all species of interest. As a result comparative analyses often rely on subsets of relatively few species that are assumed to be representative samples of the overall studied group. 2. Our study challenges this assumption and quantifies the taxonomic, spatial, and data type biases associated with the quantity of data available for 5415 mammalian species using the freely available life-history database PanTHERIA. 3. Moreover, we explore how existing biases influence results of comparative analyses of extinction risk by using subsets of data that attempt to correct for detected biases. In particular, we focus on links between four species' traits commonly linked to vulnerability (distribution range area, adult body mass, population density and gestation length) and conduct univariate and multivariate analyses to understand how biases affect model predictions. 4. Our results show important biases in data availability with c.22% of mammals completely lacking data. Missing data, which appear to be not missing at random, occur frequently in all traits (14-99% of cases missing). Data availability is explained by intrinsic traits, with larger mammals occupying bigger range areas being the best studied. Importantly, we find that existing biases affect the results of comparative analyses by overestimating the risk of extinction and changing which traits are identified as important predictors. 5. Our results raise concerns over our ability to draw general conclusions regarding what makes a species more prone to extinction. Missing data represent a prevalent problem in comparative analyses, and unfortunately, because data are not missing at random, conventional approaches to fill

  16. Evaluating Extinction Values using Wire Impactor Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    The purpose of the study was to compare the extinctions calculated from data obtained with the Ames Wire Impactor to extinctions measured with the SAGE H satellite system. The comparison was intended to serve as a validation of the extinctions obtained using the wire impactor data. It was felt that if the extinctions obtained by the two diverse methods agreed well, it would be an indication that the number densities measured on the wires were correct.

  17. EARTH SCIENCE: Did Volcanoes Drive Ancient Extinctions?

    PubMed

    Kerr, R A

    2000-08-18

    With the publication in recent weeks of two papers on a mass extinction 183 million years ago, researchers can add five suggestive cases to the list of extinctions with known causes. These extinctions coincide with massive outpourings of lava, accompanied by signs that global warming threw the ocean-atmosphere system out of whack. Although no one can yet pin any of these mass extinctions with certainty on the volcanic eruptions, scientists say it's unlikely that they're all coincidences.

  18. Further Evidence of Auditory Extinction in Aphasia

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marshall, Rebecca Shisler; Basilakos, Alexandra; Love-Myers, Kim

    2013-01-01

    Purpose: Preliminary research ( Shisler, 2005) suggests that auditory extinction in individuals with aphasia (IWA) may be connected to binding and attention. In this study, the authors expanded on previous findings on auditory extinction to determine the source of extinction deficits in IWA. Method: Seventeen IWA (M[subscript age] = 53.19 years)…

  19. The relationship between species detection probability and local extinction probability

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alpizar-Jara, R.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.; Sauer, J.R.; Pollock, K.H.; Rosenberry, C.S.

    2004-01-01

    In community-level ecological studies, generally not all species present in sampled areas are detected. Many authors have proposed the use of estimation methods that allow detection probabilities that are < 1 and that are heterogeneous among species. These methods can also be used to estimate community-dynamic parameters such as species local extinction probability and turnover rates (Nichols et al. Ecol Appl 8:1213-1225; Conserv Biol 12:1390-1398). Here, we present an ad hoc approach to estimating community-level vital rates in the presence of joint heterogeneity of detection probabilities and vital rates. The method consists of partitioning the number of species into two groups using the detection frequencies and then estimating vital rates (e.g., local extinction probabilities) for each group. Estimators from each group are combined in a weighted estimator of vital rates that accounts for the effect of heterogeneity. Using data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, we computed such estimates and tested the hypothesis that detection probabilities and local extinction probabilities were negatively related. Our analyses support the hypothesis that species detection probability covaries negatively with local probability of extinction and turnover rates. A simulation study was conducted to assess the performance of vital parameter estimators as well as other estimators relevant to questions about heterogeneity, such as coefficient of variation of detection probabilities and proportion of species in each group. Both the weighted estimator suggested in this paper and the original unweighted estimator for local extinction probability performed fairly well and provided no basis for preferring one to the other.

  20. The relationship between species detection probability and local extinction probability

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alpizar-Jara, R.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.; Sauer, J.R.; Pollock, K.H.; Rosenberry, C.S.

    2004-01-01

    In community-level ecological studies, generally not all species present in sampled areas are detected. Many authors have proposed the use of estimation methods that allow detection probabilities that are <1 and that are heterogeneous among species. These methods can also be used to estimate community-dynamic parameters such as species local extinction probability and turnover rates (Nichols et al. Ecol Appl 8:1213-1225; Conserv Biol 12:1390-1398). Here, we present an ad hoc approach to estimating community-level vital rates in the presence of joint heterogeneity of detection probabilities and vital rates. The method consists of partitioning the number of species into two groups using the detection frequencies and then estimating vital rates (e.g., local extinction probabilities) for each group. Estimators from each group are combined in a weighted estimator of vital rates that accounts for the effect of heterogeneity. Using data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, we computed such estimates and tested the hypothesis that detection probabilities and local extinction probabilities were negatively related. Our analyses support the hypothesis that species detection probability covaries negatively with local probability of extinction and turnover rates. A simulation study was conducted to assess the performance of vital parameter estimators as well as other estimators relevant to questions about heterogeneity, such as coefficient of variation of detection probabilities and proportion of species in each group. Both the weighted estimator suggested in this paper and the original unweighted estimator for local extinction probability performed fairly well and provided no basis for preferring one to the other.

  1. The imprint of Cenozoic migrations and evolutionary history on the biogeographic gradient of body size in New World mammals.

    PubMed

    Morales-Castilla, Ignacio; Olalla-Tárraga, Miguel Á; Purvis, Andy; Hawkins, Bradford A; Rodríguez, Miguel Á

    2012-08-01

    Ecology, evolution, and historical events all contribute to biogeographic patterns, but studies that integrate them are scarce. Here we focus on how biotic exchanges of mammals during the Late Cenozoic have contributed to current geographic body size patterns. We explore differences in the environmental correlates and phylogenetic patterning of body size between groups of mammals participating and not participating in past biotic exchanges. Both the association of body size with environmental predictors and its phylogenetic signal were stronger for groups that immigrated into North or South America than for indigenous groups. This pattern, which held when extinct clades were included in the analyses, can be interpreted on the basis of the length of time that clades have had to diversify and occupy niche space. Moreover, we identify a role for historical events, such as Cenozoic migrations, in configuring contemporary mammal body size patterns and illustrate where these influences have been strongest for New World mammals.

  2. Extinction in multiple contexts: Effects on the rate of extinction and the strength of response recovery.

    PubMed

    Bustamante, Javier; Uengoer, Metin; Thorwart, Anna; Lachnit, Harald

    2016-09-01

    In two human predictive-learning experiments, we investigated the effects of extinction in multiple contexts on the rate of extinction and the strength of response recovery. In each experiment, participants initially received acquisition training with a target cue in one context, followed by extinction either in a different context (extinction in a single context) or in three different contexts (extinction in multiple contexts). The results of both experiments showed that conducting extinction in multiple contexts led to higher levels of responding during extinction than did extinction in a single context. Additionally, Experiment 2 showed that extinction in multiple contexts prevented ABC renewal but had no detectable impact on ABA renewal. Our results are discussed within the framework of contemporary learning theories of contextual control and extinction.

  3. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-09-30

    complex relationship between ocean noise, bubble injury and marine mammal strandings (http://www.awionline.org/ oceans /Noise/IONC/index.htm). During...first year, testing began using a fiber optic approach. Deoxygenated blood at various dilutions was used to test that the response was linear over the

  4. 75 FR 76399 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-08

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XK54 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Williams, Long Marine Lab, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California at Santa Cruz, 100...: The subject amendment to Permit No. 13602 was requested under the authority of the Marine...

  5. SMALL MAMMAL USE OF MICROHABITAT REVIEWED

    EPA Science Inventory

    Small mammal microhabitat research has greatly influenced vertebrate community ecologists. There exists a "microhabitat paradigm" that states that sympatry among small mammal species is enabled by differential use of microhabitat (i.e., microhabitat partitioning). However, seve...

  6. Darwin and the uses of extinction.

    PubMed

    Beer, Gillian

    2009-01-01

    We currently view extinction with dismay and even horror, but Darwin saw extinction as ordinary and as necessary to evolutionary change. Still, the degree to which extinction is fundamental to his theory is rarely discussed. This essay examines Darwin's linking of the idea of "improvement" with that of natural selection and tracks a cluster of reasons for our changed valuation of extinction now. Those reasons demonstrate how scientific information and ideological preferences have reshaped the concept. The essay challenges the reader to assess some current assumptions about extinction and concludes by considering the shift in Darwin's own understanding from the "Origin" to the late "Autobiography".

  7. The peculiar extinction of Herschel 36

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donn, B.; Hecht, J. H.; Helfer, H. L.; Wolf, J.; Pipher, J. L.

    1982-01-01

    The extinction of Herschel 36 was measured and found to be peculiar in the same sense as that observed in Orion. Following the treatment of Mathis and Wallenhorst, this can be explained by the presence of large silicate and graphite grains than are normally found in the interstellar medium. Correcting the stellar flux for foreground extinction results in a residual extinction curve for the associated dust cloud, with an unusually small normalized extinction (less than 1.0) at 1500 A. This low UV extinction may be due to the effects of scattering by the dust cloud material.

  8. Evaluating Extinction Values Using Wire Impactor Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    The purpose of the study was to compare the extinctions calculated from data obtained with the Ames Wire Impactor to extinctions measured with the SAGE 11 satellite system. The comparison was intended to serve as a validation of the extinctions obtained using the wire impactor data. It was felt that if the extinctions obtained by the two diverse methods agreed well, it would be an indication that the number densities measured on the wires were correct. Tables and charts are presented to show the extinction values from the two different methods.

  9. Mean annual precipitation explains spatiotemporal patterns of Cenozoic mammal beta diversity and latitudinal diversity gradients in North America.

    PubMed

    Fraser, Danielle; Hassall, Christopher; Gorelick, Root; Rybczynski, Natalia

    2014-01-01

    Spatial diversity patterns are thought to be driven by climate-mediated processes. However, temporal patterns of community composition remain poorly studied. We provide two complementary analyses of North American mammal diversity, using (i) a paleontological dataset (2077 localities with 2493 taxon occurrences) spanning 21 discrete subdivisions of the Cenozoic based on North American Land Mammal Ages (36 Ma--present), and (ii) climate space model predictions for 744 extant mammals under eight scenarios of future climate change. Spatial variation in fossil mammal community structure (β diversity) is highest at intermediate values of continental mean annual precipitation (MAP) estimated from paleosols (∼ 450 mm/year) and declines under both wetter and drier conditions, reflecting diversity patterns of modern mammals. Latitudinal gradients in community change (latitudinal turnover gradients, aka LTGs) increase in strength through the Cenozoic, but also show a cyclical pattern that is significantly explained by MAP. In general, LTGs are weakest when continental MAP is highest, similar to modern tropical ecosystems in which latitudinal diversity gradients are weak or undetectable. Projections under modeled climate change show no substantial change in β diversity or LTG strength for North American mammals. Our results suggest that similar climate-mediated mechanisms might drive spatial and temporal patterns of community composition in both fossil and extant mammals. We also provide empirical evidence that the ecological processes on which climate space models are based are insufficient for accurately forecasting long-term mammalian response to anthropogenic climate change and inclusion of historical parameters may be essential.

  10. Faster Speciation and Reduced Extinction in the Tropics Contribute to the Mammalian Latitudinal Diversity Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Rolland, Jonathan; Condamine, Fabien L.; Jiguet, Frederic; Morlon, Hélène

    2014-01-01

    The increase in species richness from the poles to the tropics, referred to as the latitudinal diversity gradient, is one of the most ubiquitous biodiversity patterns in the natural world. Although understanding how rates of speciation and extinction vary with latitude is central to explaining this pattern, such analyses have been impeded by the difficulty of estimating diversification rates associated with specific geographic locations. Here, we use a powerful phylogenetic approach and a nearly complete phylogeny of mammals to estimate speciation, extinction, and dispersal rates associated with the tropical and temperate biomes. Overall, speciation rates are higher, and extinction rates lower, in the tropics than in temperate regions. The diversity of the eight most species-rich mammalian orders (covering 92% of all mammals) peaks in the tropics, except that of the Lagomorpha (hares, rabbits, and pikas) reaching a maxima in northern-temperate regions. Latitudinal patterns in diversification rates are strikingly consistent with these diversity patterns, with peaks in species richness associated with low extinction rates (Primates and Lagomorpha), high speciation rates (Diprotodontia, Artiodactyla, and Soricomorpha), or both (Chiroptera and Rodentia). Rates of range expansion were typically higher from the tropics to the temperate regions than in the other direction, supporting the “out of the tropics” hypothesis whereby species originate in the tropics and disperse into higher latitudes. Overall, these results suggest that differences in diversification rates have played a major role in shaping the modern latitudinal diversity gradient in mammals, and illustrate the usefulness of recently developed phylogenetic approaches for understanding this famous yet mysterious pattern. PMID:24492316

  11. Faster speciation and reduced extinction in the tropics contribute to the Mammalian latitudinal diversity gradient.

    PubMed

    Rolland, Jonathan; Condamine, Fabien L; Jiguet, Frederic; Morlon, Hélène

    2014-01-01

    The increase in species richness from the poles to the tropics, referred to as the latitudinal diversity gradient, is one of the most ubiquitous biodiversity patterns in the natural world. Although understanding how rates of speciation and extinction vary with latitude is central to explaining this pattern, such analyses have been impeded by the difficulty of estimating diversification rates associated with specific geographic locations. Here, we use a powerful phylogenetic approach and a nearly complete phylogeny of mammals to estimate speciation, extinction, and dispersal rates associated with the tropical and temperate biomes. Overall, speciation rates are higher, and extinction rates lower, in the tropics than in temperate regions. The diversity of the eight most species-rich mammalian orders (covering 92% of all mammals) peaks in the tropics, except that of the Lagomorpha (hares, rabbits, and pikas) reaching a maxima in northern-temperate regions. Latitudinal patterns in diversification rates are strikingly consistent with these diversity patterns, with peaks in species richness associated with low extinction rates (Primates and Lagomorpha), high speciation rates (Diprotodontia, Artiodactyla, and Soricomorpha), or both (Chiroptera and Rodentia). Rates of range expansion were typically higher from the tropics to the temperate regions than in the other direction, supporting the "out of the tropics" hypothesis whereby species originate in the tropics and disperse into higher latitudes. Overall, these results suggest that differences in diversification rates have played a major role in shaping the modern latitudinal diversity gradient in mammals, and illustrate the usefulness of recently developed phylogenetic approaches for understanding this famous yet mysterious pattern.

  12. Hydrodynamic Flow Control in Marine Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-05-06

    Hydrodynamic flow control in marine mammals Frank E. Fish,1,* Laurens E. Howle† and Mark M. Murray§ Department of Biology, West Chester University...the flow of water around the body dictates the performance of marine mammals in the aquatic environment. Morphological specializations of marine mammals ...and maneuverability. The morphological features of marine mammals for flow control can be utilized in the biomimetic design of engineered structures

  13. Late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction Consistent With YDB Impact Hypothesis at Younger Dryas Onset

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennett, J. P.; Kennett, D. J.

    2008-12-01

    At least 35 mammal and 19 bird genera became extinct across North America near the end of the Pleistocene. Modern increases in stratigraphic and dating resolution suggest that this extinction occurred relatively rapidly near 12.9 ka (11 radiocarbon kyrs). Within the context of a long-standing debate about its cause, Firestone et al., (2007) proposed that this extinction resulted from an extraterrestrial (ET) impact over North America at 12.9 ka. This hypothesis predicts that the extinction of most of these animals should have occurred abruptly at 12.9 ka. To test this hypothesis, we have critically examined radiocarbon ages and the extinction stratigraphy of these taxa. From a large data pool, we selected only radiocarbon dates with low error margins with a preference for directly dated biological materials (e.g., bone, dung, etc.) and modern chemical purification techniques. A relatively small number of acceptable dates indicate that at least 16 animal genera and several other species became extinct close to 12.9 ka. These taxa include the most common animals of the late Pleistocene such as horses, camels, and mammoths. Also, the remains of extinct taxa are reportedly found up to, but not above, the base of a widely distributed carbon-rich layer called the black mat. This stratum forms an abrupt, major biostratigraphic boundary at the Younger Dryas onset (12.9 ka), which also contains multiple ET markers comprising the impact layer (the YDB). Surviving animal populations were abruptly reduced at the YDB (e.g., Bison), with major range restrictions and apparent evolutionary bottlenecks. The abruptness of this major extinction is inconsistent with the hypotheses of human overkill and climatic change. We argue that extinction ages older than 12.9 ka for many less common species result from the Signor-Lipps effect, but the impact hypothesis predicts that as new dates are acquired, they will approach ever closer to 12.9 ka. The megafaunal extinction is strongly

  14. Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change.

    PubMed

    Sandom, Christopher; Faurby, Søren; Sandel, Brody; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2014-07-22

    The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132,000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial-interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary.

  15. Separating sensitivity from exposure in assessing extinction risk from climate change.

    PubMed

    Dickinson, Maria G; Orme, C David L; Suttle, K Blake; Mace, Georgina M

    2014-11-04

    Predictive frameworks of climate change extinction risk generally focus on the magnitude of climate change a species is expected to experience and the potential for that species to track suitable climate. A species' risk of extinction from climate change will depend, in part, on the magnitude of climate change the species experiences, its exposure. However, exposure is only one component of risk. A species' risk of extinction will also depend on its intrinsic ability to tolerate changing climate, its sensitivity. We examine exposure and sensitivity individually for two example taxa, terrestrial amphibians and mammals. We examine how these factors are related among species and across regions and how explicit consideration of each component of risk may affect predictions of climate change impacts. We find that species' sensitivities to climate change are not congruent with their exposures. Many highly sensitive species face low exposure to climate change and many highly exposed species are relatively insensitive. Separating sensitivity from exposure reveals patterns in the causes and drivers of species' extinction risk that may not be evident solely from predictions of climate change. Our findings emphasise the importance of explicitly including sensitivity and exposure to climate change in assessments of species' extinction risk.

  16. Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change

    PubMed Central

    Sandom, Christopher; Faurby, Søren; Sandel, Brody; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2014-01-01

    The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132 000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial–interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary. PMID:24898370

  17. Body Size Extinction and Origination Selectivity: A Case Study of Marine Gastropods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuo, E.; Seixas, G.; Faerber, M.; Payne, J.

    2012-12-01

    Body size has received exceptional interest in evolutionary biology because of its correlation with many ecological and physiological traits. Because large size is typically associated with long generation time and small population size, it has been widely assumed that extinction risk is positively correlated with body size. Data from Pleistocene and Holocene terrestrial mammals and birds support this inference. However, there have been few studies on size bias of marine invertebrate animals, so the true extent of this pattern remains unknown. For this study, we compiled genus-level body size data for marine gastropods spanning the entire Phanerozoic. We use this dataset to examine the statistical evidence for size bias in both origination and extinction of marine gastropods. We perform logistic regression analyses on the data from each Phanerozoic stage to determine the association of body size with origination and extinction. Contrary to previous studies on terrestrial vertebrates, we observe no strong or persistent association between body size and the probability that a genus either originated or went extinct during that stage. Hence, our findings indicate that size bias in extinction risk may reflect particular aspects of mammalian biology or anthropogenic environmental change rather than a general pattern of animal evolution.

  18. Tropical ancient DNA reveals relationships of the extinct Bahamian giant tortoise Chelonoidis alburyorum.

    PubMed

    Kehlmaier, Christian; Barlow, Axel; Hastings, Alexander K; Vamberger, Melita; Paijmans, Johanna L A; Steadman, David W; Albury, Nancy A; Franz, Richard; Hofreiter, Michael; Fritz, Uwe

    2017-01-11

    Ancient DNA of extinct species from the Pleistocene and Holocene has provided valuable evolutionary insights. However, these are largely restricted to mammals and high latitudes because DNA preservation in warm climates is typically poor. In the tropics and subtropics, non-avian reptiles constitute a significant part of the fauna and little is known about the genetics of the many extinct reptiles from tropical islands. We have reconstructed the near-complete mitochondrial genome of an extinct giant tortoise from the Bahamas (Chelonoidis alburyorum) using an approximately 1 000-year-old humerus from a water-filled sinkhole (blue hole) on Great Abaco Island. Phylogenetic and molecular clock analyses place this extinct species as closely related to Galápagos (C. niger complex) and Chaco tortoises (C. chilensis), and provide evidence for repeated overseas dispersal in this tortoise group. The ancestors of extant Chelonoidis species arrived in South America from Africa only after the opening of the Atlantic Ocean and dispersed from there to the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. Our results also suggest that the anoxic, thermally buffered environment of blue holes may enhance DNA preservation, and thus are opening a window for better understanding evolution and population history of extinct tropical species, which would likely still exist without human impact.

  19. Phylogenetic conservatism of extinctions in marine bivalves.

    PubMed

    Roy, Kaustuv; Hunt, Gene; Jablonski, David

    2009-08-07

    Evolutionary histories of species and lineages can influence their vulnerabilities to extinction, but the importance of this effect remains poorly explored for extinctions in the geologic past. When analyzed using a standardized taxonomy within a phylogenetic framework, extinction rates of marine bivalves estimated from the fossil record for the last approximately 200 million years show conservatism at multiple levels of evolutionary divergence, both within individual families and among related families. The strength of such phylogenetic clustering varies over time and is influenced by earlier extinction history, especially by the demise of volatile taxa in the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Analyses of the evolutionary roles of ancient extinctions and predictive models of vulnerability of taxa to future natural and anthropogenic stressors should take phylogenetic relationships and extinction history into account.

  20. Were all extinction events caused by impacts?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sheehan, P. M.; Coorough, P. J.

    1994-01-01

    Extraterrestrial impacts are firmly implicated in several of the five major Phanerozoic extinction events. A critical issue now is whether extraterrestrial events have been the only mechanism that produced physical changes of sufficient magnitude to cause major extinction events. While we believe the evidence is overwhelming that the KT extinction event was caused by an impact, we also find that an event of similar or larger size near the end of the Ordovician is best explained by terrestrial causes. The Ordovician extinction event (End-O extinction event) occurred near the end of the Ordovician, but the interval of extinction was completed prior to the newly established Ordovician-Silurian boundary. In spite of extensive field studies, a convincing signature of an associated impact has not been found. However, a prominent glaciation does coincide with the End-O extinction event.

  1. The case for extraterrestrial causes of extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1989-01-01

    The dramatic increase in our knowledge of large-body impacts that have occurred in Earth's history has led to strong arguments for the plausibility of meteorite impact as a cause of extinction. Proof of causation is often hampered, however, by our inability to demonstrate the synchronism of specific impacts and extinctions. A central problem is range truncation: the last reported occurrences of fossil taxa generally underestimate the true times of extinction. Range truncation, because of gaps in sedimentation, lack of preservation, or lack of discovery, can make sudden extinctions appear gradual and gradual extinctions appear sudden. Also, stepwise extinction may appear as an artefact of range truncation. These effects are demonstrated by experiments performed on data from field collections of Cretaceous ammonities from Zumaya (Spain). The challenge for future research is to develop a new calculus for treating biostratigraphic data so that fossils can provide more accurate assessments of the timing of extinctions.

  2. Optimising Extinction of Conditioned Disgust

    PubMed Central

    Bosman, Renske C.; Borg, Charmaine; de Jong, Peter J.

    2016-01-01

    Maladaptive disgust responses are tenacious and resistant to exposure-based interventions. In a similar vein, laboratory studies have shown that conditioned disgust is relatively insensitive to Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-only extinction procedures. The relatively strong resistance to extinction might be explained by disgust’s adaptive function to motivate avoidance from contamination threats (pathogens) that cannot be readily detected and are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, the mere visual presentation of unreinforced disgust eliciting stimuli might not be sufficient to correct a previously acquired threat value of the CS+. Following this, the current study tested whether the efficacy of CS-only exposure can be improved by providing additional safety information about the CS+. For the CSs we included two neutral items a pea soup and a sausage roll, whereas for the Unconditioned Stimulus (US) we used one video clip of a woman vomiting and a neutral one about glass blowing. The additional safety information was conveyed by allowing actual contact with the CS+ or by observing an actress eating the food items representing the CS+. When additional safety information was provided via allowing direct contact with the CS+, there was a relatively strong post-extinction increase in participants’ willingness-to-eat the CS+. This beneficial effect was still evident at one-week follow up. Also self-reported disgust was lower at one-week follow up when additional safety information was provided. The current findings help explain why disgust is relatively insensitive to CS-only extinction procedures, and provide helpful starting points to improve interventions that are aimed to reduce distress in disgust-related psychopathology. PMID:26849211

  3. [Extinction and Reconsolidation of Memory].

    PubMed

    Zuzina, A B; Balaban, P M

    2015-01-01

    Retrieval of memory followed by reconsolidation can strengthen a memory, while retrieval followed by extinction results in a decrease of memory performance due to weakening of existing memory or formation of a competing memory. In our study we analyzed the behavior and responses of identified neurons involved in the network underlying aversive learning in terrestrial snail Helix, and made an attempt to describe the conditions in which the retrieval of memory leads either to extinction or reconsolidation. In the network underlying the withdrawal behavior, sensory neurons, premotor interneurons, motor neurons, and modulatory for this network serotonergic neurons are identified and recordings from representatives of these groups were made before and after aversive learning. In the network underlying feeding behavior, the premotor modulatory serotonergic interneurons and motor neurons involved in motor program of feeding are identified. Analysis of changes in neural activity after aversive learning showed that modulatory neurons of feeding behavior do not demonstrate any changes (sometimes a decrease of responses to food was observed), while responses to food in withdrawal behavior premotor interneurons changed qualitatively, from under threshold EPSPs to spike discharges. Using a specific for serotonergic neurons neurotoxin 5,7-DiHT it was shown previously that the serotonergic system is necessary for the aversive learning, but is not necessary for maintenance and retrieval of this memory. These results suggest that the serotonergic neurons that are necessary as part of a reinforcement for developing the associative changes in the network may be not necessary for the retrieval of memory. The hypothesis presented in this review concerns the activity of the "reinforcement" serotonergic neurons that is suggested to be the gate condition for the choice between extinction/reconsolidation triggered by memory retrieval: if these serotonergic neurons do not respond during the

  4. Large-scale marine ecosystem change and the conservation of marine mammals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Shea, T.J.; Odell, D.K.

    2008-01-01

    Papers in this Special Feature stem from a symposium on large-scale ecosystem change and the conservation of marine mammals convened at the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists in June 2006. Major changes are occurring in multiple aspects of the marine environment at unprecedented rates, within the life spans of some individual marine mammals. Drivers of change include shifts in climate, acoustic pollution, disturbances to trophic structure, fisheries interactions, harmful algal blooms, and environmental contaminants. This Special Feature provides an in-depth examination of 3 issues that are particularly troublesome. The 1st article notes the huge spatial and temporal scales of change to which marine mammals are showing ecological responses, and how these species can function as sentinels of such change. The 2nd paper describes the serious problems arising from conflicts with fisheries, and the 3rd contribution reviews the growing issues associated with underwater noise. ?? 2008 American Society of Mammalogists.

  5. Negative effects of an exotic grass invasion on small-mammal communities.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Eric D; Sharp, Tiffanny R; Larsen, Randy T; Knight, Robert N; Slater, Steven J; McMillan, Brock R

    2014-01-01

    Exotic invasive species can directly and indirectly influence natural ecological communities. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is non-native to the western United States and has invaded large areas of the Great Basin. Changes to the structure and composition of plant communities invaded by cheatgrass likely have effects at higher trophic levels. As a keystone guild in North American deserts, granivorous small mammals drive and maintain plant diversity. Our objective was to assess potential effects of invasion by cheatgrass on small-mammal communities. We sampled small-mammal and plant communities at 70 sites (Great Basin, Utah). We assessed abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community, diversity of the plant community, and the percentage of cheatgrass cover and shrub species. Abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community decreased with increasing abundance of cheatgrass. Similarly, cover of cheatgrass remained a significant predictor of small-mammal abundance even after accounting for the loss of the shrub layer and plant diversity, suggesting that there are direct and indirect effects of cheatgrass. The change in the small-mammal communities associated with invasion of cheatgrass likely has effects through higher and lower trophic levels and has the potential to cause major changes in ecosystem structure and function.

  6. Negative Effects of an Exotic Grass Invasion on Small-Mammal Communities

    PubMed Central

    Freeman, Eric D.; Sharp, Tiffanny R.; Larsen, Randy T.; Knight, Robert N.; Slater, Steven J.; McMillan, Brock R.

    2014-01-01

    Exotic invasive species can directly and indirectly influence natural ecological communities. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is non-native to the western United States and has invaded large areas of the Great Basin. Changes to the structure and composition of plant communities invaded by cheatgrass likely have effects at higher trophic levels. As a keystone guild in North American deserts, granivorous small mammals drive and maintain plant diversity. Our objective was to assess potential effects of invasion by cheatgrass on small-mammal communities. We sampled small-mammal and plant communities at 70 sites (Great Basin, Utah). We assessed abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community, diversity of the plant community, and the percentage of cheatgrass cover and shrub species. Abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community decreased with increasing abundance of cheatgrass. Similarly, cover of cheatgrass remained a significant predictor of small-mammal abundance even after accounting for the loss of the shrub layer and plant diversity, suggesting that there are direct and indirect effects of cheatgrass. The change in the small-mammal communities associated with invasion of cheatgrass likely has effects through higher and lower trophic levels and has the potential to cause major changes in ecosystem structure and function. PMID:25269073

  7. Evidence for a major meteorite impact on the earth 34 million years ago - Implication for Eocene extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ganapathy, R.

    1982-05-01

    A deep-sea core from the Caribbean contains a layer of sediment highly enriched in meteoritic iridium. This layer underlies a layer of North American microtekites dated at 34.4 million years ago and coincides with the extinction of five major species of Radiolaria. It is suggested that a massive, chemically undifferentiated meteorite collided with the earth, producing the tektites and leading to extinctions 34 millions years ago.

  8. Terminal Pleistocene change in mammal communities in southeastern Washington State, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee

    2014-03-01

    Small mammal communities in western North America experienced declines in taxonomic richness across the late Pleistocene to Holocene transition (PHT), a recent natural global warming event. One community also experienced a decline in evenness and others replaced one species with a congener. Variability in response of small mammal communities to PHT warming is apparent. At the presently arid and xeric Marmes site in the Columbia Basin of southeastern Washington State, megafauna were absent by about 13,000 cal yr BP, evenness of small mammals declined about 11,700 cal yr BP and again about 11,400 cal yr BP whereas richness declined about 11,400 cal BP. Regional faunal turnover was, however, minimal among small-bodied taxa. Local mammal communities are depauperate as a result of megafaunal extinctions and subsequent decreases in small-mammal richness and evenness. The latter chronologically corresponds with a decrease in primary productivity driven by increasing warmth and aridity. More faunas must be studied in order to fully document the range of variability in the responses of mammalian communities to PHT warming. Documentation of patterns in those responses will facilitate understanding and enhance predictive accuracy with respect to responses of mammalian communities to modern global warming.

  9. Morbillivirus infections in aquatic mammals.

    PubMed

    Visser, I K; van Bressem, M F; Barrett, T; Osterhaus, A D

    1993-01-01

    Infections with morbilliviruses have caused heavy losses among different populations of aquatic mammals during the last 5 years. Two different morbilliviruses were isolated from disease outbreaks among seals in Europe and Siberia: phocid distemper virus-1 (PDV-1) and phocid distemper virus-2 (PDV-2) respectively. PDV-1 was characterized as a newly identified morbillivirus, most related to canine distemper virus (CDV), whereas PDV-2 most probably is a strain of CDV. Morbilliviruses were also isolated from porpoises--porpoise morbillivirus (PMV)--and dolphins--dolphin morbillivirus (DMV)--which had stranded on the coasts of Europe. PMV and DMV proved to be closely related to, but distinct from 2 ruminant morbilliviruses, rinderpest virus (RPV) and peste-des-petits-ruminants virus (PPRV). Serological surveys carried out among pinniped and cetacean species in the seas of Europe and North America indicated that infections with these newly discovered morbilliviruses or closely related viruses commonly occur among aquatic mammal species.

  10. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-09-30

    Fahlman Department of Life Sciences Texas A&M- Corpus Christi 6300 Ocean Dr Unit 5892 Corpus Christi, TX 78412 phone: (361) 825-3489 fax: (361...825-2025 email: andreas.fahlman@tamucc.edu Peter L. Tyack School of Biology, Sea Mammal Research Unit Scottish Oceans Institute University...Sciences Texas A&M- Corpus Christi 6300 Ocean Dr Unit 5892 Corpus Christi, TX 78412 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER 9. SPONSORING/MONITORING

  11. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-09-30

    and Marine and Ocean Science 16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: a. REPORT b. ABSTRACT c. THIS PAGE 17. LIMITATION OF ABSTRACT 18. NUMBER OF PAGES... ocean noise, bubble injury and marine mammal strandings (http://www.awionline.org/ oceans /Noise/IONC/index.htm). During a workshop held in Baltimore...fiber optic approach. Deoxygenated blood at various dilutions was used to test that the response was linear over the physiological range. y= 00957K

  12. Lung Mechanics in Marine Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-09-30

    lung mechanics in vivo during spontaneous breathing (dynamic) and mechanical ventilation (static), and the static compliance of the excised lung after...to depth. Physiological Zoology, 1982. 55(1): p. 105-111. 6. Fahlman, A., et al., Estimating the effect of lung collapse and pulmonary shunt on gas...1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Lung Mechanics in Marine Mammals Andreas Fahlman

  13. The role of extinction in evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1994-01-01

    The extinction of species is not normally considered an important element of neodarwinian theory, in contrast to the opposite phenomenon, speciation. This is surprising in view of the special importance Darwin attached to extinction, and because the number of species extinctions in the history of life is almost the same as the number of originations; present-day biodiversity is the result of a trivial surplus of originations, cumulated over millions of years. For an evolutionary biologist to ignore extinction is probably as foolhardy as for a demographer to ignore mortality. The past decade has seen a resurgence of interest in extinction, yet research on the topic is still at a reconnaissance level, and our present understanding of its role in evolution is weak. Despite uncertainties, extinction probably contains three important elements. (i) For geographically widespread species, extinction is likely only if the killing stress is one so rare as to be beyond the experience of the species, and thus outside the reach of natural selection. (ii) The largest mass extinctions produce major restructuring of the biosphere wherein some successful groups are eliminated, allowing previously minor groups to expand and diversify. (iii) Except for a few cases, there is little evidence that extinction is selective in the positive sense argued by Darwin. It has generally been impossible to predict, before the fact, which species will be victims of an extinction event.

  14. The ethics of reviving long extinct species.

    PubMed

    Sandler, Ronald

    2014-04-01

    There now appears to be a plausible pathway for reviving species that have been extinct for several decades, centuries, or even millennia. I conducted an ethical analysis of de-extinction of long extinct species. I assessed several possible ethical considerations in favor of pursuing de-extinction: that it is a matter of justice; that it would reestablish lost value; that it would create new value; and that society needs it as a conservation last resort. I also assessed several possible ethical arguments against pursuing de-extinction: that it is unnatural; that it could cause animal suffering; that it could be ecologically problematic or detrimental to human health; and that it is hubristic. There are reasons in favor of reviving long extinct species, and it can be ethically acceptable to do so. However, the reasons in favor of pursuing de-extinction do not have to do with its usefulness in species conservation; rather, they concern the status of revived species as scientific and technological achievements, and it would be ethically problematic to promote de-extinction as a significant conservation strategy, because it does not prevent species extinctions, does not address the causes of extinction, and could be detrimental to some species conservation efforts. Moreover, humanity does not have a responsibility or obligation to pursue de-extinction of long extinct species, and reviving them does not address any urgent problem. Therefore, legitimate ecological, political, animal welfare, legal, or human health concerns associated with a de-extinction (and reintroduction) must be thoroughly addressed for it to be ethically acceptable.

  15. Dietary characterization of terrestrial mammals

    PubMed Central

    Pineda-Munoz, Silvia; Alroy, John

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the feeding behaviour of the species that make up any ecosystem is essential for designing further research. Mammals have been studied intensively, but the criteria used for classifying their diets are far from being standardized. We built a database summarizing the dietary preferences of terrestrial mammals using published data regarding their stomach contents. We performed multivariate analyses in order to set up a standardized classification scheme. Ideally, food consumption percentages should be used instead of qualitative classifications. However, when highly detailed information is not available we propose classifying animals based on their main feeding resources. They should be classified as generalists when none of the feeding resources constitute over 50% of the diet. The term ‘omnivore’ should be avoided because it does not communicate all the complexity inherent to food choice. Moreover, the so-called omnivore diets actually involve several distinctive adaptations. Our dataset shows that terrestrial mammals are generally highly specialized and that some degree of food mixing may even be required for most species. PMID:25009067

  16. Social-ecological predictors of global invasions and extinctions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lotz, Aaron; Allen, Craig R.

    2013-01-01

    Most assessments of resilience have been focused on local conditions. Studies focused on the relationship between humanity and environmental degradation are rare, and are rarely comprehensive. We investigated multiple social-ecological factors for 100 countries around the globe in relation to the percentage of invasions and extinctions within each country. These 100 countries contain approximately 87% of the world’s population, produce 43% of the world’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP), and take up 74% of the earth’s total land area. We used an information theoretic approach to determine which models were most supported by our data, utilizing an a priori set of plausible models that included a combination of 15 social-ecological variables, each social-ecological factor by itself, and selected social-ecological factors grouped into three broad classes. These variables were per capita GDP, export-import ratio, tourism, undernourishment, energy efficiency, agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, wilderness protection, total biodiversity, life expectancy, adult literacy, pesticide regulation, political stability, and female participation in government. Our results indicate that as total biodiversity and total land area increase, the percentage of endangered birds also increases. As the independent variables (agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, and total biodiversity) in the ecological class model increase, the percentage of endangered mammals in a country increases. The percentage of invasive birds and mammals in a country increases as per capita GDP increases. As life expectancy increases, the percentage of invasive and endangered birds and mammals increases. Although our analysis does not determine mechanisms, the patterns observed in this study provide insight into the dynamics of a complex, global, social-ecological system.

  17. Long-period astronomical forcing of mammal turnover.

    PubMed

    van Dam, Jan A; Abdul Aziz, Hayfaa; Alvarez Sierra, M Angeles; Hilgen, Frederik J; van den Hoek Ostende, Lars W; Lourens, Lucas J; Mein, Pierre; van der Meulen, Albert J; Pelaez-Campomanes, Pablo

    2006-10-12

    Mammals are among the fastest-radiating groups, being characterized by a mean species lifespan of the order of 2.5 million years (Myr). The basis for this characteristic timescale of origination, extinction and turnover is not well understood. Various studies have invoked climate change to explain mammalian species turnover, but other studies have either challenged or only partly confirmed the climate-turnover hypothesis. Here we use an exceptionally long (24.5-2.5 Myr ago), dense, and well-dated terrestrial record of rodent lineages from central Spain, and show the existence of turnover cycles with periods of 2.4-2.5 and 1.0 Myr. We link these cycles to low-frequency modulations of Milankovitch oscillations, and show that pulses of turnover occur at minima of the 2.37-Myr eccentricity cycle and nodes of the 1.2-Myr obliquity cycle. Because obliquity nodes and eccentricity minima are associated with ice sheet expansion and cooling and affect regional precipitation, we infer that long-period astronomical climate forcing is a major determinant of species turnover in small mammals and probably other groups as well.

  18. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record

    PubMed Central

    Williamson, Thomas E.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Wilson, Gregory P.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary. PMID:25589872

  19. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record.

    PubMed

    Williamson, Thomas E; Brusatte, Stephen L; Wilson, Gregory P

    2014-01-01

    Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary.

  20. New carbon dates link climatic change with human colonization and Pleistocene extinctions.

    PubMed

    Guthrie, R Dale

    2006-05-11

    Drastic ecological restructuring, species redistribution and extinctions mark the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, but an insufficiency of numbers of well-dated large mammal fossils from this transition have impeded progress in understanding the various causative links. Here I add many new radiocarbon dates to those already published on late Pleistocene fossils from Alaska and the Yukon Territory (AK-YT) and show previously unrecognized patterns. Species that survived the Pleistocene, for example, bison (Bison priscus, which evolved into Bison bison), wapiti (Cervus canadensis) and, to a smaller degree, moose (Alces alces), began to increase in numbers and continued to do so before and during human colonization and before the regional extinction of horse (Equus ferus) and mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). These patterns allow us to reject, at least in AK-YT, some hypotheses of late Pleistocene extinction: 'Blitzkrieg' version of simultaneous human overkill, 'keystone' removal, and 'palaeo-disease'. Hypotheses of a subtler human impact and/or ecological replacement or displacement are more consistent with the data. The new patterns of dates indicate a radical ecological sorting during a uniquely forage-rich transitional period, affecting all large mammals, including humans.

  1. Introduced species: domestic mammals are more significant transmitters of parasites to native mammals than are feral mammals.

    PubMed

    Landaeta-Aqueveque, Carlos; Henríquez, Analía; Cattan, Pedro E

    2014-03-01

    The study of parasitism related to biological invasion has focused on attributes and impacts of parasites as invaders and the impact of introduced hosts on endemic parasitism. Thus, there is currently no study of the attributes of hosts which influence the invasiveness of parasites. We aimed to determine whether the degree of domestication of introduced mammalian species - feral introduced mammals, livestock or pets, hereafter 'D' - is important in the spillover of introduced parasites. The literature on introduced parasites of mammals in Chile was reviewed. We designed an index for estimating the relevance of the introduced host species to parasite spillover and determined whether the D of introduced mammals predicted this index. A total of 223 introduced parasite species were found. Our results indicate that domestic mammals have a higher number of introduced parasites and spillover parasites, and the index indicates that these mammals, particularly pets, are more relevant introducers than introduced feral mammals. Further analyses indicated that the higher impact is due to higher parasite richness, a longer time since introduction and wider dispersal, as well as how these mammals are maintained. The greater relevance of domestic mammals is important given that they are basically the same species distributed worldwide and can become the main transmitters of parasites to native mammals elsewhere. This finding also underlines the feasibility of management in order to reduce the transmission of parasites to native fauna through anti-parasitic treatment of domestic mammals, animal-ownership education and the prevention of importing new parasite species.

  2. Cumulative frequency distribution of past species extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1991-01-01

    Analysis of Sepkoski's compendium of the time ranges of 30,000+ taxa yields a mean duration of 28.4 ma for genera of fossil invertebrates. This converts to an average extinction rate of 3.5 percent per million years or about one percent every 286,000 years. Using survivorship techniques, these estimates can be converted to the species level, yielding a Phanerozoic average of one percent species extinction every 40,000 years. Variation in extinction rates through time is far greater than the null expectation of a homogeneous birth-death model and this reflects the well-known episodicity of extinction ranging from a few large mass extinctions to so-called background extinction. The observed variation in rates can be used to construct a cumulative frequency distribution of extinction intensity, and this distribution, in the form of a kill curve for species, shows the expected waiting times between extinction events of a given intensity. The kill curve is an average description of the extinction events of a given intensity. The kill curve is an average description of the extinction record and does not imply any cause or causes of extinction. The kill curve shows, among other things, that only about five percent of total species extinctions in the Phanerozoic were involved in the five largest mass extinctions. The other 95 percent were distributed among large and small events not normally called mass extinctions. As an exploration of the possibly absurd proposition that most past extinctions were produced by the effects of large-body impact, the kill curve for species was mapped on the comparable distribution for comet and asteroid impacts. The result is a curve predicting the species kill for a given size of impacting object (expressed as crater size). The results are reasonable in that impacts producing craters less than 30 km (diameter) cause negligible extinction but those producing craters 100-150 km (diameter) cause extinction of species in the range of 45

  3. Evolutionary origins of hepatitis A virus in small mammals.

    PubMed

    Drexler, Jan Felix; Corman, Victor M; Lukashev, Alexander N; van den Brand, Judith M A; Gmyl, Anatoly P; Brünink, Sebastian; Rasche, Andrea; Seggewiβ, Nicole; Feng, Hui; Leijten, Lonneke M; Vallo, Peter; Kuiken, Thijs; Dotzauer, Andreas; Ulrich, Rainer G; Lemon, Stanley M; Drosten, Christian

    2015-12-08

    Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is an ancient and ubiquitous human pathogen recovered previously only from primates. The sole species of the genus Hepatovirus, existing in both enveloped and nonenveloped forms, and with a capsid structure intermediate between that of insect viruses and mammalian picornaviruses, HAV is enigmatic in its origins. We conducted a targeted search for hepatoviruses in 15,987 specimens collected from 209 small mammal species globally and discovered highly diversified viruses in bats, rodents, hedgehogs, and shrews, which by pairwise sequence distance comprise 13 novel Hepatovirus species. Near-complete genomes from nine of these species show conservation of unique hepatovirus features, including predicted internal ribosome entry site structure, a truncated VP4 capsid protein lacking N-terminal myristoylation, a carboxyl-terminal pX extension of VP1, VP2 late domains involved in membrane envelopment, and a cis-acting replication element within the 3D(pol) sequence. Antibodies in some bat sera immunoprecipitated and neutralized human HAV, suggesting conservation of critical antigenic determinants. Limited phylogenetic cosegregation among hepatoviruses and their hosts and recombination patterns are indicative of major hepatovirus host shifts in the past. Ancestral state reconstructions suggest a Hepatovirus origin in small insectivorous mammals and a rodent origin of human HAV. Patterns of infection in small mammals mimicked those of human HAV in hepatotropism, fecal shedding, acute nature, and extinction of the virus in a closed host population. The evolutionary conservation of hepatovirus structure and pathogenesis provide novel insight into the origins of HAV and highlight the utility of analyzing animal reservoirs for risk assessment of emerging viruses.

  4. Evolutionary origins of hepatitis A virus in small mammals

    PubMed Central

    Drexler, Jan Felix; Corman, Victor M.; Lukashev, Alexander N.; van den Brand, Judith M. A.; Gmyl, Anatoly P.; Brünink, Sebastian; Rasche, Andrea; Seggewiβ, Nicole; Feng, Hui; Leijten, Lonneke M.; Vallo, Peter; Kuiken, Thijs; Dotzauer, Andreas; Ulrich, Rainer G.; Lemon, Stanley M.; Drosten, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is an ancient and ubiquitous human pathogen recovered previously only from primates. The sole species of the genus Hepatovirus, existing in both enveloped and nonenveloped forms, and with a capsid structure intermediate between that of insect viruses and mammalian picornaviruses, HAV is enigmatic in its origins. We conducted a targeted search for hepatoviruses in 15,987 specimens collected from 209 small mammal species globally and discovered highly diversified viruses in bats, rodents, hedgehogs, and shrews, which by pairwise sequence distance comprise 13 novel Hepatovirus species. Near-complete genomes from nine of these species show conservation of unique hepatovirus features, including predicted internal ribosome entry site structure, a truncated VP4 capsid protein lacking N-terminal myristoylation, a carboxyl-terminal pX extension of VP1, VP2 late domains involved in membrane envelopment, and a cis-acting replication element within the 3Dpol sequence. Antibodies in some bat sera immunoprecipitated and neutralized human HAV, suggesting conservation of critical antigenic determinants. Limited phylogenetic cosegregation among hepatoviruses and their hosts and recombination patterns are indicative of major hepatovirus host shifts in the past. Ancestral state reconstructions suggest a Hepatovirus origin in small insectivorous mammals and a rodent origin of human HAV. Patterns of infection in small mammals mimicked those of human HAV in hepatotropism, fecal shedding, acute nature, and extinction of the virus in a closed host population. The evolutionary conservation of hepatovirus structure and pathogenesis provide novel insight into the origins of HAV and highlight the utility of analyzing animal reservoirs for risk assessment of emerging viruses. PMID:26575627

  5. Patterns and determinants of mammal species occurrence in India

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Karanth, K.K.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.; Karanth, K.U.; Christensen, N.L.

    2009-01-01

    Many Indian mammals face range contraction and extinction, but assessments of their population status are hindered by the lack of reliable distribution data and range maps. 2. We estimated the current geographical ranges of 20 species of large mammals by applying occupancy models to data from country-wide expert. We modelled species in relation to ecological and social covariates (protected areas, landscape characteristics and human influences) based on a priori hypotheses about plausible determinants of mammalian distribution patterns. 3. We demonstrated that failure to incorporate detection probability in distribution survey methods underestimated habitat occupancy for all species. 4. Protected areas were important for the distribution of 16 species. However, for many species much of their current range remains unprotected. The availability of evergreen forests was important for the occurrence of 14 species, temperate forests for six species, deciduous forests for 15 species and higher altitude habitats for two species. Low human population density was critical for the occurrence of five species, while culturally based tolerance was important for the occurrence of nine other species. 5. Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis, gaur Bos gaurus and elephant Elephas maximus showed the most restricted ranges among herbivores, and sun bear Helarctos malayanus, brown bear Ursus arctos and tiger Panthera tigris were most restricted among carnivores. While cultural tolerance has helped the survival of some mammals, legal protection has been critically associated with occurrence of most species. 6. Synthesis and applications. Extent of range is an important determinant of species conservation status. Understanding the relationship of species occurrence with ecological and socio-cultural covariates is important for identification and management of key conservation areas. The combination of occupancy models with field data from country-wide experts enables reliable estimation of species

  6. Collaborating to conserve large mammals in Southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Steinmetz, Robert; Chutipong, Wanlop; Seuaturien, Naret

    2006-10-01

    Depressed mammal densities characterize the interior of many Southeast Asian protected areas, and are the result of commercial and subsistence hunting. Local people are part of this problem but can participate in solutions through improved partnerships that incorporate local knowledge into problem diagnosis. The process of involving local people helps build a constituency that is more aware of its role (positive and negative) in a protected area and generates site-specific conservation assessments for management planning. We illustrate the practical details of initiating such a partnership through our work in a Thai wildlife sanctuary. Many protected areas in Southeast Asia present similar opportunities. In local workshops, village woodsmen were led through ranking exercises to develop a spatially explicit picture of 20-year trends in the abundance of 31 mammal species and to compare species-specific causes for declines. Within five taxonomic groups, leaf monkeys (primates), porcupines (rodents), tigers (large carnivores), civets (small carnivores), and elephants (ungulates) had declined most severely (37-74%). Commercial hunting contributed heavily to extensive population declines for most species, and subsistence hunting was locally significant for some small carnivores, leaf monkeys, and deer. Workshops thus clarified which species were at highest risk of local extinction, where the most threatened populations were, and causes for these patterns. Most important, they advanced a shared problem definition, thereby unlocking opportunities for collaboration. As a result, local people and sanctuary managers have increased communication, initiated joint monitoring and patrolling, and established wildlife recovery zones. Using local knowledge has limitations, but the process of engaging local people promotes collaborative action that large mammals in Southeast Asia need.

  7. Light extinction in the atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Laulainen, N.

    1992-06-01

    Atmospheric aerosol particles originating from natural sources, such as volcanos and sulfur-bearing gas emissions from the oceans, and from human sources, such as sulfur emissions from fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning, strongly affect visual air quality and are suspected to significantly affect radiative climate forcing of the planet. During the daytime, aerosols obscure scenic vistas, while at night they diminish our ability to observe stellar objects. Scattering of light is the main means by which aerosols attenuate and redistribute light in the atmosphere and by which aerosols can alter and reduce visibility and potentially modify the energy balance of the planet. Trends and seasonal variability of atmospheric aerosol loading, such as column-integrated light extinction or optical depth, and how they may affect potential climate change have been difficult to quantify because there have been few observations made of important aerosol optical parameters, such as optical depth, over the globe and over time and often these are of uneven quality. To address questions related to possible climate change, there is a pressing need to acquire more high-quality aerosol optical depth data. Extensive deployment of improved solar radiometers over the next few years will provide higher-quality extinction data over a wider variety of locations worldwide. An often overlooked source of turbidity data, however, is available from astronomical observations, particularly stellar photoelectric photometry observations. With the exception of the Project ASTRA articles published almost 20 years ago, few of these data ever appear in the published literature. This paper will review the current status of atmospheric extinction observations, as highlighted by the ASTRA work and augmented by more recent solar radiometry measurements.

  8. Sexual selection protects against extinction.

    PubMed

    Lumley, Alyson J; Michalczyk, Łukasz; Kitson, James J N; Spurgin, Lewis G; Morrison, Catriona A; Godwin, Joanne L; Dickinson, Matthew E; Martin, Oliver Y; Emerson, Brent C; Chapman, Tracey; Gage, Matthew J G

    2015-06-25

    Reproduction through sex carries substantial costs, mainly because only half of sexual adults produce offspring. It has been theorized that these costs could be countered if sex allows sexual selection to clear the universal fitness constraint of mutation load. Under sexual selection, competition between (usually) males and mate choice by (usually) females create important intraspecific filters for reproductive success, so that only a subset of males gains paternity. If reproductive success under sexual selection is dependent on individual condition, which is contingent to mutation load, then sexually selected filtering through 'genic capture' could offset the costs of sex because it provides genetic benefits to populations. Here we test this theory experimentally by comparing whether populations with histories of strong versus weak sexual selection purge mutation load and resist extinction differently. After evolving replicate populations of the flour beetle Tribolium castaneum for 6 to 7 years under conditions that differed solely in the strengths of sexual selection, we revealed mutation load using inbreeding. Lineages from populations that had previously experienced strong sexual selection were resilient to extinction and maintained fitness under inbreeding, with some families continuing to survive after 20 generations of sib × sib mating. By contrast, lineages derived from populations that experienced weak or non-existent sexual selection showed rapid fitness declines under inbreeding, and all were extinct after generation 10. Multiple mutations across the genome with individually small effects can be difficult to clear, yet sum to a significant fitness load; our findings reveal that sexual selection reduces this load, improving population viability in the face of genetic stress.

  9. Microwave extinction characteristics of nanoparticle aggregates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Y. P.; Cheng, J. X.; Liu, X. X.; Wang, H. X.; Zhao, F. T.; Wen, W. W.

    2016-07-01

    Structure of nanoparticle aggregates plays an important role in microwave extinction capacity. The diffusion-limited aggregation model (DLA) for fractal growth is utilized to explore the possible structures of nanoparticle aggregates by computer simulation. Based on the discrete dipole approximation (DDA) method, the microwave extinction performance by different nano-carborundum aggregates is numerically analyzed. The effects of the particle quantity, original diameter, fractal structure, as well as orientation on microwave extinction are investigated, and also the extinction characteristics of aggregates are compared with the spherical nanoparticle in the same volume. Numerical results give out that proper aggregation of nanoparticle is beneficial to microwave extinction capacity, and the microwave extinction cross section by aggregated granules is better than that of the spherical solid one in the same volume.

  10. Contrasting the overexpectation and extinction effects.

    PubMed

    Witnauer, James E; Miller, Ralph R

    2009-06-01

    After many target stimulus (X)-unconditioned stimulus (US) pairings, further conditioning of X in the presence of another well-established signal for the US (A) disrupts X's behavioral control. Some researchers have argued that the mechanism underlying this so-called overexpectation effect is similar to that underlying extinction (a reduction in X's behavioral control due to X-alone presentations). Three conditioned suppression experiments with rats as subjects compared overexpectation and extinction. Experiment 1 replicated the basic overexpectation effect by showing that A disrupts responding to X more than does a previously neutral stimulus. Experiment 2 found that posttraining context exposure disrupts extinction but not overexpectation. Experiment 3 suggested that overexpectation and extinction are differentially sensitive to the effects of overtraining (compound reinforced or nonreinforced, respectively), such that extinction is enhanced by increases in the amount of nonreinforced trials and overexpectation is unaffected. These results are inconsistent with the view that overexpectation and extinction are driven by a common mechanism.

  11. Mass extinctions and missing matter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, R. B.

    1984-01-01

    The possible influence of 'invisible matter' on the solar system's comet halo, and therefore on quasi-periodic cometary bombardment of the earth and consequent mass extinctions, is briefly addressed. Invisible matter consisting of small or cold interstellar molecular clouds could significantly modulate the comet background flux, while invisible matter consisting of a large population of old, dead stars with a relatively small galactic concentration probably could not. It is also shown that the downward force exerted by the Galaxy will perturb the halo, but will not produce any periodicity.

  12. [Diversity, natural history and conservation of mammals from San Vito de Coto Brus, Costa Rica].

    PubMed

    Pacheco, Jesús; Ceballos, Gerardo; Daily, Gretchen C; Ehrlich, Paul R; Suzán, Gerardo; Rodríguez-Herrera, Bernal; Marcé, Erika

    2006-03-01

    Although Costa Rica has been biologically well studied, few areas have complete mammal inventories, which are essential for ecological studies and conservation. The San Vito region is considered among the most important for scientific research in the country because of the presence of the Wilson Botanical Garden and Las Cruces. However, the knowledge of its mammalian fauna is incomplete. We extensively studied the mammals of San Vito, compiled a checklist, and evaluated its composition, relative abundance, habitat distribution, and conservation status. We recorded 105 species, representing 85 genera, 29 families, and 10 orders. Non-volant mammals represented 62 species, 59 genera, 23 families, and 9 orders. Bats belonged to 6 families, 26 genera and 43 species. The extensive deforestation and hunting have caused the extinction of seven species, but the region still supports, surprisingly, a relatively high number of species, most of which are rare. Few species are common and abundant. Species richness was higher in forest, and forest fragments; fewer species were found in coffee plantations, induced grasslands, and secondary vegetation. Around 21% (13 species) are included in the IUCN red book. Three species are considered endangered (Saimiri oerstedii, Tapirus bairdii, and Sylvilagus dicei), and two threatened (Myrmecophaga trydactila and Caluromys derbianus), of which two (T. bairdii and M. trydactila) are locally extinct. The other species in IUCN are either of low risk (i.e. Chironectes minimus) or data deficient (Lontra longicaudis). Additionally, 24 species (39%) are included in CITES.

  13. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa.

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-08-25

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0-1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales.

  14. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa

    PubMed Central

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0–1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales. PMID:26261300

  15. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-08-01

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0-1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales.

  16. The astronomical pulse of global extinction events.

    PubMed

    Lewis, David F V; Dorne, Jean-Lou C M

    2006-06-23

    The linkage between astronomical cycles and the periodicity of mass extinctions is reviewed and discussed. In particular, the apparent 26 million year cycle of global extinctions may be related to the motion of the solar system around the galaxy, especially perpendicular to the galactic plane. The potential relevance of Milankovitch cycles is also explored in the light of current evidence for the possible causes of extinction events over a geological timescale.

  17. Implications of invasion by Juniperus virginiana on small mammals in the southern Great Plains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Horncastle, V.J.; Hellgren, E.C.; Mayer, P.M.; Ganguli, A.C.; Engle, David M.; Leslie, David M.

    2005-01-01

    Changes in landscape cover in the Great Plains are resulting from the range expansion and invasion of eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). By altering the landscape and local vegetation, red cedar is changing the structure and function of habitat for small mammals. We examined effects of invasion by eastern red cedar on small mammals in 3 plant communities (tallgrass prairie, old field, and cross-timbers forest) in the cross-timbers ecoregion in Oklahoma. We sampled small mammals seasonally from May 2001 to August 2002 by using Sherman live traps and mark-recapture techniques on 3.24-ha, 450-trap grids in each plant community. We sampled vegetation in two hundred twenty-five 12 x 12-m cells within each grid. The structure of the small-mammal community differed among the 3 habitat types, with higher species diversity and richness in the tallgrass-prairie and old-field sites. Overall, the small-mammal community shifted along a gradient of increasing eastern red cedar. In the old-field and tallgrass-prairie plots, occurrence of grassland mammals decreased with increasing red cedar, whereas only 1 woodland mammal species increased. In the cross-timbers forest site, percent woody cover (<1 m in height), rather than cover of red cedar, was the most important factor affecting woodland mammal species. Examination of our data suggests that an increase in overstory cover from 0% to 30% red cedar can change a species-rich prairie community to a depauperate community dominated by 1 species, Peromyscus leucopus. Losses in species diversity and changes in mammal distribution paralleled those seen in avian communities invaded by eastern red cedar. Our results highlight ecological effects of invasion by eastern red cedar on diversity and function at multiple trophic levels. ?? 2005 American Society of Mammalogists.

  18. Mass extinctions vs. uniformitarianism in biological evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Bak, P.; Paczuski, M.

    1995-12-31

    It is usually believed that Darwin`s theory leads to a smooth gradual evolution, so that mass extinctions must be caused by external shocks. However, it has recently been argued that mass extinctions arise from the intrinsic dynamics of Darwinian evolution. Species become extinct when swept by intermittent avalanches propagating through the global ecology. These ideas are made concrete through studies of simple mathematical models of co-evolving species. The models exhibit self-organized criticality and describe some general features of the extinction pattern in the fossil record.

  19. Secondary extinction in Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Vurbic, Drina; Bouton, Mark E

    2011-09-01

    Pavlov (1927/1960) reported that following the conditioning of several stimuli, extinction of one conditioned stimulus (CS) attenuated responding to others that had not undergone direct extinction. However, this secondary extinction effect has not been widely replicated in the contemporary literature. In three conditioned suppression experiments with rats, we further explored the phenomenon. In Experiment 1, we asked whether secondary extinction is more likely to occur with target CSs that have themselves undergone some prior extinction. A robust secondary extinction effect was obtained with a nonextinguished target CS. Experiment 2 showed that extinction of one CS was sufficient to reduce renewal of a second CS when it was tested in a neutral (nonextinction) context. In Experiment 3, secondary extinction was observed in groups that initially received intermixed conditioning trials with the target and nontarget CSs, but not in groups that received conditioning of the two CSs in separate sessions. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that CSs must be associated with a common temporal context during conditioning for secondary extinction to occur.

  20. Climate change and mammals: evolutionary versus plastic responses.

    PubMed

    Boutin, Stan; Lane, Jeffrey E

    2014-01-01

    Phenotypic plasticity and microevolution are the two primary means by which organisms respond adaptively to local conditions. While these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, their relative magnitudes will influence both the rate of, and ability to sustain, phenotypic responses to climate change. We review accounts of recent phenotypic changes in wild mammal populations with the purpose of critically evaluating the following: (i) whether climate change has been identified as the causal mechanism producing the observed change; (ii) whether the change is adaptive; and (iii) the relative influences of evolution and/or phenotypic plasticity underlying the change. The available data for mammals are scant. We found twelve studies that report changes in phenology, body weight or litter size. In all cases, the observed response was primarily due to plasticity. Only one study (of advancing parturition dates in American red squirrels) provided convincing evidence of contemporary evolution. Subsequently, however, climate change has been shown to not be the causal mechanism underlying this shift. We also summarize studies that have shown evolutionary potential (i.e. the trait is heritable and/or under selection) in traits with putative associations with climate change and discuss future directions that need to be undertaken before a conclusive demonstration of plastic or evolutionary responses to climate change in wild mammals can be made.

  1. Lumbar lordosis of extinct hominins.

    PubMed

    Been, Ella; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Kramer, Patricia A

    2012-01-01

    The lordotic curvature of the lumbar spine (lumbar lordosis) in humans is a critical component in the ability to achieve upright posture and bipedal gait. Only general estimates of the lordotic angle (LA) of extinct hominins are currently available, most of which are based on the wedging of the vertebral bodies. Recently, a new method for calculating the LA in skeletal material has become available. This method is based on the relationship between the lordotic curvature and the orientation of the inferior articular processes relative to vertebral bodies in the lumbar spines of living primates. Using this relationship, we developed new regression models in order to calculate the LAs in hominins. The new models are based on primate group-means and were used to calculate the LAs in the spines of eight extinct hominins. The results were also compared with the LAs of modern humans and modern nonhuman apes. The lordotic angles of australopithecines (41° ± 4), H. erectus (45°) and fossil H. sapiens (54° ± 14) are similar to those of modern humans (51° ± 11). This analysis confirms the assumption that human-like lordotic curvature was a morphological change that took place during the acquisition of erect posture and bipedalism as the habitual form of locomotion. Neandertals have smaller lordotic angles (LA = 29° ± 4) than modern humans, but higher angles than nonhuman apes (22° ± 3). This suggests possible subtle differences in Neandertal posture and locomotion from that of modern humans.

  2. Extinction-Optimized Volume Illumination.

    PubMed

    Ament, Marco; Zirr, Tobias; Dachsbacher, Carsten

    2016-05-16

    We present a novel method to optimize the attenuation of light for the single scattering model in direct volume rendering. A common problem of single scattering is the high dynamic range between lit and shadowed regions due to the exponential attenuation of light along a ray. Moreover, light is often attenuated too strong between a sample point and the camera, hampering the visibility of important features. Our algorithm employs an importance function to selectively illuminate important structures and make them visible from the camera. With the importance function, more light can be transmitted to the features of interest, while contextual structures cast shadows which provide visual cues for perception of depth. At the same time, more scattered light is transmitted from the sample point to the camera to improve the primary visibility of important features. We formulate a minimization problem that automatically determines the extinction along a view or shadow ray to obtain a good balance between sufficient transmittance and attenuation. In contrast to previous approaches, we do not require a computationally expensive solution of a global optimization, but instead provide a closed-form solution for each sampled extinction value along a view or shadow ray and thus achieve interactive performance.

  3. Phylogenetic Clustering of Origination and Extinction across the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Krug, Andrew Z.; Patzkowsky, Mark E.

    2015-01-01

    Mass extinctions can have dramatic effects on the trajectory of life, but in some cases the effects can be relatively small even when extinction rates are high. For example, the Late Ordovician mass extinction is the second most severe in terms of the proportion of genera eliminated, yet is noted for the lack of ecological consequences and shifts in clade dominance. By comparison, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was less severe but eliminated several major clades while some rare surviving clades diversified in the Paleogene. This disconnect may be better understood by incorporating the phylogenetic relatedness of taxa into studies of mass extinctions, as the factors driving extinction and recovery are thought to be phylogenetically conserved and should therefore promote both origination and extinction of closely related taxa. Here, we test whether there was phylogenetic selectivity in extinction and origination using brachiopod genera from the Middle Ordovician through the Devonian. Using an index of taxonomic clustering (RCL) as a proxy for phylogenetic clustering, we find that A) both extinctions and originations shift from taxonomically random or weakly clustered within families in the Ordovician to strongly clustered in the Silurian and Devonian, beginning with the recovery following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and B) the Late Ordovician mass extinction was itself only weakly clustered. Both results stand in stark contrast to Cretaceous-Cenozoic bivalves, which showed significant levels of taxonomic clustering of extinctions in the Cretaceous, including strong clustering in the mass extinction, but taxonomically random extinctions in the Cenozoic. The contrasting patterns between the Late Ordovician and end-Cretaceous events suggest a complex relationship between the phylogenetic selectivity of mass extinctions and the long-term phylogenetic signal in origination and extinction patterns. PMID:26658946

  4. Phylogenetic Clustering of Origination and Extinction across the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Krug, Andrew Z; Patzkowsky, Mark E

    2015-01-01

    Mass extinctions can have dramatic effects on the trajectory of life, but in some cases the effects can be relatively small even when extinction rates are high. For example, the Late Ordovician mass extinction is the second most severe in terms of the proportion of genera eliminated, yet is noted for the lack of ecological consequences and shifts in clade dominance. By comparison, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was less severe but eliminated several major clades while some rare surviving clades diversified in the Paleogene. This disconnect may be better understood by incorporating the phylogenetic relatedness of taxa into studies of mass extinctions, as the factors driving extinction and recovery are thought to be phylogenetically conserved and should therefore promote both origination and extinction of closely related taxa. Here, we test whether there was phylogenetic selectivity in extinction and origination using brachiopod genera from the Middle Ordovician through the Devonian. Using an index of taxonomic clustering (RCL) as a proxy for phylogenetic clustering, we find that A) both extinctions and originations shift from taxonomically random or weakly clustered within families in the Ordovician to strongly clustered in the Silurian and Devonian, beginning with the recovery following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and B) the Late Ordovician mass extinction was itself only weakly clustered. Both results stand in stark contrast to Cretaceous-Cenozoic bivalves, which showed significant levels of taxonomic clustering of extinctions in the Cretaceous, including strong clustering in the mass extinction, but taxonomically random extinctions in the Cenozoic. The contrasting patterns between the Late Ordovician and end-Cretaceous events suggest a complex relationship between the phylogenetic selectivity of mass extinctions and the long-term phylogenetic signal in origination and extinction patterns.

  5. Dental eruption in afrotherian mammals

    PubMed Central

    Asher, Robert J; Lehmann, Thomas

    2008-01-01

    Background Afrotheria comprises a newly recognized clade of mammals with strong molecular evidence for its monophyly. In contrast, morphological data uniting its diverse constituents, including elephants, sea cows, hyraxes, aardvarks, sengis, tenrecs and golden moles, have been difficult to identify. Here, we suggest relatively late eruption of the permanent dentition as a shared characteristic of afrotherian mammals. This characteristic and other features (such as vertebral anomalies and testicondy) recall the phenotype of a human genetic pathology (cleidocranial dysplasia), correlations with which have not been explored previously in the context of character evolution within the recently established phylogeny of living mammalian clades. Results Although data on the absolute timing of eruption in sengis, golden moles and tenrecs are still unknown, craniometric comparisons for ontogenetic series of these taxa show that considerable skull growth takes place prior to the complete eruption of the permanent cheek teeth. Specimens showing less than half (sengis, golden moles) or two-thirds (tenrecs, hyraxes) of their permanent cheek teeth reach or exceed the median jaw length of conspecifics with a complete dentition. With few exceptions, afrotherians are closer to median adult jaw length with fewer erupted, permanent cheek teeth than comparable stages of non-afrotherians. Manatees (but not dugongs), elephants and hyraxes with known age data show eruption of permanent teeth late in ontogeny relative to other mammals. While the occurrence of delayed eruption, vertebral anomalies and other potential afrotherian synapomorphies resemble some symptoms of a human genetic pathology, these characteristics do not appear to covary significantly among mammalian clades. Conclusion Morphological characteristics shared by such physically disparate animals such as elephants and golden moles are not easy to recognize, but are now known to include late eruption of permanent teeth, in

  6. Constraints on Enhanced Extinction Resulting from Extinction Treatment in the Presence of an Added Excitor

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Urcelay, Gonzalo P.; Lipatova, Olga; Miller, Ralph R.

    2009-01-01

    Three Pavlovian fear conditioning experiments with rats as subjects explored the effect of extinction in the presence of a concurrent excitor. Our aim was to explore this particular treatment, documented in previous studies to deepen extinction, with novel control groups to shed light on the processes involved in extinction. Relative to subjects…

  7. Marine Mammals and Stress Workshop

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-09-30

    measuring indicators of stress, and 3) identify scientific or regional topics for future stress-related research involving marine mammals, including...concentrations vary by region of capture in free- ranging Steller sea lion pups”. Bechshoft, T., Sonne, C., Meyer, J.S., Novak, M.A., Henchey, E., Riget, F.F...concentrations vary by region of capture in free-ranging Steller sea lion pups.” 7. Bechshøft, Thea - “Cortisol in polar bear hair; results and applications

  8. Global Assessment of Extinction Risk to Populations of Sockeye Salmon Oncorhynchus nerka

    PubMed Central

    Rand, Peter S.; Goslin, Matthew; Gross, Mart R.; Irvine, James R.; Augerot, Xanthippe; McHugh, Peter A.; Bugaev, Victor F.

    2012-01-01

    Background Concern about the decline of wild salmon has attracted the attention of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN applies quantitative criteria to assess risk of extinction and publishes its results on the Red List of Threatened Species. However, the focus is on the species level and thus may fail to show the risk to populations. The IUCN has adapted their criteria to apply to populations but there exist few examples of this type of assessment. We assessed the status of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka as a model for application of the IUCN population-level assessments and to provide the first global assessment of the status of an anadromous Pacific salmon. Methods/Principal Findings We found from demographic data that the sockeye salmon species is not presently at risk of extinction. We identified 98 independent populations with varying levels of risk within the species' range. Of these, 5 (5%) are already extinct. We analyzed the risk for 62 out of 93 extant populations (67%) and found that 17 of these (27%) are at risk of extinction. The greatest number and concentration of extinct and threatened populations is in the southern part of the North American range, primarily due to overfishing, freshwater habitat loss, dams, hatcheries, and changing ocean conditions. Conclusions/Significance Although sockeye salmon are not at risk at the species-level, about one-third of the populations that we analyzed are at risk or already extinct. Without an understanding of risk to biodiversity at the level of populations, the biodiversity loss in salmon would be greatly underrepresented on the Red List. We urge government, conservation organizations, scientists and the public to recognize this limitation of the Red List. We also urge recognition that about one-third of sockeye salmon global population diversity is at risk of extinction or already extinct. PMID:22511930

  9. Prevalence of the Extinction Burst and Its Attenuation during Treatment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lerman, Dorothea C.; Iwata, Brian A.

    1995-01-01

    A commonly associated side effect of extinction as a treatment for behavior disorders is an initial increased frequency of the target response, called an "extinction burst." This study analyzed 113 sets of extinction data and found that extinction bursting occurred in only 24% of cases and was less common when extinction was combined…

  10. Modulation of the extinction of fear learning.

    PubMed

    Myskiw, Jociane C; Izquierdo, Ivan; Furini, Cristiane R G

    2014-06-01

    We review recent work on extinction learning with emphasis on its modulation. Extinction is the learned inhibition of responding to previously acquired tasks. Like other forms of learning, it can be modulated by a variety of neurotransmitter systems and behavioral procedures. This bears on its use in the treatment of fear memories, particularly in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for which it is the treatment of choice, often under the name of exposure therapy. There have not been many laboratories interested in the modulation of extinction, but the available data, although not very abundant, are quite conclusive. Most studies on the nature of extinction and on its modulation have been carried out on fear motivated behaviors, possibly because of their applicability to the therapy of PTSD. A role for d-serine and the glycine site of NMDA receptors has been ascertained in two forms of extinction in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, basolateral amygdala and dorsal hippocampus. The serine analog, d-cycloserine, has received clinical trials as an enhancer of extinction. The brain histaminergic system acting via H2 receptors, and the endocannabinoid system using CB1 receptors in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and basolateral amygdala enhance extinction. Dopaminergic D1 and ß-noradrenergic receptors also modulate extinction by actions on these three structures. Isolated findings suggest roles for on serotonin-1A, dopaminergic-D2 and a- and ß-noradrenergic receptors in extinction modulation. Importantly, behavioral tagging and capture mechanisms in the hippocampus have been shown to play a major modulatory role in extinction. In addition, extinction of at least one aversive task (inhibitory avoidance) can be made state dependent on peripheral epinephrine.

  11. Extinction and the spatial dynamics of biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Jablonski, David

    2008-01-01

    The fossil record amply shows that the spatial fabric of extinction has profoundly shaped the biosphere; this spatial dimension provides a powerful context for integration of paleontological and neontological approaches. Mass extinctions evidently alter extinction selectivity, with many factors losing effectiveness except for a positive relation between survivorship and geographic range at the clade level (confirmed in reanalyses of end-Cretaceous extinction data). This relation probably also holds during “normal” times, but changes both slope and intercept with increasing extinction. The strong geographical component to clade dynamics can obscure causation in the extinction of a feature or a clade, owing to hitchhiking effects on geographic range, so that multifactorial analyses are needed. Some extinctions are spatially complex, and regional extinctions might either reset a diversity ceiling or create a diversification debt open to further diversification or invasion. Evolutionary recoveries also exhibit spatial dynamics, including regional differences in invasibilty, and expansion of clades from the tropics fuels at least some recoveries, as well as biodiversity dynamics during normal times. Incumbency effects apparently correlate more closely with extinction intensities than with standing diversities, so that regions with higher local and global extinctions are more subject to invasion; the latest Cenozoic temperate zones evidently received more invaders than the tropics or poles, but this dynamic could shift dramatically if tropical diversity is strongly depleted. The fossil record can provide valuable insights, and their application to present-day issues will be enhanced by partitioning past and present-day extinctions by driving mechanism rather than emphasizing intensity. PMID:18695229

  12. Ecosystem Collapse in Pleistocene Australia and a Human Role in Megafaunal Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Gifford H.; Fogel, Marilyn L.; Magee, John W.; Gagan, Michael K.; Clarke, Simon J.; Johnson, Beverly J.

    2005-07-01

    Most of Australia's largest mammals became extinct 50,000 to 45,000 years ago, shortly after humans colonized the continent. Without exceptional climate change at that time, a human cause is inferred, but a mechanism remains elusive. A 140,000-year record of dietary δ13C documents a permanent reduction in food sources available to the Australian emu, beginning about the time of human colonization; a change replicated at three widely separated sites and in the marsupial wombat. We speculate that human firing of landscapes rapidly converted a drought-adapted mosaic of trees, shrubs, and nutritious grasslands to the modern fire-adapted desert scrub. Animals that could adapt survived; those that could not, became extinct.

  13. Ecosystem collapse in Pleistocene Australia and a human role in megafaunal extinction.

    PubMed

    Miller, Gifford H; Fogel, Marilyn L; Magee, John W; Gagan, Michael K; Clarke, Simon J; Johnson, Beverly J

    2005-07-08

    Most of Australia's largest mammals became extinct 50,000 to 45,000 years ago, shortly after humans colonized the continent. Without exceptional climate change at that time, a human cause is inferred, but a mechanism remains elusive. A 140,000-year record of dietary delta(13)C documents a permanent reduction in food sources available to the Australian emu, beginning about the time of human colonization; a change replicated at three widely separated sites and in the marsupial wombat. We speculate that human firing of landscapes rapidly converted a drought-adapted mosaic of trees, shrubs, and nutritious grasslands to the modern fire-adapted desert scrub. Animals that could adapt survived; those that could not, became extinct.

  14. The Younger Dryas ET Impact Theory and Terminal Pleistocene Mammalian Extinctions in North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erlandson, J. M.; Kennett, D. J.; Kennett, J.; Braje, T.; Culleton, B.

    2007-05-01

    Despite decades of intensive study and debate, no consensus has been reached on what caused the extinction of North America's mammalian megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene. In a scholarly standoff, prominent scientists have shown that neither "human overkill" or "climate change" models adequately account for the patterns found in the paleontological and archaeological records of North America. The Younger Dryas ET Impact theory may dramatically alter this debate, adding a catastrophic trigger to help explain the rapid extinction of many large mammals about 12,900 years ago. New data suggest that an extraterrestrial impact focused in northern and eastern North America may have devastated the megafauna through: (1) direct mortality caused by the impacts shock wave, debris, and massive wildfires; (2) dramatic reduction of terrestrial food supplies, rapid climatic change, and ecological reorganization; and (3) coup-de-grace effects of surviving human populations rapidly expanding after the impact.

  15. Long-Term Maintenance of Immediate or Delayed Extinction Is Determined by the Extinction-Test Interval

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Justin S.; Escobar, Martha; Kimble, Whitney L.

    2010-01-01

    Short acquisition-extinction intervals (immediate extinction) can lead to either more or less spontaneous recovery than long acquisition-extinction intervals (delayed extinction). Using rat subjects, we observed less spontaneous recovery following immediate than delayed extinction (Experiment 1). However, this was the case only if a relatively…

  16. Morbillivirus infections in aquatic mammals.

    PubMed

    Kennedy, S

    1998-10-01

    Morbillivirus infections which were not documented in aquatic mammals until 1988, have caused at least five epizootics in these species during the last 10 years. Affected populations include European harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in 1998, Baikal seals (Phoca siberica) in Siberia from 1987-1988, striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) in the Mediterranean Sea from 1990-1992 and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) along the eastern coast of the United States from 1987-1988 and in the Gulf of Mexico from 1993-1994. Clinical signs and lesions in affected animals were similar to those of canine distemper. Lesions were mainly seen in lung, central nervous and lymphoid tissues and included formation of intranuclear and intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Syncytia were commonly found in lung and lymphoid tissues of cetaceans but not of pinnipeds. Antigenic and molecular biological studies indicate that a newly discovered morbillivirus, termed phocine distemper virus, and canine distemper virus were responsible for recent pinniped epizootics; cetacean die-offs were caused by strains of a second, newly recognized cetacean morbillivirus. Serological evidence of morbillivirus infection has been identified in a broad range of marine mammal populations and recent epizootics probably resulted from transfer of virus to immunologically-naive populations.

  17. Aestivation in mammals and birds.

    PubMed

    Geiser, Fritz

    2010-01-01

    Aestivation, which in the context of this paper refers to avian and mammalian torpor in summer/at high ambient temperatures (T (a)), does not appear to differ functionally from other forms of torpor, and to a large extent reflects the higher body temperatures (T (b)) caused by high T (a). However, from an ecological point of view, aestivation results in different challenges and requirements than does torpor use in winter, because heat can cause reduced food and water availability in many regions, but without the access to low T (a) for a substantial reduction of T (b). Aestivation is used by a diversity of adult mammals and birds both in the field and laboratory, as well as by growing young to reduce thermoregulatory energy expenditure. Torpor occurs at high T (a) including the thermo-neutral zone and even under these conditions the reduction in energy expenditure and water requirements or water loss is substantial. Although data from the laboratory and, especially, from the field are limited, they show that torpor at high T (a) is an effective survival strategy and suggest that it is employed by many mammals and birds in a diversity of habitats.

  18. Paleogenomics in a Temperate Environment: Shotgun Sequencing from an Extinct Mediterranean Caprine

    PubMed Central

    Ramírez, Oscar; Gigli, Elena; Bover, Pere; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Bertranpetit, Jaume; Castresana, Jose; Lalueza-Fox, Carles

    2009-01-01

    Background Numerous endemic mammals, including dwarf elephants, goats, hippos and deers, evolved in isolation in the Mediterranean islands during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. Most of them subsequently became extinct during the Holocene. Recently developed high-throughput sequencing technologies could provide a unique tool for retrieving genomic data from these extinct species, making it possible to study their evolutionary history and the genetic bases underlying their particular, sometimes unique, adaptations. Methodology/Principals Findings A DNA extraction of a ∼6,000 year-old bone sample from an extinct caprine (Myotragus balearicus) from the Balearic Islands in the Western Mediterranean, has been subjected to shotgun sequencing with the GS FLX 454 platform. Only 0.27% of the resulting sequences, identified from alignments with the cow genome and comprising 15,832 nucleotides, with an average length of 60 nucleotides, proved to be endogenous. Conclusions A phylogenetic tree generated with Myotragus sequences and those from other artiodactyls displays an identical topology to that generated from mitochondrial DNA data. Despite being in an unfavourable thermal environment, which explains the low yield of endogenous sequences, our study demonstrates that it is possible to obtain genomic data from extinct species from temperate regions. PMID:19461892

  19. Differential effects of temperature change and human impact on European Late Quaternary mammalian extinctions.

    PubMed

    Varela, Sara; Lima-Ribeiro, Matheus Souza; Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre Felizola; Storch, David

    2015-04-01

    Species that inhabited Europe during the Late Quaternary were impacted by temperature changes and early humans, resulting in the disappearance of half of the European large mammals. However, quantifying the relative importance that each factor had in the extinction risk of species has been challenging, mostly due to the spatio-temporal biases of fossil records, which complicate the calibration of realistic and accurate ecological niche modeling. Here, we overcome this problem by using ecotypes, and not real species, to run our models. We created 40 ecotypes with different temperature requirements (mean temperature from -20 °C to 25 °C and temperature range from 10 °C to 40 °C) and used them to quantify the effect of climate change and human impact. Our results show that cold-adapted ecotypes would have been highly affected by past temperature changes in Europe, whereas temperate and warm-adapted ecotypes would have been positively affected by temperature change. Human impact affected all ecotypes negatively, and temperate ecotypes suffered the greatest impacts. Based on these results, the extinction of cold-adapted species like Mammuthus primigenius may be related to temperature change, while the extinction of temperate species, like Crocuta crocuta, may be related to human impact. Our results suggest that temperature change and human impact affected different ecotypes in distinct ways, and that the interaction of both impacts may have shaped species extinctions in Europe.

  20. 75 FR 38991 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Space Vehicle and...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-07-07

    ..., Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315... is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption...

  1. 76 FR 41486 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation and...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-07-14

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation and Maintenance of the Neptune Liquefied Natural Gas Facility off...

  2. 76 FR 11205 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction and...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-03-01

    ... Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction and Operation of a Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port in the... marine mammal species incidental to construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG)...

  3. 77 FR 23547 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Columbia River Crossing...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-19

    ... Part 217 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Columbia River... Incidental to Columbia River Crossing Project, Washington and Oregon AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries... Transit Authority (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), on behalf of the Columbia...

  4. Reinforcement of competing behavior during extinction.

    PubMed

    Leitenberg, H; Rawson, R A; Bath, K

    1970-07-17

    Conditioned behavior declines in frequency when reinforcement is discontinued. In two experiments this extinction process was facilitated when competing behavior was reinforced as the original response was extinguished. When reinforcement for competing behavior was withdrawn, however, rats resumed their original behavior and there were no overall savings in total responses to extinction.

  5. Survival without recovery after mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, David

    2002-06-11

    Because many survivors of mass extinctions do not participate in postrecovery diversifications, and therefore fall into a pattern that can be termed "Dead Clade Walking" (DCW), the effects of mass extinctions extend beyond the losses observed during the event itself. Analyses at two taxonomic levels provide a first-order test of the prevalence of DCWs by using simple and very conservative operational criteria. For four of the Big Five mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic, the marine genera that survived the extinction suffered approximately 10-20% attrition in the immediately following geologic stage that was significantly greater than the losses sustained in preextinction stages. The stages immediately following the three Paleozoic mass extinctions also account for 17% of all order-level losses in marine invertebrates over that interval, which is, again, significantly greater than that seen for the other stratigraphic stages (no orders are lost immediately after the end-Triassic or end-Cretaceous mass extinctions). DCWs are not evenly distributed among four regional molluscan time-series following the end-Cretaceous extinction, demonstrating the importance of spatial patterns in recovery dynamics. Although biotic interactions have been invoked to explain the differential postextinction success of clades, such hypotheses must be tested against alternatives that include stochastic processes in low-diversity lineages-which is evidently not a general explanation for the ordinal DCW patterns, because postextinction fates are not related to the size of extinction bottlenecks in Paleozoic orders-and ongoing physical environmental changes.

  6. Lidar extinction measurement in the mid infrared

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitev, Valentin; Babichenko, S.; Borelli, R.; Fiorani, L.; Grigorov, I.; Nuvoli, M.; Palucci, A.; Pistilli, M.; Puiu, Ad.; Rebane, Ott; Santoro, S.

    2014-11-01

    We present a lidar measurement of atmospheric extinction coefficient. The measurement is performed by inversion of the backscatter lidar signal at wavelengths 3'000nm and 3'500nm. The inversion of the backscatter lidar signal was performed with constant extinction-to-backscatter ration values of 104 and exponential factor 0.1.

  7. Extinction-Induced Variability in Human Behavior

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kinloch, Jennifer M.; Foster, T. Mary; McEwan, James S. A.

    2009-01-01

    Participants earned points by pressing a computer space bar (Experiment 1) or forming rectangles on the screen with the mouse (Experiment 2) under differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate schedules, followed by extinction. Variability in interresponse time (the contingent dimension) increased during extinction, as for Morgan and Lee (1996);…

  8. Context and Behavioral Processes in Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bouton, Mark E.

    2004-01-01

    This article provides a selective review and integration of the behavioral literature on Pavlovian extinction. The first part reviews evidence that extinction does not destroy the original learning, but instead generates new learning that is especially context-dependent. The second part examines insights provided by research on several related…

  9. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2015-10-20

    There is broad concern that a mass extinction of amphibians and reptiles is now underway. Here I apply an extremely conservative Bayesian method to estimate the number of recent amphibian and squamate extinctions in nine important tropical and subtropical regions. The data stem from a combination of museum collection databases and published site surveys. The method computes an extinction probability for each species by considering its sighting frequency and last sighting date. It infers hardly any extinction when collection dates are randomized and it provides underestimates when artificial extinction events are imposed. The method also appears to be insensitive to trends in sampling; therefore, the counts it provides are absolute minimums. Extinctions or severe population crashes have accumulated steadily since the 1970s and 1980s, and at least 3.1% of frog species have already disappeared. Based on these data and this conservative method, the best estimate of the global grand total is roughly 200 extinctions. Consistent with previous results, frog losses are heavy in Latin America, which has been greatly affected by the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Extinction rates are now four orders-of-magnitude higher than background, and at least another 6.9% of all frog species may be lost within the next century, even if there is no acceleration in the growth of environmental threats.

  10. Current extinction rates of reptiles and amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Alroy, John

    2015-01-01

    There is broad concern that a mass extinction of amphibians and reptiles is now underway. Here I apply an extremely conservative Bayesian method to estimate the number of recent amphibian and squamate extinctions in nine important tropical and subtropical regions. The data stem from a combination of museum collection databases and published site surveys. The method computes an extinction probability for each species by considering its sighting frequency and last sighting date. It infers hardly any extinction when collection dates are randomized and it provides underestimates when artificial extinction events are imposed. The method also appears to be insensitive to trends in sampling; therefore, the counts it provides are absolute minimums. Extinctions or severe population crashes have accumulated steadily since the 1970s and 1980s, and at least 3.1% of frog species have already disappeared. Based on these data and this conservative method, the best estimate of the global grand total is roughly 200 extinctions. Consistent with previous results, frog losses are heavy in Latin America, which has been greatly affected by the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Extinction rates are now four orders-of-magnitude higher than background, and at least another 6.9% of all frog species may be lost within the next century, even if there is no acceleration in the growth of environmental threats. PMID:26438855

  11. Extinction properties of infinitely long graphite cylinders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jazbi, B.; Hoyle, F.; Wickramasinghe, N. C.

    1991-12-01

    The extinction efficiencies of randomly oriented infinite graphite cylinders, including hollow cylinders are calculated, using the rigorous Kerker-Matijevic formulas. The peak in the mid-UV extinction varies in wavelength with particle radius and cavity size in a way that makes such particles of limited interest as models of interstellar grains.

  12. Biodiversity conservation: climate change and extinction risk.

    PubMed

    Harte, John; Ostling, Annette; Green, Jessica L; Kinzig, Ann

    2004-07-01

    Thomas et al. have carried out a useful analysis of the extinction risk from climate warming. Their overall conclusion, that a large fraction of extant species could be driven to extinction by expected climate trends over the next 50 years, is compelling: it adds to the many other reasons why new energy policies are needed to reduce the pace of warming.

  13. Periodicity of extinction: A 1988 update

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkowski, J. John, Jr.

    1988-01-01

    The hypothesis that events of mass extinction recur periodically at approximately 26 my intervals is an empirical claim based on analysis of data from the fossil record. The hypothesis has become closely linked with catastrophism because several events in the periodic series are associated with evidence of extraterrestrial impacts, and terrestrial forcing mechanisms with long, periodic recurrences are not easily conceived. Astronomical mechanisms that have been hypothesized include undetected solar companions and solar oscillation about the galactic plane, which induce comet showers and result in impacts on Earth at regular intervals. Because these mechanisms are speculative, they have been the subject of considerable controversy, as has the hypothesis of periodicity of extinction. In response to criticisms and uncertainties, a data base was developed on times of extinction of marine animal genera. A time series is given and analyzed with 49 sample points for the per-genus extinction rate from the Late Permian to the Recent. An unexpected pattern in the data is the uniformity of magnitude of many of the periodic extinction events. Observations suggest that the sequence of extinction events might be the result of two sets of mechanisms: a periodic forcing that normally induces only moderate amounts of extinction, and independent incidents or catastrophes that, when coincident with the periodic forcing, amplify its signal and produce major-mass extinctions.

  14. The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fastovsky, David E.; Weishampel, David B.

    2005-02-01

    Written for non-specialists, this detailed survey of dinosaur origins, diversity, and extinction is designed as a series of successive essays covering important and timely topics in dinosaur paleobiology, such as "warm-bloodedness," birds as living dinosaurs, the new, non-flying feathered dinosaurs, dinosaur functional morphology, and cladistic methods in systematics. Its explicitly phylogenetic approach to the group is that taken by dinosaur specialists. The book is not an edited compilation of the works of many individuals, but a unique, cohesive perspective on Dinosauria. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of new, specially commissioned illustrations by John Sibbick, world-famous illustrator of dinosaurs, the volume includes multi-page drawings as well as sketches and diagrams. First edition Hb (1996): 0-521-44496-9 David E. Fastovsky is Professor of Geosciences at the University of Rhode Island. Fastovsky, the author of numerous scientific publications dealing with Mesozoic vertebrate faunas and their ancient environments, is also scientific co-Editor of Geology. He has undertaken extensive fieldwork studying dinosaurs and their environments in Montana, North Dakota, Arizona, Mexico, and Mongolia. David B. Weishampel is a professor at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. Weishampel is best known for discovering, researching, and naming several rare European dinosaur species. During the 1980s Weishampel gained fame for his work with American paleontologist Jack Horner and later named the famous plant-eating, egg-laying Orodromeus, Horner. Now, a decade after his pioneering studies with Horner, Weishampel is most widely known for his current work on the Romanian dinosaur fauna. He is the author and co-author of many titles, including The Dinosaur Papers, 1676-1906 (Norton, 2003); The Dinosauria, (University of California, 1990); and Dinosaurs of the East Coast, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).

  15. Rarity of a top predator triggers continent-wide collapse of mammal prey: dingoes and marsupials in Australia.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Christopher N; Isaac, Joanne L; Fisher, Diana O

    2007-02-07

    Top predators in terrestrial ecosystems may limit populations of smaller predators that could otherwise become over abundant and cause declines and extinctions of some prey. It is therefore possible that top predators indirectly protect many species of prey from excessive predation. This effect has been demonstrated in some small-scale studies, but it is not known how general or important it is in maintaining prey biodiversity. During the last 150 years, Australia has suffered the world's highest rate of mammal decline and extinction, and most evidence points to introduced mid-sized predators (the red fox and the feral cat) as the cause. Here, we test the idea that the decline of Australia's largest native predator, the dingo, played a role in these extinctions. Dingoes were persecuted from the beginning of European settlement in Australia and have been eliminated or made rare over large parts of the continent. We show a strong positive relationship between the survival of marsupials and the geographical overlap with high-density dingo populations. Our results suggest that the rarity of dingoes was a critical factor which allowed smaller predators to overwhelm marsupial prey, triggering extinction over much of the continent. This is evidence of a crucial role of top predators in maintaining prey biodiversity at large scales in terrestrial ecosystems and suggests that many remaining Australian mammals would benefit from the positive management of dingoes.

  16. New Fossil Evidence on the Sister-Group of Mammals and Early Mesozoic Faunal Distributions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shubin, Neil H.; Crompton, A. W.; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Olsen, Paul E.

    1991-03-01

    Newly discovered remains of highly advanced mammal-like reptiles (Cynodontia: Tritheledontidae) from the Early Jurassic of Nova Scotia, Canada, have revealed that aspects of the characteristic mammalian occlusal pattern are primitive. Mammals and tritheledontids share an homologous pattern of occlusion that is not seen in other cynodonts. The new tritheledontids represent the first definite record of this family from North America. The extreme similarity of North American and African tritheledontids supports the hypothesis that the global distribution of terrestrial tetrapods was homogeneous in the Early Jurassic. This Early Jurassic cosmopolitanism represents the continuation of a trend toward increased global homogeneity among terrestrial tetrapod communities that began in the late Paleozoic.

  17. Frozen gene pools - A future for species otherwise destined for extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gee, G.F.

    1986-01-01

    Conclusion: Semen banks and ova and embryo banks can be practical methods to maintain gene pools. Gene pool preservation is desperately needed today due to the rapid decline in number of species and their habitat, a matter that is of concern to.biologists, economists, and politicians worldwide. Techniques are available for the cryopreservation of semen from many animals (and embryos from a few mammals) and adaptations of these techniques to other animals should be possible. A frozen gene pool in conjunction with existing programs makes it possible to preserve gene pools at less cost or in.some cases where no other alternative to extinction existed.

  18. Mass extinctions and supernova explosions.

    PubMed Central

    Crutzen, P J; Brühl, C

    1996-01-01

    In a recent contribution to this journal Ellis and Schramm [Ellis, J. & Schramm, D. N. (1995) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92, 235-238] claim that supernova explosions can cause massive biological extinctions as a result of strongly enhanced stratospheric NOx (NO + NO2) production by accompanying galactic cosmic rays. They suggested that these NOx productions which would last over several centuries and occur once every few hundred million years would result in ozone depletions of about 95%, leading to vastly increased levels of biologically damaging solar ultraviolet radiation. Our detailed model calculations show, however, substantially smaller ozone depletions ranging from at most 60% at high latitudes to below 20% at the equator. PMID:11607631

  19. Mass extinction in poorly known taxa

    PubMed Central

    Régnier, Claire; Achaz, Guillaume; Lambert, Amaury; Cowie, Robert H.; Bouchet, Philippe; Fontaine, Benoît

    2015-01-01

    Since the 1980s, many have suggested we are in the midst of a massive extinction crisis, yet only 799 (0.04%) of the 1.9 million known recent species are recorded as extinct, questioning the reality of the crisis. This low figure is due to the fact that the status of very few invertebrates, which represent the bulk of biodiversity, have been evaluated. Here we show, based on extrapolation from a random sample of land snail species via two independent approaches, that we may already have lost 7% (130,000 extinctions) of the species on Earth. However, this loss is masked by the emphasis on terrestrial vertebrates, the target of most conservation actions. Projections of species extinction rates are controversial because invertebrates are essentially excluded from these scenarios. Invertebrates can and must be assessed if we are to obtain a more realistic picture of the sixth extinction crisis. PMID:26056308

  20. Neural Mechanisms of Extinction Learning and Retrieval

    PubMed Central

    Quirk, Gregory J.; Mueller, Devin

    2009-01-01

    Emotional learning is necessary for individuals to survive and prosper. Once acquired, however, emotional associations are not always expressed. Indeed, the regulation of emotional expression under varying environmental conditions is essential for mental health. The simplest form of emotional regulation is extinction, in which conditioned responding to a stimulus decreases when the reinforcer is omitted. Two decades of research on the neural mechanisms of fear conditioning have laid the groundwork for understanding extinction. In this review, we summarize recent work on the neural mechanisms of extinction learning. Like other forms of learning, extinction occurs in three phases: acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval, each of which depends on specific structures (amygdala, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus), and molecular mechanisms (receptors and signaling pathways). Pharmacological methods to facilitate consolidation and retrieval of extinction, for both aversive and appetitive conditioning, are setting the stage for novel treatments for anxiety disorders and addictions. PMID:17882236

  1. Retrieval induces reconsolidation of fear extinction memory

    PubMed Central

    Rossato, Janine I.; Bevilaqua, Lia R.; Izquierdo, Iván; Medina, Jorge H.; Cammarota, Martín

    2010-01-01

    The nonreinforced expression of long-tem memory may lead to two opposite protein synthesis-dependent processes: extinction and reconsolidation. Extinction weakens consolidated memories, whereas reconsolidation allows incorporation of additional information into them. Knowledge about these two processes has accumulated in recent years, but their possible interaction has not been evaluated yet. Here, we report that inhibition of protein synthesis in the CA1 region of the dorsal hippocampus after retrieval of fear extinction impedes subsequent reactivation of the extinction memory trace without affecting its storage or that of the initial fear memory. Our results suggest that extinction memory is susceptible to a retrieval-induced process similar to reconsolidation in the hippocampus. PMID:21118982

  2. Retrieval induces reconsolidation of fear extinction memory.

    PubMed

    Rossato, Janine I; Bevilaqua, Lia R; Izquierdo, Iván; Medina, Jorge H; Cammarota, Martín

    2010-12-14

    The nonreinforced expression of long-tem memory may lead to two opposite protein synthesis-dependent processes: extinction and reconsolidation. Extinction weakens consolidated memories, whereas reconsolidation allows incorporation of additional information into them. Knowledge about these two processes has accumulated in recent years, but their possible interaction has not been evaluated yet. Here, we report that inhibition of protein synthesis in the CA1 region of the dorsal hippocampus after retrieval of fear extinction impedes subsequent reactivation of the extinction memory trace without affecting its storage or that of the initial fear memory. Our results suggest that extinction memory is susceptible to a retrieval-induced process similar to reconsolidation in the hippocampus.

  3. Mass extinction in poorly known taxa.

    PubMed

    Régnier, Claire; Achaz, Guillaume; Lambert, Amaury; Cowie, Robert H; Bouchet, Philippe; Fontaine, Benoît

    2015-06-23

    Since the 1980s, many have suggested we are in the midst of a massive extinction crisis, yet only 799 (0.04%) of the 1.9 million known recent species are recorded as extinct, questioning the reality of the crisis. This low figure is due to the fact that the status of very few invertebrates, which represent the bulk of biodiversity, have been evaluated. Here we show, based on extrapolation from a random sample of land snail species via two independent approaches, that we may already have lost 7% (130,000 extinctions) of the species on Earth. However, this loss is masked by the emphasis on terrestrial vertebrates, the target of most conservation actions. Projections of species extinction rates are controversial because invertebrates are essentially excluded from these scenarios. Invertebrates can and must be assessed if we are to obtain a more realistic picture of the sixth extinction crisis.

  4. Preventing the Next Mass Extinction: Ethical Obligations

    SciTech Connect

    Tonn, Bruce Edward

    2009-11-01

    This paper presents a framework to judge whether we are meeting our ethical responsibilities for preventing massive species extinction. The framework is a generalization from another framework, one that addresses ethical responsibilities related to preventing premature, involuntary human deaths from environmental risks and the extinction of the human race. The resulting ethical risk standards are quite stringent and it is argued that we are nowhere close to meeting any standards, except in the cases of human extinction and extinction of all life on earth, which are met by chance, not by design. Much work is needed to build the 'technology' needed to estimate probabilities associated with massive losses of human life and species extinction over the suggested 1000 year planning horizon.

  5. An investigation of extinction-induced vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Valentino, Amber L; Shillingsburg, M Alice; Call, Nathan A; Burton, Britney; Bowen, Crystal N

    2011-05-01

    Children with autism have significant communication delays. Although some children develop vocalizations through shaping and differential reinforcement, others rarely exhibit vocalizations, and alternative methods are targeted in intervention. However, vocal language often remains a goal for caregivers and clinicians. Thus, strategies to increase frequency of vocalizations are needed. In the present study, the authors examined the effect of extinction of previously acquired signed mands on vocalizations in three children diagnosed with autism. Experiment 1 examined the effects of differential reinforcement of vocalizations and extinction of signed mands combined. In Experiment 1, it was unknown whether the reinforcement of vocalizations alone could have produced the effects; therefore, Experiment 2 isolated the effects of reinforcement and extinction by reinforcing vocalizations in baseline. An increase in rate of vocalizations occurred following the application of extinction of signed mands and differential reinforcement of vocalizations in Experiment 1 and following extinction of signed mands in Experiment 2.

  6. The Impact of 850,000 Years of Climate Changes on the Structure and Dynamics of Mammal Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Nenzén, Hedvig K.; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities. PMID:25207754

  7. The impact of 850,000 years of climate changes on the structure and dynamics of mammal food webs.

    PubMed

    Nenzén, Hedvig K; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities.

  8. The genome as a life-history character: why rate of molecular evolution varies between mammal species

    PubMed Central

    Bromham, Lindell

    2011-01-01

    DNA sequences evolve at different rates in different species. This rate variation has been most closely examined in mammals, revealing a large number of characteristics that can shape the rate of molecular evolution. Many of these traits are part of the mammalian life-history continuum: species with small body size, rapid generation turnover, high fecundity and short lifespans tend to have faster rates of molecular evolution. In addition, rate of molecular evolution in mammals might be influenced by behaviour (such as mating system), ecological factors (such as range restriction) and evolutionary history (such as diversification rate). I discuss the evidence for these patterns of rate variation, and the possible explanations of these correlations. I also consider the impact of these systematic patterns of rate variation on the reliability of the molecular date estimates that have been used to suggest a Cretaceous radiation of modern mammals, before the final extinction of the dinosaurs. PMID:21807731

  9. A continent-wide assessment of the form and intensity of large mammal herbivory in Africa.

    PubMed

    Hempson, Gareth P; Archibald, Sally; Bond, William J

    2015-11-27

    Megafaunal extinctions and a lack of suitable remote sensing technology impede our understanding of both the ecological legacy and current impacts of large mammal herbivores in the Earth system. To address this, we reconstructed the form and intensity of herbivory pressure across sub-Saharan Africa ~1000 years ago. Specifically, we modeled and mapped species-level biomass for 92 large mammal herbivores using census data, species distributions, and environmental covariates. Trait-based classifications of these species into herbivore functional types, and analyses of their biomass surfaces, reveal four ecologically distinct continental-scale herbivory regimes, characterized by internally similar forms and intensities of herbivory pressure. Associations between herbivory regimes, fire prevalence, soil nutrient status, and rainfall provide important insights into African ecology and pave the way for integrating herbivores into global-scale studies.

  10. A phantom extinction? New insights into extinction dynamics of the Don-hare Lepus tanaiticus.

    PubMed

    Prost, S; Knapp, M; Flemmig, J; Hufthammer, A K; Kosintsev, P; Stiller, M; Hofreiter, M

    2010-09-01

    The Pleistocene to Holocene transition was accompanied by a worldwide extinction event affecting numerous mammalian species. Several species such as the woolly mammoth and the giant deer survived this extinction wave, only to go extinct a few thousand years later during the Holocene. Another example for such a Holocene extinction is the Don-hare, Lepus tanaiticus, which inhabited the Russian plains during the late glacial. After being slowly replaced by the extant mountain hare (Lepus timidus), it eventually went extinct during the middle Holocene. Here, we report the phylogenetic relationship of L. tanaiticus and L. timidus based on a 339-basepair (bp) fragment of the mitochondrial D-loop. Phylogenetic tree- and network reconstructions do not support L. tanaiticus and L. timidus being different species. Rather, we suggest that the two taxa represent different morphotypes of a single species and the extinction of 'L. tanaiticus' represents the disappearance of a local morphotype rather than the extinction of a species.

  11. Predicting extinction debt from community patterns.

    PubMed

    Kitzes, Justin; Harte, John

    2015-08-01

    A significant challenge in both measuring and predicting species extinction rates at global and local scales is the possibility of extinction debt, time-delayed extinctions that occur gradually following an initial impact. Here we examine how relative abundance distributions and spatial aggregation combine to influence the likely magnitude of future extinction debt following habitat loss or climate-driven range contraction. Our analysis is based on several fundamental premises regarding abundance distributions, most importantly that species abundances immediately following habitat loss are a sample from an initial relative abundance distribution and that the long-term, steady-state form of the species abundance distribution is a property of the biology of a community and not of area. Under these two hypotheses, the results show that communities following canonical lognormal and broken-stick abundance distributions are prone to exhibit extinction debt, especially when species exhibit low spatial aggregation. Conversely, communities following a logseries distribution with a constant Fisher's α parameter never demonstrate extinction debt and often show an "immigration credit," in which species richness rises in the long term following an initial decrease. An illustration of these findings in 25 biodiversity hotspots suggests a negligible immediate extinction rate for bird communities and eventual extinction debts of 30-50% of initial species richness, whereas plant communities are predicted to immediately lose 5-15% of species without subsequent extinction debt. These results shed light on the basic determinants of extinction debt and provide initial indications of the magnitude of likely debts in landscapes where few empirical data are available.

  12. Histamine facilitates consolidation of fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Bonini, Juliana Sartori; Da Silva, Weber Cláudio; Da Silveira, Clarice Kras Borges; Köhler, Cristiano André; Izquierdo, Iván; Cammarota, Martín

    2011-10-01

    Non-reinforced retrieval induces memory extinction, a phenomenon characterized by a decrease in the intensity of the learned response. This attribute has been used to develop extinction-based therapies to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. Histamine modulates memory and anxiety but its role on fear extinction has not yet been evaluated. Therefore, using male Wistar rats, we determined the effect of the intra-hippocampal administration of different histaminergic agents on the extinction of step-down inhibitory avoidance (IA), a form of aversive learning. We found that intra-CA1 infusion of histamine immediately after non-reinforced retrieval facilitated consolidation of IA extinction in a dose-dependent manner. This facilitation was mimicked by the histamine N-methyltransferase inhibitor SKF91488 and the H2 receptor agonist dimaprit, reversed by the H2 receptor antagonist ranitidine, and unaffected by the H1 antagonist pyrilamine, the H3 antagonist thioperamide and the antagonist at the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) polyamine-binding site ifenprodil. Neither the H1 agonist 2-2-pyridylethylamine nor the NMDAR polyamine-binding site agonist spermidine affected the consolidation of extinction while the H3 receptor agonist imetit hampered it. Extinction induced the phosphorylation of ERK1 in dorsal CA1 while intra-CA1 infusion of the MEK inhibitor U0126 blocked extinction of the avoidance response. The extinction-induced phosphorylation of ERK1 was enhanced by histamine and dimaprit and blocked by ranitidine administered to dorsal CA1 after non-reinforced retrieval. Taken together, our data indicate that the hippocampal histaminergic system modulates the consolidation of fear extinction through a mechanism involving the H2-dependent activation of ERK signalling.

  13. A sphingolipid mechanism for behavioral extinction.

    PubMed

    Huston, Joseph P; Kornhuber, Johannes; Mühle, Christiane; Japtok, Lukasz; Komorowski, Mara; Mattern, Claudia; Reichel, Martin; Gulbins, Erich; Kleuser, Burkhard; Topic, Bianca; De Souza Silva, Maria A; Müller, Christian P

    2016-05-01

    Reward-dependent instrumental behavior must continuously be re-adjusted according to environmental conditions. Failure to adapt to changes in reward contingencies may incur psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. When an expected reward is omitted, behavior undergoes extinction. While extinction involves active re-learning, it is also accompanied by emotional behaviors indicative of frustration, anxiety, and despair (extinction-induced depression). Here, we report evidence for a sphingolipid mechanism in the extinction of behavior. Rapid extinction, indicating efficient re-learning, coincided with a decrease in the activity of the enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (ASM), which catalyzes turnover of sphingomyelin to ceramide, in the dorsal hippocampus of rats. The stronger the decline in ASM activity, the more rapid was the extinction. Sphingolipid-focused lipidomic analysis showed that this results in a decline of local ceramide species in the dorsal hippocampus. Ceramides shape the fluidity of lipid rafts in synaptic membranes and by that way can control neural plasticity. We also found that aging modifies activity of enzymes and ceramide levels in selective brain regions. Aging also changed how the chronic treatment with corticosterone (stress) or intranasal dopamine modified regional enzyme activity and ceramide levels, coinciding with rate of extinction. These data provide first evidence for a functional ASM-ceramide pathway in the brain involved in the extinction of learned behavior. This finding extends the known cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity to a new class of membrane-located molecules, the sphingolipids, and their regulatory enzymes, and may offer new treatment targets for extinction- and learning-related psychopathological conditions. Sphingolipids are common lipids in the brain which form lipid domains at pre- and postsynaptic membrane compartments. Here we show a decline in dorsal hippocampus ceramide species together with a

  14. 50 CFR 216.25 - Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products. 216.25 Section 216.25 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE...

  15. 50 CFR 216.25 - Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products. 216.25 Section 216.25 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE...

  16. 50 CFR 216.25 - Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products. 216.25 Section 216.25 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE...

  17. 50 CFR 216.25 - Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products. 216.25 Section 216.25 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE...

  18. 76 FR 9250 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-02-17

    ... marine mammal and sound research (funded by the Navy or otherwise) Any verified information which reveals... the shelf break, sea surface temperature (SST), and chlorophyll a (chl a) concentration was formulated... mammals to levels of sound likely to result in injury or death of marine mammals; (3) several...

  19. 50 CFR 216.25 - Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal products. 216.25 Section 216.25 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE...

  20. Pelagic larval duration predicts extinction risk in a freshwater fish clade

    PubMed Central

    Douglas, Morgan; Keck, Benjamin P.; Ruble, Crystal; Petty, Melissa; Shute, J. R.; Rakes, Patrick; Hulsey, C. Darrin

    2013-01-01

    Pelagic larval duration (PLD) can influence evolutionary processes ranging from dispersal to extinction in aquatic organisms. Using estimates of PLD obtained from species of North American darters (Percidae: Etheostomatinae), we demonstrate that this freshwater fish clade exhibits surprising variation in PLD. Comparative analyses provide some evidence that higher stream gradients favour the evolution of shorter PLD. Additionally, similar to patterns in the marine fossil record in which lower PLD is associated with greater extinction probability, we found a reduced PLD in darter lineages was evolutionarily associated with extinction risk. Understanding the causes and consequences of PLD length could lead to better management and conservation of organisms in our increasingly imperiled aquatic environments. PMID:24196518