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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. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  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. The shrinking ark: patterns of large mammal extinctions in India

    PubMed Central

    Karanth, Krithi K.; Nichols, James D.; Karanth, K. Ullas; Hines, James E.; Christensen, Norman L.

    2010-01-01

    Mammal extinctions are widespread globally, with South Asian species being most threatened. We examine local extinctions of 25 mammals in India. We use historical records to obtain a set of locations at which each species was known to have been present at some time in the last 200 years. We then use occupancy estimation models to draw inferences about current presence at these same locations based on field observations of local experts. We examine predictions about the influence of key factors such as protected areas, forest cover, elevation, human population density and cultural tolerance on species extinction. For all 25 species, estimated local extinction probabilities (referenced to a 100 year time frame) range between 0.14 and 0.96. Time elapsed since the historical occurrence record was an important determinant of extinction probability for 14 species. Protected areas are positively associated with lower extinction of 18 species, although many species occur outside them. We find evidence that higher proportion of forest cover is associated with lower extinction probabilities for seven species. However, for species that prefer open habitats (which have experienced intensive land-use change), forest cover alone appears insufficient to ensure persistence (the complement of extinction). We find that higher altitude is positively associated with lower extinction for eight species. Human population density is positively associated with extinction of 13 species. We find that ‘culturally tolerated’ species do exhibit higher persistence. Overall, large-bodied, rare and habitat specialist mammals tend to have higher extinction probabilities. PMID:20219736

  11. 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.

  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. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Drivers and hotspots of extinction risk in marine mammals

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22308490

  17. Quantification of habitat fragmentation reveals extinction risk in terrestrial mammals.

    PubMed

    Crooks, Kevin R; Burdett, Christopher L; Theobald, David M; King, Sarah R B; Di Marco, Moreno; Rondinini, Carlo; Boitani, Luigi

    2017-07-18

    Although habitat fragmentation is often assumed to be a primary driver of extinction, global patterns of fragmentation and its relationship to extinction risk have not been consistently quantified for any major animal taxon. We developed high-resolution habitat fragmentation models and used phylogenetic comparative methods to quantify the effects of habitat fragmentation on the world's terrestrial mammals, including 4,018 species across 26 taxonomic Orders. Results demonstrate that species with more fragmentation are at greater risk of extinction, even after accounting for the effects of key macroecological predictors, such as body size and geographic range size. Species with higher fragmentation had smaller ranges and a lower proportion of high-suitability habitat within their range, and most high-suitability habitat occurred outside of protected areas, further elevating extinction risk. Our models provide a quantitative evaluation of extinction risk assessments for species, allow for identification of emerging threats in species not classified as threatened, and provide maps of global hotspots of fragmentation for the world's terrestrial mammals. Quantification of habitat fragmentation will help guide threat assessment and strategic priorities for global mammal conservation.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Larger brain size indirectly increases vulnerability to extinction in mammals.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Voyer, Alejandro; González-Suárez, Manuela; Vilà, Carles; Revilla, Eloy

    2016-06-01

    Although previous studies have addressed the question of why large brains evolved, we have limited understanding of potential beneficial or detrimental effects of enlarged brain size in the face of current threats. Using novel phylogenetic path analysis, we evaluated how brain size directly and indirectly, via its effects on life history and ecology, influences vulnerability to extinction across 474 mammalian species. We found that larger brains, controlling for body size, indirectly increase vulnerability to extinction by extending the gestation period, increasing weaning age, and limiting litter sizes. However, we found no evidence of direct, beneficial, or detrimental effects of brain size on vulnerability to extinction, even when we explicitly considered the different types of threats that lead to vulnerability. Order-specific analyses revealed qualitatively similar patterns for Carnivora and Artiodactyla. Interestingly, for Primates, we found that larger brain size was directly (and indirectly) associated with increased vulnerability to extinction. Our results indicate that under current conditions, the constraints on life history imposed by large brains outweigh the potential benefits, undermining the resilience of the studied mammals. Contrary to the selective forces that have favored increased brain size throughout evolutionary history, at present, larger brains have become a burden for mammals. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

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

    PubMed Central

    Gomes Rodrigues, Helder; Billet, Guillaume

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28096389

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    Morrow, Edward H; Fricke, Claudia

    2004-11-22

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Inferring extinction of mammals from sighting records, threats, and biological traits.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Diana O; Blomberg, Simon P

    2012-02-01

    For species with five or more sightings, quantitative techniques exist to test whether a species is extinct on the basis of distribution of sightings. However, 70% of purportedly extinct mammals are known from fewer than five sightings, and such models do not include some important indicators of the likelihood of extinction such as threats, biological traits, search effort, and demography. Previously, we developed a quantitative method that we based on species' traits in which we used Cox proportional hazards regression to calculate the probability of rediscovery of species regarded as extinct. Here, we used two versions of the Cox regression model to determine the probability of extinction in purportedly extinct mammals and compared the results of these two models with those of stationary Poisson, nonparametric, and Weibull sighting-distribution models. For mammals with five or more sightings, the stationary Poisson model categorized all but two critically endangered (flagged as possibly extinct) species in our data set as extinct, and results with this model were consistent with current categories of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The scores of probability of rediscovery for individual species in one version of our Cox regression model were correlated with scores assigned by the stationary Poisson model. Thus, we used this Cox regression model to determine the probability of extinction of mammals with sparse records. On the basis of the Cox regression model, the most likely mammals to be rediscovered were the Montane monkey-faced bat (Pteralopex pulchra), Armenian myotis (Myotis hajastanicus), Alcorn's pocket gopher (Pappogeomys alcorni), and Wimmer's shrew (Crocidura wimmeri). The Cox model categorized two species that have recently disappeared as extinct: the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) and the Christmas Island pipistrelle (Pipistrellus murrayi). Our new method can be used to test whether species with few records or recent last

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    2017-10-01

    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 2 introduced mesopredators-feral cat (Felis catus) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes)-are responsible for severe declines of dryland mammals. We evaluated productivity and predation as drivers of native mammal assemblage structure in dryland Australia. We used new data from 90 sites to examine the divers of extant mammal species richness and reconstructed historic mammal assemblages to determine proportional loss of mammal species across broad habitat types (landform and vegetation communities). Predation was supported as a major driver of extant mammal richness, but its effect was strongly mediated by habitat. Areas that were rugged or had dense grass cover supported more mammal species than the more productive and topographically simple areas. Twelve species in the critical weight range (CWR) (35-5500 g) that is most vulnerable to mesopredator predation were extirpated from the continent's central region, and the severity of loss of species correlated negatively with ruggedness and positively with productivity. Based on previous studies, we expect that habitat mediates predation from red foxes and feral cats because it affects these species' densities and foraging efficiency. Large areas of rugged terrain provided vital refuge for Australian dryland mammals, and we predict such areas will support the persistence of CWR species in the face of ongoing mammal declines elsewhere in Australia. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23185018

  1. 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

  2. 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)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Frequency of decompression illness among recent and extinct mammals and "reptiles": a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlsen, Agnete Weinreich

    2017-08-01

    The frequency of decompression illness was high among the extinct marine "reptiles" and very low among the marine mammals. Signs of decompression illness are still found among turtles but whales and seals are unaffected. In humans, the risk of decompression illness is five times increased in individuals with Patent Foramen Ovale; this condition allows blood shunting from the venous circuit to the systemic circuit. This right-left shunt is characteristic of the "reptile" heart, and it is suggested that this could contribute to the high frequency of decompression illness in the extinct reptiles.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:21127262

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Higher speciation and lower extinction rates influence mammal diversity gradients in Asia.

    PubMed

    Tamma, Krishnapriya; Ramakrishnan, Uma

    2015-02-04

    Little is known about the patterns and correlates of mammal diversity gradients in Asia. In this study, we examine patterns of species distributions and phylogenetic diversity in Asia and investigate if the observed diversity patterns are associated with differences in diversification rates between the tropical and non-tropical regions. We used species distribution maps and phylogenetic trees to generate species and phylogenetic diversity measures for 1° × 1° cells across mainland Asia. We constructed lineage-through-time plots and estimated diversification shift-times to examine the temporal patterns of diversifications across orders. Finally, we tested if the observed gradients in Asia could be associated with geographical differences in diversification rates across the tropical and non-tropical biomes. We estimated speciation, extinction and dispersal rates across these two regions for mammals, both globally and for Asian mammals. Our results demonstrate strong latitudinal and longitudinal gradients of species and phylogenetic diversity with Southeast Asia and the Himalayas showing highest diversity. Importantly, our results demonstrate that differences in diversification (speciation, extinction and dispersal) rates between the tropical and the non-tropical biomes influence the observed diversity gradients globally and in Asia. For the first time, we demonstrate that Asian tropics act as both cradles and museums of mammalian diversity. Temporal and spatial variation in diversification rates across different lineages of mammals is an important correlate of species diversity gradients observed in Asia.

  13. Mineralized periodontia in extinct relatives of mammals shed light on the evolutionary history of mineral homeostasis in periodontal tissue maintenance.

    PubMed

    LeBlanc, Aaron R H; Reisz, Robert R; Brink, Kirstin S; Abdala, Fernando

    2016-04-01

    Dental ankylosis is a rare pathological condition in mammals, however, it is prevalent in their extinct relatives, the stem mammals. This study seeks to compare the mineralized state of the periodontal attachment apparatus between stem and crown mammals and discuss its implications for the evolution of non-mineralized periodontal attachment in crown mammals, including humans. Thin sections of a fossil mammal and three stem mammals were compared to reconstruct periodontal tissue development across distantly related lineages. Comparisons revealed that the extinct relatives of mammals possessed the same periodontal tissues as those in mammals, albeit in different arrangements. The ankylotic condition in stem mammals was achieved through extensive alveolar bone deposition, which eventually contacted the root cementum, thus forming a calcified periodontal ligament. Dental ankylosis was part of the normal development of the stem mammal periodontium for millions of years prior to the evolution of a permanent gomphosis in mammals. Mammals may have evolved a permanent gomphosis by delaying the processes that produced dental ankylosis in stem mammals. Pathological ankylosis may represent a reversion to the ancestral condition, which now only forms via advanced ageing and pathology. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    PubMed

    Hagey, Lee R; Vidal, Nicolas; Hofmann, Alan F; Krasowski, Matthew D

    2010-05-06

    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). 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. 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, suggesting that bile salt analysis

  15. 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

  16. Influence of Feeding and Body Mass on IUCN Extinction Threat of Extant Marine and Terrestrial Mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lam, G.; Wang, I. M.; Heim, N.; Payne, J.

    2016-12-01

    Extinction is a fundamental phenomenon that has been occurring for millions of years and is critical to the development of new organisms and niches. However, the current extinction rate is now one hundred to a thousand times the past background extinction rate due to human influences and rapidly changing environments. Research on geographic range and life history has been performed in extinction analyses, but rarely any on feeding type and trophic level. We compiled data from the IUCN Red List Database, Paleobiology database and diets from Pauly et al. (1998) to explore the possible correlation between various aspects of ecology and extinction threat. By doing so, we can better understand where to focus our conservation efforts, and what type of approach will reap the best results. We discovered that terrestrial carnivores are slightly less at risk than herbivores and omnivores, and that the feeding and tiering of marine mammals have minimal effect on their IUCN threat level. Body mass is the most influential factor on risk level, with larger adult body masses being most at risk.

  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. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Correlates between calcaneal morphology and locomotion in extant and extinct carnivorous mammals.

    PubMed

    Panciroli, Elsa; Janis, Christine; Stockdale, Maximilian; Martín-Serra, Alberto

    2017-10-01

    Locomotor mode is an important component of an animal's ecology, relating to both habitat and substrate choice (e.g., arboreal versus terrestrial) and in the case of carnivores, to mode of predation (e.g., ambush versus pursuit). Here, we examine how the morphology of the calcaneum, the 'heel bone' in the tarsus, correlates with locomotion in extant carnivores. Other studies have confirmed the correlation of calcaneal morphology with locomotion behaviour and habitat. The robust nature of the calcaneum means that it is frequently preserved in the fossil record. Here, we employ linear measurements and 2D-geometric morphometrics on a sample of calcanea from eighty-seven extant carnivorans and demonstrate a signal of correlation between calcaneal morphology and locomotor mode that overrides phylogeny. We used this correlation to determine the locomotor mode, and hence aspects of the palaeobiology of, 47 extinct carnivorous mammal taxa, including both Carnivora and Creodonta. We found ursids (bears), clustered together, separate from the other carnivorans. Our results support greater locomotor diversity for nimravids (the extinct 'false sabertooths', usually considered to be more arboreal), than previously expected. However, there are limitations to interpretation of extinct taxa because their robust morphology is not fully captured in the range of modern carnivoran morphology. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Tracking the past: Interspersed repeats in an extinct Afrotherian mammal, Mammuthus primigenius

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19508981

  7. Therian mammals experience an ecomorphological radiation during the Late Cretaceous and selective extinction at the K–Pg boundary

    PubMed Central

    Grossnickle, David M.; Newham, Elis

    2016-01-01

    It is often postulated that mammalian diversity was suppressed during the Mesozoic Era and increased rapidly after the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) extinction event. We test this hypothesis by examining macroevolutionary patterns in early therian mammals, the group that gave rise to modern placentals and marsupials. We assess morphological disparity and dietary trends using morphometric analyses of lower molars, and we evaluate generic level taxonomic diversity patterns using techniques that account for sampling biases. In contrast with the suppression hypothesis, our results suggest that an ecomorphological diversification of therians began 10–20 Myr prior to the K–Pg extinction event, led by disparate metatherians and Eurasian faunas. This diversification is concurrent with ecomorphological radiations of multituberculate mammals and flowering plants, suggesting that mammals as a whole benefitted from the ecological rise of angiosperms. In further contrast with the suppression hypothesis, therian disparity decreased immediately after the K–Pg boundary, probably due to selective extinction against ecological specialists and metatherians. However, taxonomic diversity trends appear to have been decoupled from disparity patterns, remaining low in the Cretaceous and substantially increasing immediately after the K–Pg extinction event. The conflicting diversity and disparity patterns suggest that earliest Palaeocene extinction survivors, especially eutherian dietary generalists, underwent rapid taxonomic diversification without considerable morphological diversification.

  8. Skeleton of Extinct North American Sea Mink ( Mustela macrodon)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mead, Jim I.; Spiess, Arthur E.; Sobolik, Kristin D.

    2000-03-01

    Mustela macrodon (extinct sea mink) is known only from prehistoric and historic Native American shell middens dating less than 5100 years old along coastal islands of the Gulf of Maine, northeastern North America. The species is distinct from all known extant subspecies of M. vison (American mink) but still belongs to the North American subgenus Vison. Metric comparisons between M. macrodon and five subspecies of M. vison, using skull, mandible, humerus, radius, femur, and tibia skeletal elements, show that M. macrodon is larger in overall size and robustness and is proportionately larger in the dental region. Many habitat-related parallels exist between coastal island mink of the Gulf of Maine and those of the Alexander Archipelago, southeastern Alaska, where the overall largest living subspecies of mink is found (M. v. nesolestes).

  9. Endocranial Morphology of the Extinct North American Lion (Panthera atrox).

    PubMed

    Cuff, Andrew R; Stockey, Christopher; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-01-01

    The extinct North American lion (Panthera atrox) is one of the largest felids (Mammalia, Carnivora) to have ever lived, and it is known from a plethora of incredibly well-preserved remains. Despite this abundance of material, there has been little research into its endocranial anatomy. CT scans of a skull of P. atrox from the Pleistocene La Brea Tar pits were used to generate the first virtual endocranium for this species and to elucidate previously unknown details of its brain size and gross structure, cranial nerves, and inner-ear morphology. Results show that its gross brain anatomy is broadly similar to that of other pantherines, although P. atrox displays less cephalic flexure than either extant lions or tigers, instead showing a brain shape that is reminiscent of earlier felids. Despite this unusual reduction in flexure, the estimated absolute brain size for this specimen is one of the largest reported for any felid, living or extinct. Its encephalization quotient (brain size as a fraction of the expected brain mass for a given body mass) is also larger than that of extant lions but similar to that of the other pantherines. The advent of CT scans has allowed nondestructive sampling of anatomy that cannot otherwise be studied in these extinct lions, leading to a more accurate reconstruction of endocranial morphology and its evolution. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  16. 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

  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. 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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    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. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists.

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    Roberts, David L; 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Determination of hip-joint loading patterns of living and extinct mammals using an inverse Wolff's law approach.

    PubMed

    Christen, Patrik; Ito, Keita; Galis, Frietson; van Rietbergen, Bert

    2015-04-01

    It is well known that bone adapts its microstructure in response to loading. Based on this form-follows-function relationship, we previously developed a reverse approach to derive joint loads from bone microstructure as acquired with micro-computed tomography. Here, we challenge this approach by calculating hip-joint loading patterns for human and dog, two species exhibiting different locomotion, and comparing them to in vivo measurements. As a proof of concept to use the approach also for extinct taxa, we applied it to a cave lion fossil bone. Calculations were in close agreement with in vivo measurements during walking for extant species, showing distinguished patterns for bipedalism and quadrupedalism. The cave lion calculations clearly revealed its quadrupedal locomotion and suggested a more diverse behaviour compared to the dog, which is in agreement with extant felids. This indicates that our novel approach is potentially useful for making inferences about locomotion in living as well as extinct mammals and to study evolutionary joint development.

  6. 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. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-08

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. Preliminary Radiocarbon Chronology and Paleoecological Analysis of the Small Mammals in Samwel and Potter Creek Caves, Shasta County, California, and its Relation to the End-Pleistocene Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feranec, R. S.; Blois, J. L.; Hadly, E. A.

    2005-12-01

    Although mostly excavated before 1910, the fossil deposits discovered in Samwel and Potter Creek Caves in northern California have been little studied. The deposits within the caves have yielded both extinct megafauna and archaeological remains implying that the deposits cross the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. Small mammals are abundant within these cave deposits, and many of these smaller mammals are from extant species of California, survivors of the end Pleistocene extinction. Because of the abundant fossils collected in stratigraphic context, our ultimate goal is the use these unique sites to assess community and population response of the extant mammals to the end Pleistocene event. However, our initial aim was to answer the following two questions regarding the small mammal communities: (1) What is the chronology of the small mammals in the cave deposits? (2) Are ecological changes occurring within the small mammal taxa? To determine chronology, we prepared 10 small mammal samples for radiocarbon analysis using standard techniques. The samples were analyzed and dated at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Our dates, selected from across the strata, ranged from 1,200 to 21,000 radiocarbon years before present. For a preliminary assessment of ecological changes through time, we used cranial metrics of ground squirrels ( Spermophilus sp.). Diastemal length (the distance between the first molariform tooth and incisor) is an index of body size, which is a function of the physiology of the individual. Toothrow measures the length of the molariform teeth, and does not change with the ontogeny of the individual, but can represent heritable, evolutionary changes in size or species replacement. Our preliminary results are promising, demonstrating a significant decrease in diastemal length, or ecophenotypic body size, at the top of the deposit. No significant change was observed in toothrow length. Our results confirm that the deposits of these northern

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. A mitogenomic timetree for Darwin's enigmatic South American mammal Macrauchenia patachonica.

    PubMed

    Westbury, Michael; Baleka, Sina; Barlow, Axel; Hartmann, Stefanie; Paijmans, Johanna L A; Kramarz, Alejandro; Forasiepi, Analía M; Bond, Mariano; Gelfo, Javier N; Reguero, Marcelo A; López-Mendoza, Patricio; Taglioretti, Matias; Scaglia, Fernando; Rinderknecht, Andrés; Jones, Washington; Mena, Francisco; Billet, Guillaume; de Muizon, Christian; Aguilar, José Luis; MacPhee, Ross D E; Hofreiter, Michael

    2017-06-27

    The unusual mix of morphological traits displayed by extinct South American native ungulates (SANUs) confounded both Charles Darwin, who first discovered them, and Richard Owen, who tried to resolve their relationships. Here we report an almost complete mitochondrial genome for the litoptern Macrauchenia. Our dated phylogenetic tree places Macrauchenia as sister to Perissodactyla, but close to the radiation of major lineages within Laurasiatheria. This position is consistent with a divergence estimate of ∼66 Ma (95% credibility interval, 56.64-77.83 Ma) obtained for the split between Macrauchenia and other Panperissodactyla. Combined with their morphological distinctiveness, this evidence supports the positioning of Litopterna (possibly in company with other SANU groups) as a separate order within Laurasiatheria. We also show that, when using strict criteria, extinct taxa marked by deep divergence times and a lack of close living relatives may still be amenable to palaeogenomic analysis through iterative mapping against more distant relatives.

  5. A mitogenomic timetree for Darwin’s enigmatic South American mammal Macrauchenia patachonica

    PubMed Central

    Westbury, Michael; Baleka, Sina; Barlow, Axel; Hartmann, Stefanie; Paijmans, Johanna L.A.; Kramarz, Alejandro; Forasiepi, Analía M; Bond, Mariano; Gelfo, Javier N.; Reguero, Marcelo A.; López-Mendoza, Patricio; Taglioretti, Matias; Scaglia, Fernando; Rinderknecht, Andrés; Jones, Washington; Mena, Francisco; Billet, Guillaume; de Muizon, Christian; Aguilar, José Luis; MacPhee, Ross D.E.; Hofreiter, Michael

    2017-01-01

    The unusual mix of morphological traits displayed by extinct South American native ungulates (SANUs) confounded both Charles Darwin, who first discovered them, and Richard Owen, who tried to resolve their relationships. Here we report an almost complete mitochondrial genome for the litoptern Macrauchenia. Our dated phylogenetic tree places Macrauchenia as sister to Perissodactyla, but close to the radiation of major lineages within Laurasiatheria. This position is consistent with a divergence estimate of ∼66 Ma (95% credibility interval, 56.64–77.83 Ma) obtained for the split between Macrauchenia and other Panperissodactyla. Combined with their morphological distinctiveness, this evidence supports the positioning of Litopterna (possibly in company with other SANU groups) as a separate order within Laurasiatheria. We also show that, when using strict criteria, extinct taxa marked by deep divergence times and a lack of close living relatives may still be amenable to palaeogenomic analysis through iterative mapping against more distant relatives. PMID:28654082

  6. 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

  7. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. Implications of Diet for the Extinction of Saber-Toothed Cats and American Lions

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:23300674

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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;…

  12. 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;…

  13. [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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Viremia in North American Mammals and Birds After Experimental Infection with Chikungunya Viruses.

    PubMed

    Bosco-Lauth, Angela M; Nemeth, Nicole M; Kohler, Dennis J; Bowen, Richard A

    2016-03-01

    Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne virus, which is known to cause severe disease only in humans. To investigate its potential zoonotic host range and evaluate reservoir competence among these hosts, experimental infections were performed on individuals from nine avian and 12 mammalian species representing both domestic and wild animals common to North America. Hamsters and inbred mice have previously been shown to develop viremia after inoculation with CHIKV and were used as positive controls for infection. Aside from big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), none of the mammals or birds developed detectable viremia or overt clinical disease. However, most mammals and a smaller proportion of birds developed neutralizing antibody responses to CHIKV. On the basis of these results, it seems unlikely that CHIKV poses a significant health threat to most domestic animals or wildlife and that the species examined do not likely contribute to natural transmission cycles. Additional studies should further evaluate bats and wild rodents as potential reservoir hosts for CHIKV transmission during human epidemics. © The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Distribution of mammal functional diversity in the Neotropical realm: Influence of land-use and extinction risk

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Medellín, Rodrigo; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2017-01-01

    Functional diversity represents a measure of diversity that incorporates the role of species in an ecosystem, and therefore its dynamics and resilience. Assessing its drivers and spatial variation represents an important step forward in our understanding of functional ecosystem dynamics and it is also necessary to achieve a comprehensive conservation planning. In this paper, we assessed mammal functional diversity for the 218 ecoregions within the Neotropical realm. We evaluated the overall influence and spatial variation of species richness, ecoregion extent, intervention and species at risk on functional diversity. Using ordinary least squares and geographically weighted regression modeling approaches, we found that intervened areas and threatened and non-threatened species are the most influential overall drivers of functional diversity. However, we also detected that these variables do not operate equally across scales. Our local analyses indicated both that the variation explained and local coefficients vary spatially depending on the ecoregion and major habitat type. As estimates of functional diversity are based on current distribution of all mammals, negative influence of intervened areas and positive influence of non-threatened species may reflect a potential degradation of functional processes for some ecosystems. Most generally, the negative influence of intervention together with the influence of threatened species indicates that some areas are currently more susceptible to functional diversity loss. Our results help to pinpoint key areas requiring urgent conservation action to reduce natural land-cover loss and areas where threatened species play influential roles on ecosystem functioning. PMID:28441467

  20. Distribution of mammal functional diversity in the Neotropical realm: Influence of land-use and extinction risk.

    PubMed

    González-Maya, José F; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Medellín, Rodrigo; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2017-01-01

    Functional diversity represents a measure of diversity that incorporates the role of species in an ecosystem, and therefore its dynamics and resilience. Assessing its drivers and spatial variation represents an important step forward in our understanding of functional ecosystem dynamics and it is also necessary to achieve a comprehensive conservation planning. In this paper, we assessed mammal functional diversity for the 218 ecoregions within the Neotropical realm. We evaluated the overall influence and spatial variation of species richness, ecoregion extent, intervention and species at risk on functional diversity. Using ordinary least squares and geographically weighted regression modeling approaches, we found that intervened areas and threatened and non-threatened species are the most influential overall drivers of functional diversity. However, we also detected that these variables do not operate equally across scales. Our local analyses indicated both that the variation explained and local coefficients vary spatially depending on the ecoregion and major habitat type. As estimates of functional diversity are based on current distribution of all mammals, negative influence of intervened areas and positive influence of non-threatened species may reflect a potential degradation of functional processes for some ecosystems. Most generally, the negative influence of intervention together with the influence of threatened species indicates that some areas are currently more susceptible to functional diversity loss. Our results help to pinpoint key areas requiring urgent conservation action to reduce natural land-cover loss and areas where threatened species play influential roles on ecosystem functioning.

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

    PubMed

    Meier, Patricia S; Bickelmann, Constanze; Scheyer, Torsten M; Koyabu, Daisuke; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2013-02-26

    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. 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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Novel genomic resources for a climate change sensitive mammal: characterization of the American pika transcriptome

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background When faced with climate change, species must either shift their home range or adapt in situ in order to maintain optimal physiological balance with their environment. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is a small alpine mammal with limited dispersal capacity and low tolerance for thermal stress. As a result, pikas have become an important system for examining biotic responses to changing climatic conditions. Previous research using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) has revealed evidence for environmental-mediated selection in O. princeps populations distributed along elevation gradients, yet the anonymity of AFLP loci and lack of available genomic resources precluded the identification of associated gene regions. Here, we harnessed next-generation sequencing technology in order to characterize the American pika transcriptome and identify a large suite of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which can be used to elucidate elevation- and site-specific patterns of sequence variation. Results We constructed pooled cDNA libraries of O. princeps from high (1400m) and low (300m) elevation sites along a previously established transect in British Columbia. Transcriptome sequencing using the Roche 454 GS FLX titanium platform generated 780 million base pairs of data, which were assembled into 7,325 high coverage contigs. These contigs were used to identify 24,261 novel SNP loci. Using high resolution melt analysis, we developed 17 of these SNPs into genotyping assays, which were validated with independent DNA samples from British Columbia Canada and Oregon State USA. In addition, we detected haplotypes in the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 of the mitochondrial genome that were fixed and different among elevations, suggesting that this may be an informative target gene for studying the role of cellular respiration in local adaptation. We also identified contigs that were unique to each elevation, including a high elevation-specific contig that was

  4. Novel genomic resources for a climate change sensitive mammal: characterization of the American pika transcriptome.

    PubMed

    Lemay, Matthew A; Henry, Philippe; Lamb, Clayton T; Robson, Kelsey M; Russello, Michael A

    2013-05-10

    When faced with climate change, species must either shift their home range or adapt in situ in order to maintain optimal physiological balance with their environment. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is a small alpine mammal with limited dispersal capacity and low tolerance for thermal stress. As a result, pikas have become an important system for examining biotic responses to changing climatic conditions. Previous research using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) has revealed evidence for environmental-mediated selection in O. princeps populations distributed along elevation gradients, yet the anonymity of AFLP loci and lack of available genomic resources precluded the identification of associated gene regions. Here, we harnessed next-generation sequencing technology in order to characterize the American pika transcriptome and identify a large suite of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which can be used to elucidate elevation- and site-specific patterns of sequence variation. We constructed pooled cDNA libraries of O. princeps from high (1400 m) and low (300 m) elevation sites along a previously established transect in British Columbia. Transcriptome sequencing using the Roche 454 GS FLX titanium platform generated 780 million base pairs of data, which were assembled into 7,325 high coverage contigs. These contigs were used to identify 24,261 novel SNP loci. Using high resolution melt analysis, we developed 17 of these SNPs into genotyping assays, which were validated with independent DNA samples from British Columbia Canada and Oregon State USA. In addition, we detected haplotypes in the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 of the mitochondrial genome that were fixed and different among elevations, suggesting that this may be an informative target gene for studying the role of cellular respiration in local adaptation. We also identified contigs that were unique to each elevation, including a high elevation-specific contig that was a positive match

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Viremia in North American Mammals and Birds after Experimental Infection with Chikungunya Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Bosco-Lauth, Angela M.; Nemeth, Nicole M.; Kohler, Dennis J.; Bowen, Richard A.

    2016-01-01

    Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne virus, which is known to cause severe disease only in humans. To investigate its potential zoonotic host range and evaluate reservoir competence among these hosts, experimental infections were performed on individuals from nine avian and 12 mammalian species representing both domestic and wild animals common to North America. Hamsters and inbred mice have previously been shown to develop viremia after inoculation with CHIKV and were used as positive controls for infection. Aside from big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), none of the mammals or birds developed detectable viremia or overt clinical disease. However, most mammals and a smaller proportion of birds developed neutralizing antibody responses to CHIKV. On the basis of these results, it seems unlikely that CHIKV poses a significant health threat to most domestic animals or wildlife and that the species examined do not likely contribute to natural transmission cycles. Additional studies should further evaluate bats and wild rodents as potential reservoir hosts for CHIKV transmission during human epidemics. PMID:26666699

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. High Precision U/Pb Geochronology of Eocene-Miocene South American Land Mammal Ages at Gran Barranca, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunn, R. E.; Kohn, M. J.; Madden, R. H.; Strömberg, C. E.; Carlini, A. A.

    2009-12-01

    Constraining the ages and duration of Cenozoic South American Land Mammal Ages (SALMAs) has been based on 40Ar/39Ar dating and magnetic polarity stratigraphy. At Gran Barranca (68.7°W, 45.7°S) - South America’s most important site and sequence for constraining SALMAs -uncertainties of ~ 1 Myr persist. To better constrain the ages of mammalian and plant assemblages and stable isotope stratigraphies, we employed high-precision (±50 kyr) single-crystal zircon U/Pb dating. These results generally confirm previous chronologies, but change the timing or duration of some SALMAs at Gran Barranca by 0.5-1 Myr. We collected 23 tuffs from six members of the Sarmiento Formation that contain 7 successive formally recognized SALMAs spanning the middle Eocene through the early Miocene. These strata include the type faunas for the Barrancan, Mustersan and Colhuehuapian SALMAs. Zircons were separated and chemically treated using standard techniques, spiked with EARTHTIME ET535, and analyzed for U-Pb ratios at Boise State University. Simpson’s Y, a prominent marker tuff within the Barrancan SALMA, yielded a date of ˜40.0 Ma. The Rosado Tuff, in the Rosado Member, contains Mustersan SALMA age mammals and yields a date of ˜38.3 Ma. Two tuffs in the Lower Puesto Almendra Member (Bed 10 and the Kay Tuff, stratigraphically above a Mustersan SALMA mammal assemblage) yielded ages of ˜37.0 and ˜36.9 Ma respectively. The Big Mammal Tuff at the base of the Colhuehuapian SALMA is ˜20.9 Ma, and the MMZ24.5 Tuff between the Colhuehuapian and Pinturan SALMAs is ˜19.1 Ma. Together with published magnetostratigraphy, these U/Pb dates have the following implications: (a) The known duration of the Barrancan SALMA is shortened by ~ 1 Myr and spans 40.5-39.0 Ma, (b) The Mustersan SALMA at Gran Barranca is between ˜38.3 and ˜37.0 Ma, (c) The Colhuehuapian SALMA must fall between ˜20.9 and ˜19.8 Ma, and (d) the fossil levels referred to the Pinturan SALMA are bracketed between ˜19.1 and

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Vizcaíno, Sergio F; Douzery, Emmanuel J P

    2004-04-28

    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. 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. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Are extinction opinions extinct?

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Extinction models vary in the information they require, the simplest considering the rate of certain sightings only. More complicated methods include uncertain sightings and allow for variation in the reliability of uncertain sightings. Generally extinction models require expert opinion, either as a prior belief that a species is extinct, or to establish the quality of a sighting record, or both. Is this subjectivity necessary? We present two models to explore whether the individual quality of sightings, judged by experts, is strongly informative of the probability of extinction: the ‘quality breakpoint method’ and the ‘quality as variance method’. For the first method we use the Barbary lion as an exemplar. For the second method we use the Barbary lion, Alaotra grebe, Jamaican petrel and Pohnpei starling as exemplars. The ‘quality breakpoint method’ uses certain and uncertain sighting records, and the quality of uncertain records, to establish whether a change point in the rate of sightings can be established using a simultaneous Bayesian optimisation with a non-informative prior. For the Barbary lion, there is a change in subjective quality of sightings around 1930. Unexpectedly sighting quality increases after this date. This suggests that including quality scores from experts can lead to irregular effects and may not offer reliable results. As an alternative, we use quality as a measure of variance around the sightings, not a change in quality. This leads to predictions with larger standard deviations, however the results remain consistent across any prior belief of extinction. Nonetheless, replacing actual quality scores with random quality scores showed little difference, inferring that the quality scores from experts are superfluous. Therefore, we deem the expensive process of obtaining pooled expert estimates as unnecessary, and even when used we recommend that sighting data should have minimal input from experts in terms of assessing the

  5. The latitudinal diversity gradient in South American mammals revisited using a regional analysis approach: The importance of climate at extra-tropical latitudes and history towards the tropics.

    PubMed

    Fergnani, Paula Nilda; Ruggiero, Adriana

    2017-01-01

    The latitudinal diversity gradient has been considered a consequence of a shift in the impact of abiotic and biotic factors that limit species distributions from the poles to the equator, thus influencing species richness variation. It has also been considered the outcome of evolutionary processes that vary over geographical space. We used six South American mammal groups to test the association of environmental and evolutionary factors and the ecological structuring of mammal assemblages with spatial variation in taxonomic richness (TR), at a spatial resolution of 110 km x 110 km, at tropical and extra-tropical latitudes. Based on attributes that represent what mammal species do in ecosystems, we estimated ecological diversity (ED) as a mean pairwise ecological distance between all co-occurring taxa. The mean pairwise phylogenetic distance between all co-occurring taxa (AvPD) was used as an estimation of phylogenetic diversity. Geographically Weighted Regression analyses performed separately for each mammal group identified tropical and extra-tropical high R2 areas where environmental and evolutionary factors strongly accounted for richness variation. Temperature was the most important predictor of TR in high R2 areas outside the tropics, as was AvPD within the tropics. The proportion of TR variation accounted for by environment (either independently or combined with AvPD) was higher in tropical areas of high richness and low ecological diversity than in tropical areas of high richness and high ecological diversity. In conclusion, we confirmed a shift in the impact of environmental factors, mainly temperature, that best account for mammal richness variation in extra-tropical regions, whereas phylogenetic diversity best accounts for richness variation within the tropics. Environment in combination with evolutionary history explained the coexistence of a high number of ecologically similar species within the tropics. Consideration of the influence of contemporary

  6. The latitudinal diversity gradient in South American mammals revisited using a regional analysis approach: The importance of climate at extra-tropical latitudes and history towards the tropics

    PubMed Central

    Ruggiero, Adriana

    2017-01-01

    The latitudinal diversity gradient has been considered a consequence of a shift in the impact of abiotic and biotic factors that limit species distributions from the poles to the equator, thus influencing species richness variation. It has also been considered the outcome of evolutionary processes that vary over geographical space. We used six South American mammal groups to test the association of environmental and evolutionary factors and the ecological structuring of mammal assemblages with spatial variation in taxonomic richness (TR), at a spatial resolution of 110 km x 110 km, at tropical and extra-tropical latitudes. Based on attributes that represent what mammal species do in ecosystems, we estimated ecological diversity (ED) as a mean pairwise ecological distance between all co-occurring taxa. The mean pairwise phylogenetic distance between all co-occurring taxa (AvPD) was used as an estimation of phylogenetic diversity. Geographically Weighted Regression analyses performed separately for each mammal group identified tropical and extra-tropical high R2 areas where environmental and evolutionary factors strongly accounted for richness variation. Temperature was the most important predictor of TR in high R2 areas outside the tropics, as was AvPD within the tropics. The proportion of TR variation accounted for by environment (either independently or combined with AvPD) was higher in tropical areas of high richness and low ecological diversity than in tropical areas of high richness and high ecological diversity. In conclusion, we confirmed a shift in the impact of environmental factors, mainly temperature, that best account for mammal richness variation in extra-tropical regions, whereas phylogenetic diversity best accounts for richness variation within the tropics. Environment in combination with evolutionary history explained the coexistence of a high number of ecologically similar species within the tropics. Consideration of the influence of contemporary

  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. Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions

    PubMed Central

    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

    2005-01-01

    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. PMID:16344485

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. The Late Quaternary biogeographic histories of some Great Basin mammals (western USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grayson, Donald K.

    2006-11-01

    The Great Basin of arid western North America provides one of the most detailed late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal records available for any part of the world, though the record is by far strongest for small mammals. Of the 35 genera of now-extinct North American Pleistocene mammals, 19 are known to have occurred in the Great Basin, a list that is likely to be complete or nearly so. Of these 19, seven can be shown to have survived beyond 12,000 radiocarbon years ago, a proportion similar to that for North America as a whole. Horses, camels, mammoth, and helmeted musk-oxen appear to have been the most abundant of these genera. Pygmy rabbits ( Brachylagus idahoensis), yellow-bellied marmots ( Marmota flaviventris), and bushy-tailed woodrats ( Neotoma cinerea) declined in abundance at the end of the Pleistocene, at about the same time as populations south of their current arid western distributional boundary were extirpated. Subsequent declines occurred during the hot/dry middle Holocene. Pygmy rabbits also declined as modern pinyon-juniper woodlands developed across the Great Basin. The Snake Range of eastern Nevada has seen the late Pleistocene or Holocene extinction of both northern pocket gophers ( Thomomys talpoides) and pikas ( Ochotona princeps). Coupled with the rarity of yellow-bellied marmots here, these histories make the Snake Range a biogeographic oddity. These and other Great Basin mammal histories provide significant insights into the possible responses of Great Basin small mammals to global warming.

  15. Nongame mammals

    Treesearch

    Susan C. Loeb; Lynn D. Wike; John J. Mayer; Brent J. Danielson

    2005-01-01

    Fifty-four species of mammals inhabit (or have recently inhabited) the Savannah River Site (SRS; Cothran et al. 1991; table 4.24). Although far fewer in number than other taxa (see the previous five sections of this chapter), the mammals of SRS represent a wide diversity of body sizez, life histories, habitat affinities, and food habits. They range in body size from...

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Extinction Risk Escalates in the Tropics

    PubMed Central

    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 [1]. 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 [2], [3], 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 [4]–[7]. 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 [8] or lower [9] 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. PMID:19066623

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Genetic Evidence for Restricted Dispersal along Continuous Altitudinal Gradients in a Climate Change-Sensitive Mammal: The American Pika

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Philippe; Sim, Zijian; Russello, Michael A.

    2012-01-01

    When faced with rapidly changing environments, wildlife species are left to adapt, disperse or disappear. Consequently, there is value in investigating the connectivity of populations of species inhabiting different environments in order to evaluate dispersal as a potential strategy for persistence in the face of climate change. Here, we begin to investigate the processes that shape genetic variation within American pika populations from the northern periphery of their range, the central Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. At these latitudes, pikas inhabit sharp elevation gradients ranging from sea level to 1500 m, providing an excellent system for studying the effects of local environmental conditions on pika population genetic structure and gene flow. We found low levels of neutral genetic variation compared to previous studies from more southerly latitudes, consistent with the relatively recent post-glacial colonization of the study location. Moreover, significant levels of inbreeding and marked genetic structure were detected within and among sites. Although low levels of recent gene flow were revealed among elevations within a transect, potentially admixed individuals and first generation migrants were identified using discriminant analysis of principal components between populations separated by less than five kilometers at the same elevations. There was no evidence for historical population decline, yet there was signal for recent demographic contractions, possibly resulting from environmental stochasticity. Correlative analyses revealed an association between patterns of genetic variation and annual heat-to-moisture ratio, mean annual precipitation, precipitation as snow and mean maximum summer temperature. Changes in climatic regimes forecasted for the region may thus potentially increase the rate of population extirpation by further reducing dispersal between sites. Consequently, American pika may have to rely on local adaptations or phenotypic

  8. Genetic evidence for restricted dispersal along continuous altitudinal gradients in a climate change-sensitive mammal: the American Pika.

    PubMed

    Henry, Philippe; Sim, Zijian; Russello, Michael A

    2012-01-01

    When faced with rapidly changing environments, wildlife species are left to adapt, disperse or disappear. Consequently, there is value in investigating the connectivity of populations of species inhabiting different environments in order to evaluate dispersal as a potential strategy for persistence in the face of climate change. Here, we begin to investigate the processes that shape genetic variation within American pika populations from the northern periphery of their range, the central Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. At these latitudes, pikas inhabit sharp elevation gradients ranging from sea level to 1500 m, providing an excellent system for studying the effects of local environmental conditions on pika population genetic structure and gene flow. We found low levels of neutral genetic variation compared to previous studies from more southerly latitudes, consistent with the relatively recent post-glacial colonization of the study location. Moreover, significant levels of inbreeding and marked genetic structure were detected within and among sites. Although low levels of recent gene flow were revealed among elevations within a transect, potentially admixed individuals and first generation migrants were identified using discriminant analysis of principal components between populations separated by less than five kilometers at the same elevations. There was no evidence for historical population decline, yet there was signal for recent demographic contractions, possibly resulting from environmental stochasticity. Correlative analyses revealed an association between patterns of genetic variation and annual heat-to-moisture ratio, mean annual precipitation, precipitation as snow and mean maximum summer temperature. Changes in climatic regimes forecasted for the region may thus potentially increase the rate of population extirpation by further reducing dispersal between sites. Consequently, American pika may have to rely on local adaptations or phenotypic

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

  13. Climate predictors of late quaternary extinctions.

    PubMed

    Nogués-Bravo, David; Ohlemüller, Ralf; Batra, Persaram; Araújo, Miguel B

    2010-08-01

    Between 50,000 and 3,000 years before present (BP) 65% of mammal genera weighing over 44 kg went extinct, together with a lower proportion of small mammals. Why species went extinct in such large numbers is hotly debated. One of the arguments proposes that climate changes underlie Late Quaternary extinctions, but global quantitative evidence for this hypothesis is still lacking. We test the potential role of global climate change on the extinction of mammals during the Late Quaternary. Our results suggest that continents with the highest climate footprint values, in other words, with climate changes of greater magnitudes during the Late Quaternary, witnessed more extinctions than continents with lower climate footprint values, with the exception of South America. Our results are consistent across species with different body masses, reinforcing the view that past climate changes contributed to global extinctions. Our model outputs, the climate change footprint dataset, provide a new research venue to test hypotheses about biodiversity dynamics during the Late Quaternary from the genetic to the species richness level.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore.

    PubMed

    Brook, Barry W; Sodhi, Navjot S; Ng, Peter K L

    2003-07-24

    The looming mass extinction of biodiversity in the humid tropics is a major concern for the future, yet most reports of extinctions in these regions are anecdotal or conjectural, with a scarcity of robust, broad-based empirical data. Here we report on local extinctions among a wide range of terrestrial and freshwater taxa from Singapore (540 km2) in relation to habitat loss exceeding 95% over 183 years. Substantial rates of documented and inferred extinctions were found, especially for forest specialists, with the greatest proportion of extinct taxa (34-87%) in butterflies, fish, birds and mammals. Observed extinctions were generally fewer, but inferred losses often higher, in vascular plants, phasmids, decapods, amphibians and reptiles (5-80%). Forest reserves comprising only 0.25% of Singapore's area now harbour over 50% of the residual native biodiversity. Extrapolations of the observed and inferred local extinction data, using a calibrated species-area model, imply that the current unprecedented rate of habitat destruction in Southeast Asia will result in the loss of 13-42% of regional populations over the next century, at least half of which will represent global species extinctions.

  12. 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)

  13. 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)

  14. Dynamics of extinction debt across five taxonomic groups

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27452815

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. 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)

  20. Climate change. Accelerating extinction risk from climate change.

    PubMed

    Urban, Mark C

    2015-05-01

    Current predictions of extinction risks from climate change vary widely depending on the specific assumptions and geographic and taxonomic focus of each study. I synthesized published studies in order to estimate a global mean extinction rate and determine which factors contribute the greatest uncertainty to climate change-induced extinction risks. Results suggest that extinction risks will accelerate with future global temperatures, threatening up to one in six species under current policies. Extinction risks were highest in South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and risks did not vary by taxonomic group. Realistic assumptions about extinction debt and dispersal capacity substantially increased extinction risks. We urgently need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Is extinction forever?

    PubMed

    Smith-Patten, Brenda D; Bridge, Eli S; Crawford, Priscilla H C; Hough, Daniel J; Kelly, Jeffrey F; Patten, Michael A

    2015-05-01

    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. © The Author(s) 2015.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. [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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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'.

  15. Assessing native small mammals' responses to an incipient invasion of beech bark disease through changes in seed production of American beech

    Treesearch

    Justin N. Rosemier; Andrew J. Storer

    2011-01-01

    Exotic tree diseases have direct impacts on their host and may have indirect effects on native fauna that rely on host tree species. For example, American beech (Fagus grandifolia [Ehrh.]) is a dominant overstory component throughout its range and, like all tree species, is vulnerable to a broad array of insects and pathogens. These pests include...

  16. 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)

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. Retrofitting the Genome: L1 Extinction Follows Endogenous Retroviral Expansion in a Group of Muroid Rodents▿

    PubMed Central

    Erickson, Issac K.; Cantrell, Michael A.; Scott, LuAnn; Wichman, Holly A.

    2011-01-01

    Long interspersed nuclear element 1 (LINE-1; L1) retrotransposons are the most common retroelements in mammalian genomes. Unlike individual families of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), they have remained active throughout the mammalian radiation and are responsible for most of the retroelement movement and much genome rearrangement within mammals. They can be viewed as occupying a substantial niche within mammalian genomes. Our previous demonstration that L1s and B1 short interspersed nuclear elements (SINEs) are inactive in a group of South American rodents led us to ask if other elements have amplified to fill the empty niche. We identified a novel and highly active family of ERVs (mysTR). To determine whether loss of L1 activity was correlated with expansion of mysTR, we examined mysTR activity in four South American rodent species that have lost L1 and B1 activity and four sister species with active L1s. The copy number of recent mysTR insertions was extremely high, with an average of 4,200 copies per genome. High copy numbers exist in both L1-active and L1-extinct species, so the mysTR expansion appears to have preceded the loss of both SINE and L1 activity rather than to have filled an empty niche created by their loss. It may be coincidental that two unusual genomic events—loss of L1 activity and massive expansion of an ERV family—occur in the same group of mammals. Alternatively, it is possible that this large ERV expansion set the stage for L1 extinction. PMID:21957310

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Extinction and climate change.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Chris D; Williamson, Mark

    2012-02-22

    Arising from F. He & S. P. Hubbell 473, 368-371 (2011). Statistical relationships between habitat area and the number of species observed (species-area relationships, SARs) are sometimes used to assess extinction risks following habitat destruction or loss of climatic suitability. He and Hubbell argue that the numbers of species confined to-rather than observed in-different areas (endemics-area relationships, EARs) should be used instead of SARs, and that SAR-based extinction estimates in the literature are too high. We suggest that He and Hubbell's SAR estimates are biased, that the empirical data they use are not appropriate to calculate extinction risks, and that their statements about extinction risks from climate change do not take into account non-SAR-based estimates or recent observations. Species have already responded to climate change in a manner consistent with high future extinction risks.

  8. 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).

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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".

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. Global mammal distributions, biodiversity hotspots, and conservation

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.

    2006-01-01

    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° latitude × 1° 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. PMID:17164331

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. Small Mammal Intrigue.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cristol, Daniel A.

    1985-01-01

    Gives introductory information about the study of small mammals including the selection and use of harmless live-traps, handling and identification, techniques for observation and trapping in the wild, and safety measures. Suggests useful references for teachers wishing to develop a small mammal study program for their students. (JHZ)

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. Human Population Density and Extinction Risk in the World's Carnivores

    PubMed Central

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

    2004-01-01

    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. PMID:15252445

  9. 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.

  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. Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide.

    PubMed

    Stuart, Simon N; Chanson, Janice S; Cox, Neil A; Young, Bruce E; Rodrigues, Ana S L; Fischman, Debra L; Waller, Robert W

    2004-12-03

    The first global assessment of amphibians provides new context for the well-publicized phenomenon of amphibian declines. Amphibians are more threatened and are declining more rapidly than either birds or mammals. Although many declines are due to habitat loss and overutilization, other, unidentified processes threaten 48% of rapidly declining species and are driving species most quickly to extinction. Declines are nonrandom in terms of species' ecological preferences, geographic ranges, and taxonomic associations and are most prevalent among Neotropical montane, stream-associated species. The lack of conservation remedies for these poorly understood declines means that hundreds of amphibian species now face extinction.

  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. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Selecting for extinction: nonrandom disease-associated extinction homogenizes amphibian biotas.

    PubMed

    Smith, Kevin G; Lips, Karen R; Chase, Jonathan M

    2009-10-01

    Studying the patterns in which local extinctions occur is critical to understanding how extinctions affect biodiversity at local, regional and global spatial scales. To understand the importance of patterns of extinction at a regional spatial scale, we use data from extirpations associated with a widespread pathogenic agent of amphibian decline, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) as a model system. We apply novel null model analyses to these data to determine whether recent extirpations associated with Bd have resulted in selective extinction and homogenization of diverse tropical American amphibian biotas. We find that Bd-associated extinctions in this region were nonrandom and disproportionately, but not exclusively, affected low-occupancy and endemic species, resulting in homogenization of the remnant amphibian fauna. The pattern of extirpations also resulted in phylogenetic homogenization at the family level and ecological homogenization of reproductive mode and habitat association. Additionally, many more species were extirpated from the region than would be expected if extirpations occurred randomly. Our results indicate that amphibian declines in this region are an extinction filter, reducing regional amphibian biodiversity to highly similar relict assemblages and ultimately causing amplified biodiversity loss at regional and global scales.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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. © 2016 The Authors. Zoo Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. [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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Biological extinction in earth history.

    PubMed

    Raup, D M

    1986-03-28

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. Nonrandom extinction leads to elevated loss of angiosperm evolutionary history.

    PubMed

    Vamosi, Jana C; Wilson, John R U

    2008-10-01

    The phylogenetic clustering of extinction may jeopardize the existence of entire families and genera, which can result in elevated reductions of evolutionary history (EH), trait diversity, and ecosystem functioning. Analyses of globally threatened birds and mammals suggest current extinction threats will result in a much higher loss of EH than random extinction scenarios, while the analyses of the taxonomical distribution of regionally rare plants find the opposite pattern. The disproportionately high number of rare plant species within species-rich families potentially suggests that lower losses of plant EH will be sustained than expected under random extinction. We show that at a global scale, this is not the case. Species-poor (especially monotypic) angiosperm families are more often at risk of extinction than expected. Because these high-risk species-poor families are as evolutionarily distinct as other families, the expected family-level EH plausibly lost in the next 100 years exceeds that predicted from random extinction by up to approximately 1165 million years.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Extinction from a paleontological perspective.

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Unexpectedly many extinct hominins.

    PubMed

    Bokma, Folmer; van den Brink, Valentijn; Stadler, Tanja

    2012-09-01

    Recent studies indicate that Neanderthal and Denisova hominins may have been separate species, while debate continues on the status of Homo floresiensis. The decade-long debate between "splitters," who recognize over 20 hominin species, and "lumpers," who maintain that all these fossils belong to just a few lineages, illustrates that we do not know how many extinct hominin species to expect. Here, we present probability distributions for the number of speciation events and the number of contemporary species along a branch of a phylogeny. With estimates of hominin speciation and extincton rates, we then show that the expected total number of extinct hominin species is 8, but may be as high as 27. We also show that it is highly unlikely that three very recent species disappeared due to natural, background extinction. This may indicate that human-like remains are too easily considered distinct species. Otherwise, the evidence suggesting that Neanderthal and the Denisova hominin represent distinct species implies a recent wave of extinctions, ostensibly driven by the only survivor, H. sapiens. © 2012 The Author(s). Evolution© 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  1. 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…

  2. Extinction in population dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Escudero, C.; Buceta, J.; de La Rubia, F. J.; Lindenberg, Katja

    2004-02-01

    We study a generic reaction-diffusion model for single-species population dynamics that includes reproduction, death, and competition. The population is assumed to be confined in a refuge beyond which conditions are so harsh that they lead to certain extinction. Standard continuum mean field models in one dimension yield a critical refuge length Lc such that a population in a refuge larger than this is assured survival. Herein we extend the model to take into account the discreteness and finiteness of the population, which leads us to a stochastic description. We present a particular critical criterion for likely extinction, namely, that the standard deviation of the population be equal to the mean. According to this criterion, we find that while survival can no longer be guaranteed for any refuge size, for sufficiently weak competition one can make the refuge large enough (certainly larger than Lc) to cause extinction to be unlikely. However, beyond a certain value of the competition rate parameter it is no longer possible to escape a likelihood of extinction even in an infinite refuge. These unavoidable fluctuations therefore have a severe impact on refuge design issues.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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)

  14. 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)

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2017-01-01

    The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event. PMID:28696295

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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 amended...

  7. 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 seq...

  8. 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 regulations...

  9. 76 FR 72681 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-11-25

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XU87 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Mammal Laboratory, (Responsible Party: Dr. John Bengtson, Director), Seattle, WA, has applied for an amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 15126-01 for studies of marine mammals in Alaska. DATES: Written...

  10. 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...: The subject amendment to Permit No. 13602 was requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal... importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C...

  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 regulations...

  12. 76 FR 75524 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-02

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XO45 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... conduct research on marine mammals. ADDRESSES: The application and related documents are available for... under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq...

  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 amended...

  14. 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 amended...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26041349

  16. 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. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. [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.

  20. Diversity lost: are all Holarctic large mammal species just relict populations?

    PubMed

    Hofreiter, Michael; Barnes, Ian

    2010-04-21

    Population genetic analyses of Eurasian wolves published recently in BMC Evolutionary Biology suggest that a major genetic turnover took place in Eurasian wolves after the Pleistocene. These results add to the growing evidence that large mammal species surviving the late Pleistocene extinctions nevertheless lost a large share of their genetic diversity.

  1. 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).…

  2. 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).…

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21844038

  6. 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.

  7. Extinction events can accelerate evolution.

    PubMed

    Lehman, Joel; Miikkulainen, Risto

    2015-01-01

    Extinction events impact the trajectory of biological evolution significantly. They are often viewed as upheavals to the evolutionary process. In contrast, this paper supports the hypothesis that although they are unpredictably destructive, extinction events may in the long term accelerate evolution by increasing evolvability. In particular, if extinction events extinguish indiscriminately many ways of life, indirectly they may select for the ability to expand rapidly through vacated niches. Lineages with such an ability are more likely to persist through multiple extinctions. Lending computational support for this hypothesis, this paper shows how increased evolvability will result from simulated extinction events in two computational models of evolved behavior. The conclusion is that although they are destructive in the short term, extinction events may make evolution more prolific in the long term.

  8. Extinction Events Can Accelerate Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lehman, Joel; Miikkulainen, Risto

    2015-01-01

    Extinction events impact the trajectory of biological evolution significantly. They are often viewed as upheavals to the evolutionary process. In contrast, this paper supports the hypothesis that although they are unpredictably destructive, extinction events may in the long term accelerate evolution by increasing evolvability. In particular, if extinction events extinguish indiscriminately many ways of life, indirectly they may select for the ability to expand rapidly through vacated niches. Lineages with such an ability are more likely to persist through multiple extinctions. Lending computational support for this hypothesis, this paper shows how increased evolvability will result from simulated extinction events in two computational models of evolved behavior. The conclusion is that although they are destructive in the short term, extinction events may make evolution more prolific in the long term. PMID:26266804

  9. Middle mississippian blastoid extinction event.

    PubMed

    Ausich, W I; Meyer, D L; Waters, J A

    1988-05-06

    The Middle Mississippian blastoid (Phylum Echinodermata) extinction event (about 340 million years ago) was a rapid, habitat-specific extinction. Blastoids became rare or absent in shallow-water environments after the extinction, and this change was probably synchronous worldwide. Onshore-offshore habitat shifts have been recognized as an important historical trend among marine benthos. Unlike trends exhibited by other groups, blastoids appear to have repopulated shallow-water habitats after a period of diminished diversity and abundance.

  10. The Industrial Base: Facing Extinction

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-03-10

    INDUSTRIAL BASE.. FACING EXTINCTION ., TIc LECTE BY UN02 1992 - MR. DAVID L. THOMAS Department of the Army Civilian , 4...Industrial Base: Facing Extinction 12. PERSONAL AUTHOR(S) David L. Thomas, DAC, GM-15 13a. TYPE OF REPORT 13b. TIME COVERED 14. DATE OF REPORT (Year, Month...service or government agency. The Industrial Base: Accesioti For Facing Extinction NTIS CRA&IDTIC TAB D] Uanc,ounced 0 Justification AN INDIVIDUAL

  11. Protection of Marine Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction

    Treesearch

    J.A. Musick; S.A. Berkeley; G.M. Cailliet; M. Camhi; G. Huntsman; M. Nammack; Melvin L. Warren

    2000-01-01

    The American Fisheries Society (AFS) recommends that registory agencies closely scrutinize both marine fish and invertebrate stocks that may be at risk of extinction and take remedial action before populations are threatened or endungered. Initial AFS analyses of marine stocks at risk in North America show at least four primary geographic "hot spots" with...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    Bofarull, Ana Moreno; Royo, Antón Arias; Fernández, Manuel Hernández; Ortiz-Jaureguizar, Edgardo; Morales, Jorge

    2008-03-26

    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. 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. Our results agree with the resource-use hypothesis and, therefore, with a major role of the past climatic changes as drivers of mammalian evolution. Nevertheless

  16. 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

  17. Polyandry prevents extinction.

    PubMed

    Price, Tom A R; Hurst, Greg D D; Wedell, Nina

    2010-03-09

    Females of most animal species are polyandrous, with individual females usually mating with more than one male. However, the ubiquity of polyandry remains enigmatic because of the potentially high costs to females of multiple mating. Current theory to account for the high prevalence of polyandry largely focuses on its benefits to individual females. There are also higher-level explanations for the high incidence of polyandry-polyandrous clades may speciate more rapidly. Here we test the hypothesis that polyandry may also reduce population extinction risk. We demonstrate that mating with multiple males protects populations of the fruit fly Drosophila pseudoobscura against extinction caused by a "selfish" sex-ratio-distorting element. Thus, the frequency of female multiple mating in nature may be associated not only with individual benefits to females of this behavior but also with increased persistence over time of polyandrous species and populations. Furthermore, we show that female remating behavior can determine the frequency of sex-ratio distorters in populations. This may also be true for many other selfish genetic elements in natural populations.

  18. Avoid Earth Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Dayong

    2012-11-01

    In 2011, the author supposes: the dark hole will take the dark comet to impact our solar system in 20 years. (see Dayong Cao, BAPS.2011.DFD.LA.24, BAPS.2012.APR.K1.78 and BAPS.2011.APR.K1.17) Asteroid 2011 AG5 will impact on Earth in 2040. (See Donald K. Yoemans, ``Asteroid 2011 AG5 - A Reality Check,'' NASA-JPL, 2012) The dark Asteroid 2011 AG5 (as a dark comet) is made of the dark matte. Sun and its companion-dark hole are a binary system (Their systemic model- SDS for short there in after). The dark hole has a dark comet belt. The dark hole and dark comet are made of the dark matter which has a space-time (as frequence-amplitude square) center- a different systemic model from solar systemic model. Because it absorb the space-time and wave. So it is ``dark.'' When the dark hole goes near the sun every 25-27 million years, it will take its dark comet belt to go into the solar system to impact our earth. In a other hand, it can change all of our systemic model and code which are controled by the SDS, such as the orbit both of the asteroid belt and planet (such as Jupiter), our atomic structure and our genetic code. It can trigger periodic Mass Extinction. We will use the dark matter to change the SDS to avoid forthcoming extinction.

  19. 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.

  20. On the stability of populations of mammals, birds, fish and insects.

    PubMed

    Sibly, Richard M; Barker, Daniel; Hone, Jim; Pagel, Mark

    2007-10-01

    A key concern for conservation biologists is whether populations of plants and animals are likely to fluctuate widely in number or remain relatively stable around some steady-state value. In our study of 634 populations of mammals, birds, fish and insects, we find that most can be expected to remain stable despite year to year fluctuations caused by environmental factors. Mean return rates were generally around one but were higher in insects (1.09 +/- 0.02 SE) and declined with body size in mammals. In general, this is good news for conservation, as stable populations are less likely to go extinct. However, the lower return rates of the large mammals may make them more vulnerable to extinction. Our estimates of return rates were generally well below the threshold for chaos, which makes it unlikely that chaotic dynamics occur in natural populations--one of ecology's key unanswered questions.

  1. The impact of hunting on tropical mammal and bird populations.

    PubMed

    Benítez-López, A; Alkemade, R; Schipper, A M; Ingram, D J; Verweij, P A; Eikelboom, J A J; Huijbregts, M A J

    2017-04-14

    Hunting is a major driver of biodiversity loss, but a systematic large-scale estimate of hunting-induced defaunation is lacking. We synthesized 176 studies to quantify hunting-induced declines of mammal and bird populations across the tropics. Bird and mammal abundances declined by 58% (25 to 76%) and by 83% (72 to 90%) in hunted compared with unhunted areas. Bird and mammal populations were depleted within 7 and 40 kilometers from hunters' access points (roads and settlements). Additionally, hunting pressure was higher in areas with better accessibility to major towns where wild meat could be traded. Mammal population densities were lower outside protected areas, particularly because of commercial hunting. Strategies to sustainably manage wild meat hunting in both protected and unprotected tropical ecosystems are urgently needed to avoid further defaunation. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Revisiting the impacts of non-random extinction on the tree-of-life.

    PubMed

    Davies, T Jonathan; Yessoufou, Kowiyou

    2013-08-23

    The tree-of-life represents the diversity of living organisms. Species extinction and the concomitant loss of branches from the tree-of-life is therefore a major conservation concern. There is increasing evidence indicating that extinction is phylogenetically non-random, such that if one species is vulnerable to extinction so too are its close relatives. However, the impact of non-random extinctions on the tree-of-life has been a matter of recent debate. Here, we combine simulations with empirical data on extinction risk in mammals. We demonstrate that phylogenetically clustered extinction leads to a disproportionate loss of branches from the tree-of-life, but that the loss of their summed lengths is indistinguishable from random extinction. We argue that under a speciational model of evolution, the number of branches lost might be of equal or greater consequences than the loss of summed branch lengths. We therefore suggest that the impact of non-random extinction on the tree-of-life may have been underestimated.

  6. 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

  7. Physiological Monitoring in Diving Mammals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-09-30

    825-2025 email: andreas.fahlman@tamucc.edu Peter L. Tyack School of Biology Sea Mammal Research Unit Scottish Oceans Institute...OBJECTIVES This project is separated into three aims: Aim 1: Develop a new generation of tags/data logger for marine mammals that will...contain a sensor to be implanted into the muscle. The logger will collect physiological data from muscle tissue in freely diving marine mammals. The

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  14. Federal collaboration in science for invasive mammal management in U.S. National Parks and Wildlife Refuges of the Pacific Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hess, Steven C.; Hu, Darcy; Loh, Rhonda; Banko, Paul C.; Conner, L.M.; Smith, M.D.

    2016-01-01

    Some of the most isolated islands in the Pacific Ocean are home to US National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. These islands are known for flora and fauna that occur nowhere else, but also for invasive species and other factors which have resulted in the disproportionate extinction of native species. The control of invasive mammals is the single most expensive natural resource management activity essential for restoring ecological integrity to parks in the Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa, and the islands of Guam and Saipan. Science-based applications supporting management efforts have been shaped by longstanding collaborative federal research programs over the past four decades. Consequently, feral goats (Capra hircus) have been removed from >690 km2 in National Parks, and feral pigs (Sus scrofa) have been removed from >367 km2 of federal lands of Hawai‘i, bringing about the gradual recovery of forest ecosystems. The exclusion of other non-native ungulates and invasive mammals is now being undertaken with more sophisticated control techniques and fences. New fence designs are now capable of excluding feral cats (Felis catus) from large areas to protect endangered native waterfowl and nesting seabirds. Rodenticides which have been tested and registered for hand and aerial broadcast in Hawai‘i have been used to eradicate rats from small offshore islands to protect nesting seabirds and are now being applied to montane environments of larger islands to protect forest birds. Forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR) is also being applied to locate wild ungulates which were more recently introduced to some islands. All invasive mammals have been eradicated from some remote small islands, and it may soon be possible to manage areas on larger islands to be free of invasive mammals at least during seasonally important periods for native species.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Future hotspots of terrestrial mammal loss.

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-27

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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. © 2015, Society for Conservation Biology.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. DNA Methylation in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Li, En; Zhang, Yi

    2014-01-01

    DNA methylation is one of the best characterized epigenetic modifications. In mammals it is involved in various biological processes including the silencing of transposable elements, regulation of gene expression, genomic imprinting, and X-chromosome inactivation. This article describes how DNA methylation serves as a cellular memory system and how it is dynamically regulated through the action of the DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) and ten eleven translocation (TET) enzymes. Its role in the regulation of gene expression, through its interplay with histone modifications, is also described, and its implication in human diseases discussed. The exciting areas of investigation that will likely become the focus of research in the coming years are outlined in the summary. PMID:24789823

  14. Genomic Imprinting in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Barlow, Denise P.

    2014-01-01

    Genomic imprinting affects a subset of genes in mammals and results in a monoallelic, parental-specific expression pattern. Most of these genes are located in clusters that are regulated through the use of insulators or long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). To distinguish the parental alleles, imprinted genes are epigenetically marked in gametes at imprinting control elements through the use of DNA methylation at the very least. Imprinted gene expression is subsequently conferred through lncRNAs, histone modifications, insulators, and higher-order chromatin structure. Such imprints are maintained after fertilization through these mechanisms despite extensive reprogramming of the mammalian genome. Genomic imprinting is an excellent model for understanding mammalian epigenetic regulation. PMID:24492710

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 76 FR 25308 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-05-04

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA165 Marine Mammals AGENCY: National Marine... Anchorage, Biology Department, 3101 Science Circle, Anchorage, AK, has been issued a permit to conduct ] scientific research on marine mammal parts. ADDRESSES: The permit and related documents are available...

  2. 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. 

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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. © 2017 The Author(s).

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Extinction risk is most acute for the world's largest and smallest vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Ripple, William J; Wolf, Christopher; Newsome, Thomas M; Hoffmann, Michael; Wirsing, Aaron J; McCauley, Douglas J

    2017-09-18

    Extinction risk in vertebrates has been linked to large body size, but this putative relationship has only been explored for select taxa, with variable results. Using a newly assembled and taxonomically expansive database, we analyzed the relationships between extinction risk and body mass (27,647 species) and between extinction risk and range size (21,294 species) for vertebrates across six main classes. We found that the probability of being threatened was positively and significantly related to body mass for birds, cartilaginous fishes, and mammals. Bimodal relationships were evident for amphibians, reptiles, and bony fishes. Most importantly, a bimodal relationship was found across all vertebrates such that extinction risk changes around a body mass breakpoint of 0.035 kg, indicating that the lightest and heaviest vertebrates have elevated extinction risk. We also found range size to be an important predictor of the probability of being threatened, with strong negative relationships across nearly all taxa. A review of the drivers of extinction risk revealed that the heaviest vertebrates are most threatened by direct killing by humans. By contrast, the lightest vertebrates are most threatened by habitat loss and modification stemming especially from pollution, agricultural cropping, and logging. Our results offer insight into halting the ongoing wave of vertebrate extinctions by revealing the vulnerability of large and small taxa, and identifying size-specific threats. Moreover, they indicate that, without intervention, anthropogenic activities will soon precipitate a double truncation of the size distribution of the world's vertebrates, fundamentally reordering the structure of life on our planet.

  9. De-scenting Extinction: The Promise of De-extinction May Hasten Continuing Extinctions.

    PubMed

    Campagna, Claudio; Guevara, Daniel; Le Boeuf, Bernard

    2017-07-01

    Among the most egregious and discouraging problems of conservation is the rapidly escalating human-caused species extinction rate. "De-extinction" refers to the application of certain cutting-edge techniques for the supposed recovery of lost species and gives the impression that scientists, enlightened and empowered by the miracles of technology, are coming to the rescue. "De-extinction" is the latest example of a long play of language that has given conservation efforts a tragically false sense of accomplishment and has worsened the conservation crisis. De-extinction is the tip of an intellectual iceberg that sits atop of a host of profoundly questionable value systems, expectations, attitudes, and priorities that elude and bewitch critical reflection. It gives the impression that extinction is reversible and, thus, diminishes the gravity of the human annihilation of species. Here, we examine how the language of de-extinction influences attitudes, shapes thoughts and imagination, and creates ethical blindness. The language developing around "de-extinction" reveals what is in fact a profound intellectual crisis at the foundation of conservation. The underlying challenge is to find the language that will articulate and inspire the radical and indispensable change needed to come to grips with the value of nature. © 2017 The Hastings Center.

  10. 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... AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 216.25 Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal...

  11. 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... AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 216.25 Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal...

  12. 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... AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 216.25 Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal...

  13. 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... AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 216.25 Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal...

  14. 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... AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS General Exceptions § 216.25 Exempted marine mammals and marine mammal...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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)

  19. 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)

  20. 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).

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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;…

  8. 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.

  9. 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;…

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Extinction, Relapse, and Behavioral Momentum

    PubMed Central

    Podlesnik, Christopher A.; Shahan, Timothy A.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20152889

  14. Species, extinct before we know them?

    PubMed

    Lees, Alexander C; Pimm, Stuart L

    2015-03-02

    Species are going extinct rapidly, while taxonomic catalogues are still incomplete for even the best-known taxa. Intensive fieldwork is finding species so rare and threatened that some become extinct within years of discovery. Recent bird extinctions in Brazil's coastal forests suggest that some species may have gone extinct before we knew of their existence. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. The comparison of species longevity and size evolution in fossilized dinosaurs vs. fossilized mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baeza, E.; Srinath, A.; Hernandez, A.; Heim, N.; Payne, J.

    2016-12-01

    For over 200 million years, two animal groups have been competing for dominance over Earth: the reptiles, (in this case, dinosaurs), and the mammals. At the beginning of the Triassic, mammals were small, rat-like creatures that were dwarfed by the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs progressively continued to grow larger throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, thus outweighing and outliving the current mammals. But at the end of the Cretaceous, the K-T mass extinction occurred, and that wiped out the dinosaurs from the face of the Earth. After the disappearance of dinosaurs, mammals started to grow larger to fill the niches that the dinosaurs left open. With this evolution in mammals, would they be able to match or even beat the dinosaur's previous records? To judge that, we need to utilize two significant factors to help judge our answer. The two factors that set them apart were body mass and longevity. Documenting the body mass shows us how much the animal weighed compared to other species. The heaviest animal in our data set weighed 77 tons. The other factor is longevity, which indicates how long a certain species has existed on a geologic time scale. The longest living animal species in our data set lived for over 20 million years. With all the data we have analyzed, we have conducted research on this subject to find out how terrestrial mammals contrasted dinosaurs in the terms of body mass and species longevity. Our research brought us to the conclusion that mammals could not overtake the body mass and longevity of dinosaurs. Although mammals came pretty close to overlapping the dinosaurs' body masses, they were just below them marginally. We had a similar pattern in longevity, where we found out that heavier animals tended to have longer longevity, therefore the dinosaurs came out on top. Additionally, we did another contrast between Mesozoic and Cenozoic mammals, where Cenozoic mammals were larger, but both had similar longevities.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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 Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of...

  16. Peroxisome degradation in mammals.

    PubMed

    Ezaki, Junji; Kominami, Eiki; Ueno, Takashi

    2011-11-01

    This review summarizes the historical aspects of the study of peroxisome degradation in mammalian cells. Peroxisomes have diverse metabolic roles in response to environmental changes and are degraded in a preferential manner, by comparison with cytosolic proteins. This review introduces three hypotheses on the degradation mechanisms: (a) the action of the peroxisome-specific Lon protease; (b) the membrane disruption effect of 15-lipoxygenase; and (c) autophagy that sequesters and degrades the organelles by lysosomal enzymes. Among these hypotheses, autophagy is now recognized as the most important mechanism for excess peroxisome degradation. One of the most striking characteristics of peroxisomes is that they are markedly proliferated in the liver by the administration of hypolipidemic drugs and industrial plasticizers. The effects of these substances were fully reversed after withdrawal of the substances, and most of the excess peroxisomes were selectively degraded and recovered to a normal number and size. Autophagic degradation of peroxisomes has been examined using this characteristic phenomenon. Excessive peroxisome degradation that occurs after cessation of hypolipidemic drugs has been extensively investigated biochemically and morphologically. The evidence shows that the degradation of excess peroxisomes and peroxisomal enzymes is inhibited by 3-methyladenine (3-MA), a specific inhibitor of autophagy. Furthermore, in liver-specific autophagy-deficient mice, rapid removal of peroxisomes was exclusively impaired, and degradation of peroxisomal enzymes was not detected. Thus, the significant contribution of autophagic machinery to peroxisomal degradation in mammals was confirmed. However, the important question of the mechanism for the selective recognition of peroxisomes by autophagosomes remains to be fully elucidated. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Chapter 2: American marten

    Treesearch

    Steven W. Buskirk; Leonard F. Ruggiero

    1994-01-01

    The American marten (Martes americana), also called the marten or American sable, is a carnivorous mammal about the size of a small house cat. Its total length is between 500 and 680 mm and it weighs 500-1400 g as an adult, depending on sex and geography (Buskirk and McDonald 1989; Strickland et al. 1982). The male is 20-40% larger than, but...

  3. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 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 accordance...

  4. 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 accordance...

  5. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 1 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 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 accordance...

  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 accordance...

  7. 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 accordance...

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Late Quaternary extinction of a tree species in eastern North America

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Stephen T.; Weng, Chengyu

    1999-01-01

    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 14C)], 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. PMID:10570161

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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: (1...

  4. 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: (1...

  5. 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...

  6. 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: (1...

  7. 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: (1...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Geographical variation in predictors of mammalian extinction risk: big is bad, but only in the tropics.

    PubMed

    Fritz, Susanne A; Bininda-Emonds, Olaf R P; Purvis, Andy

    2009-06-01

    Whereas previous studies have investigated correlates of extinction risk either at global or regional scales, our study explicitly models regional effects of anthropogenic threats and biological traits across the globe. Using phylogenetic comparative methods with a newly-updated supertree of 5020 extant mammals, we investigate the impact of species traits on extinction risk within each WWF ecoregion. Our analyses reveal strong geographical variation in the influence of traits on risk: notably, larger species are at higher risk only in tropical regions. We then relate these patterns to current and recent-historical human impacts across ecoregions using spatial modelling. The body-mass results apparently reflect historical declines of large species outside the tropics due to large-scale land conversion. Narrow-ranged and rare species tend to be at high risk in areas of high current human impacts. The interactions we describe between biological traits and anthropogenic threats increase understanding of the processes determining extinction risk.

  17. 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

  18. Extinction of metastable stochastic populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Assaf, Michael; Meerson, Baruch

    2010-02-01

    We investigate the phenomenon of extinction of a long-lived self-regulating stochastic population, caused by intrinsic (demographic) noise. Extinction typically occurs via one of two scenarios depending on whether the absorbing state n=0 is a repelling (scenario A) or attracting (scenario B) point of the deterministic rate equation. In scenario A the metastable stochastic population resides in the vicinity of an attracting fixed point next to the repelling point n=0 . In scenario B there is an intermediate repelling point n=n1 between the attracting point n=0 and another attracting point n=n2 in the vicinity of which the metastable population resides. The crux of the theory is a dissipative variant of WKB (Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin) approximation which assumes that the typical population size in the metastable state is large. Starting from the master equation, we calculate the quasistationary probability distribution of the population sizes and the (exponentially long) mean time to extinction for each of the two scenarios. When necessary, the WKB approximation is complemented (i) by a recursive solution of the quasistationary master equation at small n and (ii) by the van Kampen system-size expansion, valid near the fixed points of the deterministic rate equation. The theory yields both entropic barriers to extinction and pre-exponential factors, and holds for a general set of multistep processes when detailed balance is broken. The results simplify considerably for single-step processes and near the characteristic bifurcations of scenarios A and B.

  19. 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,…

  20. Extinction-induced aggression1

    PubMed Central

    Azrin, N. H.; Hutchinson, R. R.; Hake, D. F.

    1966-01-01

    Pigeons were conditioned to peck a response key under a procedure that alternated periods of food reinforcement with periods of extinction. The pigeons attacked a nearby pigeon at the onset of extinction. Some also attacked a stuffed model of a pigeon. The duration of attack was an inverse function of the time since the last food reinforcement and a direct function of the number of reinforcements. The pigeons attacked after the last food delivery whether or not the conditioned pecking response was required and whether or not the extinction period was signaled. The food had to be eaten; the mere sight and sound of food being delivered did not produce attack. Prior satiation reduced attack. The phenomenon was not attributable to a past history of competition between pigeons since socially deprived pigeons also attacked. Superstitious reinforcement of attack was not found to be a factor. The results indicated that the transition from food reinforcement to extinction was an aversive event that produced aggression. PMID:16811286

  1. 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,…

  2. 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

  3. Global Implications of late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinctions in the Holarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, Alan; Turney, Chris

    2017-04-01

    Improved resolution data from radiocarbon, climate and ancient DNA studies of megafauna and humans is providing the first ability to disentangle the roles of climate change and human impact in the Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions. In the Holarctic we find that megafaunal populations underwent repeated local or global extinctions apparently associated with abrupt, centennial to millennial duration warming events (Dansgaard-Oeschger interstadials). Importantly, the extinction events took place both before and after the arrival of modern humans in the landscape. Here we look at the possible role of human activity in Holarctic and suggest it may be through the disruption of metapopulation processes which stabilize ecosystems and may have evolved to provide resilience to rapid and frequent climate shifts in the past. The observed relationship between climate and humans on megafaunal populations may provide a model for global extinction. Fortunately in this regard, the rapid movement of the first Native Americans throughout both American continents during the Last Deglaciation provides a powerful and unique model system for testing the competing roles on extinction because the opposing climate trends in each hemisphere at the time. Here we show that while megafaunal extinctions were associated with warming trends in both cases, the out-of-phase climate patterns caused the sequence and timing of events to be mirrored, providing a unique high-resolution view of the interactions of human colonization and rapid climate change on megafaunal ecosystems, with implications for future warming scenarios. References: Cooper, A., Turney, C., Hughen, K.A., Brook, B.W., McDonald, H.G., Bradshaw, C.J.A., 2015. Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover. Science 349, 602-606. Metcalf, J.L., Turney, C., Barnett, R., Martin, F., Bray, S.C., Vilstrup, J.T., Orlando, L., Salas-Gismondi, R., Loponte, D., Medina, M., De Nigris, M., Civalero, T., Fern

  4. 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.

  5. Lagenidium giganteum Pathogenicity in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Vilela, Raquel; Taylor, John W.; Walker, Edward D.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25625190

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Alien mammals in Europe: updated numbers and trends, and assessment of the effects on biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Genovesi, Piero; Carnevali, Lucilla; Alonzi, Anna; Scalera, Riccardo

    2012-09-01

    This study provides an updated picture of mammal invasions in Europe, based on detailed analysis of information on introductions occurring from the Neolithic to recent times. The assessment considered all information on species introductions, known extinctions and successful eradication campaigns, to reconstruct a trend of alien mammals' establishment in the region. Through a comparative analysis of the data on introduction, with the information on the impact of alien mammals on native and threatened species of Europe, the present study also provides an objective assessment of the overall impact of mammal introductions on European biodiversity, including information on impact mechanisms. The results of this assessment confirm the constant increase of mammal invasions in Europe, with no indication of a reduction of the rate of introduction. The study also confirms the severe impact of alien mammals, which directly threaten a significant number of native species, including many highly threatened species. The results could help to prioritize species for response, as required by international conventions and obligations. © 2012 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd, ISZS and IOZ/CAS.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Extinction Risk and Diversification Are Linked in a Plant Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    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

    2011-01-01

    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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. The Geochemistry of Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kump, L. R.

    2003-12-01

    The course of biological evolution is inextricably linked to that of the environment through an intricate network of feedbacks that span all scales of space and time. Disruptions to the environment have biological consequences, and vice versa. Fossils provide the prima facie evidence for biotic disruptions: catastrophic losses of global biodiversity at various times in the Phanerozoic. However, the forensic evidence for the causes and environmental consequences of these mass extinctions resides primarily in the geochemical composition of sedimentary rocks deposited during the extinction intervals. Thus, advancement in our understanding of mass extinctions requires detailed knowledge obtained from both paleontological and geochemical records.This chapter reviews the state of knowledge concerning the geochemistry of the "big five" extinctions of the Phanerozoic (e.g., Sepkoski, 1993): the Late Ordovician (Hirnantian; 440 Ma), the Late Devonian (an extended or multiple event with its apex at the Frasnian-Famennian (F-F) boundary; 367 Ma), the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr; 251 Ma), the Triassic-Jurassic (Tr-J; 200 Ma), and the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T; 65 Ma). The focus on the big five is a matter of convenience, as there is a continuum in extinction rates from "background" to "mass extinction." Although much of the literature on extinctions centers on the causes and extents of biodiversity loss, in recent years paleontologists have begun to focus on recoveries (see, e.g., Hart, 1996; Kirchner and Weil, 2000; Erwin, 2001 and references therein).To the extent that the duration of the recovery interval may reflect a slow relaxation of the environment from perturbation, analysis of the geochemical record of recovery is an integral part of this effort. In interpreting the geochemical and biological records of recovery, we need to maintain a clear distinction among the characteristics of the global biota: their biodiversity (affected by differences in origination and extinction

  19. 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

  20. 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)…