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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. Synchronous extinction of North America's Pleistocene mammals.

    PubMed

    Faith, J Tyler; Surovell, Todd A

    2009-12-01

    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 (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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:22308490

  11. 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.

  12. 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

    2012-03-22

    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

  13. 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. PMID:23788731

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    CHEN, You-Hua

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25017756

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:27159368

  18. 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.

  19. Diversification and extinction patterns among Neogene perimediterranean mammals.

    PubMed

    Jaeger, J J; Hartenberger, J L

    1989-11-01

    The best mammalian fossil record during the Neogene of Western Europe is that of the rodents, the most successful and diversified mammal order. The study of origination and extinction during the Neogene (24-3 Ma BP) in one of the best-documented areas, Spain and southern France, gives an insight into the dynamics of these communities and indicates the possible nature of the driving forces. Three main periods of time show a high rate of origination: the late Burdigalian (17.5 Ma BP), the early Vallesian (11.5-11 Ma BP) and the early Pliocene (4.2-3.8 Ma BP). Two of these high origination-rate periods are immediately followed by important extinction events during which all cohorts are deeply affected (11.5-11 Ma BP and 4.2-3.8 Ma BP). The most important extinction event seems to occur during the early Vallesian (11.5-11 Ma BP), which probably includes the middle/late Miocene boundary. At the Miocene/Pliocene boundary, and during the early Pliocene, the faunal turnover seems to become faster, inducing a strong decrease of the mean species duration. Whereas the main immigration event, which occurs at 17.5 Ma BP, can be related to other faunal migrations in terms of the closure of the Tethys, as it occurs also in eastern Africa and in southwest Asia, the middle/late Miocene boundary event may have been related to a period of ice growth in the Southern Hemisphere. The extinction event that affects the planktonic foraminifera at 12 Ma BP cannot be chronologically correlated to this southwestern European land-mammal extinction event, because the calibration of the marine fossil record during that time-span has to be precise. Some limited terrestrial faunal exchanges that occur during the Messinian between southwestern Europe and northwestern Africa do not deeply affect the general faunal dynamics. Both allochthonous cohorts of immigrants become rapidly extinct. Several endemic rodent faunas, indicating insular conditions, have been reported from the southern edge of the

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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. PMID:21807737

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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. PMID:25675493

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. The predictability of extinction: biological and external correlates of decline in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Cardillo, Marcel; Mace, Georgina M; Gittleman, John L; Jones, Kate E; Bielby, Jon; Purvis, Andy

    2008-01-01

    Extinction risk varies among species, and comparative analyses can help clarify the causes of this variation. Here we present a phylogenetic comparative analysis of species-level extinction risk across nearly the whole of the class Mammalia. Our aims were to examine systematically the degree to which general predictors of extinction risk can be identified, and to investigate the relative importance of different types of predictors (life history, ecological, human impact and environmental) in determining extinction risk. A single global model explained 27.3% of variation in mammal extinction risk, but explanatory power was lower for region-specific models (median R2=0.248) and usually higher for taxon-specific models (median R2=0.383). Geographical range size, human population density and latitude were the most consistently significant predictors of extinction risk, but otherwise there was little evidence for general, prescriptive indicators of high extinction risk across mammals. Our results therefore support the view that comparative models of relatively narrow taxonomic scope are likely to be the most precise. PMID:18367443

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Actuarial senescence can increase the risk of extinction of mammal populations.

    PubMed

    Robert, Alexandre; Chantepie, Stéphane; Pavard, Samuel; Sarrazin, François; Teplitsky, Céline

    2015-01-01

    Despite recent acknowledgement that senescence can have negative impact on survival and fertility in natural environments across a wide range of animal species, we still do not know if it can reduce the viability of wild endangered populations. Focusing on actuarial senescence (i.e., the decline of survival probabilities at old ages), we use species-specific demographic information to project the extinction risk of wild populations of 58 species of mammals, accounting (or not) for senescence. Our projections reveal potential negative effects of aging on population viability, with an average decrease of 27% of the time to extinction and a potential deterioration of the population-level projected conservation status in 10% of the species. Senescence is associated with particularly strong increases of the extinction risk in species with low mortality rates and long intervals between litters, independently of their place in the phylogeny, indicating that the pace of life history can be used to forecast the detrimental effects of aging on the viability of species. The aim of the various existing systems of classification of threatened species is to set conservation priorities based on assessments of extinction risk. Our results indicate that the quantitative effects of senescence on extinction are highly heterogeneous, which can affect the ranking of species and populations when setting conservation, priorities. In mammals, based on life history traits of a few species, generic patterns of senescence can be incorporated into projection population models to minimize these biases in viability assessments.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

  19. 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. PMID:21127262

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Historical mammal extinction on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) correlates with introduced infectious disease.

    PubMed

    Wyatt, Kelly B; Campos, Paula F; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Hynes, Wayne H; DeSalle, Rob; Ball, Stanley J; 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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. PMID:27167897

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:21940861

  9. 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. PMID:19508981

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:27330176

  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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Jarić, Ivan

    2016-01-01

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

  1. 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

  2. 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. PMID:27635365

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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. PMID:26508768

  6. 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.

  7. 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. PMID:23494201

  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. PMID:27298355

  10. 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.

  11. Comment on "Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification".

    PubMed

    Bininda-Emonds, Olaf R P; Purvis, Andy

    2012-07-01

    Meredith et al. (Reports, 28 October 2011, p. 521) question three findings of our delayed-rise hypothesis for present-day mammals made with reference to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) boundary, based on their new time tree of the group. We show that their own data do not support their objections and that the macroevolutionary patterns from the respective phylogenies are not statistically different.

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 × 106 km2 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. PMID:19535372

  14. 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. PMID:19535372

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:26936242

  18. 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.

  19. 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. PMID:3808043

  20. [Book review] Battle against extinction: Native fish management in the American West, by W. L. Minckley and J. E. Deacon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walsh, S.J.

    1993-01-01

    Review of: BATTLE AGAINST EXTINCTION: NATIVE FISH MANAGEMENT IN THE AMERICAN WEST. W. L. Minckley and J. E. Deacon (eds.). 1991. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson. ISBN 0-8165-1221-3. 517 p., $40.00 (hardcover).

  1. Geographic variability in North American mammal community richness during the terminal Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cannon, Michael D.

    2004-05-01

    In North America during the terminal Pleistocene (ca 15,000-10,000 BP), patterns of geographical variability in mammal community richness differed from those observed here today. This paper presents analyses of paleontological and archaeological faunal data from throughout the continental US, and these analyses control for factors that might confound paleontological measurement of past community richness. These analyses suggest that, in contrast to the present, and regardless of whether richness is measured at the local or the regional scale, terminal Pleistocene terrestrial mammal communities in the eastern portion of mid-latitude North America were richer than, or at least as rich as, communities in the west. In addition, the richness of large herbivores declined from south to north, in contrast to the current situation, in which large mammal richness increases with latitude across North America. The reversal in the north-south gradient in large mammal richness suggests that the richness of such taxa was determined primarily by available environmental energy during the terminal Pleistocene, whereas the modern pattern might be, at least in part, a result of the extinctions that occurred here near the end of the Pleistocene. The reversal in the east-west gradient indicates that two variables that have been proposed to be responsible for the gradient observed today—mean elevation and habitat heterogeneity associated with variability in elevation—could not have driven differences in richness between the east and the west during the terminal Pleistocene. Rather, these differences were likely the result of differences in energy and/or differences in habitat heterogeneity that were not related to elevational variability.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Lockwood, Rowan

    2003-03-01

    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.

  4. 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. PMID:27158910

  5. 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.

  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. 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;…

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  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. PMID:26037535

  11. 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. PMID:24676170

  12. [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.

  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. PMID:25486798

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25508929

  15. Ascaridoid nematodes of South American mammals, with a definition of a new genus.

    PubMed

    Sprent, J F

    1982-09-01

    Ascaridoid nematodes occurring in South American mammals are divided into categories based on their possible origin. The affinities are discussed of five species so far known only from the Neotropical Region. Toxocara alienata (Rudolphi 1819) is reported from Nasua rufa socialis, Procyon cancrivorus, and Tayassus torquatus. The specimens from T. torquatus are described and found most closely to resemble Toxocara mackerrasae from south-east Asian and Austrialian rodents. Anisakis insignis from Inia geoffrensis is transferred back to Peritrachelius Diesing, 1851, on account of the structure of the lips and spicules. P. insignis is shown to exhibit remarkable convergence of lip structure with Lagochilascaris turgida from Didelphis marsupialis. Galeiceps longispiculum (Freitas & Lent, 1941) from Pteronura brasiliensis is confirmed as a species distinct from G. cucullus (Linstow, 1899) and G. spinicollis (Baylis, 1923), but G. simiae (Mosgovoy, 1951) is considered to be a synonym of G. spinicollis. An error in the host record of G. spinicollis is corrected from Cercopithecus leucampyx kandti to Lutra maculicollis kivuana. Ascaris dasypodina Baylis, 1922 from armadillos, including Cabassous unicinctus and Tolypeutes matacos, is redescribed and placed in a new genus Bairdascaris. The question is raised as to whether some species in Lagochilascaris, Galeiceps, and Toxocara may have crossed directly by sea from Africa to South America, rather than entering via North America.

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Smits, Peter D

    2015-10-20

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Smits, Peter D

    2015-10-20

    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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Surveillance of rabies prevalence and bite protocols in captive mammals in American zoos.

    PubMed

    Zelepsky, Jacqueline; Harrison, Tara M

    2010-09-01

    A national survey questionnaire was conducted in 32 zoos throughout 17 U.S. states between February and May 2008. The questionnaire consisted of six questions that evaluated rabies prevalence on zoo grounds; captive mammalian bites among zoo visitors and personnel; and the outcome of each incident. The survey was completed by zoo staff after review of their most recent bite incident reports. Rabies was documented, albeit minimally, on zoo grounds in both wild and collection animals. The information collected documented that mammalian bites occur commonly. An average of 9.1 bite incidents per zoo involving zoo visitors were reported in the last 5 yr, compared to an average of 7.5 bite incidents per zoo involving personnel within the last 5 yr. Zoo personnel had a larger variety of mammals inflicting bites of greater injury severity, with an average rating 3.83 out of 5. While victim profile and severity of the wound differed between visitor and personnel bites, the majority of bites were not reported to the local health department. Lack of reporting may be due to low rabies risk, fear of media involvement, and an unknown conclusion for the offending animal. Animals involved in reported attacks had an average quarantine of 47.5 days when the bite involved a zoo visitor versus an average quarantine of 18 days when the bite involved personnel. These results demonstrate the need for a standardized protocol following a bite incident, including cooperation with the local health department, as necessary.

  12. Antibody and lymphoblastogenic responses of dogs experimentally infected with Trypanosoma cruzi isolates from North American mammals.

    PubMed

    Barr, S C; Dennis, V A; Klei, T R; Norcross, N L

    1991-09-01

    The humoral and cellular immune responses of dogs infected with either a non-pathogenic Trypanosoma cruzi isolated from a North American dog (Tc-D) or a pathogenic T. cruzi isolate from an opossum (Tc-O) were studied over a 240 day period. Antibody to T. cruzi epimastigote antigens prepared from Tc-O or Tc-D isolates were first detected by ELISA by Day 26 post infection (PI), peaked by day 175 PI and remained elevated throughout the experimental period in both Tc-O and Tc-D infected dogs. Differences in antibody levels between infected groups were not detected. Western blot analyses were performed using Tc-O and Tc-D epimastigote antigens probed with pooled sera and sera from individual Tc-O and Tc-D infected dogs prior to infection (Day 0), and during the acute (Day 16-35 PI), indeterminate (Day 50-135 PI) and chronic (Day 235 PI) stages of infection. Generally, the patterns, number of protein bands, and temporal appearance of the protein bands identified by pooled sera and sera from individual dogs within each antigen preparation were similar. However, similarities and differences were present in antibody responses between sera from Tc-O and Tc-D infected dogs. Blastogenic responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from Tc-O and Tc-D infected dogs to mitogens (concanavalin A, phytohemagglutinin and pokeweed) were not significantly different from controls at any time during the experimental period. The PBMC from both groups of dogs were unresponsive to epimastigote antigens during the acute stage of infection. Statistically significant differences (P less than 0.05) in PBMC responsiveness from controls were observed on Days 70 and 175 PI. Responses decreased to pre-infection levels by Day 240 PI. These studies demonstrate that although two North American T. cruzi isolates have markedly different virulence for dogs, some aspects of their cellular and humoral immune responses are similar while other responses, such as antibody recognition of specific T

  13. 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.

  14. The genomes of the South American opossum (Monodelphis domestica) and platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) encode a more complete purine catabolic pathway than placental mammals

    PubMed Central

    Keebaugh, Alaine C.; Thomas, James W.

    2009-01-01

    The end product of purine catabolism varies amongst vertebrates and is a consequence of independent gene inactivation events that have truncated the purine catabolic pathway. Mammals have traditionally been grouped into two classes based on their end product of purine catabolism: most mammals, whose end product is allantoin due to an ancient loss of allantoinase (ALLN), and the hominoids, whose end product is uric acid due to recent inactivations of urate oxidase (UOX). However little is known about purine catabolism in marsupials and monotremes. Here we report the results of a comparative genomics study designed to characterize the purine catabolic pathway in a marsupial, the South American opossum (Monodelphis domestica), and a monotreme, the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). We found that both genomes encode a more complete set of genes for purine catabolism than do eutherians and conclude that a near complete purine catabolic pathway was present in the common ancestor of all mammals, and that the loss of ALLN is specific to placental mammals. Our results therefore provide a revised history for gene loss in the purine catabolic pathway and suggest that marsupials and monotremes represent a third class of mammals with respect to their end products of purine catabolism. PMID:20161190

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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. PMID:25170923

  19. 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.

  20. Iridium anomaly approximately synchronous with terminal eocene extinctions

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H.V.; Alvarez, L.W.

    1982-05-21

    An iridium anomaly has been found in coincidence with the known microtektite level in cores from Deep Sea Drilling Project site 149 in the Caribbean Sea. The iridium was probably not in the microtektites but deposited simultaneously with them; this could occur if the iridium was deposited from a dust cloud resulting from a bolide impact, as suggested for the anomaly associated with the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Other workers have deduced that the microtektites are part of the North American strewn tektite field, which is dated at about 34 million years before present, and that the microtektite horizon in deep-sea cores is synchronous with the extinction of five radiolarian species. Mass extinctions also occur in terrestrial mammals within 4 million years of this time. The iridium anomaly and the tektites and microtektites are supportive of a major bolide impact about 34 million years ago.

  1. Iridium anomaly approximately synchronous with terminal eocene extinctions.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, W; Asaro, F; Michel, H V; Alvarez, L W

    1982-05-21

    An iridium anomaly has been found in coincidence with the known microtektite level in cores from Deep Sea Drilling Project site 149 in the Caribbean Sea. The iridium was probably not in the microtektites but deposited simultaneously with them; this could occur if the iridium was deposited from a dust cloud resulting from a bolide impact, as suggested for the anomaly associated with the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Other workers have deduced that the microtektites are part of the North American strewn tektite field, which is dated at about 34 million years before present, and that the microtektite horizon in deep-sea cores is synchronous with the extinction of five radiolarian species. Mass extinctions also occur in terrestrial mammals within 4 million years of this time. The iridium anomaly and the tektites and microtektites are supportive of a major bolide impact about 34 million years ago.

  2. Iridium anomaly approximately synchronous with terminal eocene extinctions.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, W; Asaro, F; Michel, H V; Alvarez, L W

    1982-05-21

    An iridium anomaly has been found in coincidence with the known microtektite level in cores from Deep Sea Drilling Project site 149 in the Caribbean Sea. The iridium was probably not in the microtektites but deposited simultaneously with them; this could occur if the iridium was deposited from a dust cloud resulting from a bolide impact, as suggested for the anomaly associated with the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Other workers have deduced that the microtektites are part of the North American strewn tektite field, which is dated at about 34 million years before present, and that the microtektite horizon in deep-sea cores is synchronous with the extinction of five radiolarian species. Mass extinctions also occur in terrestrial mammals within 4 million years of this time. The iridium anomaly and the tektites and microtektites are supportive of a major bolide impact about 34 million years ago. PMID:17819180

  3. 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.

  4. Rethinking Extinction.

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

    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

  5. 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

  6. Rethinking Extinction.

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:17738414

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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. PMID:26888913

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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. PMID:26848836

  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. 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

  2. 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. PMID:26540101

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Hibernation and daily torpor minimize mammalian extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geiser, Fritz; Turbill, Christopher

    2009-10-01

    Small mammals appear to be less vulnerable to extinction than large species, but the underlying reasons are poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence that almost all (93.5%) of 61 recently extinct mammal species were homeothermic, maintaining a constant high body temperature and thus energy expenditure, which demands a high intake of food, long foraging times, and thus exposure to predators. In contrast, only 6.5% of extinct mammals were likely heterothermic and employed multi-day torpor (hibernation) or daily torpor, even though torpor is widespread within more than half of all mammalian orders. Torpor is characterized by substantial reductions of body temperature and energy expenditure and enhances survival during adverse conditions by minimizing food and water requirements, and consequently reduces foraging requirements and exposure to predators. Moreover, because life span is generally longer in heterothermic mammals than in related homeotherms, heterotherms can employ a ‘sit-and-wait’ strategy to withstand adverse periods and then repopulate when circumstances improve. Thus, torpor is a crucial but hitherto unappreciated attribute of small mammals for avoiding extinction. Many opportunistic heterothermic species, because of their plastic energetic requirements, may also stand a better chance of future survival than homeothermic species in the face of greater climatic extremes and changes in environmental conditions caused by global warming.

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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…

  10. 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. PMID:27001852

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Diving mammals.

    PubMed

    Ponganis, Paul J

    2011-01-01

    The ability of diving mammals to forage at depth on a breath hold of air is dependent on gas exchange, both in the lung and in peripheral tissues. Anatomical and physiological adaptations in the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, blood and peripheral tissues contribute to the remarkable breath-hold capacities of these animals. The end results of these adaptations include efficient ventilation, enhanced oxygen storage, regulated transport and delivery of respiratory gases, extreme hypoxemic/ischemic tolerance, and pressure tolerance.

  14. The nonmarine Lower Cretaceous of the North American Western Interior foreland basin: New biostratigraphic results from ostracod correlations and early mammals, and their implications for paleontology and geology of the basin—An overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sames, Benjamin; Cifelli, Richard L.; Schudack, Michael E.

    2010-08-01

    The timespan represented by the hiatus between nonmarine Upper Jurassic (Early Berriasian?) and unconformably overlying Lower Cretaceous deposits throughout the North American Western Interior foreland basin has been under discussion for the entire 20th century and remains controversial to date. Ongoing research in revision of Early Cretaceous nonmarine ostracods of some respective North American formations leads to a breakthrough concerning the verification of their biostratigraphic utility as well as their subsequent application. These ostracods are not as endemic as hitherto believed and can be used for supraregional and regional correlation, as well as improvement of the age determination of North American units. New results strongly suggest a maximum age of Late Berriasian to Valanginian (˜ 142-138 Ma) for the lower part of the Lakota (Black Hills area, South Dakota) and Cedar Mountain (Utah) formations. A pre-Aptian maximum age for the Lakota Formation is supported by early mammals. These biostratigraphic results affect the correlatable formations as well, and therefore have broad implications on basin-related geologic and paleontologic topics that are overviewed and discussed herein. The central issue hampering an integrated synthesis of the foreland basin is its yet imprecise chronostratigraphic framework and documentation. Temporal relationships between the gologic processes of the basin and their control factors are still insufficiently calibrated or controversial. Detailed ongoing revision of North American Early Cretaceous nonmarine ostracods demonstrates their applicability, utility, and further potential as tool for improvement of the chronostratigraphy of the Western Interior foreland basin at both small and large scales. These ostracods also foster understanding of animal (e.g. early mammals and dinosaurs) and plant (angiosperms) evolution on the North American continent and show promise of providing age determinations for single-sample horizons in

  15. 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.

  16. Mass extinctions caused by large bolide impacts.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, L W

    1987-07-01

    Evidence indicates that the collisions of Earth and a large piece of Solar System debris 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.

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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)

  2. Dynamics of extinction debt across five taxonomic groups.

    PubMed

    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

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24694691

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:22308461

  10. The maximum rate of mammal evolution

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22308461

  11. Phanerozoic Biodiversity Mass Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bambach, Richard K.

    2006-05-01

    Recent analyses of Sepkoski's genus-level compendium show that only three events form a statistically separate class of high extinction intensities when only post-Early Ordovician intervals are considered, but geologists have called numerous events mass extinctions. Is this a conflict? A review of different methods of tabulating data from the Sepkoski database reveals 18 intervals during the Phanerozoic have peaks of both magnitude and rate of extinction that appear in each tabulating scheme. These intervals all fit Sepkoski's definition of mass extinction. However, they vary widely in timing and effect of extinction, demonstrating that mass extinctions are not a homogeneous group of events. No consensus has been reached on the kill mechanism for any marine mass extinction. In fact, adequate data on timing in ecologic, rather than geologic, time and on geographic and environmental distribution of extinction have not yet been systematically compiled for any extinction event.

  12. [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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Mammalian Biogeography and the Latitudinal Climatic Gradient in Western North America During the Paleocene Evolutionary Radiation of Mammals (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox, D. L.; Rose, P.

    2010-12-01

    We use the middle Paleocene (ca. 63-58) mammalian fossil record of western North America to examine the latitudinal gradients in both species richness and body size of mammals during their evolutionary radiation following the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Decreasing species richness with latitude is a biogeographic pattern common to most clades today, including mammals, and is linked to climatic gradients; an inverse relationship between body size and environmental temperature (Bergmann’s rule) is well-known both within and among species of living endothermic vertebrates, including diverse clades of mammals. Despite the frequency among mammals of these patterns today, their long-term histories in the fossil record is not well documented. We compiled mammalian taxonomic occurrence data from published literature, online museum collection databases, and the Paleobiology Database for roughly 160 Torrejonian (To, ca. 63-60 Ma) and Tiffanian (Ti, ca. 60-58 Ma) North American Land Mammal Age fossil localities in western North America from Texas to Alberta. These localities were binned into nine geographic regions based on paleolatitude, and the centroids of the regions span ca. 28° of latitude. For the faunas from these regions, we compiled body size data from the literature for 170 Paleocene (Torrejonian and Tiffanian) mammal species, using lower first molar area (m1 LxW) as a proxy for body mass. The phosphate oxygen isotope composition of teeth from species of a single clade of herbivorous mammals (Phenacodontidae) indicates that mid-Paleocene latitudinal climate gradients were broadly similar to modern gradients in the region, so we treat paleolatitude as a proxy for temperature. Slopes of separate least squares linear regressions of rarefied To and Ti species richness on paleolatitude are not significantly different from zero, and the regressions explain only a small fraction of the variances in richness. For all species, m1 area has a statistically

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:26611003

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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'.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Increased threat of disease as species move towards extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ripp, Kelsey; Berger, Melanie; Chen, Jane; Dittmeier, Justin; Goter, Maggie; McGarvey, Stephen T.; Ryan, Elizabeth

    2015-01-01

    In the midst of global biodiversity loss and rising disease incidence in wildlife, there has been growing interest in the role of infectious disease in species extinction. At local scales infectious disease is a common driver of population declines but globally it is an infrequent driver of species extinction and endangerment. For those unfortunate species threatened by disease questions remain, including when, along the pathway to extinction, do pathogens become a threat? We used the 2011 IUCN Red List, focusing on amphibians, birds, and mammals to test the null hypothesis that the proportion of species threatened by disease is the same in each status category (least concern to extinct). Overall, we found that pathogens appear to increase in importance as species move towards extinction though this varies with host taxonomy. We compare this finding to other threats (e.g. land-use change and invasive species) and discuss the role of potential ecological and artifactual drivers. Furthermore, we identify what other threats most frequently co-occur with infectious disease to examine the specific role of disease in driving extinction. We determined that infectious disease is rarely the sole driver of extinction and that being affected by other threats increases the odds of infectious disease co-occurring as a driver of extinction. Ultimately, our conclusions echo previous calls for baseline data on the presence of pathogens in species when they show the first signs of extinction risk and arguably before. PMID:24033873

  4. 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)

  5. 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. PMID:27493782

  6. 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".

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Bimodal extinction without cross-modal extinction.

    PubMed Central

    Inhoff, A W; Rafal, R D; Posner, M J

    1992-01-01

    Three patients with unilateral neurological injury were clinically examined. All showed consistent unilateral extinction in the tactile and visual modalities on simultaneous intramodal stimulation. There was virtually no evidence for cross-modal extinction, however, so that contralateral stimulation of one modality would have extinguished perception of ipsilateral stimuli in the other modality. It is concluded that the attentional system controlling the encoding of tactile and visual stimuli is not unified across the two sensory domains. PMID:1548496

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. 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). PMID:25784036

  18. 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).

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Life-history correlates of extinction risk and recovery potential.

    PubMed

    Hutchings, Jeffrey A; Myers, Ransom A; García, Verónica B; Lucifora, Luis O; Kuparinen, Anna

    2012-06-01

    Extinction risk is inversely associated with maximum per capita population growth rate (r(max)). However, this parameter is not known for most threatened species, underscoring the value in identifying correlates of r(max) that, in the absence of demographic data, would indirectly allow one to identify species and populations at elevated risk of extinction and their associated recovery potential. We undertook a comparative life-history analysis of 199 species from three taxonomic classes: Chondrichthyes (e.g., sharks; n = 82), Actinopterygii (teleost or bony fishes; n = 47), and Mammalia (n = 70, including 16 marine species). Median r(max) was highest for (and similar between) terrestrial mammals (0.71) and teleosts (0.43), significantly lower among chondrichthyans (0.26), and lower still in marine mammals (0.07). Age at maturity was the primary (and negative) correlate of r(max). In contrast, although body size was negatively correlated with r(max) in chondrichthyans and mammals, evidence of an association in teleosts was equivocal, and fecundity was not related to r(max) in fishes, despite recurring assertions to the contrary. Our analyses suggest that age at maturity can serve as a universal predictor of extinction risk in fishes and mammals when r(max) itself is unknown. Moreover, in contrast to what is generally expected, the recovery potential of teleost fishes does not differ from that of terrestrial mammals. Our findings are supportive of the application of extinction-risk criteria that are based on generation time and that are independent of taxonomic affinity.

  7. 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. PMID:17972884

  8. 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.

  9. 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).

  10. Ancient collagen reveals evolutionary history of the endemic South American 'ungulates'.

    PubMed

    Buckley, Michael

    2015-05-01

    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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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

    2004-12-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  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. 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.

  1. Extinction with multiple excitors

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23055103

  2. 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.

  3. Extinction of oscillating populations.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27078294

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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. PMID:27142508

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26469049

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Hybridization and extinction.

    PubMed

    Todesco, Marco; Pascual, Mariana A; Owens, Gregory L; Ostevik, Katherine L; Moyers, Brook T; Hübner, Sariel; Heredia, Sylvia M; Hahn, Min A; Caseys, Celine; Bock, Dan G; Rieseberg, Loren H

    2016-08-01

    Hybridization may drive rare taxa to extinction through genetic swamping, where the rare form is replaced by hybrids, or by demographic swamping, where population growth rates are reduced due to the wasteful production of maladaptive hybrids. Conversely, hybridization may rescue the viability of small, inbred populations. Understanding the factors that contribute to destructive versus constructive outcomes of hybridization is key to managing conservation concerns. Here, we survey the literature for studies of hybridization and extinction to identify the ecological, evolutionary, and genetic factors that critically affect extinction risk through hybridization. We find that while extinction risk is highly situation dependent, genetic swamping is much more frequent than demographic swamping. In addition, human involvement is associated with increased risk and high reproductive isolation with reduced risk. Although climate change is predicted to increase the risk of hybridization-induced extinction, we find little empirical support for this prediction. Similarly, theoretical and experimental studies imply that genetic rescue through hybridization may be equally or more probable than demographic swamping, but our literature survey failed to support this claim. We conclude that halting the introduction of hybridization-prone exotics and restoring mature and diverse habitats that are resistant to hybrid establishment should be management priorities. PMID:27468307

  18. Stress and Fear Extinction.

    PubMed

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. Controversy over mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Katzoff, Judith A.

    The notion that mass extinctions of species occur at 26-million-year (m.y.) intervals received wide attention in the scientific and popular press a little over a year ago. According to the theory, some sort of periodic extra-terrestrial event had led to the episodes of extinction; comet showers brought on by any of a variety of causes were frequently offered as one explanation.Now the idea is back in the news, this time drawing criticism. An article published in the June 20 issue of Nature criticizes the original analysis, by David Raup and John Sepkoski of the University of Chicago, on the grounds that their data base was overly pared down and that they used a biased definition for mass extinction. Raup and his supporters say that papers now in press will answer the objections.

  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. Mammals With Hooves.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1986

    1986-01-01

    Presents information about mammals that have hooves, including definitions and descriptions of their characteristics. Contains teaching activities such as "Build a Paper Pachyderm,""Do the Funky Trunk Dance,""A Horse of a Different Color," and "Horns and Antlers." A reproducible quiz is also provided. (TW)

  4. First human-caused extinction of a cetacean species?

    PubMed

    Turvey, Samuel T; Pitman, Robert L; Taylor, Barbara L; Barlow, Jay; Akamatsu, Tomonari; Barrett, Leigh A; Zhao, Xiujiang; Reeves, Randall R; Stewart, Brent S; Wang, Kexiong; Wei, Zhuo; Zhang, Xianfeng; Pusser, L T; Richlen, Michael; Brandon, John R; Wang, Ding

    2007-10-22

    The Yangtze River dolphin or baiji (Lipotes vexillifer), an obligate freshwater odontocete known only from the middle-lower Yangtze River system and neighbouring Qiantang River in eastern China, has long been recognized as one of the world's rarest and most threatened mammal species. The status of the baiji has not been investigated since the late 1990s, when the surviving population was estimated to be as low as 13 individuals. An intensive six-week multi-vessel visual and acoustic survey carried out in November-December 2006, covering the entire historical range of the baiji in the main Yangtze channel, failed to find any evidence that the species survives. We are forced to conclude that the baiji is now likely to be extinct, probably due to unsustainable by-catch in local fisheries. This represents the first global extinction of a large vertebrate for over 50 years, only the fourth disappearance of an entire mammal family since AD 1500, and the first cetacean species to be driven to extinction by human activity. Immediate and extreme measures may be necessary to prevent the extinction of other endangered cetaceans, including the sympatric Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis). PMID:17686754

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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. PMID:26041349

  9. Mechanisms of fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Myers, K M; Davis, M

    2007-02-01

    Excessive fear and anxiety are hallmarks of a variety of disabling anxiety disorders that affect millions of people throughout the world. Hence, a greater understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in the inhibition of fear and anxiety is attracting increasing interest in the research community. In the laboratory, fear inhibition most often is studied through a procedure in which a previously fear conditioned organism is exposed to a fear-eliciting cue in the absence of any aversive event. This procedure results in a decline in conditioned fear responses that is attributed to a process called fear extinction. Extensive empirical work by behavioral psychologists has revealed basic behavioral characteristics of extinction, and theoretical accounts have emphasized extinction as a form of inhibitory learning as opposed to an erasure of acquired fear. Guided by this work, neuroscientists have begun to dissect the neural mechanisms involved, including the regions in which extinction-related plasticity occurs and the cellular and molecular processes that are engaged. The present paper will cover behavioral, theoretical and neurobiological work, and will conclude with a discussion of clinical implications.

  10. 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…

  11. 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. PMID:22946817

  12. Biogeography and extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Jablonski, D.

    1985-01-01

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

  13. Cognitive Processes in Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lovibond, Peter F.

    2004-01-01

    Human conditioning research shows that learning is closely related to consciously available contingency knowledge, requires attentional resources, and is influenced by language. This research suggests a cognitive model in which extinction consists of changes in contingency beliefs in long-term memory. Laboratory and clinical evidence on extinction…

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

  16. Extinction times in experimental populations.

    PubMed

    Drake, John M

    2006-09-01

    Predicting population extinctions is a key element of quantitative conservation biology and population ecology. Although stochastic population theories have long been used to obtain theoretical distributions of population extinction times, model-based predictions have rarely been tested. Here I report results from a quantitative analysis of extinction time in 281 experimental populations of water fleas (Daphnia magna) in variable environments. To my knowledge, this is the first quantitative estimate of the shape of the distribution of population extinction times based on extinction data for any species. The finding that the distribution of population extinction times was extraordinarily peaked is consistent with theoretical predictions for density-independent populations, but inconsistent with predictions for density-dependent populations. The tail of the extinction time distribution was not exponential. These results imply that our current theories of extinction are inadequate. Future work should focus on how demographic stochasticity scales with population size and effects of nonrandom variable environments on population growth and decline.

  17. Ecology: Dynamics of Indirect Extinction.

    PubMed

    Montoya, Jose M

    2015-12-01

    The experimental identification of the mechanism by which extinctions of predators trigger further predator extinctions emphasizes the role of indirect effects between species in disturbed ecosystems. It also has deep consequences for the hidden magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis.

  18. 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)

  19. 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. 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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rice, Dale W.

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

  5. Discreteness induced extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    dos Santos, Renato Vieira; da Silva, Linaena Méricy

    2015-11-01

    Two simple models based on ecological problems are discussed from the point of view of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. It is shown how discrepant may be the results of the models that include spatial distribution with discrete interactions when compared with the continuous analogous models. In the continuous case we have, under certain circumstances, the population explosion. When we take into account the finiteness of the population, we get the opposite result, extinction. We will analyze how these results depend on the dimension d of the space and describe the phenomenon of the "Discreteness Inducing Extinction" (DIE). The results are interpreted in the context of the "paradox of sex", an old problem of evolutionary biology.

  6. 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.

  7. Environmental synergisms and extinctions of tropical species.

    PubMed

    Laurance, William F; Useche, Diana C

    2009-12-01

    Environmental synergisms may pose the greatest threat to tropical biodiversity. Using recently updated data sets from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, we evaluated the incidence of perceived threats to all known mammal, bird, and amphibian species in tropical forests. Vulnerable, endangered, and extinct species were collectively far more likely to be imperiled by combinations of threats than expected by chance. Among 45 possible pairwise combinations of 10 different threats, 69%, 93%, and 71% were significantly more frequent than expected for threatened mammals, birds, and amphibians, respectively, even with a stringent Bonferroni-corrected probability value (p= 0.003). Based on this analysis, we identified five key environmental synergisms in the tropics and speculate on the existence of others. The most important involve interactions between habitat loss or alteration (from agriculture, urban sprawl, infrastructure, or logging) and other anthropogenic disturbances such as hunting, fire, exotic-species invasions, or pollution. Climatic change and emerging pathogens also can interact with other threats. We assert that environmental synergisms are more likely the norm than the exception for threatened species and ecosystems, can vary markedly in nature among geographic regions and taxa, and may be exceedingly difficult to predict in terms of their ultimate impacts. The perils posed by environmental synergisms highlight the need for a precautionary approach to tropical biodiversity conservation. PMID:20078643

  8. Arenavirus extinction through lethal mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    de la Torre, Juan Carlos

    2005-02-01

    Viral hemorrhagic fevers represent serious human public health problems causing devastating and often lethal disease. Several hemorrhagic fevers are caused by arenaviruses including Lassa fever virus (LFV) and the South American viral hemorrhagic fevers (SAHF). In recent years, increased air travel between Africa and other areas has led to the importation of LFV into the US, Europe, Japan, and Canada. This has raised awareness about arenaviruses as potential emerging viruses. Moreover, because of its severe morbidity and high mortality, and transmissibility from human to human, weaponized forms of LFV poses a real threat as agent of bioterrorism. No licensed vaccine is available in the US, and currently there is not efficacious therapy to treat these infections. Therefore, the importance of developing novel effective antiviral drugs to combat HF arenaviruses, for which the prototypic Arenavirus lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) provides us with an excellent model system. Recent findings have shown that LCMV multiplication both in cultured cells and in vivo is highly susceptible to the mutagenic agent 5-fluorouracil (FU). FU-mediated extinction of LCMV was associated with only modest increases in virus mutation frequencies, but did not significantly affect virus replication and transcription, or virus particle formation. These findings indicate that, as with other riboviruses, lethal mutagenesis is effective also against LCMV raising the possibility of using this novel antiviral strategy to combat pathogenic arenaviruses. PMID:15649566

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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. PMID:21844048

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:25999066

  17. Extinction in human fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Hermans, Dirk; Craske, Michelle G; Mineka, Susan; Lovibond, Peter F

    2006-08-15

    Although most extinction research is conducted in animal laboratories, the study of extinction learning in human fear conditioning has gained increasing attention over the last decade. The most important findings from human fear extinction are reviewed in this article. Specifically, we review experimental investigations of the impact of conditioned inhibitors, conditioned exciters, context renewal, and reinstatement on fear extinction in human samples. We discuss data from laboratory studies of the extinction of aversively conditioned stimuli, as well as results from experimental clinical work with fearful or anxious individuals. We present directions for future research, in particular the need for further investigation of differences between animal and human conditioning outcomes, and research examining the role of both automatic and higher-order cognitive processes in human conditioning and extinction.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. The pharmacology of extinction.

    PubMed

    Huxtable, R J

    1992-08-01

    It is impossible to predict what compounds of pharmacological interest may be present in an unexamined species. The extinction of such species may result, therefore, in the loss of therapeutically significant compounds. The fact that science will never know what has been lost does not lessen the significance of the loss. A number of species are discussed to exemplify the potential loss. Ginkgo biloba is an ancient plant, apparently saved from a natural extinction by human intervention. From this tree, the ginkgolides have been isolated. These are potent inhibitors of platelet activating factor and hold promise in the treatment of cerebral ischemia and brain edema. Two species, the tree Taxus brevifolia and the leech Hirudo medicinalis, are threatened as a result of human activity. Both have recently yielded complex compounds of therapeutic importance. The antitumor agent, taxol, is obtained from T. brevifolia and the thrombin inhibitor, hirudin, is found in H. medicinalis. Catharanthus roseus, source of the anticancer agents vincristine and vinblastine, although not threatened, derives from a largely unexamined but severely stressed ecosystem of some 5000 plant species. In other examples, ethnobotanical knowledge of certain plants may be lost while the species survive, as exemplified by the suppression of the Aztec ethnobotany of Mesoamerica by the invading Spanish. Finally, the fallacy of the 'snail darter syndrome', where species may be viewed as too insignificant to worry about, is exposed by consideration of the pharmacological activities of a sea hare (a shell-less marine mollusc) and various leeches.

  3. 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. PMID:26888034

  4. 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.

  5. DNA barcoding in mammals.

    PubMed

    Ivanova, Natalia V; Clare, Elizabeth L; Borisenko, Alex V

    2012-01-01

    DNA barcoding provides an operational framework for mammalian taxonomic identification and cryptic species discovery. Focused effort to build a reference library of genetic data has resulted in the assembly of over 35 K mammalian cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences and outlined the scope of mammal-related barcoding projects. Based on the above experience, this chapter recounts three typical methodological pathways involved in mammalian barcoding: routine methods aimed at assembling the reference sequence library from high quality samples, express approaches used to attain cheap and fast taxonomic identifications for applied purposes, and forensic techniques employed when dealing with degraded material. Most of the methods described are applicable to a range of vertebrate taxa outside Mammalia.

  6. 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. PMID:25736919

  7. 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.

  8. 75 FR 77616 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-13

    ... endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222-226). Permit No. 14334, issued on August 17, 2009 (74 FR... 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...

  9. 76 FR 72681 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-11-25

    ... (75 FR 27300), authorizes the permit holder to take ribbon seals (Phoca fasciata), spotted seals (P... 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...

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:17555965

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Ecology: Dynamics of Indirect Extinction.

    PubMed

    Montoya, Jose M

    2015-12-01

    The experimental identification of the mechanism by which extinctions of predators trigger further predator extinctions emphasizes the role of indirect effects between species in disturbed ecosystems. It also has deep consequences for the hidden magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis. PMID:26654371

  17. Pleistocene extinctions: haunting the survivors.

    PubMed

    Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-08-01

    For many years, the megafaunal extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene have been assumed to have affected only those species that became extinct. However, recent analyses show that the surviving species may also have experienced losses in terms of genetic and ecological diversity. PMID:17686436

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Extinction of Harrington's mountain goat.

    PubMed

    Mead, J I; Martin, P S; Euler, R C; Long, A; Jull, A J; 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Small mammals as monitors of environmental contaminants.

    PubMed

    Talmage, S S; Walton, B T

    1991-01-01

    The merit of using small mammals as monitors of environmental contaminants was assessed using data from the published literature. Information was located on 35 species of small mammals from 7 families used to monitor heavy metals, radionuclides, and organic chemicals at mine sites, industrial areas, hazardous and radioactive waste disposal sites, and agricultural and forested land. To document foodchain transfer of chemicals, concentrations in soil, vegetation, and invertebrates, where available, were included. The most commonly trapped North American species were Peromyscus leucopus, Blarina brevicauda, and Microtus pennsylvanicus. In these species, exposure to chemicals was determined from tissue residue analyses, biochemical assays, and cytogenetic assays. Where enough information was available, suitable target tissues, or biological assays for specific chemicals were noted. In general, there was a relationship between concentrations of contaminants in the soil or food, and concentrations in target tissues of several species. This relationship was most obvious for the nonessential heavy metals, cadmium, lead, and mercury and for fluoride. Kidney was the single best tissue for residue analyses of inorganic contaminants. However, bone should be the tissue of choice for both lead and fluorine. Exposure to lead was also successfully documented using biochemical and histopathological endpoints. Bone was the tissue of choice for exposure to 90Sr, whereas muscle was an appropriate tissue for 137Cs. For organic contaminants, exposure endpoints depended on the chemical(s) of concern. Liver and whole-body residue analyses, as well as enzyme changes, organ histology, genotoxicity, and, in one case, population dynamics, were successfully used to document exposure to these contaminants. Based on information in these studies, each species' suitability as a monitor for a specific contaminant or type of contaminant was evaluated and subsequently ranked. A relationship between

  5. Small mammals as monitors of environmental contaminants.

    PubMed

    Talmage, S S; Walton, B T

    1991-01-01

    The merit of using small mammals as monitors of environmental contaminants was assessed using data from the published literature. Information was located on 35 species of small mammals from 7 families used to monitor heavy metals, radionuclides, and organic chemicals at mine sites, industrial areas, hazardous and radioactive waste disposal sites, and agricultural and forested land. To document foodchain transfer of chemicals, concentrations in soil, vegetation, and invertebrates, where available, were included. The most commonly trapped North American species were Peromyscus leucopus, Blarina brevicauda, and Microtus pennsylvanicus. In these species, exposure to chemicals was determined from tissue residue analyses, biochemical assays, and cytogenetic assays. Where enough information was available, suitable target tissues, or biological assays for specific chemicals were noted. In general, there was a relationship between concentrations of contaminants in the soil or food, and concentrations in target tissues of several species. This relationship was most obvious for the nonessential heavy metals, cadmium, lead, and mercury and for fluoride. Kidney was the single best tissue for residue analyses of inorganic contaminants. However, bone should be the tissue of choice for both lead and fluorine. Exposure to lead was also successfully documented using biochemical and histopathological endpoints. Bone was the tissue of choice for exposure to 90Sr, whereas muscle was an appropriate tissue for 137Cs. For organic contaminants, exposure endpoints depended on the chemical(s) of concern. Liver and whole-body residue analyses, as well as enzyme changes, organ histology, genotoxicity, and, in one case, population dynamics, were successfully used to document exposure to these contaminants. Based on information in these studies, each species' suitability as a monitor for a specific contaminant or type of contaminant was evaluated and subsequently ranked. A relationship between

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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. PMID:27358361

  10. Explaining the Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions: Models, chronologies, and assumptions

    PubMed Central

    Brook, Barry W.; Bowman, David M. J. S.

    2002-01-01

    Understanding of the Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions has been advanced recently by the application of simulation models and new developments in geochronological dating. Together these have been used to posit a rapid demise of megafauna due to over-hunting by invading humans. However, we demonstrate that the results of these extinction models are highly sensitive to implicit assumptions concerning the degree of prey naivety to human hunters. In addition, we show that in Greater Australia, where the extinctions occurred well before the end of the last Ice Age (unlike the North American situation), estimates of the duration of coexistence between humans and megafauna remain imprecise. Contrary to recent claims, the existing data do not prove the “blitzkrieg” model of overkill. PMID:12417761

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:25452113

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

  18. C-values of seven marine mammal species determined by flow cytometry.

    PubMed

    Du, Bo; Wang, Ding

    2006-11-01

    C-values, which estimate genome size, have puzzled geneticists for years because they bear no relationship to organismal complexity. Though C-values have been estimated for thousands of species, considerably more data are required in order to better understanding genome evolution. This is particularly true for mammals, in which C-values are known for less than 8% of the total number of mammalian species. Among marine mammals, a C-value has been estimated only for the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Thus examination of additional species of marine mammals is necessary for comparative purposes. It will enable a better understanding of marine mammal genome evolution, and it is also relevant to conservation, because larger genome size has been linked to increased likelihood of extinction in some plant and animal groups. Our study presents C-values of seven marine mammal species, including five cetacean species that are endangered to varying degrees. Similarly to the results for other groups, our results suggest that larger genome size in cetaceans is related to an increased likelihood of extinction. PMID:17189914

  19. 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

  20. 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. PMID:9367151

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Contrasting coloration in terrestrial mammals

    PubMed Central

    Caro, Tim

    2008-01-01

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

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  7. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

  8. 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

  9. 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. PMID:26232125

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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. PMID:27009229

  13. The perils of picky eating: dietary breadth is related to extinction risk in insectivorous bats.

    PubMed

    Boyles, Justin G; Storm, Jonathan J

    2007-01-01

    Several recent papers evaluate the relationship between ecological characteristics and extinction risk in bats. These studies report that extinction risk is negatively related to geographic range size and positively related to habitat specialization. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that extinction risk is also related to dietary specialization in insectivorous vespertilionid bats using both traditional and phylogenetically-controlled analysis of variance. We collected dietary data and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) rankings for 44 Australian, European, and North American bat species. Our results indicate that species of conservation concern (IUCN ranking near threatened or above) are more likely to have a specialized diet than are species of least concern. Additional analyses show that dietary breadth is not correlated to geographic range size or wing morphology, characteristics previously found to correlate with extinction risk. Therefore, there is likely a direct relationship between dietary specialization and extinction risk; however, the large variation in dietary breadth within species of least concern suggests that diet alone cannot explain extinction risk. Our results may have important implications for the development of predictive models of extinction risk and for the assignment of extinction risk to insectivorous bat species. Similar analyses should be conducted on additional bat families to assess the generality of this relationship between niche breadth and extinction risk. PMID:17653286

  14. The Perils of Picky Eating: Dietary Breadth Is Related to Extinction Risk in Insectivorous Bats

    PubMed Central

    Boyles, Justin G.; Storm, Jonathan J.

    2007-01-01

    Several recent papers evaluate the relationship between ecological characteristics and extinction risk in bats. These studies report that extinction risk is negatively related to geographic range size and positively related to habitat specialization. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that extinction risk is also related to dietary specialization in insectivorous vespertilionid bats using both traditional and phylogenetically-controlled analysis of variance. We collected dietary data and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) rankings for 44 Australian, European, and North American bat species. Our results indicate that species of conservation concern (IUCN ranking near threatened or above) are more likely to have a specialized diet than are species of least concern. Additional analyses show that dietary breadth is not correlated to geographic range size or wing morphology, characteristics previously found to correlate with extinction risk. Therefore, there is likely a direct relationship between dietary specialization and extinction risk; however, the large variation in dietary breadth within species of least concern suggests that diet alone cannot explain extinction risk. Our results may have important implications for the development of predictive models of extinction risk and for the assignment of extinction risk to insectivorous bat species. Similar analyses should be conducted on additional bat families to assess the generality of this relationship between niche breadth and extinction risk. PMID:17653286

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Stochastic models of population extinction.

    PubMed

    Ovaskainen, Otso; Meerson, Baruch

    2010-11-01

    Theoretical ecologists have long sought to understand how the persistence of populations depends on biotic and abiotic factors. Classical work showed that demographic stochasticity causes the mean time to extinction to increase exponentially with population size, whereas variation in environmental conditions can lead to a power-law scaling. Recent work has focused especially on the influence of the autocorrelation structure ('color') of environmental noise. In theoretical physics, there is a burst of research activity in analyzing large fluctuations in stochastic population dynamics. This research provides powerful tools for determining extinction times and characterizing the pathway to extinction. It yields, therefore, sharp insights into extinction processes and has great potential for further applications in theoretical biology.

  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. 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.

  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. Mass extinctions: Ecological diversity maintained

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aberhan, Martin

    2014-03-01

    The end-Permian extinction decimated marine life on an unprecedented scale. However, an analysis of the lifestyles of the surviving genera shows that very little functional diversity was lost at the sea floor.

  2. Series cell light extinction monitor

    DOEpatents

    Novick, Vincent J.

    1990-01-01

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

  3. 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;…

  4. A model of mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Newman, M E

    1997-12-01

    In the last few years a number of authors have suggested that evolution may be a so-called self-organized critical phenomenon, and that critical processes might have a significant effect on the dynamics of ecosystems. In particular it has been suggested that mass extinction may arise through a purely biotic mechanism as the result of "coevolutionary avalanches". In this paper we first explore the empirical evidence which has been put forward in favor of this conclusion. The data center principally around the existence of power-law functional forms in the distribution of the sizes of extinction events and other quantities. We then propose a new mathematical model of mass extinction which does not rely on coevolutionary effects and in which extinction is caused entirely by the action of environmental stress on species. In combination with a simple model of species adaption we show that this process can account for all the observed data without the need to invoke coevolution and critical processes. The model also makes some independent predictions, such as the existence of "aftershock" extinctions in the aftermath of large mass extinction events, which should in theory be testable against the fossil record.

  5. 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

  6. Extinction, relapse, and behavioral momentum.

    PubMed

    Podlesnik, Christopher A; Shahan, Timothy A

    2010-05-01

    Previous experiments on behavioral momentum have shown that relative resistance to extinction of operant behavior in the presence of a discriminative stimulus depends upon the baseline rate or magnitude of reinforcement associated with that stimulus (i.e., the Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relation). Recently, we have shown that relapse of operant behavior in reinstatement, resurgence, and context renewal preparations also is a function of baseline stimulus-reinforcer relations. In this paper we present new data examining the role of baseline stimulus-reinforcer relations on resistance to extinction and relapse using a variety of baseline training conditions and relapse operations. Furthermore, we evaluate the adequacy of a behavioral momentum based model in accounting for the results. The model suggests that relapse occurs as a result of a decrease in the disruptive impact of extinction precipitated by a change in circumstances associated with extinction, and that the degree of relapse is a function of the pre-extinction baseline Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relation. Across experiments, relative resistance to extinction and relapse were greater in the presence of stimuli associated with more favorable conditions of reinforcement and were positively related to one another. In addition, the model did a good job in accounting for these effects. Thus, behavioral momentum theory may provide a useful quantitative approach for characterizing how differential reinforcement conditions contribute to relapse of operant behavior. PMID:20152889

  7. 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.

  8. 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:...

  9. 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...

  10. 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:...

  11. 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:...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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:...

  17. 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:...

  18. The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Gibb, Gillian C; Kuch, Melanie; Billet, Guillaume; Hautier, Lionel; Southon, John; Rouillard, Jean-Marie; Fernicola, Juan Carlos; Vizcaíno, Sergio F; MacPhee, Ross D E; Poinar, Hendrik N

    2016-02-22

    Among the fossils of hitherto unknown mammals that Darwin collected in South America between 1832 and 1833 during the Beagle expedition were examples of the large, heavily armored herbivores later known as glyptodonts. Ever since, glyptodonts have fascinated evolutionary biologists because of their remarkable skeletal adaptations and seemingly isolated phylogenetic position even within their natural group, the cingulate xenarthrans (armadillos and their allies). In possessing a carapace comprised of fused osteoderms, the glyptodonts were clearly related to other cingulates, but their precise phylogenetic position as suggested by morphology remains unresolved. To provide a molecular perspective on this issue, we designed sequence-capture baits using in silico reconstructed ancestral sequences and successfully assembled the complete mitochondrial genome of Doedicurus sp., one of the largest glyptodonts. Our phylogenetic reconstructions establish that glyptodonts are in fact deeply nested within the armadillo crown-group, representing a distinct subfamily (Glyptodontinae) within family Chlamyphoridae. Molecular dating suggests that glyptodonts diverged no earlier than around 35 million years ago, in good agreement with their fossil record. Our results highlight the derived nature of the glyptodont morphotype, one aspect of which is a spectacular increase in body size until their extinction at the end of the last ice age. PMID:26906483

  19. The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Gibb, Gillian C; Kuch, Melanie; Billet, Guillaume; Hautier, Lionel; Southon, John; Rouillard, Jean-Marie; Fernicola, Juan Carlos; Vizcaíno, Sergio F; MacPhee, Ross D E; Poinar, Hendrik N

    2016-02-22

    Among the fossils of hitherto unknown mammals that Darwin collected in South America between 1832 and 1833 during the Beagle expedition were examples of the large, heavily armored herbivores later known as glyptodonts. Ever since, glyptodonts have fascinated evolutionary biologists because of their remarkable skeletal adaptations and seemingly isolated phylogenetic position even within their natural group, the cingulate xenarthrans (armadillos and their allies). In possessing a carapace comprised of fused osteoderms, the glyptodonts were clearly related to other cingulates, but their precise phylogenetic position as suggested by morphology remains unresolved. To provide a molecular perspective on this issue, we designed sequence-capture baits using in silico reconstructed ancestral sequences and successfully assembled the complete mitochondrial genome of Doedicurus sp., one of the largest glyptodonts. Our phylogenetic reconstructions establish that glyptodonts are in fact deeply nested within the armadillo crown-group, representing a distinct subfamily (Glyptodontinae) within family Chlamyphoridae. Molecular dating suggests that glyptodonts diverged no earlier than around 35 million years ago, in good agreement with their fossil record. Our results highlight the derived nature of the glyptodont morphotype, one aspect of which is a spectacular increase in body size until their extinction at the end of the last ice age.

  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.

  1. 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. PMID:26658702

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    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. See research article http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/104 PMID:20409351

  6. 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.

  7. Marine mammal neoplasia: a review.

    PubMed

    Newman, S J; Smith, S A

    2006-11-01

    A review of the published literature indicates that marine mammal neoplasia includes the types and distributions of tumors seen in domestic species. A routine collection of samples from marine mammal species is hampered, and, hence, the literature is principally composed of reports from early whaling expeditions, captive zoo mammals, and epizootics that affect larger numbers of animals from a specific geographic location. The latter instances are most important, because many of these long-lived, free-ranging marine mammals may act as environmental sentinels for the health of the oceans. Examination of large numbers of mortalities reveals incidental proliferative and neoplastic conditions and, less commonly, identifies specific malignant cancers that can alter population dynamics. The best example of these is the presumptive herpesvirus-associated metastatic genital carcinomas found in California sea lions. Studies of tissues from St. Lawrence estuary beluga whales have demonstrated a high incidence of neoplasia and produced evidence that environmental contamination with high levels of polychlorinated biphenols and dichlorophenyl trichloroethane might be the cause. In addition, viruses are suspected to be the cause of gastric papillomas in belugas and cutaneous papillomas in Florida manatees and harbor porpoises. While experimental laboratory procedures can further elucidate mechanisms of neoplasia, continued pathologic examination of marine mammals will also be necessary to follow trends in wild populations. PMID:17099143

  8. Spatial and temporal extinction dynamics in a freshwater cetacean.

    PubMed

    Turvey, Samuel T; Barrett, Leigh A; Hart, Tom; Collen, Ben; Yujiang, Hao; Lei, Zhang; Xinqiao, Zhang; Xianyan, Wang; Yadong, Huang; Kaiya, Zhou; Ding, Wang

    2010-10-22

    Geographical range contraction is a fundamental ecological characteristic of species population decline, but relatively little investigation has been conducted into general trends in the dynamic properties of range collapse. The Yangtze River dolphin or baiji (Lipotes vexillifer), probably the first large mammal species to have become extinct in over 50 years, was believed to have experienced major range collapse during its decline through progressive large-scale range contraction and fragmentation. This range-collapse model is challenged by a new dataset of 406 baiji last-sighting records collected from across the baiji's historical range during an interview survey of Yangtze fishing communities. Although baiji regional abundance may have varied across its range, analyses of the extensive new sighting series provide comprehensive evidence that baiji population decline was not associated with any major contraction in geographical range across the middle-lower Yangtze drainage, even in the decade immediately before probable global extinction of the species. Extinction risk in baiji was therefore seemingly not related to evidence of range collapse. Baiji apparently underwent large-scale periodic and seasonal movements across their range, and we propose that range contraction and fragmentation may not be general biogeographic characteristics for declining populations of mobile species in connected landscapes. PMID:20484234

  9. 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

  10. Asian gliriform origin for arctostylopid mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Missiaen, Pieter; Smith, Thierry; Guo, Dian-Yong; Bloch, Jonathan I.; Gingerich, Philip D.

    2006-08-01

    Arctostylopids are common in Late Palaeocene and Early Eocene mammal faunas of Asia, but they are rare in North America. From the time of their first discovery, arctostylopids were grouped with the strictly endemic South American Notoungulata based on their strikingly similar dental morphology. This relationship was challenged based on dental morphology of more recently discovered arctostylopids and on supposed tarsal morphology (based on unassociated material) of the Asian arctostylopid Palaeostylops. Therefore, Arctostylopidae were placed in a separate order, Arctostylopida, of enigmatic affinities. Many authors, however, continue to unite Arctostylopidae and Notoungulata based on dental similarities. In the Late Palaeocene Subeng site in Inner Mongolia, we identified the Palaeostylops tarsals based on their size and abundance. This identification is supported by comparison to unpublished Arctostylops tarsals from the North American Clarkforkian, derived from a semi-articulated skeleton also including dental material. Tarsal morphology shows moderate similarity to the gliriform Pseudictops, and strong resemblance to the tarsally conservative gliroid Rhombomylus. Hence, Arctostylopidae may best be grouped with Asian non-gliroid Gliriformes, which we interpret as having dispersed into North America in the Late Palaeocene.

  11. 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

    2012-02-01

    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.

  12. Accumulation of slightly deleterious mutations in mitochondrial protein-coding genes of large versus small mammals

    PubMed Central

    Popadin, Konstantin; Polishchuk, Leonard V.; Mamirova, Leila; Knorre, Dmitry; Gunbin, Konstantin

    2007-01-01

    After the effective size of a population, Ne, declines, some slightly deleterious amino acid replacements which were initially suppressed by purifying selection become effectively neutral and can reach fixation. Here we investigate this phenomenon for a set of all 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes from 110 mammalian species. By using body mass as a proxy for Ne, we show that large mammals (i.e., those with low Ne) as compared with small ones (in our sample these are, on average, 369.5 kg and 275 g, respectively) have a 43% higher rate of accumulation of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions relative to synonymous substitutions, and an 8–40% higher rate of accumulation of radical amino acid substitutions relative to conservative substitutions, depending on the type of amino acid classification. These higher rates result in a 6% greater amino acid dissimilarity between modern species and their most recent reconstructed ancestors in large versus small mammals. Because nonsynonymous substitutions are likely to be more harmful than synonymous substitutions, and radical amino acid substitutions are likely to be more harmful than conservative ones, our results suggest that large mammals experience less efficient purifying selection than small mammals. Furthermore, because in the course of mammalian evolution body size tends to increase and, consequently, Ne tends to decline, evolution of mammals toward large body size may involve accumulation of slightly deleterious mutations in mitochondrial protein-coding genes, which may contribute to decline or extinction of large mammals. PMID:17679693

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. PMID:25065505

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Optical detection of marine mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Podobna, Yuliya; Schoonmaker, Jon; Boucher, Cynthia; Oakley, Daniel

    2009-05-01

    Advanced Coherent Technologies, LLC (ACT) is using a multi-spectral, multi-channel imaging system to detect and monitor marine mammals. The system, designed with US Navy funding, is intended to monitor mammals on US Navy submarine training ranges prior to and during Navy active acoustic training activities. ACT has conducted system tests and data collection activities at the St. Lawrence Seaway (Quebec, Canada), at Ma'alaea Bay (Maui, Hawaii), and from the Coronado Bay Bridge (San Diego, California). A description of the imaging system and the results of the data collections are discussed and presented.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Mammal diversity during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Eastern Europe.

    PubMed

    Puzachenko, Andrei Yurievich; Markova, Anastasia Konstantinovna

    2013-10-21

    Fossil data on the mammal diversity and species richness during the Late Pleistocene - Holocene transition are of extreme importance for the reconstruction of the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems as well as for the understanding of the present-day species phylogeography. These data can provide useful information that is relevant for the debate on how to conserve mammal genetic resources under the present-day circumstances that are the result of modern climate change. In earlier papers the dramatic transformations of North Eurasian mammal assemblages during the Pleistocene - Holocene transition have already been documented; however, the focus of these papers was mainly on changes in the zonal distribution of local faunal assemblages of the "Mammoth Fauna" complex and the extinction of key species (Vereshchagin & Baryshnikov 1992; Markova et al. 1995, 2002 a, b; 2003, 2006; Markova & Puzachenko 2007; Puzachenko & Markova 2007; Markova & Kolfschoten 2008; Baryshnikov & Markova 2009; Puzachenko 2010;). PMID:24148279

  3. 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. PMID:23401844

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1993-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    1993-02-15

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

  7. 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

  8. Extinct radionuclides. [in solar system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Podosek, F. A.; Swindle, T. D.

    1988-01-01

    Extinct radionuclides, or radioactive isotopes with lifetimes of the order of 1 to 100 Myr that are now extinct in the solar system are discussed. Evidence is presented for the presence of such radionuclides in the early solar system, including Al-26, Mn-53, Pd-107, I-129, Pu-244, and Sm-146. It is suggested that the abundances of these species provide constraints on nucleosynthetic time scales and the history of solar system materials before they became the solar system. The shortest-lived species is Al-26, which may have been sufficiently abundant to be the major heat source for meteorite parent-body metamorphism or igneous differentiation.

  9. 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.

  10. Extinction risk of soil biota.

    PubMed

    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.

  11. Extinction risk of soil biota.

    PubMed

    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. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:22465468

  15. 75 FR 68605 - Marine Mammals

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-11-08

    ... Register (75 FR 39915) that a request for a permit to conduct research on gray whales (Eschrictius robustus... 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...

  16. Blood Rheology in Marine Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Castellini, Michael A.; Baskurt, Oguz; Castellini, Judith M.; Meiselman, Herbert J.

    2010-01-01

    The field of blood oxygen transport and delivery to tissues has been studied by comparative physiologists for many decades. Within this general area, the particular differences in oxygen delivery between marine and terrestrial mammals has focused mainly on oxygen supply differences and delivery to the tissues under low blood flow diving conditions. Yet, the study of the inherent flow properties of the blood itself (hemorheology) is rarely discussed when addressing diving. However, hemorheology is important to the study of marine mammals because of the critical nature of the oxygen stores that are carried in the blood during diving periods. This review focuses on the essential elements of hemorheology, how they are defined and on fundamental rheological applications to marine mammals. While the comparative rationale used throughout the review is much broader than the particular problems associated with diving, the basic concepts focus on how changes in the flow properties of whole blood would be critical to oxygen delivery during diving. This review introduces the reader to most of the major rheological concepts that are relevant to the unique and unusual aspects of the diving physiology of marine mammals. PMID:21423386

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

    PubMed

    Pimm, S L; Askins, R A

    1995-09-26

    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.

  18. 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

  19. Small mammals as monitors of environmental contaminants

    SciTech Connect

    Talmage, S.S.; Walton, B.T. )

    1991-01-01

    The merit of using small mammals as monitors of environmental contaminants was assessed using data from the published literature. Information was located on 35 species of small mammals from 7 families used to monitor heavy metals, radionuclides, and organic chemicals at mine sites, industrial areas, hazardous and radioactive waste disposal sites, and agricultural and forested land. To document foodchain transfer of chemicals, concentrations in soil, vegetation, and invertebrates, where available, were included. The most commonly trapped North American species were Peromyscus leucopus, Blarina brevicauda, and Microtus pennsylvanicus. In these species, exposure to chemicals was determined from tissue residue analyses, biochemical assays, and cytogenetic assays. Where enough information was available, suitable target tissues, or biological assays for specific chemicals were noted. In general, there was a relationship between concentrations of contaminants in the soil or food, and concentrations in target tissues of several species. This relationship was most obvious for the nonessential heavy metals, cadmium, lead, and mercury and for fluoride. Kidney was the single best tissue for residue analyses of inorganic contaminants. However, bone should be the tissue of choice for both lead and fluorine. Exposure to lead was also successfully documented using biochemical and histopathological endpoints. Bone was the tissue of choice for exposure to 90Sr, whereas muscle was an appropriate tissue for 137Cs. For organic contaminants, exposure endpoints depended on the chemical(s) of concern. Liver and whole-body residue analyses, as well as enzyme changes, organ histology, genotoxicity, and, in one case, population dynamics, were successfully used to document exposure to these contaminants.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Izett, G. A.

    1988-01-01

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

  1. Blocking NMDA-receptors in the pigeon’s “prefrontal” caudal nidopallium impairs appetitive extinction learning in a sign-tracking paradigm

    PubMed Central

    Lengersdorf, Daniel; Marks, David; Uengoer, Metin; Stüttgen, Maik C.; Güntürkün, Onur

    2015-01-01

    Extinction learning provides the ability to flexibly adapt to new contingencies by learning to inhibit previously acquired associations in a context-dependent manner. The neural networks underlying extinction learning were mostly studied in rodents using fear extinction paradigms. To uncover invariant properties of the neural basis of extinction learning, we employ pigeons as a model system. Since the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of mammals is a key structure for extinction learning, we assessed the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in the nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL), the avian functional equivalent of mammalian PFC. Since NMDARs in PFC have been shown to be relevant for extinction learning, we locally antagonized NMDARs through 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerianacid (APV) during extinction learning in a within-subject sign-tracking ABA-renewal paradigm. APV-injection slowed down extinction learning and in addition also caused a disinhibition of responding to a continuously reinforced control stimulus. In subsequent retrieval sessions, spontaneous recovery was increased while ABA renewal was unaffected. The effect of APV resembles that observed in studies of fear extinction with rodents, suggesting common neural substrates of extinction under both appetitive and aversive conditions and highlighting the similarity of mammalian PFC and the avian caudal nidopallium despite 300 million years of independent evolution. PMID:25918502

  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. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

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

  5. SMALL MAMMAL USE OF MICROHABITAT REVIEWED

    EPA Science Inventory

    Small mammal microhabitat research has greatly influenced vertebrate community ecologists. There exists a "microhabitat paradigm" that states that sympatry among small mammal species is enabled by differential use of microhabitat (i.e., microhabitat partitioning). However, seve...

  6. 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,…

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:18199470

  9. 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

  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. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and implementing regulations (50 CFR parts 18 and 216... 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...

  13. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and implementing regulations (50 CFR parts 18 and 216... 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...

  14. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and implementing regulations (50 CFR parts 18 and 216... 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...

  15. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and implementing regulations (50 CFR parts 18 and 216... 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...

  16. 50 CFR 14.18 - Marine mammals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and implementing regulations (50 CFR parts 18 and 216... 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...

  17. Mean Annual Precipitation Explains Spatiotemporal Patterns of Cenozoic Mammal Beta Diversity and Latitudinal Diversity Gradients in North America

    PubMed Central

    Fraser, Danielle; Hassall, Christopher; Gorelick, Root; Rybczynski, Natalia

    2014-01-01

    Spatial diversity patterns are thought to be driven by climate-mediated processes. However, temporal patterns of community composition remain poorly studied. We provide two complementary analyses of North American mammal diversity, using (i) a paleontological dataset (2077 localities with 2493 taxon occurrences) spanning 21 discrete subdivisions of the Cenozoic based on North American Land Mammal Ages (36 Ma – present), and (ii) climate space model predictions for 744 extant mammals under eight scenarios of future climate change. Spatial variation in fossil mammal community structure (β diversity) is highest at intermediate values of continental mean annual precipitation (MAP) estimated from paleosols (∼450 mm/year) and declines under both wetter and drier conditions, reflecting diversity patterns of modern mammals. Latitudinal gradients in community change (latitudinal turnover gradients, aka LTGs) increase in strength through the Cenozoic, but also show a cyclical pattern that is significantly explained by MAP. In general, LTGs are weakest when continental MAP is highest, similar to modern tropical ecosystems in which latitudinal diversity gradients are weak or undetectable. Projections under modeled climate change show no substantial change in β diversity or LTG strength for North American mammals. Our results suggest that similar climate-mediated mechanisms might drive spatial and temporal patterns of community composition in both fossil and extant mammals. We also provide empirical evidence that the ecological processes on which climate space models are based are insufficient for accurately forecasting long-term mammalian response to anthropogenic climate change and inclusion of historical parameters may be essential. PMID:25203658

  18. Mean annual precipitation explains spatiotemporal patterns of Cenozoic mammal beta diversity and latitudinal diversity gradients in North America.

    PubMed

    Fraser, Danielle; Hassall, Christopher; Gorelick, Root; Rybczynski, Natalia

    2014-01-01

    Spatial diversity patterns are thought to be driven by climate-mediated processes. However, temporal patterns of community composition remain poorly studied. We provide two complementary analyses of North American mammal diversity, using (i) a paleontological dataset (2077 localities with 2493 taxon occurrences) spanning 21 discrete subdivisions of the Cenozoic based on North American Land Mammal Ages (36 Ma--present), and (ii) climate space model predictions for 744 extant mammals under eight scenarios of future climate change. Spatial variation in fossil mammal community structure (β diversity) is highest at intermediate values of continental mean annual precipitation (MAP) estimated from paleosols (∼ 450 mm/year) and declines under both wetter and drier conditions, reflecting diversity patterns of modern mammals. Latitudinal gradients in community change (latitudinal turnover gradients, aka LTGs) increase in strength through the Cenozoic, but also show a cyclical pattern that is significantly explained by MAP. In general, LTGs are weakest when continental MAP is highest, similar to modern tropical ecosystems in which latitudinal diversity gradients are weak or undetectable. Projections under modeled climate change show no substantial change in β diversity or LTG strength for North American mammals. Our results suggest that similar climate-mediated mechanisms might drive spatial and temporal patterns of community composition in both fossil and extant mammals. We also provide empirical evidence that the ecological processes on which climate space models are based are insufficient for accurately forecasting long-term mammalian response to anthropogenic climate change and inclusion of historical parameters may be essential. PMID:25203658

  19. Mean annual precipitation explains spatiotemporal patterns of Cenozoic mammal beta diversity and latitudinal diversity gradients in North America.

    PubMed

    Fraser, Danielle; Hassall, Christopher; Gorelick, Root; Rybczynski, Natalia

    2014-01-01

    Spatial diversity patterns are thought to be driven by climate-mediated processes. However, temporal patterns of community composition remain poorly studied. We provide two complementary analyses of North American mammal diversity, using (i) a paleontological dataset (2077 localities with 2493 taxon occurrences) spanning 21 discrete subdivisions of the Cenozoic based on North American Land Mammal Ages (36 Ma--present), and (ii) climate space model predictions for 744 extant mammals under eight scenarios of future climate change. Spatial variation in fossil mammal community structure (β diversity) is highest at intermediate values of continental mean annual precipitation (MAP) estimated from paleosols (∼ 450 mm/year) and declines under both wetter and drier conditions, reflecting diversity patterns of modern mammals. Latitudinal gradients in community change (latitudinal turnover gradients, aka LTGs) increase in strength through the Cenozoic, but also show a cyclical pattern that is significantly explained by MAP. In general, LTGs are weakest when continental MAP is highest, similar to modern tropical ecosystems in which latitudinal diversity gradients are weak or undetectable. Projections under modeled climate change show no substantial change in β diversity or LTG strength for North American mammals. Our results suggest that similar climate-mediated mechanisms might drive spatial and temporal patterns of community composition in both fossil and extant mammals. We also provide empirical evidence that the ecological processes on which climate space models are based are insufficient for accurately forecasting long-term mammalian response to anthropogenic climate change and inclusion of historical parameters may be essential.

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

    PubMed

    Miller, Lynn E; Weiss, Richard M

    2012-04-01

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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Determining Extinction Ratio Of A Laser Diode

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Unger, Glenn L.

    1992-01-01

    Improved technique to determine extinction ratio of pulsed laser diode based partly on definition of extinction ratio applicable to nonideal laser pulses. Heretofore, determinations involved assumption of ideal laser pulses, and neglected optical power from background light. Because power fluctuates during real pulse, more realistic to define extinction ratio in terms of energy obtained.

  4. 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)…

  5. Reproductive cycles of marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Pomeroy, P

    2011-04-01

    Marine mammals conform to the general mammalian reproductive system centered on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Most marine mammals are long-lived and of large body size with lesser reproductive rates than many other animals, a consequence of their interaction with the marine environment where the demands of acquiring resources from the ocean must be balanced with the need for bearing offspring in a suitable place for survival. The degree of spatial and temporal separation of these life history phases in many species is a key feature of their ecology. The reproductive physiology of pinnipeds, cetaceans, sirenians, sea otters and polar bears has been more thoroughly characterized for the more accessible species.

  6. Morbillivirus infections in aquatic mammals.

    PubMed

    Visser, I K; van Bressem, M F; Barrett, T; Osterhaus, A D

    1993-01-01

    Infections with morbilliviruses have caused heavy losses among different populations of aquatic mammals during the last 5 years. Two different morbilliviruses were isolated from disease outbreaks among seals in Europe and Siberia: phocid distemper virus-1 (PDV-1) and phocid distemper virus-2 (PDV-2) respectively. PDV-1 was characterized as a newly identified morbillivirus, most related to canine distemper virus (CDV), whereas PDV-2 most probably is a strain of CDV. Morbilliviruses were also isolated from porpoises--porpoise morbillivirus (PMV)--and dolphins--dolphin morbillivirus (DMV)--which had stranded on the coasts of Europe. PMV and DMV proved to be closely related to, but distinct from 2 ruminant morbilliviruses, rinderpest virus (RPV) and peste-des-petits-ruminants virus (PPRV). Serological surveys carried out among pinniped and cetacean species in the seas of Europe and North America indicated that infections with these newly discovered morbilliviruses or closely related viruses commonly occur among aquatic mammal species. PMID:8343804

  7. Negative effects of an exotic grass invasion on small-mammal communities.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Eric D; Sharp, Tiffanny R; Larsen, Randy T; Knight, Robert N; Slater, Steven J; McMillan, Brock R

    2014-01-01

    Exotic invasive species can directly and indirectly influence natural ecological communities. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is non-native to the western United States and has invaded large areas of the Great Basin. Changes to the structure and composition of plant communities invaded by cheatgrass likely have effects at higher trophic levels. As a keystone guild in North American deserts, granivorous small mammals drive and maintain plant diversity. Our objective was to assess potential effects of invasion by cheatgrass on small-mammal communities. We sampled small-mammal and plant communities at 70 sites (Great Basin, Utah). We assessed abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community, diversity of the plant community, and the percentage of cheatgrass cover and shrub species. Abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community decreased with increasing abundance of cheatgrass. Similarly, cover of cheatgrass remained a significant predictor of small-mammal abundance even after accounting for the loss of the shrub layer and plant diversity, suggesting that there are direct and indirect effects of cheatgrass. The change in the small-mammal communities associated with invasion of cheatgrass likely has effects through higher and lower trophic levels and has the potential to cause major changes in ecosystem structure and function.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

  9. Large-scale marine ecosystem change and the conservation of marine mammals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Shea, T.J.; Odell, D.K.

    2008-01-01

    Papers in this Special Feature stem from a symposium on large-scale ecosystem change and the conservation of marine mammals convened at the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists in June 2006. Major changes are occurring in multiple aspects of the marine environment at unprecedented rates, within the life spans of some individual marine mammals. Drivers of change include shifts in climate, acoustic pollution, disturbances to trophic structure, fisheries interactions, harmful algal blooms, and environmental contaminants. This Special Feature provides an in-depth examination of 3 issues that are particularly troublesome. The 1st article notes the huge spatial and temporal scales of change to which marine mammals are showing ecological responses, and how these species can function as sentinels of such change. The 2nd paper describes the serious problems arising from conflicts with fisheries, and the 3rd contribution reviews the growing issues associated with underwater noise. ?? 2008 American Society of Mammalogists.

  10. Fear extinction in humans: effects of acquisition-extinction delay and masked stimulus presentations.

    PubMed

    Golkar, Armita; Öhman, Arne

    2012-10-01

    Fear extinction can be viewed as an inhibitory learning process. This is supported by post-extinction phenomena demonstrating the return of fear, such as reinstatement. Recent work has questioned this account, claiming that extinction initiated immediately after fear acquisition can abolish the return of fear. In the current study, participants were fear conditioned to four different conditioned stimuli (CS) and underwent extinction either immediately or after a 24 h delay. During extinction, we manipulated CS contingency awareness by presenting two of the CSs (one CS+, one CS-) under non-masked conditions and the other two CSs under masked conditions. Compared to delayed extinction, immediate extinction of non-masked CSs promoted less extinction of fear-potentiated startle and shock expectancy ratings and less reinstatement of fear-potentiated startle without affecting shock expectancy ratings. Critically, future research should clarify how the differences between immediate and delayed extinction in within-session extinction modulate the recovery of fear.

  11. Anatomical adaptations of aquatic mammals.

    PubMed

    Reidenberg, Joy S

    2007-06-01

    This special issue of the Anatomical Record explores many of the anatomical adaptations exhibited by aquatic mammals that enable life in the water. Anatomical observations on a range of fossil and living marine and freshwater mammals are presented, including sirenians (manatees and dugongs), cetaceans (both baleen whales and toothed whales, including dolphins and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), the sea otter, and the pygmy hippopotamus. A range of anatomical systems are covered in this issue, including the external form (integument, tail shape), nervous system (eye, ear, brain), musculoskeletal systems (cranium, mandible, hyoid, vertebral column, flipper/forelimb), digestive tract (teeth/tusks/baleen, tongue, stomach), and respiratory tract (larynx). Emphasis is placed on exploring anatomical function in the context of aquatic life. The following topics are addressed: evolution, sound production, sound reception, feeding, locomotion, buoyancy control, thermoregulation, cognition, and behavior. A variety of approaches and techniques are used to examine and characterize these adaptations, ranging from dissection, to histology, to electron microscopy, to two-dimensional (2D) and 3D computerized tomography, to experimental field tests of function. The articles in this issue are a blend of literature review and new, hypothesis-driven anatomical research, which highlight the special nature of anatomical form and function in aquatic mammals that enables their exquisite adaptation for life in such a challenging environment. PMID:17516440

  12. Dietary characterization of terrestrial mammals.

    PubMed

    Pineda-Munoz, Silvia; Alroy, John

    2014-08-22

    Understanding the feeding behaviour of the species that make up any ecosystem is essential for designing further research. Mammals have been studied intensively, but the criteria used for classifying their diets are far from being standardized. We built a database summarizing the dietary preferences of terrestrial mammals using published data regarding their stomach contents. We performed multivariate analyses in order to set up a standardized classification scheme. Ideally, food consumption percentages should be used instead of qualitative classifications. However, when highly detailed information is not available we propose classifying animals based on their main feeding resources. They should be classified as generalists when none of the feeding resources constitute over 50% of the diet. The term 'omnivore' should be avoided because it does not communicate all the complexity inherent to food choice. Moreover, the so-called omnivore diets actually involve several distinctive adaptations. Our dataset shows that terrestrial mammals are generally highly specialized and that some degree of food mixing may even be required for most species.

  13. Faster speciation and reduced extinction in the tropics contribute to the Mammalian latitudinal diversity gradient.

    PubMed

    Rolland, Jonathan; Condamine, Fabien L; Jiguet, Frederic; Morlon, Hélène

    2014-01-01

    The increase in species richness from the poles to the tropics, referred to as the latitudinal diversity gradient, is one of the most ubiquitous biodiversity patterns in the natural world. Although understanding how rates of speciation and extinction vary with latitude is central to explaining this pattern, such analyses have been impeded by the difficulty of estimating diversification rates associated with specific geographic locations. Here, we use a powerful phylogenetic approach and a nearly complete phylogeny of mammals to estimate speciation, extinction, and dispersal rates associated with the tropical and temperate biomes. Overall, speciation rates are higher, and extinction rates lower, in the tropics than in temperate regions. The diversity of the eight most species-rich mammalian orders (covering 92% of all mammals) peaks in the tropics, except that of the Lagomorpha (hares, rabbits, and pikas) reaching a maxima in northern-temperate regions. Latitudinal patterns in diversification rates are strikingly consistent with these diversity patterns, with peaks in species richness associated with low extinction rates (Primates and Lagomorpha), high speciation rates (Diprotodontia, Artiodactyla, and Soricomorpha), or both (Chiroptera and Rodentia). Rates of range expansion were typically higher from the tropics to the temperate regions than in the other direction, supporting the "out of the tropics" hypothesis whereby species originate in the tropics and disperse into higher latitudes. Overall, these results suggest that differences in diversification rates have played a major role in shaping the modern latitudinal diversity gradient in mammals, and illustrate the usefulness of recently developed phylogenetic approaches for understanding this famous yet mysterious pattern.

  14. Darwin and the uses of extinction.

    PubMed

    Beer, Gillian

    2009-01-01

    We currently view extinction with dismay and even horror, but Darwin saw extinction as ordinary and as necessary to evolutionary change. Still, the degree to which extinction is fundamental to his theory is rarely discussed. This essay examines Darwin's linking of the idea of "improvement" with that of natural selection and tracks a cluster of reasons for our changed valuation of extinction now. Those reasons demonstrate how scientific information and ideological preferences have reshaped the concept. The essay challenges the reader to assess some current assumptions about extinction and concludes by considering the shift in Darwin's own understanding from the "Origin" to the late "Autobiography".

  15. Darwin and the uses of extinction.

    PubMed

    Beer, Gillian

    2009-01-01

    We currently view extinction with dismay and even horror, but Darwin saw extinction as ordinary and as necessary to evolutionary change. Still, the degree to which extinction is fundamental to his theory is rarely discussed. This essay examines Darwin's linking of the idea of "improvement" with that of natural selection and tracks a cluster of reasons for our changed valuation of extinction now. Those reasons demonstrate how scientific information and ideological preferences have reshaped the concept. The essay challenges the reader to assess some current assumptions about extinction and concludes by considering the shift in Darwin's own understanding from the "Origin" to the late "Autobiography". PMID:19824221

  16. The extinction differential induced virulence macroevolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Feng; Xu, Liufang; Wang, Jin

    2014-04-01

    We apply the potential-flux landscape theory to deal with the large fluctuation induced extinction phenomena. We quantify the most probable extinction pathway on the landscape and measure the extinction risk by the landscape topography. In this Letter, we investigate the disease extinction through an epidemic model described by a set of chemical reaction. We found the virulence-differential-dependent symbioses between mother and daughter pathogen species: mutualism and parasitism. The symbioses, whether mutualism or parasitism, benefit the higher virulence species. This implies that speciation towards lower virulence is an effective strategy for a pathogen species to reduce its extinction risk.

  17. The peculiar extinction of Herschel 36

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donn, B.; Hecht, J. H.; Helfer, H. L.; Wolf, J.; Pipher, J. L.

    1982-01-01

    The extinction of Herschel 36 was measured and found to be peculiar in the same sense as that observed in Orion. Following the treatment of Mathis and Wallenhorst, this can be explained by the presence of large silicate and graphite grains than are normally found in the interstellar medium. Correcting the stellar flux for foreground extinction results in a residual extinction curve for the associated dust cloud, with an unusually small normalized extinction (less than 1.0) at 1500 A. This low UV extinction may be due to the effects of scattering by the dust cloud material.

  18. Environmental trends in extinction during the Paleozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. John, Jr.

    1987-01-01

    Extinction intensities calculated from 505 Paleozoic marine assemblages divided among six environmental zones and 40 stratigraphic intervals indicate that whole communities exhibit increasing extinction offshore but that genera within individual taxonomic classes tend to have their highest extinction onshore. The offshore trend at the community level results from a concentration of genera in classes with low characteristic extinction rates in nearshore environments. This finding is consistent with the ecologic expectation that organisms inhabiting unpredictably fluctuating environments should suffer more extinction than counterparts living under more predictably equitable conditions.

  19. Introduced species: domestic mammals are more significant transmitters of parasites to native mammals than are feral mammals.

    PubMed

    Landaeta-Aqueveque, Carlos; Henríquez, Analía; Cattan, Pedro E

    2014-03-01

    The study of parasitism related to biological invasion has focused on attributes and impacts of parasites as invaders and the impact of introduced hosts on endemic parasitism. Thus, there is currently no study of the attributes of hosts which influence the invasiveness of parasites. We aimed to determine whether the degree of domestication of introduced mammalian species - feral introduced mammals, livestock or pets, hereafter 'D' - is important in the spillover of introduced parasites. The literature on introduced parasites of mammals in Chile was reviewed. We designed an index for estimating the relevance of the introduced host species to parasite spillover and determined whether the D of introduced mammals predicted this index. A total of 223 introduced parasite species were found. Our results indicate that domestic mammals have a higher number of introduced parasites and spillover parasites, and the index indicates that these mammals, particularly pets, are more relevant introducers than introduced feral mammals. Further analyses indicated that the higher impact is due to higher parasite richness, a longer time since introduction and wider dispersal, as well as how these mammals are maintained. The greater relevance of domestic mammals is important given that they are basically the same species distributed worldwide and can become the main transmitters of parasites to native mammals elsewhere. This finding also underlines the feasibility of management in order to reduce the transmission of parasites to native fauna through anti-parasitic treatment of domestic mammals, animal-ownership education and the prevention of importing new parasite species.

  20. Late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction Consistent With YDB Impact Hypothesis at Younger Dryas Onset

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennett, J. P.; Kennett, D. J.

    2008-12-01

    At least 35 mammal and 19 bird genera became extinct across North America near the end of the Pleistocene. Modern increases in stratigraphic and dating resolution suggest that this extinction occurred relatively rapidly near 12.9 ka (11 radiocarbon kyrs). Within the context of a long-standing debate about its cause, Firestone et al., (2007) proposed that this extinction resulted from an extraterrestrial (ET) impact over North America at 12.9 ka. This hypothesis predicts that the extinction of most of these animals should have occurred abruptly at 12.9 ka. To test this hypothesis, we have critically examined radiocarbon ages and the extinction stratigraphy of these taxa. From a large data pool, we selected only radiocarbon dates with low error margins with a preference for directly dated biological materials (e.g., bone, dung, etc.) and modern chemical purification techniques. A relatively small number of acceptable dates indicate that at least 16 animal genera and several other species became extinct close to 12.9 ka. These taxa include the most common animals of the late Pleistocene such as horses, camels, and mammoths. Also, the remains of extinct taxa are reportedly found up to, but not above, the base of a widely distributed carbon-rich layer called the black mat. This stratum forms an abrupt, major biostratigraphic boundary at the Younger Dryas onset (12.9 ka), which also contains multiple ET markers comprising the impact layer (the YDB). Surviving animal populations were abruptly reduced at the YDB (e.g., Bison), with major range restrictions and apparent evolutionary bottlenecks. The abruptness of this major extinction is inconsistent with the hypotheses of human overkill and climatic change. We argue that extinction ages older than 12.9 ka for many less common species result from the Signor-Lipps effect, but the impact hypothesis predicts that as new dates are acquired, they will approach ever closer to 12.9 ka. The megafaunal extinction is strongly

  1. Using holography to measure extinction.

    PubMed

    Berg, Matthew J; Subedi, Nava R; Anderson, Peter A; Fowler, Nicholas B

    2014-07-01

    This work presents a new concept to measure the extinction cross section for a single particle in situ. The concept involves recording the hologram produced by the interference of a particle's forward-scattered light with the incident light. This interference pattern is fundamentally connected to the energy flow that gives rise to extinction, and, by integrating this measured pattern, one obtains an approximation for the cross section. Mie theory is used to show that this approximation can be as little as 1% in error of the true value for many cases of practical interest. Moreover, since an image of the particle can be computationally reconstructed from a measured hologram using the Fresnel-Kirchhoff diffraction theory, one can obtain the cross section simultaneously with the particle shape and size.

  2. Neanderthal Extinction by Competitive Exclusion

    PubMed Central

    Banks, William E.; d'Errico, Francesco; Peterson, A. Townsend; Kageyama, Masa; Sima, Adriana; Sánchez-Goñi, Maria-Fernanda

    2008-01-01

    Background Despite a long history of investigation, considerable debate revolves around whether Neanderthals became extinct because of climate change or competition with anatomically modern humans (AMH). Methodology/Principal Findings We apply a new methodology integrating archaeological and chronological data with high-resolution paleoclimatic simulations to define eco-cultural niches associated with Neanderthal and AMH adaptive systems during alternating cold and mild phases of Marine Isotope Stage 3. Our results indicate that Neanderthals and AMH exploited similar niches, and may have continued to do so in the absence of contact. Conclusions/Significance The southerly contraction of Neanderthal range in southwestern Europe during Greenland Interstadial 8 was not due to climate change or a change in adaptation, but rather concurrent AMH geographic expansion appears to have produced competition that led to Neanderthal extinction. PMID:19107186

  3. Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change

    PubMed Central

    Sandom, Christopher; Faurby, Søren; Sandel, Brody; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2014-01-01

    The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132 000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial–interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary. PMID:24898370

  4. Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change.

    PubMed

    Sandom, Christopher; Faurby, Søren; Sandel, Brody; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2014-07-22

    The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132,000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial-interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary.

  5. Separating sensitivity from exposure in assessing extinction risk from climate change.

    PubMed

    Dickinson, Maria G; Orme, C David L; Suttle, K Blake; Mace, Georgina M

    2014-11-04

    Predictive frameworks of climate change extinction risk generally focus on the magnitude of climate change a species is expected to experience and the potential for that species to track suitable climate. A species' risk of extinction from climate change will depend, in part, on the magnitude of climate change the species experiences, its exposure. However, exposure is only one component of risk. A species' risk of extinction will also depend on its intrinsic ability to tolerate changing climate, its sensitivity. We examine exposure and sensitivity individually for two example taxa, terrestrial amphibians and mammals. We examine how these factors are related among species and across regions and how explicit consideration of each component of risk may affect predictions of climate change impacts. We find that species' sensitivities to climate change are not congruent with their exposures. Many highly sensitive species face low exposure to climate change and many highly exposed species are relatively insensitive. Separating sensitivity from exposure reveals patterns in the causes and drivers of species' extinction risk that may not be evident solely from predictions of climate change. Our findings emphasise the importance of explicitly including sensitivity and exposure to climate change in assessments of species' extinction risk.

  6. Separating sensitivity from exposure in assessing extinction risk from climate change

    PubMed Central

    Dickinson, Maria G.; Orme, C. David L.; Suttle, K. Blake; Mace, Georgina M.

    2014-01-01

    Predictive frameworks of climate change extinction risk generally focus on the magnitude of climate change a species is expected to experience and the potential for that species to track suitable climate. A species' risk of extinction from climate change will depend, in part, on the magnitude of climate change the species experiences, its exposure. However, exposure is only one component of risk. A species' risk of extinction will also depend on its intrinsic ability to tolerate changing climate, its sensitivity. We examine exposure and sensitivity individually for two example taxa, terrestrial amphibians and mammals. We examine how these factors are related among species and across regions and how explicit consideration of each component of risk may affect predictions of climate change impacts. We find that species' sensitivities to climate change are not congruent with their exposures. Many highly sensitive species face low exposure to climate change and many highly exposed species are relatively insensitive. Separating sensitivity from exposure reveals patterns in the causes and drivers of species' extinction risk that may not be evident solely from predictions of climate change. Our findings emphasise the importance of explicitly including sensitivity and exposure to climate change in assessments of species' extinction risk. PMID:25367429

  7. Body Size Extinction and Origination Selectivity: A Case Study of Marine Gastropods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuo, E.; Seixas, G.; Faerber, M.; Payne, J.

    2012-12-01

    Body size has received exceptional interest in evolutionary biology because of its correlation with many ecological and physiological traits. Because large size is typically associated with long generation time and small population size, it has been widely assumed that extinction risk is positively correlated with body size. Data from Pleistocene and Holocene terrestrial mammals and birds support this inference. However, there have been few studies on size bias of marine invertebrate animals, so the true extent of this pattern remains unknown. For this study, we compiled genus-level body size data for marine gastropods spanning the entire Phanerozoic. We use this dataset to examine the statistical evidence for size bias in both origination and extinction of marine gastropods. We perform logistic regression analyses on the data from each Phanerozoic stage to determine the association of body size with origination and extinction. Contrary to previous studies on terrestrial vertebrates, we observe no strong or persistent association between body size and the probability that a genus either originated or went extinct during that stage. Hence, our findings indicate that size bias in extinction risk may reflect particular aspects of mammalian biology or anthropogenic environmental change rather than a general pattern of animal evolution.

  8. A review of extinction in experimental populations.

    PubMed

    Griffen, Blaine D; Drake, John M

    2008-11-01

    1. Population extinction is a fundamental ecological process. Recent experimental work has begun to test the large body of theory that predicts how demographic, genetic and environmental factors influence extinction risk. We review empirical studies of extinction conducted under controlled laboratory conditions. Our synthesis highlights four findings. First, extinction theory largely considers individual, isolated populations. However, species interactions frequently altered or even reversed the influence of environmental factors on population extinction as compared to single-species conditions, highlighting the need to integrate community ecology into population theory. 2. While most single-species studies qualitatively agree with theoretical predictions, studies are needed that quantitatively compare observed and predicted extinction rates. A quantitative understanding of extinction processes is needed to further advance theory and to predict population extinction resulting from human activities. 3. Many stresses leading to population extinction can be assuaged by migration between subpopulations. However, too much migration increases synchrony between subpopulations and thus increases extinction risk. Research is needed to determine how to strike a balance that maximizes the benefit of migration. 4. Results from laboratory experiments often conflict with field studies. Understanding these inconsistencies is crucial for extending extinction theory to natural populations.

  9. [Extinction and Reconsolidation of Memory].

    PubMed

    Zuzina, A B; Balaban, P M

    2015-01-01

    Retrieval of memory followed by reconsolidation can strengthen a memory, while retrieval followed by extinction results in a decrease of memory performance due to weakening of existing memory or formation of a competing memory. In our study we analyzed the behavior and responses of identified neurons involved in the network underlying aversive learning in terrestrial snail Helix, and made an attempt to describe the conditions in which the retrieval of memory leads either to extinction or reconsolidation. In the network underlying the withdrawal behavior, sensory neurons, premotor interneurons, motor neurons, and modulatory for this network serotonergic neurons are identified and recordings from representatives of these groups were made before and after aversive learning. In the network underlying feeding behavior, the premotor modulatory serotonergic interneurons and motor neurons involved in motor program of feeding are identified. Analysis of changes in neural activity after aversive learning showed that modulatory neurons of feeding behavior do not demonstrate any changes (sometimes a decrease of responses to food was observed), while responses to food in withdrawal behavior premotor interneurons changed qualitatively, from under threshold EPSPs to spike discharges. Using a specific for serotonergic neurons neurotoxin 5,7-DiHT it was shown previously that the serotonergic system is necessary for the aversive learning, but is not necessary for maintenance and retrieval of this memory. These results suggest that the serotonergic neurons that are necessary as part of a reinforcement for developing the associative changes in the network may be not necessary for the retrieval of memory. The hypothesis presented in this review concerns the activity of the "reinforcement" serotonergic neurons that is suggested to be the gate condition for the choice between extinction/reconsolidation triggered by memory retrieval: if these serotonergic neurons do not respond during the

  10. Optimising Extinction of Conditioned Disgust

    PubMed Central

    Bosman, Renske C.; Borg, Charmaine; de Jong, Peter J.

    2016-01-01

    Maladaptive disgust responses are tenacious and resistant to exposure-based interventions. In a similar vein, laboratory studies have shown that conditioned disgust is relatively insensitive to Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-only extinction procedures. The relatively strong resistance to extinction might be explained by disgust’s adaptive function to motivate avoidance from contamination threats (pathogens) that cannot be readily detected and are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, the mere visual presentation of unreinforced disgust eliciting stimuli might not be sufficient to correct a previously acquired threat value of the CS+. Following this, the current study tested whether the efficacy of CS-only exposure can be improved by providing additional safety information about the CS+. For the CSs we included two neutral items a pea soup and a sausage roll, whereas for the Unconditioned Stimulus (US) we used one video clip of a woman vomiting and a neutral one about glass blowing. The additional safety information was conveyed by allowing actual contact with the CS+ or by observing an actress eating the food items representing the CS+. When additional safety information was provided via allowing direct contact with the CS+, there was a relatively strong post-extinction increase in participants’ willingness-to-eat the CS+. This beneficial effect was still evident at one-week follow up. Also self-reported disgust was lower at one-week follow up when additional safety information was provided. The current findings help explain why disgust is relatively insensitive to CS-only extinction procedures, and provide helpful starting points to improve interventions that are aimed to reduce distress in disgust-related psychopathology. PMID:26849211

  11. Optimising Extinction of Conditioned Disgust.

    PubMed

    Bosman, Renske C; Borg, Charmaine; de Jong, Peter J

    2016-01-01

    Maladaptive disgust responses are tenacious and resistant to exposure-based interventions. In a similar vein, laboratory studies have shown that conditioned disgust is relatively insensitive to Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-only extinction procedures. The relatively strong resistance to extinction might be explained by disgust's adaptive function to motivate avoidance from contamination threats (pathogens) that cannot be readily detected and are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, the mere visual presentation of unreinforced disgust eliciting stimuli might not be sufficient to correct a previously acquired threat value of the CS+. Following this, the current study tested whether the efficacy of CS-only exposure can be improved by providing additional safety information about the CS+. For the CSs we included two neutral items a pea soup and a sausage roll, whereas for the Unconditioned Stimulus (US) we used one video clip of a woman vomiting and a neutral one about glass blowing. The additional safety information was conveyed by allowing actual contact with the CS+ or by observing an actress eating the food items representing the CS+. When additional safety information was provided via allowing direct contact with the CS+, there was a relatively strong post-extinction increase in participants' willingness-to-eat the CS+. This beneficial effect was still evident at one-week follow up. Also self-reported disgust was lower at one-week follow up when additional safety information was provided. The current findings help explain why disgust is relatively insensitive to CS-only extinction procedures, and provide helpful starting points to improve interventions that are aimed to reduce distress in disgust-related psychopathology. PMID:26849211

  12. Converging towards the optimal path to extinction

    PubMed Central

    Schwartz, Ira B.; Forgoston, Eric; Bianco, Simone; Shaw, Leah B.

    2011-01-01

    Extinction appears ubiquitously in many fields, including chemical reactions, population biology, evolution and epidemiology. Even though extinction as a random process is a rare event, its occurrence is observed in large finite populations. Extinction occurs when fluctuations owing to random transitions act as an effective force that drives one or more components or species to vanish. Although there are many random paths to an extinct state, there is an optimal path that maximizes the probability to extinction. In this paper, we show that the optimal path is associated with the dynamical systems idea of having maximum sensitive dependence to initial conditions. Using the equivalence between the sensitive dependence and the path to extinction, we show that the dynamical systems picture of extinction evolves naturally towards the optimal path in several stochastic models of epidemics. PMID:21571943

  13. Were all extinction events caused by impacts?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sheehan, P. M.; Coorough, P. J.

    1994-01-01

    Extraterrestrial impacts are firmly implicated in several of the five major Phanerozoic extinction events. A critical issue now is whether extraterrestrial events have been the only mechanism that produced physical changes of sufficient magnitude to cause major extinction events. While we believe the evidence is overwhelming that the KT extinction event was caused by an impact, we also find that an event of similar or larger size near the end of the Ordovician is best explained by terrestrial causes. The Ordovician extinction event (End-O extinction event) occurred near the end of the Ordovician, but the interval of extinction was completed prior to the newly established Ordovician-Silurian boundary. In spite of extensive field studies, a convincing signature of an associated impact has not been found. However, a prominent glaciation does coincide with the End-O extinction event.

  14. The Case for Extraterrestrial Causes of Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1989-11-01

    The dramatic increase in our knowledge of large-body impacts that have occurred in Earth's history has led to strong arguments for the plausibility of meteorite impact as a cause of extinction. Proof of causation is often hampered, however, by our inability to demonstrate the synchronism of specific impacts and extinctions. A central problem is range truncation: the last reported occurrences of fossil taxa generally underestimate the true times of extinction. Range truncation, because of gaps in sedimentation, lack of preservation, or lack of discovery, can make sudden extinctions appear gradual and gradual extinctions appear sudden. Also, stepwise extinction may appear as an artefact of range truncation. These effects are demonstrated by experiments performed on data from field collections of Cretaceous ammonities from Zumaya (Spain). The challenge for future research is to develop a new calculus for treating biostratigraphic data so that fossils can provide more accurate assessments of the timing of extinctions.

  15. Phylogenetic conservatism of extinctions in marine bivalves.

    PubMed

    Roy, Kaustuv; Hunt, Gene; Jablonski, David

    2009-08-01

    Evolutionary histories of species and lineages can influence their vulnerabilities to extinction, but the importance of this effect remains poorly explored for extinctions in the geologic past. When analyzed using a standardized taxonomy within a phylogenetic framework, extinction rates of marine bivalves estimated from the fossil record for the last approximately 200 million years show conservatism at multiple levels of evolutionary divergence, both within individual families and among related families. The strength of such phylogenetic clustering varies over time and is influenced by earlier extinction history, especially by the demise of volatile taxa in the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Analyses of the evolutionary roles of ancient extinctions and predictive models of vulnerability of taxa to future natural and anthropogenic stressors should take phylogenetic relationships and extinction history into account.

  16. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record.

    PubMed

    Williamson, Thomas E; Brusatte, Stephen L; Wilson, Gregory P

    2014-01-01

    Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary.

  17. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record.

    PubMed

    Williamson, Thomas E; Brusatte, Stephen L; Wilson, Gregory P

    2014-01-01

    Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary. PMID:25589872

  18. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record

    PubMed Central

    Williamson, Thomas E.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Wilson, Gregory P.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary. PMID:25589872

  19. Evolutionary origins of hepatitis A virus in small mammals

    PubMed Central

    Drexler, Jan Felix; Corman, Victor M.; Lukashev, Alexander N.; van den Brand, Judith M. A.; Gmyl, Anatoly P.; Brünink, Sebastian; Rasche, Andrea; Seggewiβ, Nicole; Feng, Hui; Leijten, Lonneke M.; Vallo, Peter; Kuiken, Thijs; Dotzauer, Andreas; Ulrich, Rainer G.; Lemon, Stanley M.; Drosten, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is an ancient and ubiquitous human pathogen recovered previously only from primates. The sole species of the genus Hepatovirus, existing in both enveloped and nonenveloped forms, and with a capsid structure intermediate between that of insect viruses and mammalian picornaviruses, HAV is enigmatic in its origins. We conducted a targeted search for hepatoviruses in 15,987 specimens collected from 209 small mammal species globally and discovered highly diversified viruses in bats, rodents, hedgehogs, and shrews, which by pairwise sequence distance comprise 13 novel Hepatovirus species. Near-complete genomes from nine of these species show conservation of unique hepatovirus features, including predicted internal ribosome entry site structure, a truncated VP4 capsid protein lacking N-terminal myristoylation, a carboxyl-terminal pX extension of VP1, VP2 late domains involved in membrane envelopment, and a cis-acting replication element within the 3Dpol sequence. Antibodies in some bat sera immunoprecipitated and neutralized human HAV, suggesting conservation of critical antigenic determinants. Limited phylogenetic cosegregation among hepatoviruses and their hosts and recombination patterns are indicative of major hepatovirus host shifts in the past. Ancestral state reconstructions suggest a Hepatovirus origin in small insectivorous mammals and a rodent origin of human HAV. Patterns of infection in small mammals mimicked those of human HAV in hepatotropism, fecal shedding, acute nature, and extinction of the virus in a closed host population. The evolutionary conservation of hepatovirus structure and pathogenesis provide novel insight into the origins of HAV and highlight the utility of analyzing animal reservoirs for risk assessment of emerging viruses. PMID:26575627

  20. Collaborating to conserve large mammals in Southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Steinmetz, Robert; Chutipong, Wanlop; Seuaturien, Naret

    2006-10-01

    Depressed mammal densities characterize the interior of many Southeast Asian protected areas, and are the result of commercial and subsistence hunting. Local people are part of this problem but can participate in solutions through improved partnerships that incorporate local knowledge into problem diagnosis. The process of involving local people helps build a constituency that is more aware of its role (positive and negative) in a protected area and generates site-specific conservation assessments for management planning. We illustrate the practical details of initiating such a partnership through our work in a Thai wildlife sanctuary. Many protected areas in Southeast Asia present similar opportunities. In local workshops, village woodsmen were led through ranking exercises to develop a spatially explicit picture of 20-year trends in the abundance of 31 mammal species and to compare species-specific causes for declines. Within five taxonomic groups, leaf monkeys (primates), porcupines (rodents), tigers (large carnivores), civets (small carnivores), and elephants (ungulates) had declined most severely (37-74%). Commercial hunting contributed heavily to extensive population declines for most species, and subsistence hunting was locally significant for some small carnivores, leaf monkeys, and deer. Workshops thus clarified which species were at highest risk of local extinction, where the most threatened populations were, and causes for these patterns. Most important, they advanced a shared problem definition, thereby unlocking opportunities for collaboration. As a result, local people and sanctuary managers have increased communication, initiated joint monitoring and patrolling, and established wildlife recovery zones. Using local knowledge has limitations, but the process of engaging local people promotes collaborative action that large mammals in Southeast Asia need.

  1. Evolutionary origins of hepatitis A virus in small mammals.

    PubMed

    Drexler, Jan Felix; Corman, Victor M; Lukashev, Alexander N; van den Brand, Judith M A; Gmyl, Anatoly P; Brünink, Sebastian; Rasche, Andrea; Seggewiβ, Nicole; Feng, Hui; Leijten, Lonneke M; Vallo, Peter; Kuiken, Thijs; Dotzauer, Andreas; Ulrich, Rainer G; Lemon, Stanley M; Drosten, Christian

    2015-12-01

    Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is an ancient and ubiquitous human pathogen recovered previously only from primates. The sole species of the genus Hepatovirus, existing in both enveloped and nonenveloped forms, and with a capsid structure intermediate between that of insect viruses and mammalian picornaviruses, HAV is enigmatic in its origins. We conducted a targeted search for hepatoviruses in 15,987 specimens collected from 209 small mammal species globally and discovered highly diversified viruses in bats, rodents, hedgehogs, and shrews, which by pairwise sequence distance comprise 13 novel Hepatovirus species. Near-complete genomes from nine of these species show conservation of unique hepatovirus features, including predicted internal ribosome entry site structure, a truncated VP4 capsid protein lacking N-terminal myristoylation, a carboxyl-terminal pX extension of VP1, VP2 late domains involved in membrane envelopment, and a cis-acting replication element within the 3D(pol) sequence. Antibodies in some bat sera immunoprecipitated and neutralized human HAV, suggesting conservation of critical antigenic determinants. Limited phylogenetic cosegregation among hepatoviruses and their hosts and recombination patterns are indicative of major hepatovirus host shifts in the past. Ancestral state reconstructions suggest a Hepatovirus origin in small insectivorous mammals and a rodent origin of human HAV. Patterns of infection in small mammals mimicked those of human HAV in hepatotropism, fecal shedding, acute nature, and extinction of the virus in a closed host population. The evolutionary conservation of hepatovirus structure and pathogenesis provide novel insight into the origins of HAV and highlight the utility of analyzing animal reservoirs for risk assessment of emerging viruses. PMID:26575627

  2. Collaborating to conserve large mammals in Southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Steinmetz, Robert; Chutipong, Wanlop; Seuaturien, Naret

    2006-10-01

    Depressed mammal densities characterize the interior of many Southeast Asian protected areas, and are the result of commercial and subsistence hunting. Local people are part of this problem but can participate in solutions through improved partnerships that incorporate local knowledge into problem diagnosis. The process of involving local people helps build a constituency that is more aware of its role (positive and negative) in a protected area and generates site-specific conservation assessments for management planning. We illustrate the practical details of initiating such a partnership through our work in a Thai wildlife sanctuary. Many protected areas in Southeast Asia present similar opportunities. In local workshops, village woodsmen were led through ranking exercises to develop a spatially explicit picture of 20-year trends in the abundance of 31 mammal species and to compare species-specific causes for declines. Within five taxonomic groups, leaf monkeys (primates), porcupines (rodents), tigers (large carnivores), civets (small carnivores), and elephants (ungulates) had declined most severely (37-74%). Commercial hunting contributed heavily to extensive population declines for most species, and subsistence hunting was locally significant for some small carnivores, leaf monkeys, and deer. Workshops thus clarified which species were at highest risk of local extinction, where the most threatened populations were, and causes for these patterns. Most important, they advanced a shared problem definition, thereby unlocking opportunities for collaboration. As a result, local people and sanctuary managers have increased communication, initiated joint monitoring and patrolling, and established wildlife recovery zones. Using local knowledge has limitations, but the process of engaging local people promotes collaborative action that large mammals in Southeast Asia need. PMID:17002757

  3. Patterns and determinants of mammal species occurrence in India

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Karanth, K.K.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.; Karanth, K.U.; Christensen, N.L.

    2009-01-01

    Many Indian mammals face range contraction and extinction, but assessments of their population status are hindered by the lack of reliable distribution data and range maps. 2. We estimated the current geographical ranges of 20 species of large mammals by applying occupancy models to data from country-wide expert. We modelled species in relation to ecological and social covariates (protected areas, landscape characteristics and human influences) based on a priori hypotheses about plausible determinants of mammalian distribution patterns. 3. We demonstrated that failure to incorporate detection probability in distribution survey methods underestimated habitat occupancy for all species. 4. Protected areas were important for the distribution of 16 species. However, for many species much of their current range remains unprotected. The availability of evergreen forests was important for the occurrence of 14 species, temperate forests for six species, deciduous forests for 15 species and higher altitude habitats for two species. Low human population density was critical for the occurrence of five species, while culturally based tolerance was important for the occurrence of nine other species. 5. Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis, gaur Bos gaurus and elephant Elephas maximus showed the most restricted ranges among herbivores, and sun bear Helarctos malayanus, brown bear Ursus arctos and tiger Panthera tigris were most restricted among carnivores. While cultural tolerance has helped the survival of some mammals, legal protection has been critically associated with occurrence of most species. 6. Synthesis and applications. Extent of range is an important determinant of species conservation status. Understanding the relationship of species occurrence with ecological and socio-cultural covariates is important for identification and management of key conservation areas. The combination of occupancy models with field data from country-wide experts enables reliable estimation of species

  4. Evolutionary origins of hepatitis A virus in small mammals.

    PubMed

    Drexler, Jan Felix; Corman, Victor M; Lukashev, Alexander N; van den Brand, Judith M A; Gmyl, Anatoly P; Brünink, Sebastian; Rasche, Andrea; Seggewiβ, Nicole; Feng, Hui; Leijten, Lonneke M; Vallo, Peter; Kuiken, Thijs; Dotzauer, Andreas; Ulrich, Rainer G; Lemon, Stanley M; Drosten, Christian

    2015-12-01

    Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is an ancient and ubiquitous human pathogen recovered previously only from primates. The sole species of the genus Hepatovirus, existing in both enveloped and nonenveloped forms, and with a capsid structure intermediate between that of insect viruses and mammalian picornaviruses, HAV is enigmatic in its origins. We conducted a targeted search for hepatoviruses in 15,987 specimens collected from 209 small mammal species globally and discovered highly diversified viruses in bats, rodents, hedgehogs, and shrews, which by pairwise sequence distance comprise 13 novel Hepatovirus species. Near-complete genomes from nine of these species show conservation of unique hepatovirus features, including predicted internal ribosome entry site structure, a truncated VP4 capsid protein lacking N-terminal myristoylation, a carboxyl-terminal pX extension of VP1, VP2 late domains involved in membrane envelopment, and a cis-acting replication element within the 3D(pol) sequence. Antibodies in some bat sera immunoprecipitated and neutralized human HAV, suggesting conservation of critical antigenic determinants. Limited phylogenetic cosegregation among hepatoviruses and their hosts and recombination patterns are indicative of major hepatovirus host shifts in the past. Ancestral state reconstructions suggest a Hepatovirus origin in small insectivorous mammals and a rodent origin of human HAV. Patterns of infection in small mammals mimicked those of human HAV in hepatotropism, fecal shedding, acute nature, and extinction of the virus in a closed host population. The evolutionary conservation of hepatovirus structure and pathogenesis provide novel insight into the origins of HAV and highlight the utility of analyzing animal reservoirs for risk assessment of emerging viruses.

  5. American marsupials chromosomes: Why study them?

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Marsupials, one of the three main groups of mammals, are only found in Australia and in the American continent. Studies performed in Australian marsupials have demonstrated the great potential provided by the group for the understanding of basic genetic mechanisms and chromosome evolution in mammals. Genetic studies in American marsupials are relatively scarce and cytogenetic data of most species are restricted to karyotype descriptions, usually without banding patterns. Nevertheless, the first marsupial genome sequenced was that of Monodelphis domestica, a South American species. The knowledge about mammalian genome evolution and function that resulted from studies on M. domestica is in sharp contrast with the lack of genetic data on most American marsupial species. Here, we present an overview of the chromosome studies performed in marsupials with emphasis on the South American species. PMID:21637437

  6. Implications of invasion by Juniperus virginiana on small mammals in the southern Great Plains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Horncastle, V.J.; Hellgren, E.C.; Mayer, P.M.; Ganguli, A.C.; Engle, David M.; Leslie, David M.

    2005-01-01

    Changes in landscape cover in the Great Plains are resulting from the range expansion and invasion of eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). By altering the landscape and local vegetation, red cedar is changing the structure and function of habitat for small mammals. We examined effects of invasion by eastern red cedar on small mammals in 3 plant communities (tallgrass prairie, old field, and cross-timbers forest) in the cross-timbers ecoregion in Oklahoma. We sampled small mammals seasonally from May 2001 to August 2002 by using Sherman live traps and mark-recapture techniques on 3.24-ha, 450-trap grids in each plant community. We sampled vegetation in two hundred twenty-five 12 x 12-m cells within each grid. The structure of the small-mammal community differed among the 3 habitat types, with higher species diversity and richness in the tallgrass-prairie and old-field sites. Overall, the small-mammal community shifted along a gradient of increasing eastern red cedar. In the old-field and tallgrass-prairie plots, occurrence of grassland mammals decreased with increasing red cedar, whereas only 1 woodland mammal species increased. In the cross-timbers forest site, percent woody cover (<1 m in height), rather than cover of red cedar, was the most important factor affecting woodland mammal species. Examination of our data suggests that an increase in overstory cover from 0% to 30% red cedar can change a species-rich prairie community to a depauperate community dominated by 1 species, Peromyscus leucopus. Losses in species diversity and changes in mammal distribution paralleled those seen in avian communities invaded by eastern red cedar. Our results highlight ecological effects of invasion by eastern red cedar on diversity and function at multiple trophic levels. ?? 2005 American Society of Mammalogists.

  7. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa.

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-08-25

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0-1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales. PMID:26261300

  8. [Diversity, natural history and conservation of mammals from San Vito de Coto Brus, Costa Rica].

    PubMed

    Pacheco, Jesús; Ceballos, Gerardo; Daily, Gretchen C; Ehrlich, Paul R; Suzán, Gerardo; Rodríguez-Herrera, Bernal; Marcé, Erika

    2006-03-01

    Although Costa Rica has been biologically well studied, few areas have complete mammal inventories, which are essential for ecological studies and conservation. The San Vito region is considered among the most important for scientific research in the country because of the presence of the Wilson Botanical Garden and Las Cruces. However, the knowledge of its mammalian fauna is incomplete. We extensively studied the mammals of San Vito, compiled a checklist, and evaluated its composition, relative abundance, habitat distribution, and conservation status. We recorded 105 species, representing 85 genera, 29 families, and 10 orders. Non-volant mammals represented 62 species, 59 genera, 23 families, and 9 orders. Bats belonged to 6 families, 26 genera and 43 species. The extensive deforestation and hunting have caused the extinction of seven species, but the region still supports, surprisingly, a relatively high number of species, most of which are rare. Few species are common and abundant. Species richness was higher in forest, and forest fragments; fewer species were found in coffee plantations, induced grasslands, and secondary vegetation. Around 21% (13 species) are included in the IUCN red book. Three species are considered endangered (Saimiri oerstedii, Tapirus bairdii, and Sylvilagus dicei), and two threatened (Myrmecophaga trydactila and Caluromys derbianus), of which two (T. bairdii and M. trydactila) are locally extinct. The other species in IUCN are either of low risk (i.e. Chironectes minimus) or data deficient (Lontra longicaudis). Additionally, 24 species (39%) are included in CITES.

  9. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-08-01

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0-1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales.

  10. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa.

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-08-25

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0-1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales.

  11. Mid-Pleistocene Change in Large Mammal Faunas of East Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potts, Richard; Deino, Alan

    1995-01-01

    Single-crystal 40Ar/ 39Ar age estimates of 392,000 ± 4000 to 330,000 ± 6000 yr from Lainyamok, a middle Pleistocene fossil locality in the southern Kenya rift, document the oldest evidence from sub-Saharan Africa of a diverse, large mammal fauna consisting entirely of extant species. The inferred age of this fauna implies an upper limit for extinction of species that characterize well-calibrated, mid-Pleistocene fossil assemblages in East Africa. For its age and species richness, the Lainyamok fauna is surprising for its lack of extinct forms (e.g., the bovine Pelorovis) well documented in later faunal assemblages of East and South Africa. Definitive presence of the South African blesbok (Damaliscus dorcas) is also unexpected, especially as this alcelaphine bovid is the dominant large mammal in the Lainyamok fauna. These age estimates and the faunal composition at Lainyamok indicate that geographic ranges and taxonomic associations of extant largebodied mammals were susceptible to wide fluctuations in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 330,000 yr. This inference is consistent with the hypothesis of nonanalogue, or ephemeral, biotas believed to characterize late Quaternary ecosystems of northern continents.

  12. [Diversity, natural history and conservation of mammals from San Vito de Coto Brus, Costa Rica].

    PubMed

    Pacheco, Jesús; Ceballos, Gerardo; Daily, Gretchen C; Ehrlich, Paul R; Suzán, Gerardo; Rodríguez-Herrera, Bernal; Marcé, Erika

    2006-03-01

    Although Costa Rica has been biologically well studied, few areas have complete mammal inventories, which are essential for ecological studies and conservation. The San Vito region is considered among the most important for scientific research in the country because of the presence of the Wilson Botanical Garden and Las Cruces. However, the knowledge of its mammalian fauna is incomplete. We extensively studied the mammals of San Vito, compiled a checklist, and evaluated its composition, relative abundance, habitat distribution, and conservation status. We recorded 105 species, representing 85 genera, 29 families, and 10 orders. Non-volant mammals represented 62 species, 59 genera, 23 families, and 9 orders. Bats belonged to 6 families, 26 genera and 43 species. The extensive deforestation and hunting have caused the extinction of seven species, but the region still supports, surprisingly, a relatively high number of species, most of which are rare. Few species are common and abundant. Species richness was higher in forest, and forest fragments; fewer species were found in coffee plantations, induced grasslands, and secondary vegetation. Around 21% (13 species) are included in the IUCN red book. Three species are considered endangered (Saimiri oerstedii, Tapirus bairdii, and Sylvilagus dicei), and two threatened (Myrmecophaga trydactila and Caluromys derbianus), of which two (T. bairdii and M. trydactila) are locally extinct. The other species in IUCN are either of low risk (i.e. Chironectes minimus) or data deficient (Lontra longicaudis). Additionally, 24 species (39%) are included in CITES. PMID:18457190

  13. Continuous evolutionary change in Plio-Pleistocene mammals of eastern Africa

    PubMed Central

    Bibi, Faysal; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Much debate has revolved around the question of whether the mode of evolutionary and ecological turnover in the fossil record of African mammals was continuous or pulsed, and the degree to which faunal turnover tracked changes in global climate. Here, we assembled and analyzed large specimen databases of the fossil record of eastern African Bovidae (antelopes) and Turkana Basin large mammals. Our results indicate that speciation and extinction proceeded continuously throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, as did increases in the relative abundance of arid-adapted bovids, and in bovid body mass. Species durations were similar among clades with different ecological attributes. Occupancy patterns were unimodal, with long and nearly symmetrical origination and extinction phases. A single origination pulse may be present at 2.0–1.75 Ma, but besides this, there is no evidence that evolutionary or ecological changes in the eastern African record tracked rapid, 100,000-y-scale changes in global climate. Rather, eastern African large mammal evolution tracked global or regional climatic trends at long (million year) time scales, while local, basin-scale changes (e.g., tectonic or hydrographic) and biotic interactions ruled at shorter timescales. PMID:26261300

  14. Social-ecological predictors of global invasions and extinctions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lotz, Aaron; Allen, Craig R.

    2013-01-01

    Most assessments of resilience have been focused on local conditions. Studies focused on the relationship between humanity and environmental degradation are rare, and are rarely comprehensive. We investigated multiple social-ecological factors for 100 countries around the globe in relation to the percentage of invasions and extinctions within each country. These 100 countries contain approximately 87% of the world’s population, produce 43% of the world’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP), and take up 74% of the earth’s total land area. We used an information theoretic approach to determine which models were most supported by our data, utilizing an a priori set of plausible models that included a combination of 15 social-ecological variables, each social-ecological factor by itself, and selected social-ecological factors grouped into three broad classes. These variables were per capita GDP, export-import ratio, tourism, undernourishment, energy efficiency, agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, wilderness protection, total biodiversity, life expectancy, adult literacy, pesticide regulation, political stability, and female participation in government. Our results indicate that as total biodiversity and total land area increase, the percentage of endangered birds also increases. As the independent variables (agricultural intensity, rainfall, water stress, and total biodiversity) in the ecological class model increase, the percentage of endangered mammals in a country increases. The percentage of invasive birds and mammals in a country increases as per capita GDP increases. As life expectancy increases, the percentage of invasive and endangered birds and mammals increases. Although our analysis does not determine mechanisms, the patterns observed in this study provide insight into the dynamics of a complex, global, social-ecological system.

  15. Climate change and mammals: evolutionary versus plastic responses.

    PubMed

    Boutin, Stan; Lane, Jeffrey E

    2014-01-01

    Phenotypic plasticity and microevolution are the two primary means by which organisms respond adaptively to local conditions. While these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, their relative magnitudes will influence both the rate of, and ability to sustain, phenotypic responses to climate change. We review accounts of recent phenotypic changes in wild mammal populations with the purpose of critically evaluating the following: (i) whether climate change has been identified as the causal mechanism producing the observed change; (ii) whether the change is adaptive; and (iii) the relative influences of evolution and/or phenotypic plasticity underlying the change. The available data for mammals are scant. We found twelve studies that report changes in phenology, body weight or litter size. In all cases, the observed response was primarily due to plasticity. Only one study (of advancing parturition dates in American red squirrels) provided convincing evidence of contemporary evolution. Subsequently, however, climate change has been shown to not be the causal mechanism underlying this shift. We also summarize studies that have shown evolutionary potential (i.e. the trait is heritable and/or under selection) in traits with putative associations with climate change and discuss future directions that need to be undertaken before a conclusive demonstration of plastic or evolutionary responses to climate change in wild mammals can be made. PMID:24454546

  16. The role of extinction in evolution.

    PubMed Central

    Raup, D M

    1994-01-01

    The extinction of species is not normally considered an important element of neodarwinian theory, in contrast to the opposite phenomenon, speciation. This is surprising in view of the special importance Darwin attached to extinction, and because the number of species extinctions in the history of life is almost the same as the number of originations; present-day biodiversity is the result of a trivial surplus of originations, cumulated over millions of years. For an evolutionary biologist to ignore extinction is probably as foolhardy as for a demographer to ignore mortality. The past decade has seen a resurgence of interest in extinction, yet research on the topic is still at a reconnaissance level, and our present understanding of its role in evolution is weak. Despite uncertainties, extinction probably contains three important elements. (i) For geographically widespread species, extinction is likely only if the killing stress is one so rare as to be beyond the experience of the species, and thus outside the reach of natural selection. (ii) The largest mass extinctions produce major restructuring of the biosphere wherein some successful groups are eliminated, allowing previously minor groups to expand and diversify. (iii) Except for a few cases, there is little evidence that extinction is selective in the positive sense argued by Darwin. It has generally been impossible to predict, before the fact, which species will be victims of an extinction event. PMID:8041694

  17. The role of extinction in evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1994-01-01

    The extinction of species is not normally considered an important element of neodarwinian theory, in contrast to the opposite phenomenon, speciation. This is surprising in view of the special importance Darwin attached to extinction, and because the number of species extinctions in the history of life is almost the same as the number of originations; present-day biodiversity is the result of a trivial surplus of originations, cumulated over millions of years. For an evolutionary biologist to ignore extinction is probably as foolhardy as for a demographer to ignore mortality. The past decade has seen a resurgence of interest in extinction, yet research on the topic is still at a reconnaissance level, and our present understanding of its role in evolution is weak. Despite uncertainties, extinction probably contains three important elements. (i) For geographically widespread species, extinction is likely only if the killing stress is one so rare as to be beyond the experience of the species, and thus outside the reach of natural selection. (ii) The largest mass extinctions produce major restructuring of the biosphere wherein some successful groups are eliminated, allowing previously minor groups to expand and diversify. (iii) Except for a few cases, there is little evidence that extinction is selective in the positive sense argued by Darwin. It has generally been impossible to predict, before the fact, which species will be victims of an extinction event.

  18. The ethics of reviving long extinct species.

    PubMed

    Sandler, Ronald

    2014-04-01

    There now appears to be a plausible pathway for reviving species that have been extinct for several decades, centuries, or even millennia. I conducted an ethical analysis of de-extinction of long extinct species. I assessed several possible ethical considerations in favor of pursuing de-extinction: that it is a matter of justice; that it would reestablish lost value; that it would create new value; and that society needs it as a conservation last resort. I also assessed several possible ethical arguments against pursuing de-extinction: that it is unnatural; that it could cause animal suffering; that it could be ecologically problematic or detrimental to human health; and that it is hubristic. There are reasons in favor of reviving long extinct species, and it can be ethically acceptable to do so. However, the reasons in favor of pursuing de-extinction do not have to do with its usefulness in species conservation; rather, they concern the status of revived species as scientific and technological achievements, and it would be ethically problematic to promote de-extinction as a significant conservation strategy, because it does not prevent species extinctions, does not address the causes of extinction, and could be detrimental to some species conservation efforts. Moreover, humanity does not have a responsibility or obligation to pursue de-extinction of long extinct species, and reviving them does not address any urgent problem. Therefore, legitimate ecological, political, animal welfare, legal, or human health concerns associated with a de-extinction (and reintroduction) must be thoroughly addressed for it to be ethically acceptable.

  19. The ethics of reviving long extinct species.

    PubMed

    Sandler, Ronald

    2014-04-01

    There now appears to be a plausible pathway for reviving species that have been extinct for several decades, centuries, or even millennia. I conducted an ethical analysis of de-extinction of long extinct species. I assessed several possible ethical considerations in favor of pursuing de-extinction: that it is a matter of justice; that it would reestablish lost value; that it would create new value; and that society needs it as a conservation last resort. I also assessed several possible ethical arguments against pursuing de-extinction: that it is unnatural; that it could cause animal suffering; that it could be ecologically problematic or detrimental to human health; and that it is hubristic. There are reasons in favor of reviving long extinct species, and it can be ethically acceptable to do so. However, the reasons in favor of pursuing de-extinction do not have to do with its usefulness in species conservation; rather, they concern the status of revived species as scientific and technological achievements, and it would be ethically problematic to promote de-extinction as a significant conservation strategy, because it does not prevent species extinctions, does not address the causes of extinction, and could be detrimental to some species conservation efforts. Moreover, humanity does not have a responsibility or obligation to pursue de-extinction of long extinct species, and reviving them does not address any urgent problem. Therefore, legitimate ecological, political, animal welfare, legal, or human health concerns associated with a de-extinction (and reintroduction) must be thoroughly addressed for it to be ethically acceptable. PMID:24372907

  20. New carbon dates link climatic change with human colonization and Pleistocene extinctions.

    PubMed

    Guthrie, R Dale

    2006-05-11

    Drastic ecological restructuring, species redistribution and extinctions mark the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, but an insufficiency of numbers of well-dated large mammal fossils from this transition have impeded progress in understanding the various causative links. Here I add many new radiocarbon dates to those already published on late Pleistocene fossils from Alaska and the Yukon Territory (AK-YT) and show previously unrecognized patterns. Species that survived the Pleistocene, for example, bison (Bison priscus, which evolved into Bison bison), wapiti (Cervus canadensis) and, to a smaller degree, moose (Alces alces), began to increase in numbers and continued to do so before and during human colonization and before the regional extinction of horse (Equus ferus) and mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). These patterns allow us to reject, at least in AK-YT, some hypotheses of late Pleistocene extinction: 'Blitzkrieg' version of simultaneous human overkill, 'keystone' removal, and 'palaeo-disease'. Hypotheses of a subtler human impact and/or ecological replacement or displacement are more consistent with the data. The new patterns of dates indicate a radical ecological sorting during a uniquely forage-rich transitional period, affecting all large mammals, including humans.

  1. Marine mammals of Puerto Rico: a bibliography

    SciTech Connect

    Payne, S.F.

    1981-08-01

    This bibliography is the product of a literature survey on marine mammals at a proposed OTEC site near Punta Tuna, Puerto Rico. Included are reports of mammal sightings and strandings from Puerto Rico and adjacent Caribbean islands, reports containing information on distribution and abundance migration routes, and feeding ecology of those species known from the area. A few works on the general biology of marine mammals are also included. 96 references.

  2. Cumulative frequency distribution of past species extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1991-01-01

    Analysis of Sepkoski's compendium of the time ranges of 30,000+ taxa yields a mean duration of 28.4 ma for genera of fossil invertebrates. This converts to an average extinction rate of 3.5 percent per million years or about one percent every 286,000 years. Using survivorship techniques, these estimates can be converted to the species level, yielding a Phanerozoic average of one percent species extinction every 40,000 years. Variation in extinction rates through time is far greater than the null expectation of a homogeneous birth-death model and this reflects the well-known episodicity of extinction ranging from a few large mass extinctions to so-called background extinction. The observed variation in rates can be used to construct a cumulative frequency distribution of extinction intensity, and this distribution, in the form of a kill curve for species, shows the expected waiting times between extinction events of a given intensity. The kill curve is an average description of the extinction events of a given intensity. The kill curve is an average description of the extinction record and does not imply any cause or causes of extinction. The kill curve shows, among other things, that only about five percent of total species extinctions in the Phanerozoic were involved in the five largest mass extinctions. The other 95 percent were distributed among large and small events not normally called mass extinctions. As an exploration of the possibly absurd proposition that most past extinctions were produced by the effects of large-body impact, the kill curve for species was mapped on the comparable distribution for comet and asteroid impacts. The result is a curve predicting the species kill for a given size of impacting object (expressed as crater size). The results are reasonable in that impacts producing craters less than 30 km (diameter) cause negligible extinction but those producing craters 100-150 km (diameter) cause extinction of species in the range of 45

  3. Sexual selection protects against extinction.

    PubMed

    Lumley, Alyson J; Michalczyk, Łukasz; Kitson, James J N; Spurgin, Lewis G; Morrison, Catriona A; Godwin, Joanne L; Dickinson, Matthew E; Martin, Oliver Y; Emerson, Brent C; Chapman, Tracey; Gage, Matthew J G

    2015-06-25

    Reproduction through sex carries substantial costs, mainly because only half of sexual adults produce offspring. It has been theorized that these costs could be countered if sex allows sexual selection to clear the universal fitness constraint of mutation load. Under sexual selection, competition between (usually) males and mate choice by (usually) females create important intraspecific filters for reproductive success, so that only a subset of males gains paternity. If reproductive success under sexual selection is dependent on individual condition, which is contingent to mutation load, then sexually selected filtering through 'genic capture' could offset the costs of sex because it provides genetic benefits to populations. Here we test this theory experimentally by comparing whether populations with histories of strong versus weak sexual selection purge mutation load and resist extinction differently. After evolving replicate populations of the flour beetle Tribolium castaneum for 6 to 7 years under conditions that differed solely in the strengths of sexual selection, we revealed mutation load using inbreeding. Lineages from populations that had previously experienced strong sexual selection were resilient to extinction and maintained fitness under inbreeding, with some families continuing to survive after 20 generations of sib × sib mating. By contrast, lineages derived from populations that experienced weak or non-existent sexual selection showed rapid fitness declines under inbreeding, and all were extinct after generation 10. Multiple mutations across the genome with individually small effects can be difficult to clear, yet sum to a significant fitness load; our findings reveal that sexual selection reduces this load, improving population viability in the face of genetic stress.

  4. Sexual selection protects against extinction.

    PubMed

    Lumley, Alyson J; Michalczyk, Łukasz; Kitson, James J N; Spurgin, Lewis G; Morrison, Catriona A; Godwin, Joanne L; Dickinson, Matthew E; Martin, Oliver Y; Emerson, Brent C; Chapman, Tracey; Gage, Matthew J G

    2015-06-25

    Reproduction through sex carries substantial costs, mainly because only half of sexual adults produce offspring. It has been theorized that these costs could be countered if sex allows sexual selection to clear the universal fitness constraint of mutation load. Under sexual selection, competition between (usually) males and mate choice by (usually) females create important intraspecific filters for reproductive success, so that only a subset of males gains paternity. If reproductive success under sexual selection is dependent on individual condition, which is contingent to mutation load, then sexually selected filtering through 'genic capture' could offset the costs of sex because it provides genetic benefits to populations. Here we test this theory experimentally by comparing whether populations with histories of strong versus weak sexual selection purge mutation load and resist extinction differently. After evolving replicate populations of the flour beetle Tribolium castaneum for 6 to 7 years under conditions that differed solely in the strengths of sexual selection, we revealed mutation load using inbreeding. Lineages from populations that had previously experienced strong sexual selection were resilient to extinction and maintained fitness under inbreeding, with some families continuing to survive after 20 generations of sib × sib mating. By contrast, lineages derived from populations that experienced weak or non-existent sexual selection showed rapid fitness declines under inbreeding, and all were extinct after generation 10. Multiple mutations across the genome with individually small effects can be difficult to clear, yet sum to a significant fitness load; our findings reveal that sexual selection reduces this load, improving population viability in the face of genetic stress. PMID:25985178

  5. Light extinction in the atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Laulainen, N.

    1992-06-01

    Atmospheric aerosol particles originating from natural sources, such as volcanos and sulfur-bearing gas emissions from the oceans, and from human sources, such as sulfur emissions from fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning, strongly affect visual air quality and are suspected to significantly affect radiative climate forcing of the planet. During the daytime, aerosols obscure scenic vistas, while at night they diminish our ability to observe stellar objects. Scattering of light is the main means by which aerosols attenuate and redistribute light in the atmosphere and by which aerosols can alter and reduce visibility and potentially modify the energy balance of the planet. Trends and seasonal variability of atmospheric aerosol loading, such as column-integrated light extinction or optical depth, and how they may affect potential climate change have been difficult to quantify because there have been few observations made of important aerosol optical parameters, such as optical depth, over the globe and over time and often these are of uneven quality. To address questions related to possible climate change, there is a pressing need to acquire more high-quality aerosol optical depth data. Extensive deployment of improved solar radiometers over the next few years will provide higher-quality extinction data over a wider variety of locations worldwide. An often overlooked source of turbidity data, however, is available from astronomical observations, particularly stellar photoelectric photometry observations. With the exception of the Project ASTRA articles published almost 20 years ago, few of these data ever appear in the published literature. This paper will review the current status of atmospheric extinction observations, as highlighted by the ASTRA work and augmented by more recent solar radiometry measurements.

  6. Comment on the extinct paradox

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levine, D. M.

    1983-01-01

    The extinction paradox is a contradiction between geometrical optics results which predict that at high frequencies the scattering cross section of an object should equal its geometrical cross section and rigorous scattering theory which shows that at high frequencies the scattering cross section approaches twice the geometrical cross section of the object. Confusion about the reason for this paradox persists today even though the nature of the paradox was correctly identified many years ago by Brillouin. The resolution of the paradox is restated and illustrated with an example, and then the implications to the interpretation of scattering cross sections are identified.

  7. Microwave extinction characteristics of nanoparticle aggregates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Y. P.; Cheng, J. X.; Liu, X. X.; Wang, H. X.; Zhao, F. T.; Wen, W. W.

    2016-07-01

    Structure of nanoparticle aggregates plays an important role in microwave extinction capacity. The diffusion-limited aggregation model (DLA) for fractal growth is utilized to explore the possible structures of nanoparticle aggregates by computer simulation. Based on the discrete dipole approximation (DDA) method, the microwave extinction performance by different nano-carborundum aggregates is numerically analyzed. The effects of the particle quantity, original diameter, fractal structure, as well as orientation on microwave extinction are investigated, and also the extinction characteristics of aggregates are compared with the spherical nanoparticle in the same volume. Numerical results give out that proper aggregation of nanoparticle is beneficial to microwave extinction capacity, and the microwave extinction cross section by aggregated granules is better than that of the spherical solid one in the same volume.

  8. Early Cretaceous mammal from North America and the evolution of marsupial dental characters.

    PubMed Central

    Cifelli, R L

    1993-01-01

    A mammal from the Early Cretaceous of the western United States, represented by a lower jaw exceptional in its completeness, presents unambiguous evidence of postcanine dental formula in an Early Cretaceous marsupial-like mammal, and prompts a reconsideration of the early evolution of marsupial dental characters. A marsupial postcanine dental formula (three premolars and four molars) and several marsupial-like features of the lower molars are present in the new taxon, but a hallmark specialization of marsupials (twinning of the hypoconulid and entoconid on lower molars) is lacking. This, coupled with recent evidence from the Late Cretaceous of the western United States, suggests that the distinctive marsupial dental formula evolved prior to the most characteristic specialization of lower molars and that apomorphies presumed to be diagnostic of the upper molars (such as auxiliary stylar cusps) were relatively more recent developments in marsupial history. Dental evidence supports the monophyly of higher (tribosphenic) mammals and suggests that the predominantly Old World Deltatheroida, recently proposed as a sister taxon to marsupials, represents a primitive and unrelated group of higher mammals; by this interpretation, early marsupials and their presumed close relatives are restricted to North America. This, together with the hypothesized relationships of South American/Australian marsupials (in the context of the North American Cretaceous radiation) and evidence from the fossil record of South America, in turn supports a North American origin for the group. Images Fig. 1 PMID:8415715

  9. Aerosol extinction measurements with CO2-lidar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hagard, Arne; Persson, Rolf

    1992-01-01

    With the aim to develop a model for infrared extinction due to aerosols in slant paths in the lower atmosphere we perform measurements with a CO2-lidar. Earlier measurements with a transmissometer along horizontal paths have been used to develop relations between aerosol extinction and meteorological parameters. With the lidar measurements we hope to develop corresponding relations for altitude profiles of the aerosol extinction in the infrared. An important application is prediction of detection range for infrared imaging systems.

  10. Goodness of fit of probability distributions for sightings as species approach extinction.

    PubMed

    Vogel, Richard M; Hosking, Jonathan R M; Elphick, Chris S; Roberts, David L; Reed, J Michael

    2009-04-01

    Estimating the probability that a species is extinct and the timing of extinctions is useful in biological fields ranging from paleoecology to conservation biology. Various statistical methods have been introduced to infer the time of extinction and extinction probability from a series of individual sightings. There is little evidence, however, as to which of these models provide adequate fit to actual sighting records. We use L-moment diagrams and probability plot correlation coefficient (PPCC) hypothesis tests to evaluate the goodness of fit of various probabilistic models to sighting data collected for a set of North American and Hawaiian bird populations that have either gone extinct, or are suspected of having gone extinct, during the past 150 years. For our data, the uniform, truncated exponential, and generalized Pareto models performed moderately well, but the Weibull model performed poorly. Of the acceptable models, the uniform distribution performed best based on PPCC goodness of fit comparisons and sequential Bonferroni-type tests. Further analyses using field significance tests suggest that although the uniform distribution is the best of those considered, additional work remains to evaluate the truncated exponential model more fully. The methods we present here provide a framework for evaluating subsequent models.

  11. Secondary extinction in Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Vurbic, Drina; Bouton, Mark E

    2011-09-01

    Pavlov (1927/1960) reported that following the conditioning of several stimuli, extinction of one conditioned stimulus (CS) attenuated responding to others that had not undergone direct extinction. However, this secondary extinction effect has not been widely replicated in the contemporary literature. In three conditioned suppression experiments with rats, we further explored the phenomenon. In Experiment 1, we asked whether secondary extinction is more likely to occur with target CSs that have themselves undergone some prior extinction. A robust secondary extinction effect was obtained with a nonextinguished target CS. Experiment 2 showed that extinction of one CS was sufficient to reduce renewal of a second CS when it was tested in a neutral (nonextinction) context. In Experiment 3, secondary extinction was observed in groups that initially received intermixed conditioning trials with the target and nontarget CSs, but not in groups that received conditioning of the two CSs in separate sessions. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that CSs must be associated with a common temporal context during conditioning for secondary extinction to occur.

  12. Mass extinctions vs. uniformitarianism in biological evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Bak, P.; Paczuski, M.

    1995-12-31

    It is usually believed that Darwin`s theory leads to a smooth gradual evolution, so that mass extinctions must be caused by external shocks. However, it has recently been argued that mass extinctions arise from the intrinsic dynamics of Darwinian evolution. Species become extinct when swept by intermittent avalanches propagating through the global ecology. These ideas are made concrete through studies of simple mathematical models of co-evolving species. The models exhibit self-organized criticality and describe some general features of the extinction pattern in the fossil record.

  13. Health risks for marine mammal workers.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Tania D; Ziccardi, Michael H; Gulland, Frances M D; Yochem, Pamela K; Hird, David W; Rowles, Teresa; Mazet, Jonna A K

    2008-08-19

    Marine mammals can be infected with zoonotic pathogens and show clinical signs of disease, or be asymptomatic carriers of such disease agents. While isolated cases of human disease from contact with marine mammals have been reported, no evaluation of the risks associated with marine mammal work has been attempted. Therefore, we designed a survey to estimate the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses in marine mammal workers and volunteers. The 17-question survey asked respondents to describe their contact with marine mammals, injuries sustained, and/or illnesses acquired during their period of marine mammal exposure. Most respondents, 88% (423/483), were researchers and rehabilitators. Of all respondents, 50% (243/483) reported suffering an injury caused by a marine mammal, and 23% (110/483) reported having a skin rash or reaction. Marine mammal work-related illnesses commonly reported included: 'seal finger' (Mycoplasma spp. or Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae), conjunctivitis, viral dermatitis, bacterial dermatitis, and non-specific contact dermatitis. Although specific diagnoses could not be confirmed by a physician through this study, severe illnesses were reported and included tuberculosis, leptospirosis, brucellosis, and serious sequelae to seal finger. Risk factors associated with increased odds of injury and illness included prolonged and frequent exposure to marine mammals; direct contact with live marine mammals; and contact with tissue, blood, and excretions. Diagnosis of zoonotic disease was often aided by veterinarians; therefore, workers at risk should be encouraged to consult with a marine mammal veterinarian as well as a physician, especially if obtaining a definitive diagnosis for an illness becomes problematic.

  14. Lumbar lordosis of extinct hominins.

    PubMed

    Been, Ella; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Kramer, Patricia A

    2012-01-01

    The lordotic curvature of the lumbar spine (lumbar lordosis) in humans is a critical component in the ability to achieve upright posture and bipedal gait. Only general estimates of the lordotic angle (LA) of extinct hominins are currently available, most of which are based on the wedging of the vertebral bodies. Recently, a new method for calculating the LA in skeletal material has become available. This method is based on the relationship between the lordotic curvature and the orientation of the inferior articular processes relative to vertebral bodies in the lumbar spines of living primates. Using this relationship, we developed new regression models in order to calculate the LAs in hominins. The new models are based on primate group-means and were used to calculate the LAs in the spines of eight extinct hominins. The results were also compared with the LAs of modern humans and modern nonhuman apes. The lordotic angles of australopithecines (41° ± 4), H. erectus (45°) and fossil H. sapiens (54° ± 14) are similar to those of modern humans (51° ± 11). This analysis confirms the assumption that human-like lordotic curvature was a morphological change that took place during the acquisition of erect posture and bipedalism as the habitual form of locomotion. Neandertals have smaller lordotic angles (LA = 29° ± 4) than modern humans, but higher angles than nonhuman apes (22° ± 3). This suggests possible subtle differences in Neandertal posture and locomotion from that of modern humans. PMID:22052243

  15. LIDAR for measuring atmospheric extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawsey, M.; Gimmestad, G.; Roberts, D.; McGraw, J.; Zimmer, P.; Fitch, J.

    2006-06-01

    The Georgia Tech Research Institute and the University of New Mexico are developing a compact, rugged, eye safe lidar (laser radar) to be used specifically for measuring atmospheric extinction in support of the second generation of the CCD/Transit Instrument (CTI-II). The CTI-II is a 1.8 meter telescope that will be used to accomplish a precise timedomain imaging photometric and astrometric survey at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas. The supporting lidar will enable more precise photometry by providing real-time measurements of the amount of atmospheric extinction as well as its cause, i.e. low-lying aerosols, dust or smoke in the free troposphere, or high cirrus. The goal of this project is to develop reliable, cost-effective lidar technology for any observatory. The lidar data can be used to efficiently allocate observatory time and to provide greater integrity for ground-based data. The design is described in this paper along with estimates of the lidar's performance.

  16. Lumbar lordosis of extinct hominins.

    PubMed

    Been, Ella; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Kramer, Patricia A

    2012-01-01

    The lordotic curvature of the lumbar spine (lumbar lordosis) in humans is a critical component in the ability to achieve upright posture and bipedal gait. Only general estimates of the lordotic angle (LA) of extinct hominins are currently available, most of which are based on the wedging of the vertebral bodies. Recently, a new method for calculating the LA in skeletal material has become available. T