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Aspects of locomotor evolution in the Carnivora (Mammalia)
Uppsala University, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeontology group.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, the shape of the distal humerus trochlea is analysed using landmark-based morphometrics and multivariate methods, with the aim of exploring locomotor evolution in carnivorans. Elbow joint morphology is used together with body size and craniodental morphology to characterize past and present carnivorans. Evolutionary implications are studied at the ordinal, familial, and species levels, testing specific hypotheses about scaling, morphological constraints, evolutionary trajectories, and potential for social pack-hunting behaviour. The circumference of the distal humerus trochlea is found to be highly correlated with body mass, and appears to scale similarly throughout the order Carnivora. A general predictive model for carnivoran bodymass is presented (a=0.601; b= 2.552; r2=0.952, SEE=0.136, p<0001, n=92), which removes the need for the investigator to actively choose between the diverging estimates that different predictors and their equations often produce. At the elbow joint, manual manipulation and locomotion appear to be conflicting functions, thus suggesting mutually exclusive lifestyles involving either forelimb grappling or pursuit. At large body sizes, carnivorans are distributed over a strongly dichotomised pattern (grappling or locomotion), a pattern coinciding with the postulated threshold in predator-prey size ratio at 21.5-25 kg. This pattern is compared to that of two carnivoran faunas from the Tertiary. In the Oligocene (33.7-23.8 Myr BP), the overall pattern is remarkably similar to that observed for extant Carnivora. In the Miocene (23.8-11.2 Myr BP) carnivores show a similarly dichotomised pattern as the Oligocene and Recent, although the whole pattern is shifted towards larger body sizes. This difference is suggested to be a reflection of the extraordinary species richness of browsing ungulates in the early Miocene of North America. Such an increase in prey spectrum would create a unique situation, in which large carnivores need not commit to a cursorial habitus in order to fill their nutritional requirements. Finally, the elbow joints and craniodental morphology (14 measurements) of fossil canids were examined with the aim of assessing the potential for pack-hunting in fossil canids. It is clear that small and large members of the Recent Caninae share similar craniodental morphologies. However, this pattern is not present in Borophaginae and Hesperocyoninae. In the latter, large representatives are characterized by being short-faced, with reduced anterior premolars and enlarged posterior premolars, thus approaching a “pantherine-like” craniodental configuration. These traits are interpreted as an adaptation for killing prey with canine bites. It is similarly determined that, unlike recent Caninae, all analyzed species of borophagines and hesperocyonines have retained the ability to supinate their forearms. It is therefore likely that manual manipulation was part of their hunting behaviour, thus removing an essential part of the argument for social pack-hunting in these forms, as the benefits of such a strategy become less obvious.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2003. , p. 20
Series
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 877
Keywords [en]
Morphology, Mammalia, Carnivora, Locomotion, Cranial, Elbow joint, Morphology, Morphometrics, Landmarks, Multivariate statistics, Allometry, Ecomorphology, Dental, Body size
Keywords [sv]
Morfologi
National Category
Cell and Molecular Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3543ISBN: 91-554-5710-X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-3543DiVA, id: diva2:163209
Public defence
2003-09-29, Lecture Theatre, Palaeontology building, Norbyv. 22, Norbyvägen 22, Uppsala, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2003-09-01 Created: 2003-09-01 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Predicting carnivoran body mass from a weight bearing joint
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predicting carnivoran body mass from a weight bearing joint
2004 (English)In: Journal of Zoology, ISSN 0952-8369, E-ISSN 1469-7998, Vol. 262, no 2, p. 161-172Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Predictors used to calculate the body mass of extinct carnivorans often scale differently between different taxa, thus yielding body mass estimates that diverge considerably depending on which predictive equation is used. This requires the investigator to choose the ones most suitable, a procedure that is best avoided if possible. The carnivoran elbow joint is here explored with the aim of producing a single general body mass predictor that can be used over a broad range of terrestrial and arboreal carnivorans. The circumference of the distal humerus trochlea is found to be highly correlated with body mass, and trochlea circumference seems to scale similarly throughout the order Carnivora. This scaling is not as theoretically predicted by elastic similarity and is slightly higher than that predicted by geometric similarity, indicating a slight positive allometry for the latter. Some degree of differential scaling between carnivoran families and between animals of large and small size cannot be ruled out, but this result is inconclusive. A predictive model that allows mass estimations for a broad range of carnivorans is presented (a=0.601; b=2.552; r2=0.952, SEE=0.136, P<0001, n=92). Body mass for eight extinct carnivoran species are calculated and these generally conform to earlier mass predictions.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-90745 (URN)10.1017/S0952836903004564 (DOI)
Available from: 2003-09-01 Created: 2003-09-01 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Elbow-joint morphology as a guide to forearm function and foraging behaviour in mammalian carnivores
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elbow-joint morphology as a guide to forearm function and foraging behaviour in mammalian carnivores
2004 (English)In: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, ISSN 0024-4082, E-ISSN 1096-3642, Vol. 142, no 1, p. 91-104Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Among the hunting strategies employed by members of the order Carnivora (Mammalia), two, stalk and ambush and sustained pursuit, are particularly prevalent among larger species of the order. It has been difficult to identify morphological traits that support this distinction and ecological observations have shown that most carnivorans adopt a continuum of strategies, depending on available habitat and prey. In this paper, the shape of the distal humerus articulation is analysed, with the aim of exploring the use of the forelimb in prey procurement, and as a guide to such behaviour among fossil carnivorans. The results suggest that manual manipulation and locomotion are conflicting functions. Elbow-joint morphology supports a division between grapplers (i.e. ambushers) and nongrapplers (i.e. pursuers). Joints of the former are characterized by being relatively wide and the latter, by being relatively narrow and box-like with pronounced stabilizing features. At intermediate and large body sizes, carnivorans show a pattern suggesting mutually exclusive feeding strategies that involve either grappling with prey or sustained pursuit. The former allows for large body sizes, such as pantherine felids and ursids; the latter includes species of only moderate size, such as hyenids and canids. Elbow-joint morphology is closely linked to phylogeny, but the morphology of the cheetah converges with that of nongrapplers, showing that strong selective forces may override the phylogenetic component. Two taxa of giant mustelids from the Miocene were analysed to test whether this sort of analysis is applicable to carnivorans of the past. The African Late Miocene species Ekorus ekakeran has a joint morphology comparable to that of modern-day nongrapplers. Two joint morphologies were found in the North American Late Oligocene-Early Miocene Megalictis ferox. The first morphology is comparable to that of modern pantherine cats and the second forms  an  intermediate  between  grapplers  and  nongrapplers  that  is  not  present  in  the  modern  carnivoran  fauna.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-90746 (URN)10.1111/j.1096-3642.2004.00129.x (DOI)
Available from: 2003-09-01 Created: 2003-09-01 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. The evolution of cursorial carnivores in the Tertiary: implications of elbow-joint morphology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The evolution of cursorial carnivores in the Tertiary: implications of elbow-joint morphology
2003 In: Biology letters, Vol. Published online 6 AugustArticle in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-90747 (URN)
Available from: 2003-09-01 Created: 2003-09-01Bibliographically approved
4. Potential for pack-hunting in Tertiary canids (Canidae, Carnivora)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Potential for pack-hunting in Tertiary canids (Canidae, Carnivora)
Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-90748 (URN)
Available from: 2003-09-01 Created: 2003-09-01 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved

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