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Department of Palaeozoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9586-4017
Department of Palaeozoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
2011 (English)In: Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context: Volume 2: Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna / [ed] Terry Harrison, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2011, 189-232 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper reviews the extensive carnivoran fauna of Laetoli on the basis of collections housed in Berlin, London, Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam. Members of the Carnivora are known from both the Lower and Upper Laetolil Beds, as well as from the Upper Ndolanya Beds. Of these, the Upper Laetolil Beds are best sampled, and the material includes a minimum of 28 species of Carnivora (four Canidae, three Mustelidae, three Viverridae, six Herpestidae, five Hyaenidae, and seven Felidae). Many of the smaller Carnivora species include complete or partial skeletons and whole, undamaged crania, suggesting rapid burial and absence of trampling and other taphonomic processes that severely affected the more fragmentary larger Carnivora. The Upper Ndolanya Beds Carnivora are preserved in a similar fashion. This stratigraphic unit includes nine to ten species (one Mustelidae, two Herpestidae, one or two Hyaenidae, and five Felidae). All of these are also known from the Upper Laetolil Beds. The Lower Laetolil Beds are less well sampled, with only four species of Carnivora (one Mustelidae, one Herpestidae, and two Hyaenidae). Of these, the mustelid and one hyenid are unique to this stratigraphic unit, while one hyenid is shared with the Upper Laetolil Beds and the herpestid with both the Upper Laetolil Beds and the Upper Ndolanya Beds. Three of the Lower Laetolil Beds Carnivora (all except the herpestid) are partial skeletons, suggesting different depositional or taphonomic conditions at that time, while the presence of an otter in the Lower Laetolil Beds indicates the presence of a large, permanent body of water in the vicinity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2011. 189-232 p.
, Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, ISSN 1877-9077
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24878DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-9962-4_8ISBN: 978-90-481-9961-7OAI: diva2:198455
Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-05-08 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Aspects of carnivoran evolution in Africa
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspects of carnivoran evolution in Africa
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the evolution of African small carnivorans, with emphasis on East African Viverridae and Herpestidae (Carnivora, Mammalia). Viverridae and Herpestidae are two Old World feliform (belonging to the cat branch) carnivoran families with a confusing, and sometimes even misleading, taxonomic and systematic history, in addition to a scarce fossil record.

A new genus and species from Fort Ternan, western Kenya, dated to ca 14 Mya (million years ago), was described and tentatively assigned to the Viverridae. The excellent preservation of this material has the potential to shed much light on the evolution of feliform carnivorans from Africa. The fossil record of Carnivora from Laetoli, a Pliocene hominid-bearing site in northern Tanzania, was also described and placed in an evolutionary context. The age of the fossil fauna from Laetoli ranges from 4.3 Mya to 2.5 Mya. The fossil material from this site is remarkable for two reasons: it is extensive in both number of taxa represented and amount of fossil material, especially of small carnivorans, and it is fossilized and preserved under aeolian conditions. In addition to these paleontological studies, two studies concerning extant Viverridae and Herpestidae were conducted. First, the phylogeography of the white-tailed mongoose, Ichneumia albicauda, (Herpestidae), was examined, with the tentative conclusion that its origin is southern African. Second, the ecomorphology and biogeography of African and Eurasian Viverridae and Herpestidae was analysed in order to investigate if these features can be used to help assess their evolutionary history in the absence of fossils. The pattern that emerges in this study is that the species of Viverridae and Herpestidae do not generally overlap in ecomorphology where they overlap geographically, which indicates considerable competitive interactions between the families in both Africa and Eurasia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Zoologiska institutionen, 2008. 31 p.
Carnivora, Evolution, Africa, Viverridae, Herpestidae
National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Systematic Zoology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7506 (URN)978-91-7155-593-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-29, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-05-08Bibliographically approved

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