Aspects of carnivoran evolution in Africa
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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
Research subject Systematic Zoology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7506ISBN: 978-91-7155-593-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-7506DiVA: diva2:198459
2008-05-29, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 10:00
Gaubert, Philippe, Dr
Werdelin, Lars, Dr
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