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Herbivore teeth predict climatic limits in Kenyan ecosystems

Žliobaite, Indre; Rinne, Janne LU ; Tóth, Anikó B.; Mechenich, Michael; Liu, Liping; Behrensmeyer, Anna K. and Fortelius, Mikael (2016) In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(45). p.12751-12756
Abstract

A major focus in evolutionary biology is to understand how the evolution of organisms relates to changes in their physical environment. In the terrestrial realm, the interrelationships among climate, vegetation, and herbivores lie at the heart of this question. Here we introduce and test a scoring scheme for functional traits present on theworn surfaces of large mammalian herbivore teeth to capture their relationship to environmental conditions. We modeled local precipitation, temperature, primary productivity, and vegetation index as functions of dental traits of large mammal species in 13 national parks in Kenya over the past 60 y. We found that these dental traits can accurately estimate local climate and environment, even at small... (More)

A major focus in evolutionary biology is to understand how the evolution of organisms relates to changes in their physical environment. In the terrestrial realm, the interrelationships among climate, vegetation, and herbivores lie at the heart of this question. Here we introduce and test a scoring scheme for functional traits present on theworn surfaces of large mammalian herbivore teeth to capture their relationship to environmental conditions. We modeled local precipitation, temperature, primary productivity, and vegetation index as functions of dental traits of large mammal species in 13 national parks in Kenya over the past 60 y. We found that these dental traits can accurately estimate local climate and environment, even at small spatial scales within areas of relatively uniform climate (within two ecoregions), and that they predict limiting conditions better than average conditions. These findings demonstrate that the evolution of key functional properties of organisms may be more reflective of demands during recurring adverse episodes than under average conditions or during isolated severe events.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Dental traits, Ecometrics, Herbivorous mammals, Kenya, Paleoecology
in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
volume
113
issue
45
pages
6 pages
publisher
National Acad Sciences
external identifiers
  • scopus:84994509554
  • wos:000388073300064
ISSN
0027-8424
DOI
10.1073/pnas.1609409113
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c1491422-756f-426f-b047-edb58817b9f1
date added to LUP
2016-11-29 08:51:55
date last changed
2017-11-12 04:26:36
@article{c1491422-756f-426f-b047-edb58817b9f1,
  abstract     = {<p>A major focus in evolutionary biology is to understand how the evolution of organisms relates to changes in their physical environment. In the terrestrial realm, the interrelationships among climate, vegetation, and herbivores lie at the heart of this question. Here we introduce and test a scoring scheme for functional traits present on theworn surfaces of large mammalian herbivore teeth to capture their relationship to environmental conditions. We modeled local precipitation, temperature, primary productivity, and vegetation index as functions of dental traits of large mammal species in 13 national parks in Kenya over the past 60 y. We found that these dental traits can accurately estimate local climate and environment, even at small spatial scales within areas of relatively uniform climate (within two ecoregions), and that they predict limiting conditions better than average conditions. These findings demonstrate that the evolution of key functional properties of organisms may be more reflective of demands during recurring adverse episodes than under average conditions or during isolated severe events.</p>},
  author       = {Žliobaite, Indre and Rinne, Janne and Tóth, Anikó B. and Mechenich, Michael and Liu, Liping and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. and Fortelius, Mikael},
  issn         = {0027-8424},
  keyword      = {Dental traits,Ecometrics,Herbivorous mammals,Kenya,Paleoecology},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {45},
  pages        = {12751--12756},
  publisher    = {National Acad Sciences},
  series       = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  title        = {Herbivore teeth predict climatic limits in Kenyan ecosystems},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1609409113},
  volume       = {113},
  year         = {2016},
}