Browsing by Subject "MAMMALS"

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  • Viranta, Suvi; Mannermaa, Kristiina (2017)
    Development of dental abnormalities due to improper occlusal wear is common among modern domestic horses. This phenomenon often is attributed to jaw conformation. Rostral mandibular hooks may develop in horses with underjet or mandibular prognathism, a condition where the lower jaw protrudes forward, beyond the upper jaw. Less abrasive diet, free of phytoliths and matrix-like plant fibers, also may promote enamel and focal overgrowths of equine dentition. Here we report a rostral mandibular hook in a lower premolar tooth of a medieval horse, found in a spring deposit in Levanluhta, Osthrobothnia, Finland. To our knowledge, this is the first such report from a medieval horse. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Zliobaite, Indre; Fortelius, Mikael (2020)
    The Red Queen's hypothesis portrays evolution as a never-ending competition for expansive energy, where one species' gain is another species' loss. The Red Queen is neutral with respect to body size, implying that neither small nor large species have a universal competitive advantage. Here we ask whether, and if so how, the Red Queen's hypothesis really can accommodate differences in body size. The maximum population growth in ecology clearly depends on body size-the smaller the species, the shorter the generation length, and the faster it can expand given sufficient opportunity. On the other hand, large species are more efficient in energy use due to metabolic scaling and can maintain more biomass with the same energy. The advantage of shorter generation makes a wide range of body sizes competitive, yet large species do not take over. We analytically show that individuals consume energy and reproduce in physiological time, but need to compete for energy in real time. The Red Queen, through adaptive evolution of populations, balances the pressures of real and physiological time. Modeling competition for energy as a proportional prize contest from economics, we further show that Red Queen's zero-sum game can generate unimodal hat-like patterns of species rise and decline that can be neutral in relation to body size.
  • Forrest, M.; Eronen, J. T.; Utescher, T.; Knorr, G.; Stepanek, C.; Lohmann, G.; Hickler, T. (2015)
    There is an increasing need to understand the pre-Quaternary warm climates, how climate-vegetation interactions functioned in the past, and how we can use this information to understand the present. Here we report vegetation modelling results for the Late Miocene (11-7 Ma) to study the mechanisms of vegetation dynamics and the role of different forcing factors that influence the spatial patterns of vegetation coverage. One of the key uncertainties is the atmospheric concentration of CO2 during past climates. Estimates for the last 20 million years range from 280 to 500 ppm. We simulated Late Miocene vegetation using two plausible CO2 concentrations, 280 ppm CO2 and 450 ppm CO2, with a dynamic global vegetation model (LPJ-GUESS) driven by climate input from a coupled AOGCM (Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Model). The simulated vegetation was compared to existing plant fossil data for the whole Northern Hemisphere. For the comparison we developed a novel approach that uses information of the relative dominance of different plant functional types (PFTs) in the palaeobotanical data to provide a quantitative estimate of the agreement between the simulated and reconstructed vegetation. Based on this quantitative assessment we find that pre-industrial CO2 levels are largely consistent with the presence of seasonal temperate forests in Europe (suggested by fossil data) and open vegetation in North America (suggested by multiple lines of evidence). This suggests that during the Late Miocene the CO2 levels have been relatively low, or that other factors that are not included in the models maintained the seasonal temperate forests and open vegetation.
  • Kullberg, Peter; Toivonen, Tuuli; Pouzols, Federico Montesino; Lehtomäki, Joona; Di Minin, Enrico; Moilanen, Atte (2015)
    Complementarity and cost-efficiency are widely used principles for protected area network design. Despite the wide use and robust theoretical underpinnings, their effects on the performance and patterns of priority areas are rarely studied in detail. Here we compare two approaches for identifying the management priority areas inside the global protected area network: 1) a scoring-based approach, used in recently published analysis and 2) a spatial prioritization method, which accounts for complementarity and area-efficiency. Using the same IUCN species distribution data the complementarity method found an equal-area set of priority areas with double the mean species ranges covered compared to the scoringbased approach. The complementarity set also had 72% more species with full ranges covered, and lacked any coverage only for half of the species compared to the scoring approach. Protected areas in our complementarity-based solution were on average smaller and geographically more scattered. The large difference between the two solutions highlights the need for critical thinking about the selected prioritization method. According to our analysis, accounting for complementarity and area-efficiency can lead to considerable improvements when setting management priorities for the global protected area network.
  • Tapaltsyan, Vagan; Eronen, Jussi T.; Lawing, A. Michelle; Sharir, Amnon; Janis, Christine; Jernvall, Jukka; Klein, Ophir D. (2015)
    The fossil record is widely informative about evolution, but fossils are not systematically used to study the evolution of stem-cell-driven renewal. Here, we examined evolution of the continuous growth (hypselodonty) of rodent molar teeth, which is fuelled by the presence of dental stem cells. We studied occurrences of 3,500 North American rodent fossils, ranging from 50 million years ago (mya) to 2 mya. We examined changes in molar height to determine whether evolution of hypselodonty shows distinct patterns in the fossil record, and we found that hypselodont taxa emerged through intermediate forms of increasing crown height. Next, we designed a Markov simulation model, which replicated molar height increases throughout the Cenozoic and, moreover, evolution of hypselodonty. Thus, by extension, the retention of the adult stem cell niche appears to be a predictable quantitative rather than a stochastic qualitative process. Our analyses predict that hypselodonty will eventually become the dominant phenotype.
  • Adams, Neil F.; Rayfield, Emily J.; Cox, Philip G.; Cobb, Samuel N.; Corfe, Ian J. (2019)
    Multituberculate mammals thrived during the Mesozoic, but their diversity declined from the mid-late Paleocene onwards, becoming extinct in the late Eocene. The radiation of superficially similar, eutherian rodents has been linked to multituberculate extinction through competitive exclusion. However, characteristics providing rodents with a supposed competitive advantage are currently unknown and comparative functional tests between the two groups are lacking. Here, a multifaceted approach to craniomandibular biomechanics was taken to test the hypothesis that superior skull function made rodents more effective competitors. Digital models of the skulls of four extant rodents and the Upper Cretaceous multituberculate Kryptobaatar were constructed and used (i) in finite-element analysis to study feeding-induced stresses, (ii) to calculate metrics of bite force production and (iii) to determine mechanical resistances to bending and torsional forces. Rodents exhibit higher craniomandibular stresses and lower resistances to bending and torsion than the multituberculate, apparently refuting the competitive exclusion hypothesis. However, rodents optimize bite force production at the expense of higher skull stress and we argue that this is likely to have been more functionally and selectively important. Our results therefore provide the first functional lines of evidence for potential reasons behind the decline of multituberculates in the changing environments of the Paleogene.
  • Fraser, Danielle; Soul, Laura C.; Tóth, Anikó B.; Balk, Meghan A.; Eronen, Jussi T.; Pineda-Munoz, Silvia; Shupinski, Alexandria B.; Villaseñor, Amelia; Barr, W. Andrew; Behrensmeyer, Anna K.; Du, Andrew; Faith, J. Tyler; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Graves, Gary R.; Jukar, Advait M.; Looy, Cindy V.; Miller, Joshua H.; Potts, Richard; Lyons, S. Kathleen (2021)
    Recent renewed interest in using fossil data to understand how biotic interactions have shaped the evolution of life is challenging the widely held assumption that long-term climate changes are the primary drivers of biodiversity change. New approaches go beyond traditional richness and co-occurrence studies to explicitly model biotic interactions using data on fossil and modern biodiversity. Important developments in three primary areas of research include analysis of (i) macroevolutionary rates, (ii) the impacts of and recovery from extinction events, and (iii) how humans (Homo sapiens) affected interactions among non-human species. We present multiple lines of evidence for an important and measurable role of biotic interactions in shaping the evolution of communities and lineages on long timescales.
  • Saarinen, Juha; Oksanen, Otto; Zliobaite, Indre; Fortelius, Mikael; DeMiguel, Daniel; Azanza, Beatriz; Bocherens, Herve; Luzón, Carmen; Solano-Garcia, Jose; Yravedra, José; Courtenay, Lloyd A.; Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; Sanchez-Bandera, Christian; Serrano-Ramos, Alexia; Jose Rodriguez-Alba, Juan; Viranta-Kovanen, Suvi; Barsky, Deborah; Tallavaara, Miikka; Oms, Oriol; Agustí, Jordi; Ochando, Juan; Carrion, Jose S.; Jimenez-Arenas, Juan Manuel (2021)
    The Guadix-Baza Basin (GBB) in Andalucia, Spain, comprises palaeontological and archaeological sites dating from the Early Pliocene to the Middle Pleistocene, including some of the earliest sites with evidence for the presence of early humans (Homo sp.) in Europe. Thus, the history of climate and environments in this basin contributes significantly to our understanding of the conditions under which early humans spread into Europe during the Early Pleistocene. Here we present estimates of precipitation and primary productivity in the GBB from the Pliocene to the Middle Pleistocene based on dental ecometrics in fossil communities of large herbivorous mammals, and perform an ecometrics-based distribution modelling to analyse the environmental conditions of Early and Middle Pleistocene human sites in Europe. Our results show that Early Pleistocene humans generally occupied on average relatively diverse habitats with ecotones, such as woodlands and savannas, but avoided very open and harsh (cool or dry) environments. During the Middle Pleistocene in Europe, humans occupied a comparatively much broader range of environments than during the Early Pleistocene, but were on average more concentrated in environments where the dental ecometric of mammals indicate wooded palaeoenvironments. In the earliest human occupation sites of the GBB, Barranco Leon and Fuente Nueva 3, the mean annual precipitation and net primary production estimates indicate climatic conditions close to modern Mediterranean sclerophyllous woodland environments, but with slightly higher primary productivity, indicating some similarity with East African woodlands. On the other hand, the environments did not resemble African grassland savannas. The browse-dominated diets of ungulates from Barranco Leon and Fuente Nueva 3 further suggest palaeoenvironments where grasses were a minor component of the vegetation. In the slightly older site of Venta Micena that has no evidence for the presence of hominins, dental ecometric estimates indicate climate and environments similar to Mediterranean "forest steppe" environments existing in the surroundings of Baza today. Grasses were prevalent in the diet of some taxa, especially equids, in Venta Micena, but most of the species show browse-dominated diets even there. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Lundberg, Piia; Veríssimo, Diogo; Vainio, Annukka; Arponen, Anni (2020)
    Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) appeal to private donors for conservation fundraising, often employing single species flagships as their fundraising strategy. Previous studies suggest that donor preferences vary, and can be divided into segments. Just as preferences towards species can vary, preferences towards different flagship types may also differ. Thus, opportunities may exist to enhance the use of other flagship types such as flagship fleets, ecosystems or biodiversity in fundraising. Although previous studies have found that aesthetic appeal, locality or threat status can explain the decision to donate, it is unclear how these attributes influence choices between flagship types. We conducted a discrete choice experiment on donor preferences towards different flagship types in the United Kingdom (n = 380) and the United States (n = 374), and explored how flagship attributes and socio-demographic variables affect potential donors' choices. Latent class modeling revealed seven donor segments in both countries that varied in their preferences of flagship types and attributes, as well as in their price-sensitivity. Some segments were similar for both countries, but the US segments were more polarized regarding price-sensitivity. Most respondents favored biodiversity targets in their choices, and ecosystems were more popular than species-based flagships. To enhance their fundraising capacity, ENGOs should extend their donation targets beyond flagship species, and develop more targeted marketing strategies for different audiences. Our research also demonstrates the need for further research to examine respondents' characteristics, such as personal values or environmental concern, which would allow more precisely targeted marketing to specific donor segments, e.g. through social media channels.
  • Visconti, Piero; Bakkenes, Michel; Baisero, Daniele; Brooks, Thomas; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Joppa, Lucas; Alkemade, Rob; Di Marco, Moreno; Santini, Luca; Hoffmann, Michael; Maiorano, Luigi; Pressey, Robert L.; Arponen, Anni; Boitani, Luigi; Reside, April E.; van Vuuren, Detlef P.; Rondinini, Carlo (2016)
    To address the ongoing global biodiversity crisis, governments have set strategic objectives and have adopted indicators to monitor progress toward their achievement. Projecting the likely impacts on biodiversity of different policy decisions allows decision makers to understand if and how these targets can be met. We projected trends in two widely used indicators of population abundance Geometric Mean Abundance, equivalent to the Living Planet Index and extinction risk (the Red List Index) under different climate and land-use change scenarios. Testing these on terrestrial carnivore and ungulate species, we found that both indicators decline steadily, and by 2050, under a Business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, geometric mean population abundance declines by 18-35% while extinction risk increases for 8-23% of the species, depending on assumptions about species responses to climate change. BAU will therefore fail Convention on Biological Diversity target 12 of improving the conservation status of known threatened species. An alternative sustainable development scenario reduces both extinction risk and population losses compared with BAU and could lead to population increases. Our approach to model species responses to global changes brings the focus of scenarios directly to the species level, thus taking into account an additional dimension of biodiversity and paving the way for including stronger ecological foundations into future biodiversity scenario assessments.
  • Rannikko, Janina; Zliobaite, Indre; Fortelius, Mikael (2017)
    Most suids (Mammalia: Suidae, pigs) worldwide are omnivores living in closed environments, but the African warthog (Phacochoerus) has special adaptations for grazing in open environments. Similar specializations have been recorded from Plio-Pleistocene African suids. Four genera, Nyanzachoerus, Notochoerus, Kolpochoerus, and Metridiochoerus, have been discovered in late Miocene to middle Pleistocene locations around the Turkana Basin. We analyse the relative abundances of these four suid genera compared to other mammals, from approximately 8-0.7 Ma. The dataset includes most of the mammal specimens collected from locations around the Kenyan side of the Turkana Basin. Species of genus Nyanzachoerus were dominant before 4 Ma, but their relative abundance decreases through time thereafter. At the same time, Notochoerus increases in relative abundance, followed by Kolpochoerus, and finally Metridiochoerus. Their peak relative abundances do not overlap: Notochoerus peaks at 3.44-2.53 Ma, Kolpochoerus at 2.53-1.87 Ma, and Metridiochoerus at 1.38-0.7 Ma. We interpret the palaeoecology of these suids based on their relative abundances over time and on published isotope and pollen data. We find that Nyanzachoerus was replaced by its abrasive-diet-specialized successor Notochoerus, possibly in response to a rapid decrease in forest cover. Notochoerus adapted at first to the expanding wood- and grasslands, and then to more arid shrublands. After a period of severe aridity around 2.7-2.5 Ma, more variable environments allowed Kolpochoerus and Metridiochoerus to disperse, while Notochoerus disappeared, perhaps having lost its competitive edge. Further changes in the environment encouraged the expansion of grasslands over shrublands, favouring Metridiochoerus. Kolpochoerus persisted in the more closed environments near water sources.
  • Fortelius, Mikael; Bibi, Faysal; Tang, Hui; Zliobaite, Indre; Eronen, Jussi; Kaya, Ferhat (2019)
  • Rey, Guillaume; Valekunja, Utham K.; Feeney, Kevin A.; Wulund, Lisa; Milev, Nikolay B.; Stangherlin, Alessandra; Ansel-Bollepalli, Laura; Velagapudi, Vidya; O'Neill, John S.; Reddy, Akhilesh B. (2016)
    The circadian clock is a ubiquitous timekeeping system that organizes the behavior and physiology of organisms over the day and night. Current models rely on transcriptional networks that coordinate circadian gene expression of thousands of transcripts. However, recent studies have uncovered phylogenetically conserved redox rhythms that can occur independently of transcriptional cycles. Here we identify the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), a critical source of the redox cofactor NADPH, as an important regulator of redox and transcriptional oscillations. Our results show that genetic and pharmacological inhibition of the PPP prolongs the period of circadian rhythms in human cells, mouse tissues, and fruit flies. These metabolic manipulations also cause a remodeling of circadian gene expression programs that involves the circadian transcription factors BMAL1 and CLOCK, and the redox-sensitive transcription factor NRF2. Thus, the PPP regulates circadian rhythms via NADPH metabolism, suggesting a pivotal role for NADPH availability in circadian timekeeping.
  • Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Zliobaite, Indre; Eronen, Jussi T.; Hui, Tang; Fortelius, Mikael (2018)
    Despite much interest in the ecology and origins of the extensive grassland ecosystems of the modern world, the biogeographic relationships of savannah palaeobiomes of Africa, India and mainland Eurasia have remained unclear. Here we assemble the most recent data from the Neogene mammal fossil record in order to map the biogeographic development of Old World mammalian faunas in relation to palaeoenvironmental conditions. Using genus-level faunal similarity and mean ordinated hypsodonty in combination with palaeoclimate modelling, we show that savannah faunas developed as a spatially and temporally connected entity that we term the Old World savannah palaeobiome. The Old World savannah palaeobiome flourished under the influence of middle and late Miocene global cooling and aridification, which resulted in the spread of open habitats across vast continental areas. This extensive biome fragmented into Eurasian and African branches due to increased aridification in North Africa and Arabia during the late Miocene. Its Eurasian branches had mostly disappeared by the end of the Miocene, but the African branch survived and eventually contributed to the development of Plio-Pleistocene African savannah faunas, including their early hominins. The modern African savannah fauna is thus a continuation of the extensive Old World savannah palaeobiome.