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Bones, Clones, and BiomesThe History and Geography of Recent Neotropical Mammals$
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Bruce D. Patterson and Leonora P. Costa

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226649191

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226649214.001.0001

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Mammals of the Cerrado and Caatinga

Mammals of the Cerrado and Caatinga

Distribution Patterns of the Tropical Open Biomes of Central South America

Chapter:
(p.307) 14 Mammals of the Cerrado and Caatinga
Source:
Bones, Clones, and Biomes
Author(s):
Ana Paula Carmignotto, Mario de Vivo, Alfredo Langguth
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226649214.003.0014

Cerrado and Caatinga are neighboring open biomes of tropical South America, but their vegetation, soil, and climate characteristics render them distinctive formations. Despite these differences, their mammal faunas are largely shared. The gallery, semideciduous, and deciduous forests contribute importantly to the species richness of these faunas, which together with the open habitats such as grasslands, savannas, and shrubby caatinga; enhance the overall species richness and high regional diversity of these formations. However, distinct histories of the open and forested formations are evident in mammal species distributions. The disjunct distribution of some arboreal mammals in the eastern Amazon and northern Atlantic rain forests, together with Pleistocene records of arboreal mammals in present-day areas of the Caatinga, reveal that this biome was not always an open, semiarid area but once constituted a forested formation. The higher number of endemic species of the Cerrado together with species shared with the Chaco (contrasted with the lower richness and endemism of the Caatinga) suggests the long-term persistence of open habitats in present-day areas of the Cerrado.

Keywords:   mammals, biomes, grasslands, savannas, Pleistocene, South America

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