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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2021

Evolution of the South American Carnivores (Mammalia, Carnivora)

Evolution of the South American Carnivores (Mammalia, Carnivora)

A Paleontological Perspective

(p.102) Evolution of the South American Carnivores (Mammalia, Carnivora)
Bones, Clones, and Biomes
Francisco J. Prevosti, Leopoldo H. Soibelzon
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the timing and pattern of carnivoran arrival and diversification in South America, as evidenced by the paleontological record. Although sampling deficiencies exist, the overall trend is one of staggered immigrations to South America followed by virtually unrestrained diversification (dampened only by a Quaternary extinction event). The last sparassodonts coexisted with the earliest South American carnivorans and there is no consensus regarding the role of carnivorans, if any, in their extinction. By any standard, however, the evolutionary success of carnivorans in the continent has been remarkable. The number of species presently inhabiting South America rivals the number of sparassodonts known from the entire Cenozoic. Modern South American ecosystems might still reflect the effects of the loss of these and other mega herbivores, and that this should be an area of further investigation.

Keywords:   carnivores, paleontological record, Cenozoic era, mega herbivores

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