Intraspecific Variation in Modern and Quaternary European Lagopus

This source preferred by John Stewart

Authors: Stewart, J.R.

Journal: Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology

Volume: 89

Pages: 159-168

ISSN: 0081-0266

Skeletal proportions of modem European populations of Lagopus lagopus (Linnaeus) and L. mutus (Montin) from Britain, Iceland, Scandinavia, northern Russia, and the Alps are compared with their Quaternary fossil counterparts from Britain, Poland, France, and Belgium. Lagopus lagopus and L. mutus from most pre-Holocene deposits are found to differ allometrically from modem samples. This difference is best seen in the tarsometatarsus, which often is more robust in both species in the Pleistocene and in turn may reflect greater body weight. Possible correlations between this phenomenon and the climatic and ecological conditions of the past, as well as the possibility that these birds were less sedentary, are discussed.

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