Mammalian body size changes and Plio-Pleistocene environmental shifts: implications for understanding hominin evolution in eastern and southern Africa

This source preferred by Sally Reynolds

Authors: Reynolds, S.C.

Journal: Journal of Human Evolution

Volume: 53

Pages: 528-548

This study examines geographic and temporal variation in three mammalian taxa co-occurring in eastern and southern Africa. The selected taxa- the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), the plains zebra (Equus burchellii), and the impala (Aepyceros melampus) are geographically widespread in modern times and are abundant in eastern and southern African Plio-Pleistocene fossil sites. Craniodental measurements of modern conspecifics from known geographic locations are compared using multivariate statistical methods to discern patterns of modern geographic variation within taxa. Modern and fossil samples are statistically compared to assess the nature and extent of inferred shifts in body size, both between modern samples and through time in each region. These results indicate that modern spotted hyenas and plains zebras exhibit mainly size variation between regions, with southern African samples possessing statistically larger craniodental metrics than eastern African samples. Comparison of fossil and modern samples reveals that the fossil assemblages do not show the same pattern of geographic variation. Significant temporal changes are more numerous between fossil and modern eastern African samples, and these changes are not mirrored by similar changes in the southern African samples. The changes experienced by taxa in eastern Africa appear to have been more extreme and wide-ranging than those in southern Africa, a presumed refugium. This result accords well with genetic studies of several large mammal species and paleoenvironmental studies suggesting that eastern African localized environments were more affected by tectonism and volcanism than were those in southern Africa. This study suggests that different evolutionary scenarios may have existed within Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene, but that both regions played unique and complementary roles in the evolution of African hominins and the broader faunal community.

This data was imported from PubMed:

Authors: Reynolds, S.C.

Journal: J Hum Evol

Volume: 53

Issue: 5

Pages: 528-548

ISSN: 0047-2484

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.01.014

This study examines geographic and temporal variation in three mammalian taxa co-occurring in eastern and southern Africa. The selected taxa-the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), the plains zebra (Equus burchellii), and the impala (Aepyceros melampus)--are geographically widespread in modern times and are abundant in eastern and southern African Plio-Pleistocene fossil sites. Craniodental measurements of modern conspecifics from known geographic locations are compared using multivariate statistical methods to discern patterns of modern geographic variation within taxa. Modern and fossil samples are statistically compared to assess the nature and extent of inferred shifts in body size, both between modern samples and through time in each region. These results indicate that modern spotted hyenas and plains zebras exhibit mainly size variation between regions, with southern African samples possessing statistically larger craniodental metrics than eastern African samples. Comparison of fossil and modern samples reveals that the fossil assemblages do not show the same pattern of geographic variation. Significant temporal changes are more numerous between fossil and modern eastern African samples, and these changes are not mirrored by similar changes in the southern African samples. The changes experienced by taxa in eastern Africa appear to have been more extreme and wide-ranging than those in southern Africa, a presumed refugium. This result accords well with genetic studies of several large mammal species and paleoenvironmental studies suggesting that eastern African localized environments were more affected by tectonism and volcanism than were those in southern Africa. This study suggests that different evolutionary scenarios may have existed within Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene, but that both regions played unique and complementary roles in the evolution of African hominins and the broader faunal community.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Reynolds, S.C.

Journal: Journal of Human Evolution

Volume: 53

Issue: 5

Pages: 528-548

ISSN: 0047-2484

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.01.014

This study examines geographic and temporal variation in three mammalian taxa co-occurring in eastern and southern Africa. The selected taxa-the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), the plains zebra (Equus burchellii), and the impala (Aepyceros melampus)-are geographically widespread in modern times and are abundant in eastern and southern African Plio-Pleistocene fossil sites. Craniodental measurements of modern conspecifics from known geographic locations are compared using multivariate statistical methods to discern patterns of modern geographic variation within taxa. Modern and fossil samples are statistically compared to assess the nature and extent of inferred shifts in body size, both between modern samples and through time in each region. These results indicate that modern spotted hyenas and plains zebras exhibit mainly size variation between regions, with southern African samples possessing statistically larger craniodental metrics than eastern African samples. Comparison of fossil and modern samples reveals that the fossil assemblages do not show the same pattern of geographic variation. Significant temporal changes are more numerous between fossil and modern eastern African samples, and these changes are not mirrored by similar changes in the southern African samples. The changes experienced by taxa in eastern Africa appear to have been more extreme and wide-ranging than those in southern Africa, a presumed refugium. This result accords well with genetic studies of several large mammal species and paleoenvironmental studies suggesting that eastern African localized environments were more affected by tectonism and volcanism than were those in southern Africa. This study suggests that different evolutionary scenarios may have existed within Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene, but that both regions played unique and complementary roles in the evolution of African hominins and the broader faunal community. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This data was imported from Web of Science (Lite):

Authors: Reynolds, S.C.

Journal: JOURNAL OF HUMAN EVOLUTION

Volume: 53

Issue: 5

Pages: 528-548

ISSN: 0047-2484

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.01.014

This data was imported from Europe PubMed Central:

Authors: Reynolds, S.C.

Journal: Journal of human evolution

Volume: 53

Issue: 5

Pages: 528-548

eISSN: 1095-8606

ISSN: 0047-2484

This study examines geographic and temporal variation in three mammalian taxa co-occurring in eastern and southern Africa. The selected taxa-the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), the plains zebra (Equus burchellii), and the impala (Aepyceros melampus)--are geographically widespread in modern times and are abundant in eastern and southern African Plio-Pleistocene fossil sites. Craniodental measurements of modern conspecifics from known geographic locations are compared using multivariate statistical methods to discern patterns of modern geographic variation within taxa. Modern and fossil samples are statistically compared to assess the nature and extent of inferred shifts in body size, both between modern samples and through time in each region. These results indicate that modern spotted hyenas and plains zebras exhibit mainly size variation between regions, with southern African samples possessing statistically larger craniodental metrics than eastern African samples. Comparison of fossil and modern samples reveals that the fossil assemblages do not show the same pattern of geographic variation. Significant temporal changes are more numerous between fossil and modern eastern African samples, and these changes are not mirrored by similar changes in the southern African samples. The changes experienced by taxa in eastern Africa appear to have been more extreme and wide-ranging than those in southern Africa, a presumed refugium. This result accords well with genetic studies of several large mammal species and paleoenvironmental studies suggesting that eastern African localized environments were more affected by tectonism and volcanism than were those in southern Africa. This study suggests that different evolutionary scenarios may have existed within Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene, but that both regions played unique and complementary roles in the evolution of African hominins and the broader faunal community.

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