MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Inferring habitat and feeding behaviour of early Miocene notoungulates from Patagonia
CASSINI, GUILLERMO HERNÁN; MENDOZA, MANUEL; VIZCAÍNO, SERGIO FABIÁN; BARGO, MARÍA SUSANA
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Lugar: Edinburgo; Año: 2011 vol. 44 p. 153 - 153
Notoungulates, native fossil mammals of South America, have been usually studied from a taxonomic point of view, while their paleobiology has been largely neglected. For instance, morpho-functional or eco-morphological approaches have not been rigorous applied to the masticatory apparatus to propose hypothesis on dietary habits. In this contribution we generate inferences about habitat and feeding preferences in five Santacrucian genera of notoungulates of the orders Typotheria and Toxodontia using novel computer techniques of knowledge discovery. The Santacrucian (Santa Cruz Formation, late-early Miocene) fauna is particularly appropriate for this kind of studies due to its taxonomic richness, diversity, amount of specimens recorded and the quality of preservation. Over one hundred extant species of ungulates, distributed among thirteen families of artiodactyls and perissodactyls, were used as reference samples to reveal the relationships between craneo-dental morphology and ecological patterns. The results suggest that all Santacrucian notoungulates present morphologies characteristic of open habitats extant ungulates. While the Toxodontia exhibits the same morphological pattern of living mixed-feeders and grazers, the Typotheria shows exaggerated traits of specialized grazer ungulates.