MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
. PALEOECOLOGY OF THE MAMMALIAN PREDATOR GUILD OF THE SOUTHERN PATAGONIA DURING THE LATEST PLEISTOCENE: ECOMORPHOLOGY, STABLE ISOTOPES, AND TAPHONOMY
FRANCISCO J. PREVOSTI; FABIANA MARTIN
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2013 vol. 305 p. 74 - 74
During the late Pleistocene, Patagonia had a rich fauna of large mammals including some megamammalssuch as ground sloths (Mylodon darwini), horse (Hippidion saldiasi), and camelids (e.g., Lama guanicoe).The carnivore guild was represented by several extinct taxa such as the sabretooth cat (Smilodon), thePatagonian Panther (Panthera onca mesembrina), a short-faced bear (Arctotherium tarijense) and a largefox (Dusicyon avus), but also by the extant puma (Puma concolor). In order to reconstruct the relationshipswithin the predator guild and between these carnivores and their potential prey, body size, preysize and diet habits of each predator were estimated. These results are complemented with stable isotopicanalyses and taphonomic information. Results indicate that the guild was composed of three felidsthat were large hypercarnivores, two of which (Smilodon, P. onca) could prey on most large mammals.Morphology suggests that the short-faced bear was mainly an omnivore that may have scavenged andoccasionally hunted medium-large mammals like camelids and horses. D. avus was slightly larger andmore carnivorous than the living culpeo fox (Lycalopex culpaeus), and preyed mostly on small mammals(rodents) but occasionally on camelids. Stable isotopes (d13C and d15N) are congruent with these interpretations,although they indicate that Arctotherium and D. avus were highly carnivorous. This couldbe explained by scavenging habits. Stable isotopes also indicate that P. o. mesembrina ate larger proportionsof Hippidion and Lama gracilis. Taphonomic studies showed that P. o. mesembrina gnawed bonesof Mylodon, Hippidion and camelids, a result that suggests that these taxa were common prey, and agreeswith the ecomorphological and stable isotope interpretations. The diversity of potential prey is lowerthan that observed in lower latitudes (e.g., Pampean Region) while the number of predators is similar,a relationship that could be explained by the high latitude where these mammals lived.