MONDINI Nora Mariana
Humans in South American faunal communities. Interactions with prey and predators in the Southern Cone.
SEBASTIÁN MUÑOZ; MONDINI, M.
Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg
E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Science Publishers.
Año: 2007 vol. 259 p. 205 - 211
The biotic and physical properties of Southern South America have influenced the relationships of humans to prey and to other predators. Given that large mammalian faunas are non-saturated here, a relatively wider human diet breadth relative to available species richness would have been possible, especially during the Holocene. In spite of niche expansion, humans would have managed to exploit camelids effectively, being them territorial. Camelids, the dominant ungulates, have long been their staple prey in much of the continent, and a coevolutionary relationship developed, eventually leading to their domestication. Humans coevolved with other predators as well. Hunter-gatherers´ adaptive zone would have overlapped to some extent with that of the larger Neotropical mammalian carnivores, although most of them in the Andean-Patagonian subregion are smaller. The predator fauna is also largely unsaturated here and, unlike humans, local carnivores are mostly solitary, so interspecific competition would not have ruled human/carnivore interactions. Some examples are provided to illustrate these interactions and the role of humans in regional faunal communities.