ERCOLI marcos dario
The Structure of the Mammalian Predator Guild in the Santa Cruz Formation (Late Early Miocene)
ERCOLI, MARCOS DARÍO; PREVOSTI, FRANCISCO JUAN; FORASIEPI, ANALÍA M.
JOURNAL OF MAMMALIAN EVOLUTION
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2014 vol. 21 p. 369 - 381
The Santa Cruz Formation (late early Miocene, Santacrucian age) registers 11 species of mammalian predators (Metatheria, Sparassodonta). Together with large carnivorous flightless birds, they comprised the terrestrial predator guild. The Santacrucian sparassodonts were diverse in body size, had different locomotory habits, and were primarily hypercarnivores. The objective of this work is to analyze the guild structure of the sparassodonts of the Santa Cruz Formation, using the variables of body mass, diet, and locomotion as proxies. Furthermore, we analyze the interaction with other predators and potential prey. The univariated test V of Poole and Rathcke and the multivariated test of Clark-Evans were used to construct the models. In the multivariate test, we made a Principal Component Analysis to resume and standardize the variables. With body mass and locomotion we obtained an evenly spaced pattern of segregation for the sparassodont species, being non-significant and significant, respectively. The pattern was aggregated and significant only with diet. The analysis of all variables together resulted in an evenly spaced and significant pattern, which is consistent with character displacements (segregation of species throughout the morphospace) that would help to diminish interspecific competition during the Santacrucian age and would allow selection of prey species of different sizes and substrate specializations. When the body size pattern of predator birds and sparassodonts were plotted together, the pattern is evenly spaced and non-significant. Other factors, including locomotion, would differentiate these species and their ecological niches.