MORALES miriam mariana
congresos y reuniones científicas
Ecomorphology of the African felid assemblage: the role of the postcranium in understanding species segregation
Punta del Este
Congreso; 9th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology; 2010
Institución organizadora:
International Society of Vertebrate Morphologists
Ten of the 41 species of extant felids inhabit Africa, occupying all habitats available in the continent, from deserts (Felis margarita) to tropical forests (e.g., Profelis aurata). Felids are specialized carnivorans with a conservative morphology within the family. They share a short rostrum, strong canines, robust carnassials and zygomatic arches, and retractile claws. Most previous morphological studies dealt with skull morphology or specific bones of the postcranium. This is the first attempt to analyze a set of morphofunctional variables from the whole skeleton of felids in order to interpret patterns at the level of the whole African felid guild. To this end, we defined 124 linear measurements (31 cranial and 93 postcranial) selected to reflect variation in size, shape and function of skeletal elements that correlate with the trophic and locomotor function. A total of 43 skulls and 17 complete postcrania representing all African species were measured. We used Principal Component Analysis to describe the variation in cranial and postcranial morphology, both separate and in combination. We used a phylogenetic comparative method, Canonical Phylogenetic Ordination, to determine the morphofunctional variation explained by phylogeny. The felid species segregated only partially in the skull-based morphospace; ecological data (i.e., prey size and habitat) are needed to support a hypothesis of species segregation. When the postcranial information is added to the analysis, none of the species overlap, which is consistent with division of resources at a continental scale among closely related, antagonistic predators.