Figure S1 and Tables S1-12 from Diversity and disparity of sparassodonts (metatheria) reveal non-analogue nature of ancient South American mammalian carnivore guilds
2017-12-11T12:51:07Z (GMT) by
This study investigates whether terrestrial mammalian carnivore guilds of ancient South America, which developed in relative isolation, were similar to those of other continents. We do so through analyses of clade diversification, ecomorphology and guild structure in the Sparassodonta, metatherians that were the predominant mammalian carnivores of pre-Pleistocene South America. Body mass and 16 characters of the dentition are used to quantify morphological diversity (disparity) in sparassodonts and to compare them to extant marsupial and placental carnivores and extinct North American carnivoramorphans. We also compare trophic diversity of the Early Miocene terrestrial carnivore guild of Santa Cruz, Argentina to that of 14 modern and fossil guilds from other continents. We find that sparassodonts had comparatively low ecomorphological disparity throughout their history and that South American carnivore palaeoguilds, as represented by that of Santa Cruz, Argentina, were unlike modern or fossil carnivore guilds of other continents in their lack of mesocarnivores and hypocarnivores. Our results add to a growing body of evidence highlighting non-analogue aspects of extinct South American mammals and illustrate the dramatic effects that historical contingency can have on the evolution of mammalian palaeocommunities.