Isotopic paleoecology of the Pleistocene megamammals from the Brazilian Intertropical Region: Feeding ecology (δ 13 C), niche breadth and overlap

Citation data:

Quaternary Science Reviews, ISSN: 0277-3791, Vol: 170, Page: 152-163

Publication Year:
2017
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DOI:
10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.06.030
Author(s):
Mário André Trindade Dantas; Alexander Cherkinsky; Hervé Bocherens; Morgana Drefahl; Camila Bernardes; Lucas de Melo França
Publisher(s):
Elsevier BV
Tags:
Environmental Science; Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences; Earth and Planetary Sciences
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article description
The extinct megamammals Eremotherium laurillardi (weight 6550 kg), Notiomastodon platensis (w = 6000 kg), Toxodon platensis (w = 3090 kg), Valgipes bucklandi (w = 980 kg) and Equus ( Amerhippus ) neogaeus (w = 370 kg) are recorded for the late Pleistocene of the Brazilian Intertropical Region. In order to evaluate the isotopic paleoecology (feeding diet, niche breadth and overlap) of these species, 14 C dates, δ 13 C and δ 18 O analyzes were performed. Our results suggest that E. laurillardi ( μ δ 13 C = −4.35 ± 2.87‰; μB A  = 0.77 ± 0.25), T. platensis ( μ δ 13 C = −5.74 ± 4.80‰; μB A  = 0.57 ± 0.40) and N. platensis ( μ δ 13 C = −1.17 ± 2.76‰; μB A  = 0.56 ± 0.20) were mixed feeders with a wide niche breadth, while E. ( A. ) neogaeus ( μ δ 13 C = 0.73 ± 1.19‰; μB A  = 0.38 ± 0.22) was a grazer, and V. bucklandi (δ 13 C = −10.17‰; B A  = 0.13) was a specialist browser. A narrow niche overlap occurred between V. bucklandi and the species that fed principally on C 4 plants (>70%; O  = 0.24–0.43). In contrast, there was a high niche overlap between E. neogaeus and N. platensis ( O  = 0.75) and between E. laurillardi and T. platensis ( O  = 0.86). Therefore, E. laurillardi was probably a key species in this Pleistocene community due to its high body weight and wide niche breadth, suggesting that E. laurillardi was a great competitor for resources in the BIR.