Widespread loss of mammalian lineage and dietary diversity in the early Oligocene of Afro-Arabia

de Vries, D, Heritage, S, Borths, MR, Sallam, HM and Seiffert, ER 2021, 'Widespread loss of mammalian lineage and dietary diversity in the early Oligocene of Afro-Arabia' , Communications Biology, 4 (1) , p. 1172.

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Diverse lines of geological and geochemical evidence indicate that the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT) marked the onset of a global cooling phase, rapid growth of the Antarctic ice sheet, and a worldwide drop in sea level. Paleontologists have established that shifts in mammalian community structure in Europe and Asia were broadly coincident with these events, but the potential impact of early Oligocene climate change on the mammalian communities of Afro-Arabia has long been unclear. Here we employ dated phylogenies of multiple endemic Afro-Arabian mammal clades (anomaluroid and hystricognath rodents, anthropoid and strepsirrhine primates, and carnivorous hyaenodonts) to investigate lineage diversification and loss since the early Eocene. These analyses provide evidence for widespread mammalian extinction in the early Oligocene of Afro-Arabia, with almost two-thirds of peak late Eocene diversity lost in these clades by ~30 Ma. Using homology-free dental topographic metrics, we further demonstrate that the loss of Afro-Arabian rodent and primate lineages was associated with a major reduction in molar occlusal topographic disparity, suggesting a correlated loss of dietary diversity. These results raise new questions about the relative importance of global versus local influences in shaping the evolutionary trajectories of Afro-Arabia‘s endemic mammals during the Oligocene.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Communications Biology
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 2399 3642
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Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), U.S. National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Leakey Foundation
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2021 07:27
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 16:42
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61908

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