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Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises

Julia Joos Orcid Logo, Catalina Pimiento Orcid Logo, Donald B. Miles Orcid Logo, Johannes Müller Orcid Logo

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Volume: 289, Issue: 1987

Swansea University Author: Catalina Pimiento Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1098/rspb.2022.1947

Abstract

The late Quaternary is characterized by the extinction of many terrestrial megafauna, which included tortoises (Family: Testudinidae). However, limited information is available on how extinction shaped the phenotype of surviving taxa. Here, based on a global dataset of straight carapace length, we i...

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Published in: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
ISSN: 0962-8452 1471-2954
Published: The Royal Society 2022
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa61939
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spelling 2022-11-22T18:09:13.9204885 v2 61939 2022-11-16 Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises 7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f 0000-0002-5320-7246 Catalina Pimiento Catalina Pimiento true false 2022-11-16 SBI The late Quaternary is characterized by the extinction of many terrestrial megafauna, which included tortoises (Family: Testudinidae). However, limited information is available on how extinction shaped the phenotype of surviving taxa. Here, based on a global dataset of straight carapace length, we investigate the temporal variation, spatial distribution and evolution of tortoise body size over the past 23 million years, thereby capturing the effects of Quaternary extinctions in this clade. We found a significant change in body size distribution characterized by a reduction of both mean body size and maximum body size of extant tortoises relative to fossil taxa. This reduction of body size occurred earlier in mainland (Early Pleistocene 2.588–0.781 Ma) than in island tortoises (Late Pleistocene/Holocene 0.126–0 Ma). Despite contrasting body size patterns between fossil and extant taxa on a spatial scale, tortoise body size showed limited variation over time until this decline. Body size is a fundamental functional trait determining many aspects of species ecologies, with large tortoises playing key roles as ecosystem engineers. As such, the transition from larger sized to smaller sized classes indicated by our findings likely resulted in the homogenization of tortoises' ecological functions and diminished the role of tortoises in structuring the vegetation community. Journal Article Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 289 1987 The Royal Society 0962-8452 1471-2954 ate Quaternary extinction, size-biasedextinction, body size reduction, Testudinidae,carapace length, trait variation 30 11 2022 2022-11-30 10.1098/rspb.2022.1947 COLLEGE NANME Biosciences COLLEGE CODE SBI Swansea University Not Required PRIMA grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 185798). 2022-11-22T18:09:13.9204885 2022-11-16T13:01:46.1325388 Faculty of Science and Engineering School of Biosciences, Geography and Physics - Biosciences Julia Joos 0000-0003-0454-9108 1 Catalina Pimiento 0000-0002-5320-7246 2 Donald B. Miles 0000-0001-5768-179x 3 Johannes Müller 0000-0001-5801-856x 4 61939__25872__f3e5326e861f48679b971727227e32c7.pdf 61939.pdf 2022-11-22T17:13:14.8206392 Output 213702 application/pdf Accepted Manuscript true Released under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) true eng https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
title Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
spellingShingle Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
Catalina Pimiento
title_short Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
title_full Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
title_fullStr Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
title_full_unstemmed Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
title_sort Quaternary megafauna extinctions altered body size distribution in tortoises
author_id_str_mv 7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f
author_id_fullname_str_mv 7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f_***_Catalina Pimiento
author Catalina Pimiento
author2 Julia Joos
Catalina Pimiento
Donald B. Miles
Johannes Müller
format Journal article
container_title Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
container_volume 289
container_issue 1987
publishDate 2022
institution Swansea University
issn 0962-8452
1471-2954
doi_str_mv 10.1098/rspb.2022.1947
publisher The Royal Society
college_str Faculty of Science and Engineering
hierarchytype
hierarchy_top_id facultyofscienceandengineering
hierarchy_top_title Faculty of Science and Engineering
hierarchy_parent_id facultyofscienceandengineering
hierarchy_parent_title Faculty of Science and Engineering
department_str School of Biosciences, Geography and Physics - Biosciences{{{_:::_}}}Faculty of Science and Engineering{{{_:::_}}}School of Biosciences, Geography and Physics - Biosciences
document_store_str 1
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description The late Quaternary is characterized by the extinction of many terrestrial megafauna, which included tortoises (Family: Testudinidae). However, limited information is available on how extinction shaped the phenotype of surviving taxa. Here, based on a global dataset of straight carapace length, we investigate the temporal variation, spatial distribution and evolution of tortoise body size over the past 23 million years, thereby capturing the effects of Quaternary extinctions in this clade. We found a significant change in body size distribution characterized by a reduction of both mean body size and maximum body size of extant tortoises relative to fossil taxa. This reduction of body size occurred earlier in mainland (Early Pleistocene 2.588–0.781 Ma) than in island tortoises (Late Pleistocene/Holocene 0.126–0 Ma). Despite contrasting body size patterns between fossil and extant taxa on a spatial scale, tortoise body size showed limited variation over time until this decline. Body size is a fundamental functional trait determining many aspects of species ecologies, with large tortoises playing key roles as ecosystem engineers. As such, the transition from larger sized to smaller sized classes indicated by our findings likely resulted in the homogenization of tortoises' ecological functions and diminished the role of tortoises in structuring the vegetation community.
published_date 2022-11-30T04:16:03Z
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