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Journal Articles Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Year : 2005

Morphological evolution, ecological diversification and climate change in rodents

Abstract

Among rodents, the lineage from Progonomys hispanicus to Stephanomys documents a case of increasing size and dental specialization during an approximately 9 Myr time-interval. On the contrary, some contemporaneous generalist lineages like Apodemus show a limited morphological evolution. Dental shape can be related to diet and can be used to assess the ecological changes along the lineages. Consequently, size and shape of the first upper molar were measured in order to quantify the patterns of morphological evolution along both lineages and compare them to environmental trends. Climatic changes do not have a direct influence on evolution, but they open new ecological opportunities by changing vegetation and allow the evolution of a specialist like Stephanomys. On the other hand, environmental changes are not dramatic enough to destroy the habitat of a long-termgeneralist like Apodemus. Hence, our results exemplify a case of an influence of climate on the evolution of specialist species, although a generalist species may persist without change.

Dates and versions

halsde-00303591 , version 1 (22-07-2008)

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Sabrina Renaud, Jacques Michaux, Daniela N. Schmidt, Jean-Pierre Aguilar, Pierre Mein, et al.. Morphological evolution, ecological diversification and climate change in rodents. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 2005, 272, pp.609-617. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2004.2992⟩. ⟨halsde-00303591⟩
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