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Why are there so many giants, including giant squirrels, in the Old World tropics?

Borges, Renee M (2008) Why are there so many giants, including giant squirrels, in the Old World tropics? In: Current Science, 95 (7). pp. 866-870.

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Abstract

Patterns of body size evolution have long intrigued biologists. One striking pattern is that the Palaeotropics have larger-sized vertebrate herbivores, especially frugivores, compared to the Neotropics. Various explanations have been offered for this pattern, among which are historical and ecological processes. However, it is insufficient to investigate body size evolution in single phyla alone; guilds or communities of interacting taxa have to be considered, even extinct ones, in order to understand present-day patterns. Therefore, the spatio-temporal availability of resources, the physiognomy, chemistry and productivity of forests, trophic competitors and predators, as well as available time and space on evolutionary scales, are determinants of extant patterns. Palaeo-community ecology must become an important research focus in body size evolution. Palaeoecology must be brought to bear on present ecology, to explain why vertebrates, including squirrels, are giants in the Old World compared to the New.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: copyright of this article belongs to Current Science Association
Keywords: Body size evolution;community ecology;ecological clock;frugivory;palaeoecology;Ratufa.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2008 19:57
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:52
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/16481

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