Tag Archives: Mammals

The Evolution of Maximum Body Size of Terrestrial Mammals


The Evolution of Maximum Body Size of Terrestrial Mammals

Felisa A. Smith, Alison G. Boyer, James H. Brown, Daniel P. Costa, Tamar
Dayan, S. K. Morgan Ernest, Alistair R. Evans, Mikael Fortelius, John L.
Gittleman, Marcus J. Hamilton, Larisa E. Harding, Kari Lintulaakso, S.
Kathleen Lyons, Christy McCain, Jordan G. Okie, Juha J. Saarinen, Richard M.
Sibly, Patrick R. Stephens, Jessica Theodor, and Mark D. Uhen:

The Evolution of Maximum Body Size of Terrestrial Mammals

–Science: Vol. 330, no. 6008, pp. 1216-1219
26 November 2010, DOI: 10.1126/science.1194830


The extinction of dinosaurs at the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary was
the seminal event that opened the door for the subsequent diversification of
terrestrial mammals. Our compilation of maximum body size at the ordinal
level by sub-epoch shows a near-exponential increase after the K/Pg. On each
continent, the maximum size of mammals leveled off after 40 million years
ago and thereafter remained approximately constant. There was remarkable
congruence in the rate, trajectory, and upper limit across continents,
orders, and trophic guilds, despite differences in geological and climatic
history, turnover of lineages, and ecological variation. Our analysis
suggests that although the primary driver for the evolution of giant mammals
was diversification to fill ecological niches, environmental temperature and
land area may have ultimately constrained the maximum size achieved.

-Mikko Haaramo

Special lecture in Paleontology on 26.5

Björn Kurtén – club is proud to host another special lecture!
As the season’s last lecture, we have the pleasure to have Prof. Sophie Montuire from University of Bourgogne and EPHE Dijon present a talk titled:
Rodent’s biodiversity, evolution and emergence of phenotype
The talk will take place on the 26th of May (26.5.) at 16.00, in the Kumpula Campus, the Department of Geosciences and Geography, Physicum building, room C108.
after the talk there is some time for discussions and questions.
Everybody warmly Welcome!
Sophie Montuire is a specialist in rodent evolution. She is interested in paleontology and biodiversity focusing on the evolution of rodents in relation to biotic and abiotic factors. First, she seeks to understand the relationships between mammalian communities and climate (size and species richness). The observation of the species richness evolution through time allows us to constructing transfer functions in order to quantify climatic parameters. Second, she studies the relationships between shape and climate in rodents, and peculiarly in arvicolines. This sub-species shows a great variability of the tooth patterns both at intra-specific or inter-specific scales in relation to geography or environment during the Quaternary period. Finally, she tries to understand the mechanisms acting on the morphological variability (Evo-Devo) through morphometrical analyses leading to link developmental mechanisms with morphological variability (modularity) in arvicolines.  She works at Université de Bourgogne, and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Dijon as a Professor and director of studies.
Key references:
MONTUIRE, S. & BRUNET-LECOMTE, P. (2004). Relation between climatic fluctuation and morphological variability in Microtus (Terricola) grafi (Arvicolinae, Rodentia) from Bacho Kiro (Bulgaria, Upper Pleistocene). Lethaia, 37: 71-78.
MONTUIRE, S., MARIDET O. & LEGENDRE, S. (2006). Estimations of Late Neogene climates in Europe using rodents. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 238: 247-262.
RENVOISÉ E., EVANS A., JEBRANE A, LABRUÈRE C., LAFFONT R. & MONTUIRE S. (2009). Evolution of mammal tooth pattern: new insights from a developmental prediction model. Evolution 63: 1327-1340.
LAFFONT R., RENVOISÉ E., NAVARRO N., ALIBERT P., MONTUIRE S. (2009). Morphological modularity and assessment of developmental processes within the vole dental row (Microtus arvalis, Arvicolinae, Rodentia). Evolution & Development 11: 302-311.

Kurtén Club 27.4.

Dear all,

today, Majid Mirzaie Ataabadi will give a talk about

The Miocene of Western Asia; fossil mammals at the crossroad of faunal provinces and climate regimes

Time & Loc.:
16.00, 27.4.2010, C108 (Physicum)