Robert Feranec Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, NYSM

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TOTALLY AWESOME: Extreme Evolution in Mammals—YEAH!! (with fist pump). Robert Feranec Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, NYSM. EXTREME!!!. Who’s the Biggest?. Who’s the Smallest?. Who’s the Baddest?. Best Common Name?. Best Scientific Name?. Who’s the Biggest?: Paraceratherium. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Robert Feranec Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, NYSM

  • Robert FeranecCurator of Vertebrate Paleontology, NYSMTOTALLY AWESOME: Extreme Evolution in MammalsYEAH!! (with fist pump)

  • EXTREME!!!Whos the Biggest?Whos the Smallest?Whos the Baddest?Best Common Name?Best Scientific Name?

  • Whos the Biggest?:ParaceratheriumAge: 30 million years agoHeight: upto 23 feet tall (15 feet at shoulder)Weight: upto 20 tons EXTREME!!!

  • Whos the Smallest?:BatodonoidesAge: 53 million years agoHeight: smallWeight: 1.3 grams EXTREME!!!

  • Best Scientific Name?:Sunkahetanka pahinsintewakpa Age: 28 million years agoWeight: 20 kgs EXTREME!!!Hesperocyonidae (distant canid relative)

  • Best Common Name?:Gunthers Dik DikAge: ModernHeight: upto 40 cmWeight: upto 5 kgs EXTREME!!!


  • Head GearEXTREME!!!

  • Why Head Gear?Defense: Combat: Mate Recognition: Ornamentation: EXTREME!!!

  • EXTREME!!!Natural SelectionDifferential survival and reproduction

  • Sexual SelectionCertain evolutionary traits are the result of intraspecific competitionIntrasexual Competition: Generally Male-Male competition, female mates with the winnerIntersexual Competition: Female ChoiceEXTREME!!!

  • Types of Head Gear?Ossicones: Horns: Antlers: Pronghorns: EXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: OssiconesEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: OssiconesFossilsSivatherium~8,000 years agoSamotherium~4 million years agoEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: HornsEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: HornsFossilsHoplitomeryxSyndocerasSynthetocerasBison latifronsEXTREME!!!Cranioceras

  • Head Gear: HornsFossilsArsinoitherium (from Egypt)Age: 35 MaHeight: ~7 feet at shoulderEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: HornsFossilsEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: HornsFossils: BrontotheriidaeEXTREME!!!

  • Mylagaulid rodentsWhy do they have those crazy horns?30-5 MaNorth AmericaEXTREME!!!

  • Mylagaulid EcologyHerbivorousBody size: ~ 0.5-5 kg.Fossorial (burrowing), but how?One of the only fossorial animals with hornsMillions of years agoEXTREME!!!

  • Fossorial adaptation in rodentsFigure from Stein 2000Scratch digging

    Chisel tooth digging

    Head lift diggingEXTREME!!!

  • Head digging in mylagaulidsFeatures consistent with head-digging:Thickened, projecting nasal bones Tall, forward-tilted occipital plateShortened skullPowerful forelimbsEXTREME!!!Likely evolved from head-lift diggers

  • Why horns?Possible uses of horns:Species recognitionDiggingSexual display/combatDefense


  • Horns : digging implementIn favor:Higher occipital plate with taller hornsAgainst:Position, orientation of hornsChange in horns through timeIncreases force needed to digCONCLUSION: unlikelyEXTREME!!!

  • Horns : sexual display/combatNot sexually dimorphicLack of visual abilityDisplay useless undergroundOrientation of horns CONCLUSION: unlikelyEXTREME!!!

  • Horns : defensePassive or active defensePredator diversity: mustelids (weasels and stoats), snakes?CONCLUSION: Likely, consistent with available evidence.EXTREME!!!

  • Hornsor Not HornsCoelodontaLate Pleistocene (~20,000 years ago)EuropeEXTREME!!!

  • NOT true hornsCoelodontaLate Pleistocene (~20,000 years ago)EuropeEXTREME!!!

  • Hornsor Not HornsEXTREME!!!

  • HornsEXTREME!!!

  • Hornsor Not HornsNarwhal (modern)EXTREME!!!

  • NOT HornsEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: PronghornsAntilocapra americanaEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: PronghornsFossilsMerycodus15 MyaRamoceros12 MyaIlingoceros8 MyaEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: AntlersEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: AntlersEXTREME!!!

  • Head Gear: AntlersFossilsMegaloceros giganteus~10000 years agoEach antler is 6ft longEXTREME!!!

  • Antlers and


  • Antlers andSaberteeth!!!MoschusModernEXTREME!!!

  • Why Head Gear?Defense: Combat: Mate Recognition: Ornamentation: EXTREME!!!

  • Evolution of saberteethThylacosmilusSmilodonEusmilusMachaerodus Machaeroides HomotheriumEXTREME!!!

  • From Akersten 1985EXTREME!!!Eating!

  • HomotheriumSmilodonIs the evolution of the sabertooth convergent evolution or parallel evolution?

  • Convergent Evolution vs. Parallel Evolution?

    Convergent Evolution: describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.

    Parallel Evolution: the development of a similar trait in different not closely related species (that is in species of a different clade), but descending from the same ancestor.

  • Question: How do we distinguish how closely an organism is related? How to Solve this? Hall (2003) Biological Reviews

  • Question: How do we distinguish how closely an organism is related? How to Solve this? Convergence: Similarity arising through independent evolution having different developmental pathways Parallelism: A feature present in closely related organisms but not present continuously in all members of the lineage, and uses similar developmental pathways.Hall (2003) Biological Reviews

  • Evolution of saberteethHow do they develop?ThylacosmilusMachaerodus EXTREME!!!

  • You are what you eatand drink

  • Isotopes in modern precipitationd18OSMOWAugustJanuaryJanuaryFLAGSTAFF, AZ 1961-1963From IAEA GNIP Database+d18O-d18OOxygen Isotopes(Isotope: same # of P, E- but different # of N)

  • +d18O-d18OSummerSummerWinterPredicted cyclicity in oxygen isotope values of enamel carbonateTipBase

  • +d18O-d18OTipBase12 monthsPredicted cyclicity in oxygen isotope values of enamel carbonate25mm85mm60 mm

  • d18O valued18O valueIsotope values forS. fatalisDistance from enamel-root contact (mm)Average: 66 mm / 12 months = 5.5 mm per monthFeranec, in prep





















    Isotope No.TaxonLengthd13Cd18O

    RSF0022ASmilodon fatalis (1)8-11.9-4.2

    RSF0022BSmilodon fatalis (1)11-11.7-4.2

    RSF0022CSmilodon fatalis (1)16-10.9-3.8

    RSF0022DSmilodon fatalis (1)20-11.1-3.7

    RSF0022ESmilodon fatalis (1)23-10.5-3.3

    RSF0022FSmilodon fatalis (1)26-11-3.3

    RSF0022GSmilodon fatalis (1)29-9.8-3.1

    RSF0022HSmilodon fatalis (1)34-9.2-3

    RSF0022ISmilodon fatalis (1)40-11-3.1

    RSF0022JSmilodon fatalis (1)42-9.9-2.9

    RSF0022KSmilodon fatalis (1)44-10.7-3.1

    RSF0022LSmilodon fatalis (1)48-9.8-3.4

    RSF0022MSmilodon fatalis (1)52-10-3.9

    RSF0022NSmilodon fatalis (1)57-9.3-4.3

    RSF0022OSmilodon fatalis (1)59-9.1-4.5

    RSF0022PSmilodon fatalis (1)63-8.8-4.7

    RSF0022QSmilodon fatalis (1)65-8.8-5

    RSF0022RSmilodon fatalis (1)68-8.8-4.8

    RSF0022SSmilodon fatalis (1)71-8.8-5

    RSF 0108ASmilodon fatalis (2)17-11.6-3.4

    RSF 0108BSmilodon fatalis (2)20-12.1-3.9

    RSF 0108CSmilodon fatalis (2)24-12.4-3.9

    RSF 0108DSmilodon fatalis (2)28-11.1-3.4

    RSF 0108ESmilodon fatalis (2)31-11.3-2.8

    RSF 0108FSmilodon fatalis (2)35-12.3-3.2

    RSF 0108GSmilodon fatalis (2)39-10.9-3.1

    RSF 0108HSmilodon fatalis (2)42-10.8-2.8

    RSF 0108ISmilodon fatalis (2)48-11.7-2.5

    RSF 0108JSmilodon fatalis (2)50-9.5-3

    RSF 0108KSmilodon fatalis (2)54-11-2.8

    RSF 0108LSmilodon fatalis (2)58-11-3.8

    RSF 0108MSmilodon fatalis (2)61-11.1-3.9

    RSF 0108NSmilodon fatalis (2)65-9.6-4.8

    RSF 0108OSmilodon fatalis (2)71-11.6-5.1

    RSF 0108PSmilodon fatalis (2)77-9.7-5.5

    RSF 0108QSmilodon fatalis (2)82-15.1-8

    RSF 0108RSmilodon fatalis (2)86-11.2-5.8

    RSF 0110APanthera leo3-5.81.1

    RSF 0110BPanthera leo6-5.81.2

    RSF 0110CPanthera leo9-61

    RSF 0110DPanthera leo13-61.1

    RSF 0110EPanthera leo17-6.41.3

    RSF 0110FPanthera leo22-6.60.9

    RSF 0110GPanthera leo27-6.90.9

    RSF 0110HPanthera leo33-6.90.5

    RSF 0110IPanthera leo37-7.40

    RSF 0110JPanthera leo47-7.60.2

    0325ASmilodon fatalis (3)16-11.6-7.2

    0325BSmilodon fatalis (3)18-11.3-6.8

    0325CSmilodon fatalis (3)22-10.6-6.5

    0325DSmilodon fatalis (3)26-11.2-6.5

    0325ESmilodon fatalis (3)28-11.3-6.5

    0325FSmilodon fatalis (3)33-12.2-6.3

    0325GSmilodon fatalis (3)37-12.6-5.9

    0325HSmilodon fatalis (3)41-13.4-6.1

    0325ISmilodon fatalis (3)46-13.7-5.9

    0325JSmilodon fatalis (3)49-13.1-5.8

    0325KSmilodon fatalis (3)52-13.5-5.5

    0325LSmilodon fatalis (3)57-13.5-5.4

    0325MSmilodon fatalis (3)61-13.6-5

    0325NSmilodon fatalis (3)66-14-5.6

    0325OSmilodon fatalis (3)71-13.7-6.2

    0325PSmilodon fatalis (3)75-14-6.2

    0325QSmilodon fatalis (3)80-13.7-6.7

    0325RSmilodon fatalis (3)83-13.2-6.9

    0325sSmilodon fatalis (3)86-13.8-6.9

    0325TSmilodon fatalis (3)90-13.1-7.3

    0344aFelis Atrox2-8.7-6.6

    0344bFelis Atrox5-10.2-6.2

    0344cFelis Atrox6-10.3-6

    0344dFelis Atrox9-9.5-6.8

    0344eFelis Atrox11-8.5-7

    0344fFelis Atrox14-8.4-7.3

    0344gFelis Atrox16-8.8-7.3

    0344hFelis Atrox20-10.4-7.6

    0344IFelis Atrox25-9.1-8.1

    0344JFelis Atrox27-10.1-7.7

    0344KFelis Atrox30-10.2-6.8

    0344LFelis Atrox36-9.7-6.6

    0349AHomotherium serum4-14-5.7

    0349BHomotherium serum7..

    0349CHomotherium serum11..

    0349DHomotherium serum15-14.2-6.8

    0349EHomotherium serum18-14.3-7.3

    0349FHomotherium serum21-14.5-6.9

    0349GHomotherium serum24-14.6-7.1

    0349HHomotherium serum28..

    0349IHomotherium serum35-15-5.7

    0349JHomotherium serum41-15.3-6.5

    RSF 0109ASmilodon gracilis6-8.3-0.4

    RSF 0109BSmilodon g