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Multiproxy evidence for leaf-browsing and closed habitats in extinct proboscideans (Mammalia, Proboscidea) from Central Chile

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González-Guarda, Erwin and Petermann-Pichincura, Alia and Tornero, Carlos and Domingo Martínez, Laura and Agustí, Jordi and Pino, Mario and Abarzúa, Ana M. and Capriles, José M. and Villavicencio, Natalia A. and Labarca, Rafael and Tolorza, Violeta and Rivals, Florent (2018) Multiproxy evidence for leaf-browsing and closed habitats in extinct proboscideans (Mammalia, Proboscidea) from Central Chile. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115 (37). pp. 9258-9263. ISSN 0027-8424, ESSN: 1091-6490

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Official URL: https://www.pnas.org/content/115/37/9258



Abstract

Proboscideans are so-called ecosystem engineers and are considered key players in hypotheses about Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions. However, knowledge about the autoecology and chronology of the proboscideans in South America is still open to debate and raises controversial views. Here, we used a range of multiproxy approaches and new radiocarbon datings to study the autoecology of Chilean gomphotheres, the only group of proboscideans to reach South America during the Great American Biotic Interchange (∼3.1 to 2.7 million years before present). As part of this study, we analyzed stable isotopes, dental microwear, and dental calculus microfossils on gomphothere molars from 30 Late Pleistocene sites (31° to 42°S). These proxies provided different scales of temporal resolution, which were then combined to assess the dietary and habitat patterns of these proboscideans. The multiproxy study suggests that most foraging took place in relatively closed environments. In Central Chile, there is a positive correlation between lower δ13C values and an increasing consumption of arboreal/scrub elements. Analyses of dental microwear and calculus microfossils have verified these leaf-browsing feeding habits. From a comparative perspective, the dietary pattern of South American gomphotheres appears to be constrained more by resource availability than by the potential dietary range of the individual taxa. This multiproxy study is aimed at increasing knowledge of the life history of gomphotheres and thus follows an issue considered one of the greatest challenges for paleontology in South America, recently pointed out by the need to thoroughly understand the role of ecological engineers before making predictions about the consequences of ecosystem defaunation.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:stable isotopes, dental calculus, dental microwear
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:51593
Deposited On:22 Feb 2019 18:41
Last Modified:25 Feb 2019 09:33

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