Community-wide character displacement in Miocene hyaenas
Article first published online: 9 OCT 2007
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 97–106, March 1996
How to Cite
WERDELIN, L. (1996), Community-wide character displacement in Miocene hyaenas. Lethaia, 29: 97–106. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.1996.tb01843.x
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 9 OCT 2007
Recent studies have found regularities in the pattern of distribution of dental parameters such as canine or carnassial length among sympatric carnivores. These regularities are taken to be indicative of community-wide character displacement. This study documents similar patterns in late Miocene and earliest Pliocene hyaenids from several localities in Eurasia and Africa. Statistical tests show ratios of lower carnassial total lengths and blade lengths between species to be suggestively equal among sympatric late Miocene hyaenas. Other measurements do not show this regular pattern. This finding mirrors that regarding modern canids in the Middle East, suggesting that a process leading to community-wide character displacement was in effect among these hyaenid taxa. Their response to this pattern suggests that they occupied a similar ecological role to modern canids. The causal basis for such a process is unknown but is suggested to lie in direct interspecific competition between carnivores rather than being a response to regularly spaced features of the environment.Character displacement, competition, Hyaenidae, Miocene, Eurasia, Africa.