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Evolution of community composition in several carnivore palaeoguilds from the European Pleistocene: the role of interspecific competition

Authors

  • NURIA GARCÍA,

  • EMILIO VIRGÓS


Nuria García [ngarcia@isciii.es], Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, California 94720-3160, USA and Departamento de Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Centro mixto (UCM-ISCIII) de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos, C/Sinesio Delgado 4, Pab. 14, E-28029 – Madrid, Spain; and Emilio Virgós [emilio.virgos@urjc.es], Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología, Departamento de Matemáticas, Física Aplicada y Ciencias de la Naturaleza, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, C/Tulipán s/n. E-28933 Móstoles, Spain.

Abstract

This study focuses on ecological processes such as competition or predation from an evolutionary perspective. First, we attempt to test the idea that species with similar feeding requirements tend to coexist by separating morphologically or behaviourally. Then, the Barton–David test was applied to several carnivore communities (felids and canids) separated in time. Although the preservation bias of the fossil record renders our conclusions tentative, the general equal size–ratio pattern in most of the guilds examined indicates that inter-specific competition for prey species seems to be a good candidate to explain the evolution of guild composition and morphological traits throughout the Pleistocene for the two groups considered, felids and canids.

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