UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Feeding biomechanics reveals niche differentiation related to insular gigantism

Hennekam, Jesse J; HERRIDGE, Victoria L; Cox, Philip G; (2023) Feeding biomechanics reveals niche differentiation related to insular gigantism. Evolution: International Journal of Organic Evolution , Article qpad041. 10.1093/evolut/qpad041. (In press). Green open access

[thumbnail of FEA-dormice_acc-online.pdf]
Preview
PDF
FEA-dormice_acc-online.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Insular gigantism is an evolutionary phenomenon whereby small animals become bigger on islands compared to their mainland relatives. The abundance of insular giant taxa in the fossil record suggests the presence of a universal “giant niche” present on islands, with resource limitation as a potential driver for this process. However, insular habitats are ecologically diverse, suggesting that island taxa adopt different survival strategies, including adaptations for foraging behaviours. Here we used finite element analysis to evaluate insular feeding niche adaptations in some of the most extreme examples of insular gigantism: Mediterranean giant dormice. We calculated stress, strain and mechanical advantage during incisor and molar biting for three extinct insular giant species (Leithia melitensis, Hypnomys morpheus, H. onicensis), an extant giant (Eliomys quercinus ophiusae), and their extant non-giant mainland relative, the generalist-feeder Eliomys quercinus. Our results show that dietary adaptations vary between giant taxa on different islands, and can occur relatively rapidly. Furthermore, the functional mandibular morphology in some insular taxa indicate adaptations moving away from a generalist feeding strategy towards greater trophic specialization. We show that the “insular giant niche” varies between islands and across time periods, arguing against a universal ecological driver for insular gigantism in small mammals.

Type: Article
Title: Feeding biomechanics reveals niche differentiation related to insular gigantism
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/evolut/qpad041
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/evolut/qpad041
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com
Keywords: Insular Gigantism, Finite Element Analysis, Island Evolution, Dormice, Leithia, Hypnomys
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10166201
Downloads since deposit
58Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item