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广东省快乐十分开奖:Assembly of modern mammal community structure driven by Late Cretaceous dental evolution, rise of flowering plants, and dinosaur demise
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Amazing fossil discoveries over the last 30 years have led to the paleontological consensus that some Mesozoic mammaliaforms underwent ecomorphological diversification in the midst of dinosaurs. However, the ecological structure of Mesozoic mammaliaform communities remains unclear. Here, we quantify the ecological structure of extinct and extant small-bodied mammaliaform communities aiming to identify evolutionary and ecological drivers that have influenced those communities through time. We used body size, diet, and locomotion of constituent species to plot ecospace occupation and calculate ecological richness and disparity of those communities. We propose that the interplay of Late Cretaceous dental evolution, the rise of angiosperms, and competition with other vertebrates were critical in shaping the ecological structure of small-bodied mammaliaform communities through time.
The long-standing view that Mesozoic mammaliaforms living in dinosaur-dominated ecosystems were ecologically constrained to small size and insectivory has been challenged by astonishing fossil discoveries over the last three decades. By studying these well-preserved early mammaliaform specimens, paleontologists now agree that mammaliaforms underwent ecomorphological diversification during the Mesozoic Era. This implies that Mesozoic mammaliaform communities had ecological structure and breadth that were comparable to today’s small-bodied mammalian communities. However, this hypothesis remains untested in part because the primary focus of most studies is on individual taxa. Here, we present a study quantifying the ecological structure of Mesozoic mammaliaform communities with the aim of identifying evolutionary and ecological drivers that influenced the deep-time assembly of small-bodied mammaliaform communities. We used body size, dietary preference, and locomotor mode to establish the ecospace occupation of 98 extant, small-bodied mammalian communities from diverse biomes around the world. We calculated ecological disparity and ecological richness to measure the magnitude of ecological differences among species in a community and the number of different eco-cells occupied by species of a community, respectively. This modern dataset served as a reference for analyzing five exceptionally preserved, extinct mammaliaform communities (two Jurassic, two Cretaceous, one Eocene) from Konservat-Lagerst?tten. Our results indicate that the interplay of at least three factors, namely the evolution of the tribosphenic molar, the ecological rise of angiosperms, and potential competition with other vertebrates, may have been critical in shaping the ecological structure of small-bodied mammaliaform communities through time.
- Mesozoic mammaliaform
- mammal community
- ecological structure
- tribosphenic molar
- angiosperm diversification
- ?1To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: or .
Author contributions: M.C. and G.P.W. designed research; M.C., C.A.E.S., and G.P.W. performed research; M.C., C.A.E.S., and G.P.W. analyzed data; and M.C., C.A.E.S., and G.P.W. wrote the paper.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1820863116/-/DCSupplemental.
Published under the PNAS license.