TITLE

Mortality in a Predator-free Insular Environment: the Dwarf Deer of Crete

AUTHOR(S)
van der Geer, Alexandra A. E.; Lyras, George A.; MacPhee, Ross D. E.; Lomolino, Mark; Drinia, Hara
PUB. DATE
June 2014
SOURCE
American Museum Novitates;6/30/2014, Issue 3807, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Age-graded fossils of Pleistocene endemic Cretan deer ( Candiacervus spp.) reveal unexpectedly high juvenile mortality similar to that reported for extant mainland ruminants, despite the fact that these deer lived in a predator-free environment and became extinct before any plausible date for human arrival. Age profiles show that deer surviving past the fawn stage were relatively long-lived for ruminants, indicating that high juvenile mortality was not an expression of their living a 'fast' life. Although the effects on survivorship of such variables as fatal accidents, starvation, and disease are difficult to gauge in extinct taxa, the presence of extreme morphological variability within nominal species/ecomorphs of Candiacervus is consistent with the view that high juvenile mortality can function as a key innovation permitting rapid adaptation in insular contexts.
ACCESSION #
97130872

 

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