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Proc Biol Sci. 1998 Jan 22;265(1391):113-9.

Body size and species-richness in carnivores and primates.

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1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996-1610, USA.

Abstract

We use complete species-level phylogenies of extant Carnivora and Primates to perform the first thorough phylogenetic tests, in mammals, of the hypothesis that small body size is associated with species-richness. Our overall results, based on comparisons between sister clades, indicate a weak tendency for lineages with smaller bodies to contain more species. The tendency is much stronger within caniform carnivores (canids, procyonids, pinnipeds, ursids and mustelids), perhaps relating to the dietary flexibility and hence lower extinction rates in small, meat-eating species. We find significant heterogeneity in the size-diversity relationship within and among carnivore families. There is no significant association between body mass and species-richness in primates or feliform carnivores. Although body size is implicated as a correlate of species-richness in mammals, much of the variation in diversity cannot be attributed to size differences.

PMID:
9474795
PMCID:
PMC1688864
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.1998.0271
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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