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Quaternary Mammal Communities: Relevance of the Individualistic Response and Non-Analogue Faunas

  • Russell W. Graham (a1)

Abstract

Frequent and repeated climate fluctuations of the late Quaternary serve as a “natural experiment” for the response of species to environmental change. Analysis of the FAUNMAP database documents individualistic shifts in the geographic distributions for late Quaternary mammals. However, because the individualistic response is not necessarily random and because many species share similar niche parameters, it is possible that some species appear to form coherent groups of core species. In reality their dispersals are individualistic with regard to rate and timing. The individualistic response of mammals, as well as that of other organisms, has created late Quaternary communities without modern analogues. This concept has profound implications for the design of biological reserves and for land use management with respect to future global climate change. However, the relevance of non-analogue mammal communities has been challenged by Alroy (1999), who claims that non-analogue associations were not common in the Quaternary and that they appeared to occur in both the Pleistocene and Holocene. Reexamination of his analysis shows that he employed a different definition for non-analogue faunas and that his methods of analyses created artificially low counts of non-analogue communities and consequently an underestimate of their importance.

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Quaternary Mammal Communities: Relevance of the Individualistic Response and Non-Analogue Faunas

  • Russell W. Graham (a1)

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