An alternative method for predicting body mass: the case of the Pleistocene marsupial lion

Wroe, Stephen, Myers, Troy, Seebacher, Frank, Kear, Ben, Gillespie, Anna, Crowther, Mathew and Salisbury, Steve (2003) An alternative method for predicting body mass: the case of the Pleistocene marsupial lion. Paleobiology, 29 3: 403-411. doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2003)029<0403:AAMFPB>2.0.CO;2

Author Wroe, Stephen
Myers, Troy
Seebacher, Frank
Kear, Ben
Gillespie, Anna
Crowther, Mathew
Salisbury, Steve
Title An alternative method for predicting body mass: the case of the Pleistocene marsupial lion
Journal name Paleobiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0094-8373
Publication date 2003-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1666/0094-8373(2003)029<0403:AAMFPB>2.0.CO;2
Volume 29
Issue 3
Start page 403
End page 411
Total pages 9
Place of publication California
Publisher Paleontological Society Inc
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Subject C1
260112 Palaeontology
780105 Biological sciences
0602 Ecology
Abstract Accurate estimates of body mass in fossil taxa are fundamental to paleobiological reconstruction. Predictive equations derived from correlation with craniodental and body mass data in extant taxa are the most commonly used, but they can be unreliable for species whose morphology departs widely from that of living relatives. Estimates based on proximal limb-bone circumference data are more accurate but are inapplicable where postcranial remains are unknown. In this study we assess the efficacy of predicting body mass in Australian fossil marsupials by using an alternative correlate, endocranial volume. Body mass estimates for a species with highly unusual craniodental anatomy, the Pleistocene marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex), fall within the range determined on the basis of proximal limb-bone circumference data, whereas estimates based on dental data are highly dubious. For all marsupial taxa considered, allometric relationships have small confidence intervals, and percent prediction errors are comparable to those of the best predictors using craniodental data. Although application is limited in some respects, this method may provide a useful means of estimating body mass for species with atypical craniodental or postcranial morphologies and taxa unrepresented by postcranial remains. A trend toward increased encephalization may constrain the method's predictive power with respect to many, but not all, placental clades.
Keyword Biodiversity Conservation
Evolutionary Biology
Extinct Mammals
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 02:24:10 EST