Evolution: The diet of African suids

SÉMINAIRE / SEMINAR

Evolution: an international research seminar in eastern Africa.
Paleobiodiversity, paleobiology, prehistory, paleoenvironments

(2015-2016)

8ème séance / 8th session: Environmental constraints and iterative convergent adaptations to grass-rich diets in Neogene and Quaternary African suids: An overview of morphological and ecological data, par/by Antoine SOURON (PACEA, UMR 5199/LabEx Sciences Archéologiques de Bordeaux)

Mercredi 10 août 2016 (16-17h30) / Wednesday 10 August 2016 (4:00 PM-5:30 PM). Lieu / Venue: Auditorium of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage

Organisation: CFEE & Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage (Heritage Collection & Laboratory Service Directorate, Heritage Training Unit).

Environmental constraints and iterative convergent adaptations to grass-rich diets in Neogene and Quaternary African suids: An overview of morphological and ecological data, par/by Antoine SOURON (PACEA, UMR 5199/LabEx Sciences Archéologiques de Bordeaux)

Figure -low res(1)

Against a background of climatic and environmental changes (tendency to aridity and expansion of savannas dominated by C4 grasses), Neogene and Quaternary African tropical ecosystems witnessed iterative convergent adaptations of mammals to diets dominated by herbaceous plants, and notably in several groups of suids (relatives of the pigs). Similar morphological changes of the skull and teeth are observed in different clades of suids: an increase in body mass, length and height of third molars, and a reduction of incisors and premolars. Those morphological changes are potentially linked to an increase in the proportion of grass in the diet. An overview of morphological and ecological data available for the quasi-totality of Neogene and Quaternary African fossil suids is here conducted. The chronology and tempo of morphological changes are compared for each group to paleoecological data mostly obtained from enamel biogeochemistry (carbon and oxygen stable isotopes, major elements), but also from ecomorphological analyses of postcranial bones and dental microwear. A new scenario of the installation of convergent adaptations to grass-rich diets in suids is proposed, taking into account their morphological, physiological, and ecological characteristics, as well as the environmental constraints sustained. The enhanced understanding of the place of suids within the guilds of herbivorous mammals that stems from this overview will allow a better exploitation of the potential of suids for paleoenvironmental studies, and notably those targeting hominid-bearing sites.

L’intervenant / The speaker

Antoine Souron est paléontologue, spécialiste des suidés. Il est titulaire d’une « chaire junior » du LabEx Sciences Archéologiques de Bordeaux et membre du laboratoire PACEA (UMR 5199)  [voir la présentation de ses recherches et de son parcours sur le site du LabEx, en français] / Antoine Souron is a paleontologist specialised in suids, a researcher in the PACEA (UMR 5199) unit and LabEx Sciences Archéologiques in Bordeaux, France.

Organisateurs du séminaire / Convenors of the seminar series: Behailu Habte (ARCCH), Jean-Renaud Boisserie (CNRS, CFEE) & Yonas Beyene (associate researcher at CFEE, ARCC-Hawassa).

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