SÉMINAIRE / SEMINAR
Evolution: an international research seminar in Eastern Africa. Paleobiodiversity, paleobiology, prehistory, paleoenvironments (2015-2019)
23ème séance / 23rd session: Carnivoran mammals in past ecosystems
par /by Camille Grohé
Mardi 30 avril 2019, 15h30-17h / Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 3:30-5:00pm
Lieu /Venue: Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Meeting Hall (room 308)
Carnivoran mammals (lions, hyenas, wolves, otters, bears, seals…) are among the top predators of modern terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and play a crucial role in maintaining their stability. They include over 270 extant species living on all continents and oceans of the world. They also have a rich fossil record dated back to the late Paleocene, about 55 million years ago. Because of the diversity of species, geographic distributions, morphologies and ecologies, studying the evolution of carnivoran mammals permit us to explore many macroevolutionary questions.
In this talk, Camille Grohé will review the evolutionary history of otters, a diverse semi-aquatic carnivoran clade with a complex biogeographical history, including several dispersal events from Asia to Africa during the Neogene. She will present their extraordinary diversity in the Plio-Pleistocene of Africa (from around 3,5 to 1,5 million years ago), where they are found in the same communities as hominins.
Secondly, she will present an example of how to investigate hunting strategies in fossil carnivoran mammals by studying the inner ear morphology. Indeed, in the past decades, the growing use of CT-scanning has provided new morphological data on internal structures of fossil bones, teeth and skulls. Located deeply inside the skull of vertebrates, the inner ear (the organ of hearing and balance) has been used as a proxy to reconstruct the ecology of fossil species in many clades of vertebrates. Using CT-scanning and shape analyses, Camille investigates the relationship between inner ear morphology and ecology/behavior of carnivoran mammals, notably their adaptation to different environments and ecological niches.
Camille Grohé defended her Ph.D. thesis in paleontology at the University of Poitiers (France) in 2011. She continued her research through postdoctoral projects at the Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution of Montpellier (France), the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at PALEVOPRIM, Poitiers, and member of the Omo Group Research Expedition.