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Phylogeny, diet, and habitat of an extinct ground sloth from Cuchillo Curá, Neuquén Province, southwest Argentina

Quaternary Research

By:
, , , , and
DOI: 10.1016/S0033-5894(03)00030-9

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Abstract

Advancements in ancient DNA analyses now permit comparative molecular and morphological studies of extinct animal dung commonly preserved in caves of semiarid regions. These new techniques are showcased using a unique dung deposit preserved in a late glacial vizcacha (Lagidium sp.) midden from a limestone cave in southwestern Argentina (38.5° S). Phylogenetic analyses of the mitochondrial DNA show that the dung originated from a small ground sloth species not yet represented by skeletal material in the region, and not closely related to any of the four previously sequenced extinct and extant sloth species. Analyses of pollen and plant cuticles, as well as analyses of the chloroplast DNA, show that the Cuchillo Curá ground sloth browsed on many of the same herb, grass, and shrub genera common at the site today, and that its habitat was treeless Patagonian scrub-steppe. We envision a day when molecular analyses are used routinely to supplement morphological identifications and possibly to provide a time-lapse view of molecular diversification.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Phylogeny, diet, and habitat of an extinct ground sloth from Cuchillo Curá, Neuquén Province, southwest Argentina
Series title:
Quaternary Research
DOI:
10.1016/S0033-5894(03)00030-9
Volume
59
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2003
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Description:
15 p.
First page:
364
Last page:
378
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N