Aim: We sought to assess different megafaunal species responses to the intense climatic changes that characterized the end of the Quaternary. Location: Eurasia. Methods: We used species distribution modelling, niche overlap tests and co-occurrence analysis to model climatic niche evolution and change in six different megafauna species, including three extinct (woolly mammoth, woolly rhino and steppe bison) and three extant (red deer, wolf and reindeer) species. Results: Co-occurrence analysis indicates mammoth, rhino, reindeer and steppe bison to be significantly associated to each other in the fossil record in cold, arid environments. In contrast, red deer and wolf show no evidence for strong habitat requirements, although they both tended to be associated with more humid conditions than the other megafauna. Woolly mammoth and the woolly rhino were the best adapted to the cold, arid conditions dominating the Eurasian landscapes during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Extant species did not exhibit larger climatic niches than extinct species, but changed more from one period to the next than those of extinct species. Main conclusions: Although they did not have wider climatic niches, and were the least adapted to cold climates, red deer and the wolf were able to withstand the harsh climatic conditions of the LGM. Conversely, the now extinct mammoth and woolly rhino did not survive the demise of the LGM environment. Although âcold-adaptedâ, reindeer survived the LGM by occupying a northerly distribution similar to today. Independent evidence indicates the steppe bison lineage might have survived in North America. Our data are consistent with a strong climatic control on the fate of late Quaternary megafauna species in Eurasia. We were unable to exclude a sizeable effect of human intervention by overhunting.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13078|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000416164500014|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-85028976839|
|Titolo:||Does the jack of all trades fare best? Survival and niche width in Late Pleistocene megafauna|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|