Title (eng)

Insular giant leporid matured later than predicted by scaling


Meike Köhler   Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Salvador Moyà-Solà   Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Franz Suchentrunk   University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Carmen Nacarino-Meneses   Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Josep Quintana Cardona   Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Walter Arnold-Ard   University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Gabrielle Stalder   University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna


Cell Press

Description (eng)

The island syndrome describes morphological, behavioral, and life history traits that evolve in parallel in endemic insular organisms. A basic axiom of the island syndrome is that insular endemics slow down their pace of life. Although this is already confirmed for insular dwarfs, a slow life history in giants may not be adaptive, but merely a consequence of increasing body size. We tested this question in the fossil insular giant leporid Nuralagus rex. Using bone histology, we constructed both a continental extant taxon model derived from experimentally fluorochrome-labeled Lepus europaeus to calibrate life history events, and a growth model for the insular taxon. N. rex grew extremely slowly and delayed maturity well beyond predictions from continental phylogenetically corrected scaling models. Our results support the life history axiom of the island syndrome as generality for insular mammals, regardless of whether they have evolved into dwarfs or giants.

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International



Life-History Traits; Lepus-Europaeus; Bone-Histology; Reaction Norms; Large Mammals; Island Rule; Body-Size; Evolution; Age; Growth

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o:605 Publications / University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna