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Integrative isotopic Paleoecology (δ13C, δ18O) of a Late Pleistocene vertebrate community from Sergipe, NE Brazil

By Mário André Trindade Dantas, Alexander Cherkinsky, Carlos Micael Bonfim Lessa, Luciano Vilaboim Santos, Mario Alberto Cozzuol, Érica Cavalcante Omena, Jorge Luiz Lopes da Silva, Alcides Nóbrega Sial, Hervé Bocherens

Posted 29 Nov 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/482752

Isotopes are one of the best tools to reconstruct the Paleoecology of extinct taxa, yielding insights about their diet (through carbon; C3 and C4 plants), niche breadth (BA) and the environment in which they lived. In the present work we go deeper in the use of isotopes and explore a mathematical mixing model with the stable isotopes of two elements (carbon and oxygen) to (1) suggest the relative contribution of four types of food resources (leaves, fruits, roots and C4 grass) for meso- and megaherbivores (weight > 100 kg) that lived in the Late Pleistocene of Poco Redondo, Sergipe, Brasil, and (2) evaluate which of these herbivores could be the potential prey for the carnivores Smilodon populator and Caiman latirostris. To explore the intra/interspecific competition of these fauna, we generate weight estimation, standardized niche breadth (BA) for the meso-megamammals from Sergipe and compare with data from the meso-megaherbivores from Africa, concluding that Eremotherium laurillardi and Toxodon platensis were the best resource competitors in the Late Pleistocene of Sergipe, and reinforcing their importance as key species in this extinct community. Finally, we reconstructed the paleoenvironment in which the vertebrate community of Sergipe lived, estimating Mean Annual Temperature (C), Mean Annual Precipitation, Biomass and Energy Expendidure, noting that environments in the Late Pleistocene of Sergipe were similar to those of Africa nowadays, but hotter and with more energy expenditure for these meso-megamammals.

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