Body size variation at risk in the world’s mammals – University of Copenhagen

7 April 2010

Body size variation at risk in the world’s mammals

What are the likely effects of the impending extinction of threatened mammalian species on global patterns of a simple measure of mammalian functional diversity, namely, body size variation? Susanne Fritz from the Center and Andy Purvis from Imperial College London published a paper on this question today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. They conclude that if all 1292 currently-threatened mammalian species went extinct, the resulting loss of body size variation would be much more severe than losses of species richness and of phylogenetic diversity or evolutionary history. This is due to the selective loss of large mammals, especially from tropical areas. The ongoing size-selective extinction could be reducing the diverse landscapes of the Jungle Book and the Lion King to the monotony of Tales of the Riverbank. Read the paper as pdf.