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versión On-line ISSN 1851-8044


MENDOZA, Manuel. Towards a complex ecomorphological characterization: a revision of the palaeoautecology of ungulates. Ameghiniana [online]. 2005, vol.42, n.1, pp.233-248. ISSN 1851-8044.

A primary goal of palaeoecology is the reconstruction of the adaptations and modes of life of extinct species, or palaeoautoecological characterization. The behavioral attributes of the fossil species have been inferred in different ways, but the comparative method is probably the most widely used. For this, some authors have tried to carry out a cuantitative characterization of different ecological adaptations in ungulates, using the dental-skeleton morphology of the living species, which is known as ecomorphological characterization. At first, that characterization was only qualitative. Later on, some authors began to quantify the relationship between morphology and different ecological adaptations, but this quantification simply entailed finding significant statistic correlations between some measurements and the adaptation that was analized. However, the more and more frequent use of the multivariate statistics has allowed a more complex, precise and reliable morphological characterization of the ecological adaptations of ungulates. In this review, I analize the evolution that the undestanding of ungulate ecomorphology has undergone during the last decades, with special emphasis on the methodology and results of some recent papers which are characteristic of a complex approach.

Palabras clave : Ungulata; Ecomorphology; Palaeoautoecology; Dietary adaptations; Discriminant analysis; Decision trees.

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