Chapter

Hierarchical Organization of Neotropical Mammal Diversity and Its Historical Basis

Edited by Sergio Solari, Paúl M. Velazco and Bruce D. Patterson

in Bones, Clones, and Biomes

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226649191
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226649214 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226649214.003.0008
Hierarchical Organization of Neotropical Mammal Diversity and Its Historical Basis

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The Neotropics are home to roughly 1550 living species of mammals, 30% of all extant species, including groups found nowhere else on the Earth. This richness and uniqueness can be attributed to the amazing diversity of biomes in the Neotropics, including tropical rain forests, highland grasslands, deserts, savannas, and scrublands, many of them influenced to some degree by the Andes Mountains. In addition, the South American portion of the Neotropics was isolated during the late Mesozoic and most of the Cenozoic, interrupted by a sequence of continental connections that permitted faunal interchanges with Africa, Antarctica and Australia, and North America at different times. This chapter summarizes the distributions of living mammals at a general, gross scale, using a recent synopsis of mammal taxonomy and previously identified biogeographic units to identify general patterns reflected in the distributions of supraspecific groups.

Keywords: Neotropics; mammals; biome; taxonomy; hierarchical organization

Chapter.  4071 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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