The Role of the Andes in the Diversification and Biogeography of Neotropical Mammals

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

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:
The Role of the Andes in the Diversification and Biogeography of Neotropical Mammals

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The development of the Andes has indelibly marked the divergence of many tropical lowland taxa with basal splits into trans-Andean and cis-Andean components. Besides defining the limits of various lowland centers of endemism, the Andes house several very distinctive biotas of their own—the arid Western Slope, alpine communities including páramo, jalca, and puna extending onto the Altiplano, and moist forested communities on the Eastern Versant of the northern and central Andes reaching into northwestern Argentina. These biotas seem to be historically as well as ecologically distinctive. Speciation appears to have been recent and rapid on the Eastern Versant and in the Altiplano, while the Western Slope biota has a more relictual character. In some cases, Andean radiations are rooted in the tropical lowlands while in others, lowland radiations seem to be derived from Andean (or proto-Andean) ancestry. Few Andean mammals are well studied, but residents of the middle elevations of the Eastern Slope are especially poorly known. Middle-elevation faunas are highly diverse, show substantial degrees of endemism, and their species may be critical to developing accurate historical reconstructions of groups with widespread Neotropical distributions. Sampling these habitats should therefore be a high priority for future surveys.

Keywords: Andes; biogeography; forests; mammal; biota; taxa

Chapter.  11140 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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