Dogs

Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History

XIAOMING WANG
RICHARD H. TEDFORD
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MAURICIO ANTÓN
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/wang13528
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  • Book Info
    Dogs
    Book Description:

    Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford have spent the past 20 years studying the evolutionary history of the family Canidae. Both are well known for having established the modern framework for the evolutionary relationship of canids. Combining their research with Mauricio Antón's impeccable reconstructions of both extinct and extant species, Wang and Tedford present a remarkably detailed and nuanced portrait of the origin and evolution of canids over the past 40 million years.

    The authors cull their history from the most recent scientific research conducted on the vast collections of the American Museum of Natural History and other leading institutions. The fossil record of the Canidae, particularly those from their birth place in North America, are the strongest of their kind among known groups of carnivorans. Such a wonderfully detailed evolutionary history provides access to a natural history that is not possible with many other groups of carnivorans.

    With their rich fossil record, diverse adaptations to various environments, and different predatory specializations, canids are an ideal model organism for the mapping of predator behavior and morphological specializations. They also offer an excellent contrast to felids, which remain entrenched in extreme predatory specializations. The innovative illustrated approach in this book is the perfect accompaniment to an extremely important branch of animal and fossil study. It transforms the science of paleontology into a thrilling visual experience and provides an unprecedented reference for anyone fascinated by dogs.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50943-5
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Zoology, Paleontology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. 1 METHODS OF STUDY AND THE PLACE OF DOGS IN NATURE
    (pp. 1-6)

    The basis for a consistent classification of living organisms began in the mid-eighteenth century with Carolus Linnaeus’s (Karl von Linné) monumental work Systema naturae. In the tenth edition of that work in 1785, he proposed that the group Canis include three genera—Canis, Vulpes, and Hyaena—based on similarities in form and function (such as wolflike and foxlike predations). The hyenas were later placed in their own family, Hyaenidae, within the order Carnivora, and the family Canidae, also within that order, was to hold Canis, represented by the wolf (C. lupus), the fox (Vulpes vulpes), and a number of other...

  6. 2 THE ORIGIN OF CANIDS AND OTHER DOGLIKE CARNIVOROUS MAMMALS
    (pp. 7-22)

    Doglike predators, whether true canids or not, have always played an important role in the predatory community. Therefore, understanding the competitive landscape requires knowing about the other carnivorous mammals that existed before and during the emergence of the canids as well as about the doglike carnivores that lived on the continents before canids arrived.

    The order Carnivora (from Latin carnis [flesh] and vorare [to devour]) includes all mammals that possess a pair of shearing carnassial teeth formed by the upper fourth premolar and lower first molar. All members of this order descended from an ancestor that possessed this character, and...

  7. 3 DIVERSITY: WHO IS WHO IN THE DOG FAMILY
    (pp. 23-68)

    There have been more than 214 species of canids throughout the Canidae’s 40-million-year history (appendix 1). Excluding the 37 species that are still with us today, 177 extinct species are known so far in the fossil records of the world, although the number will surely grow as discoveries of new fossil species are made around the globe. In this chapter, we briefly describe a few species from each subfamily to give a sense of the diverse world of canid evolution.

    The subfamily Hesperocyoninae is named after the genus Hesperocyon, a small, primitive canid that gave rise to most of the...

  8. 4 ANATOMY AND FUNCTION: HOW THE PARTS WORK
    (pp. 69-102)

    Much of the canids’ fossil record is preserved in the form of bones and teeth. Thus a great deal of anatomical information is lost during fossilization, a process that turns the bones and teeth into something similar in properties to the surrounding rocks and that destroys much of the soft tissues, including muscles, skin, and internal organs. However, fossil bones and teeth fortunately preserve a large amount of anatomical and biochemical information that is extremely valuable in determining an animal’s anatomy, physiology, and, to a certain extent, behavior (figure 4.1). For example, limb bones, an essential component of all mammals’...

  9. 5 HUNTING AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY
    (pp. 103-116)

    As predators, canids must hunt prey on a regular basis, just as any other group of carnivorans that consume meat as a significant component of their diet. Hunting is of paramount importance in any predator’s daily survival. It is perhaps not surprising that the way certain species of carnivorans hunt largely defines their ecologic niche. Canids’ hunting techniques and the issues of social hunting have come to define canids as a group.

    Several important issues are related to body size among carnivorans. As anyone who has a cursory experience with contact sports knows, size matters. Sheer size can overpower an...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. 6 CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS AND CANID EVOLUTION
    (pp. 117-138)

    As members of the order carnivora, the majority of canids are predators. Thus throughout their evolutionary history, canids have been closely intertwined with their prey, which in turn have been directly affected by the surrounding plant communities.

    During the past 20 years, a global picture of the long-term paleoclimatic record has emerged. Through studies of air trapped in ice cores in polar regions, of drill cores from oceans and lakes, and of wind-blown sediments, we can learn much about the climatic histories of various regions. In particular, microorganisms such as the single-celled foraminifera preserved in marine sediments permit us to...

  12. 7 GOING PLACES: BRAVING NEW WORLDS
    (pp. 139-152)

    As predators well suited for traveling long distances, modern canids are the only family of Carnivora to have a truly worldwide distribution (except Antarctica). This wide dispersal has in no small part been due to their ability to expand their home ranges and to achieve long-distance dispersal across continents and habitats. Canid zoogeography provides insights into the intricate relationships among canid species around the world. The immigrations of major lineages can be traced across different continents during their geologic history. Studies of ancestral–descendant (phylogenetic) relationships in the fossil record and the history of continental reconfigurations (plate tectonics) allow us...

  13. 8 DOMESTIC DOGS
    (pp. 153-168)

    The status of domestic dogs as “man’s best friend” indicates that they evoke more emotional responses than do other animals. Indeed, people often lose their objectivity over questions about dogs. Terms such as beauty, intelligence, and loyalty are frequently ascribed to dogs as though they are qualities inherent to dogs. To understand the relationship between humans and dogs requires, however, that we know more about the natural history of domestic dogs as they relate to their wild ancestors and about the history and process of their domestication.

    Although most people have no difficulty relating to dogs as something very special...

  14. APPENDIX 1: CANID SPECIES AND CLASSIFICATION
    (pp. 169-176)
  15. APPENDIX 2: PHYLOGENETIC TREE OF FAMILY CANIDAE
    (pp. 177-180)
  16. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 181-186)
  17. FURTHER READING
    (pp. 187-208)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 209-219)