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© Noira Martiskainen


New and Old Worlds

Database of fossil mammals

Notes on the description of Species

Notes on the description of Species

Descriptive species information is recorded under the following categories: Diet, Locomotion, Size and Teeth. Most data fields in these categories follow the definitions described in the ETE manual, and a good example taxon for this type of information is Histrongotherium grimmi within the NOW database.

Additional instructions for a few categories are listed below:

  • Diet 3:
    used as is, with the recommendation that except for hypothetical, well-founded exceptions, the following should be lumped: soft and hard with mixed; seeds, exudates and fr-se-res with fruit.

  • Locomotion 2:
    use as is, except that semi-fossorial is suppressed (cannot in our opinion be recognised on morphological criteria). We note that small (< 10 kg) "general quadrupeds" (gen_quad) correspond roughly to Peter Andrew's category "semi-arboreal" (small mammals lacking locomotory specialisations for arboreal locomotion but equally able to walk in trees and on the ground).

  • Locomotion 3:
    The value cursorial should be reserved for forms with joints restricted to movement in the anteroposterior plane. More agile ungulates with more laterally mobile limbs should be classified as gen_quad (general quadruped). Remember that goats can climb trees! With increasing size, this category grades into graviportal.

  • Body Mass & Length: The ETE database allows any number to be entered as the taxon's mean body mass (in grams). The snout-vent length classes of NOW are:
    • Class 1 = very small (<0.1 m)
    • Class 2 = small (0.1-1 m)
    • Class 3 = medium (1-2 m)
    • Class 4 = large (2-5 m)
    • Class 5 = very large (>5 m)

  • Tooth Height: use as is. In doubtful cases select the lower value.


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