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Taxonomy, phylogeny, and diversity of the extinct Lesser Antillean rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini), with description of a new genus and species

Taxonomy, phylogeny, and diversity of the extinct Lesser Antillean rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini), with description of a new genus and species
Taxonomy, phylogeny, and diversity of the extinct Lesser Antillean rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini), with description of a new genus and species
Rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini) are abundant in the Late Quaternary fossil record and in Holocene pre-Columbian archaeological middens across the Lesser Antilles. All of these rice rats are now extinct, and their regional diversity and systematics remain extremely poorly understood. We redescribe all of the region's rice rat taxa known from adequate diagnostic material (Megalomys desmarestii, Megalomys luciae, and Oligoryzomys victus), and describe a new genus and species, Pennatomys nivalis gen. et sp. nov., from archaeological sites on St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, and Nevis, which formed a single larger island during Quaternary low sea-level stands. Cladistic analysis supports the inclusion of O. victus within Oligoryzomys, and identifies Megalomys as a sister group of the large-bodied genera Sigmodontomys or Sigmodontomys + Nectomys, suggesting that large body size in Megalomys represents phyletic gigantism rather than ‘island gigantism’. Megalomys and Pennatomys belong to an oryzomyine clade that has undergone remarkable radiation throughout the oceanic and continental-shelf islands of the Neotropical region, but these genera do not represent a monophyletic group within the Nectomys subclade, indicating multiple over-water colonization events of the Lesser Antillean island chain. Although Lesser Antillean rice rats were heavily exploited by prehistoric Amerindians, it is likely that most or all of these taxa survived until European arrival in the region.

extinct mammal, megalomys, nevis, pennatomys, st. eustatius, st. kitts, west indies, zooarchaeology
0024-4082
748-772
Turvey, Samuel T.
94878b58-7a92-4081-a8a3-f47181f240a9
Weksler, Marcelo
df695a05-3262-4856-8298-02aa515d4e41
Morris, Elaine L.
98fd23d5-e5f1-40ad-a110-f63ad82baa64
Nokkert, Mark
773d2527-1bec-4974-a759-30013b52607f
Turvey, Samuel T.
94878b58-7a92-4081-a8a3-f47181f240a9
Weksler, Marcelo
df695a05-3262-4856-8298-02aa515d4e41
Morris, Elaine L.
98fd23d5-e5f1-40ad-a110-f63ad82baa64
Nokkert, Mark
773d2527-1bec-4974-a759-30013b52607f

Turvey, Samuel T., Weksler, Marcelo, Morris, Elaine L. and Nokkert, Mark (2010) Taxonomy, phylogeny, and diversity of the extinct Lesser Antillean rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini), with description of a new genus and species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 160 (4), 748-772. (doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00628.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini) are abundant in the Late Quaternary fossil record and in Holocene pre-Columbian archaeological middens across the Lesser Antilles. All of these rice rats are now extinct, and their regional diversity and systematics remain extremely poorly understood. We redescribe all of the region's rice rat taxa known from adequate diagnostic material (Megalomys desmarestii, Megalomys luciae, and Oligoryzomys victus), and describe a new genus and species, Pennatomys nivalis gen. et sp. nov., from archaeological sites on St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, and Nevis, which formed a single larger island during Quaternary low sea-level stands. Cladistic analysis supports the inclusion of O. victus within Oligoryzomys, and identifies Megalomys as a sister group of the large-bodied genera Sigmodontomys or Sigmodontomys + Nectomys, suggesting that large body size in Megalomys represents phyletic gigantism rather than ‘island gigantism’. Megalomys and Pennatomys belong to an oryzomyine clade that has undergone remarkable radiation throughout the oceanic and continental-shelf islands of the Neotropical region, but these genera do not represent a monophyletic group within the Nectomys subclade, indicating multiple over-water colonization events of the Lesser Antillean island chain. Although Lesser Antillean rice rats were heavily exploited by prehistoric Amerindians, it is likely that most or all of these taxa survived until European arrival in the region.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 24 November 2010
Published date: December 2010
Keywords: extinct mammal, megalomys, nevis, pennatomys, st. eustatius, st. kitts, west indies, zooarchaeology
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349107
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349107
ISSN: 0024-4082
PURE UUID: 492e6203-a821-4069-8a7b-73ec3cd5e7d3

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Date deposited: 25 Feb 2013 13:19
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:42

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Contributors

Author: Samuel T. Turvey
Author: Marcelo Weksler
Author: Elaine L. Morris
Author: Mark Nokkert

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