Apr 1, 2015

Historic and prehistoric human-driven extinctions have reshaped global mammal diversity patterns

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Søren Faurby, Jens-Christian Svenning

Abstract

Aim To assess the extent to which humans have reshaped Earth’s biodiversity, by estimating natural ranges of all late Quaternary mammalian species, and to compare diversity patterns based on these with diversity patterns based on current distributions. Location Globally Methods We estimated species, functional and phylogenetic diversity patterns based on natural ranges of all mammalian species (n=5747 species) as they could have been today in the complete absence of human influence through time. Following this we compared macroecological analyses of current and natural diversity patterns to assess if human-induced range changes bias for evolutionary and ecological analyses based on current diversity patterns. Results We find that current diversity patterns have been drastically modified by humans, mostly due to global extinctions and regional to local extirpations. Current and natural diversities exhibit marked deviations virtually everywhere outside sub-Saharan Africa. These differences are strongest for terrestrial megafauna, but also important for all mammals combined. The human-induced changes led to biases in estimates of environmental diversity drivers, especially for terrestrial megafauna, but also for all mammals com...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Patterns
Environment
Location
Local
Species
Analysis
Drivers of Vehicles
Biological Evolution

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