A perspective on mammal biodiversity and zoogeography in the Late Pleistocene of México

Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales, Oscar J. Polaco, Eileen Johnson, Ismael Ferrusquía-Villafranca

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32 Scopus citations


Analysis of the overall fossil record for specific regions in order to examine paleobiological data requires assembling enormous amounts of information in databases. Geoinformatics involves the management and analysis of such databases. A case in point is the Quaternary Mexican mammal database, currently composed of more than 15,000 records for 12 orders, 43 families, 146 genera, and 274 species. Of those, 197 of 481 mammal species found in México today are recorded. Comparison of past and current zoogeographic ranges discloses different patterns. Many species expanded their distribution to different latitudes or higher/lower altitudes or moved further north/south during the Pleistocene. Both temperate and tropical mammal species tend to move in similar patterns. The current distribution of several groups of mammal species can be explained in part as an effect of Pleistocene glaciations. The particular dynamic mechanism remains largely unknown due to lack of detailed data. Biases in the Quaternary Mexican mammal database need to be considered in assessing the resulting patterns. Future studies undertaken to explain México's high mammalian Quaternary diversity should include testing various biogeographic models against an improved database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


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