Publication
Title
A new hero emerges : another exceptional mammalian spine and its potential adaptive significance
Author
Abstract
The hero shrew's (Scutisorex somereni) massive interlocking lumbar vertebrae represent the most extreme modification of the vertebral column known in mammals. No intermediate form of this remarkable morphology is known, nor is there any convincing theory to explain its functional significance. We document a new species in the heretofore monotypic genus Scutisorex; the new species possesses cranial and vertebral features representing intermediate character states between S. somereni and other shrews. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences support a sister relationship between the new species and S. somereni. While the function of the unusual spine in Scutisorex is unknown, it gives these small animals incredible vertebral strength. Based on field observations, we hypothesize that the unique vertebral column is an adaptation allowing these shrews to lever heavy or compressive objects to access concentrated food resources inaccessible to other animals.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Biology letters / Royal Society [London] - London
Publication
London : 2013
ISSN
1744-9561
Volume/pages
9:5(2013), p. 1-5
Article Reference
20130486
ISI
000330289600030
Medium
E-only publicatie
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 26.07.2013
Last edited 06.07.2017
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