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Alaskan usa megabucks megabulls and megarams the issue of pleistocene gigantism


, : Alaskan usa megabucks megabulls and megarams the issue of pleistocene gigantism. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Special Publication (8): 482-510

Pleistocene large mammals from Alaska appear to be larger than their living counterparts. This seems to be the case for cervids (Rangifer, Cervus and Alces) and bovids (Ovis, Ovibos and Bison). The circumstances of this larger body size are examined. The primary reason behind such large bodied, large horned or antlered, individuals was 2-fold. They belonged to populations which were kept understocked by high winter mortality and experienced a long peak in nutrient availability during the growth season. The length of this seasonal peak in nutrient availability is seen as critical to studies of body size changes. Wild sheep are used as an exemplary case and are examined in greater detail than other species. Large non-ruminant ungulates seem to respond differential than ruminants to the changing conditions from mid-Pleistocene, to late Pleistocene, through the Holocene. This may be due to their more conservative life histories. Pleistocene ground squirrels (Spermophilus) in Alaska seem to have responded differently than ungulates in their body size changes. Their special life history features, particularly hibernation and reproduction may account for this difference.

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