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Data from: Unraveling the determinants of insular body size shifts


McClain, Craig R.; Durst, Paul A. P.; Boyer, Alison G.; Francis, Clinton D. (2013), Data from: Unraveling the determinants of insular body size shifts, Dryad, Dataset,


The island rule, a pattern of size shifts on islands, is an oft-cited but little understood phenomenon of evolutionary biology. Here we explore the evolutionary mechanisms behind the rule in 184 mammal species, testing climatic, ecological, and phylogenetic hypotheses in a robust quantitative framework. Our findings confirm the importance of species’ ecological traits in determining both the strength and the direction of body size changes on islands. Although the island rule pattern appears relatively weak overall, we find strongest support for models incorporating trait, climatic, and geographic factors in a phylogenetic context, lending support to the idea that the island rule is a complex phenomenon driven by interacting intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms. Overall we find that different clades may be evolutionarily predisposed to dwarfism or gigantism but the magnitude of size changes depends more on adaptation to the local environment.

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