Data from: Independent reversals to terrestriality in squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae) support ecologically mediated modes of adaptation
Rocha, R.G., Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo
Leite, Yuri L.R., Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo
Costa, Leonora P., Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo
Rojas, Danny, Stony Brook University
Published Sep 07, 2016 on Dryad.
Cite this dataset
Rocha, R.G.; Leite, Yuri L.R.; Costa, Leonora P.; Rojas, Danny (2016). Data from: Independent reversals to terrestriality in squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae) support ecologically mediated modes of adaptation [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5646p
The family Sciuridae is one of the most widespread and ecologically diverse lineage of rodents and represents an ideal model for investigating the evolution of locomotion modes and the historical biogeography of terrestrial mammals. We used a comprehensive database on locomotion modes, an updated phylogeny and novel biogeographic comparative methods to re-assess the evolution of locomotion of squirrels and to investigate if these locomotion modes evolved convergently in different continents. We found that locomotion changes occurred in different independent lineages of the family, including four reversals to terrestriality and one evolution of gliding. We also found evidence for Eurasia as the center of origin of Sciuridae, challenging the classification of the oldest squirrel fossil records from the early Oligocene in North America. Additionally, Eurasia is also the possible center of origin for most of squirrel sub-families and tribes, and where locomotion changes have occurred. Parallel locomotion shifts could be explained by the adaptation towards different ecological niches followed by colonization of new continents.
Locomotion modes and geographic distribution ranges of 184 species of Sciuroidea.
We collected locomotion data of 184 species of Sciuridae and one species of its sister family Aplodontidae. We used Nowak (1999) as the main source of information of squirrel locomotion modes, and when needed we complemented this information with more specific bibliography (Emmons, 1980; Musser et al., 2010; Lim & Yeo, 2012). We followed Steppan et al. (2004) and assigned each species to one of the following categories: gliding (species with the ability to glide with the help of extending membranes), arboreal (species that live and nest in trees, even if spending some time on the ground), intermediate (species that spend most of the time on the ground, but can also spend some time in trees being good climbers), and terrestrial (species that live and nest on the ground, seldom if ever climbing). We also assigned species to one or more continental landmasses: Africa, Eurasia, North and Central America, and South America. This was based on the current distribution of species compiled by the IUCN (Schipper et al. 2008; data downloaded on December 2015).