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First Description of Ecomorphotypes in Seal Subfamilies

Journal: International Journal of Zoology and Animal Biology (IZAB) (Vol.3, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 1-15

Keywords : Ecomorphotypes; Phocidae; Ecology; Morphology;

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The Family Phocidae consists of four subfamilies, with ecomorphs known only in representatives of the subfamily Phocinae. This study demonstrates that ecological and morphological characters of the other three subfamilies (Cystophorinae, Devinophocinae, Monachinae) do not fit precisely into the previously described ecomorphs for Phocinae. These groupings are based on recent seals, but can also be extrapolated to fossil seals based on morphology and probable ecological preferences. The separation of taxa by combining morphological, ecological and dietary data is extremely important for demonstrating similarities and differences in both fossil and modern representatives of seals of the Family Phocidae, straying away from normal alpha and beta systematics that group species based only on taxonomic relationships. Due to the fragility of cranial remains, the three most commonly found bones (mandible, humerus, femur) are used to group species. Modern seals have specific morphological features and ecological distinctions (diving depths, environment, diet, body size) similar to those of fossil species, providing a rationale for associating the many dissociated fossil elements. For the first time, seals of all phocids subfamilies are divided into their corresponding ecomorphs.

Last modified: 2021-04-08 19:52:27