The Tree Squirrel Sciurus (Sciuridae, Rodentia) as a Living Fossil

  • Robert J. Emry
  • Richard W. ThoringtonJr.
Part of the Casebooks in Earth Sciences book series (CASEBOOKS)

Abstract

The familiar living squirrel, Sciurus, is not among the classic and often-cited examples of living fossils, although squirrels have long been recognized as being among the most primitive members of the Rodentia, the mammalian order that has exceeded all others in specific diversity. In the sense that they represent the least derived family of a very diverse order, squirrels in general might be called living fossils. The recently discovered skeleton of Protosciurus (perhaps the oldest squirrel fossil) shows that the earliest recognized sciurid is strikingly similar in its osteology to living Sciurus. In the sense that it has evolved very little from what is apparently the primitive squirrel morphotype, Sciurus is a living fossil.

Keywords

Europe Stratification Miocene Tate Bark 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature

  1. Anthony, H. E., Tate, G. H. H. 1935. Notes on South American Mammalia. No. 1, Sciurillus. Amer. Mus. Novit. 780:1–13.Google Scholar
  2. Barkalow, Jr., F. S., Shorten, M. 1973. The world of the gray squirrel. Philadelphia: L. B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  3. Black, C. C. 1963. A review of the North American Tertiary Sciuridae. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 130:109–248.Google Scholar
  4. Black, C. C. 1972. Holarctic evolution and dispersal of squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae), pp. 305–322. In: Dobzhansky, T., Hecht, M. K., Steere, W. C. (eds.), Evolutionary biology, Vol. 6, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  5. Cabrera, A. 1961. Catalogo de los Mamiferos de America del Sur. II. Cien. Zool. IV:309–732.Google Scholar
  6. Ellerman, J. R., Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. 1951. Checklist of Palearctic and Indian mammals, 1738–1946. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) London.Google Scholar
  7. Elliott, L. 1978. Social behavior and foraging ecology of the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) in the Adirondack Mountains. Smithsonian Contr. Zool. 265:1–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emmons, L. H. 1975. Ecology and behavior of African rainforest squirrels. Diss. Cornell U., Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  9. Emmons, L. H. 1979. A note on the forefoot of Myostiums pumilio. J. Mam. 60:431–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emmons, L. H. 1980. Ecology and resource partitioning among nine species of African rainforest squirrels. Ecol. Mon. 50:31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Emry, R. J. 1973. Stratigraphy and preliminary biostratigraphy of the Flagstaff Rim Area, Natrona County, Wyoming. Smithsonian Contr. Paleobiol. 18:1–43.Google Scholar
  12. Emry, R. J., Thorington, Jr., R. W. 1982. Descriptive and comparative osteology of the oldest fossil squirrel, Protosciurus (Rodentia: Sciuridae). Smithsonian Contr. Paleobiol. 47:1–35.Google Scholar
  13. Evernden, J. F., Savage, D. E., Curtis, G. H., James, G. T. 1964. Potassium argon dates and the Cenozoic mammalian chronology of North America. Amer. J. Sci. 262:145–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Glanz, W. E., Thorington, Jr., R. W., Madden, J., Heaney, L. R. 1982. Seasonal food use and demographic trends in Sciurus granatensis. In: Leigh, Jr., E. G., Rand, A. S., Windsor, D. M. (eds.), Ecology of a tropical forest: seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 239–252.Google Scholar
  15. Hall, E. R. 1981. The mammals of North America, 2nd ed., Vol. 1. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Heaney, L. R., Thorington, Jr., R. W. 1978. Ecology of neotropical red-tailed squirrels, Sciurus granatensis, in the Panama Canal Zone. J. Mam. 59:846–851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hight, M. E., Goodman, M., Prychodko, W. 1974. Immunological studies of the Sciuridae. Syst. Zool. 23:12–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keith, J. O. 1965. The Abert squirrel and its dependence on ponderosa pine. Ecology 46:150–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lekagul, B., McNeely, J. A. 1977. Mammals of Thailand. Bangkok: Karusapha Ladprao.Google Scholar
  20. MacKinnon, K. S. 1978. Stratification and feeding differences among Malayan squirrels. Malay. Nat. J. 30:593–608.Google Scholar
  21. McLaughlin, C. A. 1967. Aplodontoid, Sciuroid, Geomyoid, Castoroid, and Anomaluroid rodents. In: Anderson, S. A., Jones, Jr., J. K. (eds.), Recent mammals of the world. Ronald Press Co., N.Y. pp. 210–225.Google Scholar
  22. Medway, Lord. 1969. The wild mammals of Malaya and offshore islands including Singapore. London: Oxford U. Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mein, P. 1970. Les sciuropteres (Mammalia, Rodentia) Neogenes d’Europe Occidentale. Geobios 3:7–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Moore, J. C. 1959. Relationships among the living squirrels of the Sciurinae. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 118:153–206.Google Scholar
  25. Musser, G. G. 1968. A systematic study of the Mexican and Guatemalan gray squirrel, Sciurus aureogaster F. Cuvier (Rodentia: Sciuridae). Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool., U. Mich. 137:1–112.Google Scholar
  26. Nixon, C. M., Worley, D. M., McClain, M. W. 1968. Food habits of squirrels in southeast Ohio. J. Wildl. Mgmt. 32:294–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pocock, R. J. 1923. The classification of the Sciuridae. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1923:209–246.Google Scholar
  28. Raspopov, M. P., Isakov, Y. A. 1980. Biology of the squirrel. New Delhi: Amerind. (Translated from Russian).Google Scholar
  29. Searle, A. G. 1968. Comparative genetics of coat colour in mammals. London: Academic.Google Scholar
  30. Simpson, G. G. 1945. The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 85:1–350.Google Scholar
  31. Smith, C. C. 1970. The coevolution of pine squirrels (Tamiasciurus) and conifers. Ecol. Mon. 40:349–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith, C. C, Folmer, D. 1972. Food preferences of squirrels. Ecology 53:82–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thorington, Jr., R. W. 1972. Proportions and allometry in the gray squirrel. Nemouria, Occas. Papers Delaware Mus. Nat. Hist., 8:1–17.Google Scholar
  34. Thorington, Jr., R. W., Heaney, L. R. 1981. Body proportions and gliding adaptations of flying squirrels (Petauristinae). J. Mam. 62:101–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wood, A. E. 1980. The Oligocene rodents of North America. Trans. Amer. Phila. Soc. 70:1–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Emry
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard W. ThoringtonJr.
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian InstitutionNational Museum of Natural HistoryUSA
  2. 2.Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian InstitutionNational Museum of Natural HistoryUSA

Personalised recommendations