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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Science
Department Biology
Author Graaff, Kent Marshall Van De
Title Comparative osteology of the skunks of the world.
Date 1969
Description The phylogeny of Mustelidae is not well known because of rapid adaptive radiation within the group and a poor fossil record because of their habitats in dense forests. Phylogenetic affinities and sequences must therefore be established from anatomical specializations and modifications of various members within the family. Osteological materials from 167 specimens of the three genera of skunks (Mephitis, striped; Conepatus, hognosed; Spilogale, spotted) were examined and measured to determine osteological similarities and variations within these three groups. Behavioral correlations were then made, based upon osteological modifications in an effort to determine the degree of specialization within the subfamily Mephitinae. Skeletal materials from the remaining four subfamilies (Mustelinae, weasels and allies; Melivorinae, honey badgers; Melinae, badgers; Lutrinae, otters), were examined to compare them with the osteology of the skunks and to correlate, when possible, significant osteological implications, concerning the phylogeny within the family Mustelidae. Numerous variations were noted between the three genera of skunks as well as similarities of skunks to various other members of the family. From these observations, the following conclusions were made: 1) The subfamily Mephitinae (as well as the three genera within it) is valid. 2) Spilogale is the most generalized and Conepatus the most specialized in terms of osteological modifications. 3) Certain osteological structures are highly variable intergenerically. 4) Sexual dimorphism is expressed in skunks but in varying degrees. 5) Parallel evolution has occurred within the family Mustelidae to develop similar adaptations to enable animals to exploit similar niches.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Skunks; Skeleton
Dissertation Name Master of Science
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Kent Marshall Van De Graaff
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s66x4201
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-10-07
Date Modified 2019-10-07
ID 1465523
Reference URL

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Title Page 218
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-10-07
Date Modified 2019-10-07
ID 1465741
Reference URL