Published on January 16th, 2022 | by Elsa Panciroli0
Episode 134: Mammal Locomotion and Ecology
In this episode we talk to Professor Christine Janis about mammal palaeontology, and her career. Christine is one of the world’s foremost experts in mammal palaeontology and mammalogy. She has authored dozens of scientific papers, and has been co-author of the major textbook Vertebrate Life for the last 20 years.
Christine has had a long and distinguished career, and is currently a researcher at the University of Bristol in the UK. Her work is particularly focused on mammal locomotion and ecology. We’ll be talking about some of the research Christine has led, including on hoofed mammals, sabre-toothed South American ‘marsupials’, and Australia’s extinct giant kangaroos. We’ll talk about the use and limits of comparative anatomy, the importance of direct observation of specimens in the discipline of palaeontology, and how things have changed for researchers during her lifetime.
Further Reading/Selected papers:
Janis, C.M. and Ehrhardt, D. 1988. Correlation of relative muzzle width and relative incisor width with dietary preference in ungulates. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 92(3), pp.267-284.
Garland, T. and Janis, C.M. 1993. Does metatarsal/femur ratio predict maximal running speed in cursorial mammals?. Journal of Zoology, 229(1), pp.133-151.
Janis, C.M., Figueirido, B., DeSantis, L. and Lautenschlager, S. 2020. An eye for a tooth: Thylacosmilus was not a marsupial “saber-tooth predator”. PeerJ, 8, p.e9346.
Jones, B., Martín-Serra, A., Rayfield, E.J. and Janis, C.M. 2021. Distal Humeral Morphology Indicates Locomotory Divergence in Extinct Giant Kangaroos. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, pp.1-15.
Wagstaffe, A.Y., O’Driscoll, A.M., Kunz, C.J., Rayfield, E.J. and Janis, C.M. 2022. Divergent Locomotor Evolution in “Giant” Kangaroos: evidence from foot bone bending resistances and microanatomy. Journal of Morphology.