Karen E Samonds

Karen E Samonds
Northern Illinois University · Department of Biological Sciences

Ph.D. Stony Brook University

About

57
Publications
18,123
Reads
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1,190
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2012 - present
Northern Illinois University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Sifakas (genus Propithecus ) diverge from other lemurs in their strategy to contend with Madagascar’s highly seasonal climate and maximize reproductive success: they have long lifetimes (presumably to wait out unfavorable times) and extreme dental precocity (to allow weanlings to effectively process tough foods and thereby relieve energetic stress...
Article
Students, particularly those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and healthcare‐related programs, should develop proficient interpersonal skills, including communication. To help students develop effective communication skills, instructors need to consider the value students give to learning these skills. The Student Attitude...
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Background: Was there a mid-Cenozoic vertebrate extinction and recovery event in Madagascar and, if so, what are its implications for the evolution of lemurs? The near lack of an early and mid-Cenozoic fossil record on Madagascar has inhibited direct testing of any such hypotheses. We compare the terrestrial vertebrate fauna of Madagascar in the H...
Article
Variation in the relationship between gestation length and body mass can arise because different types of tissue require varying amounts of energy to build, and not all species build such tissues in the same proportions. Given that a pregnant female has a finite amount of energy, trade‐offs between investment in different tissues may occur. Here we...
Article
A central goal of science education is to help students develop higher order thinking skills to enable them to face the challenges of life. Accordingly, science instructors are now urged to craft their classrooms such that they serve as not only spaces for disseminating information, but also an arena through which students are encouraged to think s...
Article
Madagascar is a complex ‘biodiversity hotspot’ with a rapidly dwindling biota. The Late Quaternary subfossil record includes many extinct species whose loss is attributed to natural climate change and human impacts. Investigation of the chronology of these events is challenging because few localities document pre‐Holocene communities not impacted b...
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Anthropogenic habitat change can have varied impacts on primates, including both negative and positive outcomes. Even when behavioural shifts are seen, they may reflect decreased health, or simply behavioural flexibility; understanding this distinction is important for conservation efforts. This study examines habitat-related variation in adult and...
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Anthropogenic habitat change can have varied impacts on primates, including both negative and positive outcomes. Even when behavioural shifts are seen, they may reflect decreased health, or simply behavioural flexibility; understanding this distinction is important for conservation efforts. This study examines habitat-related variation in adult and...
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Full-text available
The near lack of vertebrate fossils from the Cenozoic of Madagascar has left many of the details regarding the origin and evolution of the island’s extant faunas unknown. However, recent fossil discoveries from Madagascar’s nearshore marine deposits have begun to elucidate this mystery. These finds include sharks, bony fish, turtles, crocodylians,...
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We report here the first neoselachian fossil fauna from Eocene nearshore marine deposits of the Mahajanga Basin, northwestern Madagascar. The fauna includes seven species of shark: Nebrius blankenhorni, Brachycarcharias koerti, Galeocerdo eaglesomei, two species of Carcharhinus (one of which is described as a new species), Physogaleus, Rhizoprionod...
Article
A single lumbar vertebra from a small dolphin (Cetacea: Odontoceti) from the island of Nosy Makamby, is the first cetacean fossil reported from Madagascar. Benthic foraminifera in the associated bioclastic limestone indicate a warm, shallow-water marine setting, and are consistent with a strontium date of 9.7 Ma (early Tortonian, early late Miocene...
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Recent exploration of Miocene-age deposits at Nosy Makamby, a small island ~50 km southwest of Mahajanga city in northwestern Madagascar, has led to the recovery of a large sample [82] of isolated barracuda teeth (Sphyraena sp.). in a tropical marine fauna that also includes diverse marine invertebrates, chondrichthyans, bony fishes, turtles, croco...
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Anatomical sciences education is currently at a crossroads. Cadaver dissection is widely considered an essential part of an anatomical sciences curriculum. However, facilities are often expensive, and with pressures to reduce cost and concentrate anatomy learning into fewer hours, there is a clear need for alternative teaching tools that preserve v...
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Madagascar’s subfossil record preserves a diverse community of animals including elephant birds, pygmy hippopotamus, giant lemurs, turtles, crocodiles, bats, rodents, and carnivorans. These fossil accumulations give us a window into the island’s past from 80,000 years ago to a mere few hundred years ago, recording the extinction of some groups and...
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Researchers are divided about the relative importance of people versus climate in triggering the Late Holocene extinctions of the endemic large-bodied fauna on the island of Madagascar. Specifically, a dramatic and synchronous decline in arboreal pollen and increase in grass pollen ca 1000 yr ago has been alternatively interpreted as evidence for a...
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Madagascar is well known for producing exceptional fossils. However, the record for selachi-ans remains relatively poorly known. Paleontological reconnaissance on the island of Nosy Makamby, off northwest Madagascar, has produced a previously undescribed assemblage of Miocene fossils. Based on isolated teeth, ten taxonomic groups are identified: Ot...
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R. A. Fariña, S. F. Vizcaíno, and G. D. Iuliis. 2013. Megafauna: Giant Beasts of Pleistocene South America. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 448 pp. ISBN 978-0-253-00230-3, price (cloth), $65.
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Madagascar is home to some of the world’s most unique plants and animals. Unfortunately, anthropogenic forest loss has had a dramatic impact on both floral and faunal communities. In many regions the scale and timing of this loss remains poorly constrained. Such is the case for northwestern Madagascar. Pollen records for this region suggest that fi...
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Analyses of phylogenetic topology and estimates of divergence timing have facilitated a reconstruction of Madagascar's colonization events by vertebrate animals, but that information alone does not reveal the major factors shaping the island's biogeographic history. Here, we examine profiles of Malagasy vertebrate clades through time within the con...
Data
Database summarizing biogeographic scenarios of Madagascar’s vertebrate fauna. Class was scored as 1 = Osteichthyes, 2 = Amphibia, 3 = Reptilia, 4 = Aves, 5 = Mammalia. Animals were scored as 1 = extinct or 2 = extant. Time was scored as 1 = Pre K-T, 2 = Post K-T to mid-Miocene, and 3 = mid Miocene to present. Source was scored as 1 = Gondwana, 2 =...
Article
Parmi les lémuriens existants, la reproduction lente n’est pas nécessairement liée au ralentissement du développement dentaire ou à l’acquisition ­tardive de l’indépendance. La variation du développement dentaire est indépendante de la taille du corps des adultes. Les lémuriens existants diffèrent des anthropoïdes de même taille dans leurs modèles...
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How, when, and from where Madagascar's vertebrates arrived on the island is poorly known, and a comprehensive explanation for the distribution of its organisms has yet to emerge. We begin to break that impasse by analyzing vertebrate arrival patterns implied by currently existing taxa. For each of 81 clades, we compiled arrival date, source, and an...
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As undisturbed habitat becomes increasingly rare, managers charged with ensuring the survival of endangered primate species must increasingly utilize disturbed and degraded habitats in species survival plans. Yet we have an imperfect understanding of the true long-term viability of primate populations in disturbed habitat, and census data can be mi...
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The first diagnostic sirenian material from Madagascar and, more broadly, the first diagnostic pre-Pleistocene Cenozoic mammal material recovered from the island is reported. Eotheroides lambondrano is a new species of sirenian collected from middle Eocene nearshore marine deposits in the Mahajanga Basin of northwestern Madagascar. The recovered ma...
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In spite of decades of research on Madagascar's unique and endemic modern fauna, the evolutionary history of the island's bat fauna remains largely unknown. Their origin and evolution is largely unknown because of the nature of the fossil record; the deepest well-dated glimpse of Madagascar's mammal groups comes from only 26,000 years ago. Bat rema...
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The number of species within the Malagasy lemur genus Cheirogaleus is currently under debate. Museum collections are spotty, and field work, supplemented by morphometric and genetic analysis, is essential for documenting geographic distributions, ecological characteristics and species boundaries. We report here field evidence for 2 dwarf lemur spec...
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The origin of Madagascar’s highly endemic vertebrate fauna remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of natural history. From what landmasses did the basal stocks of this unique and imbalanced fauna come? When and how did the ancestral populations arrive on the island? How rapidly did they diversify, and why? The most direct means of addressing t...
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New tools are available for teasing out aspects of life-history variation among extinct species. Here we summarize research on the life histories of the extinct lemurs of Madagascar. There is a wide range of variation in dental developmental timing among these species, from among the most accelerated (Palaeopropithecus) to among the most prolonged...
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Cladistic character reconstruction has become an increasingly popular method used to infer areas of origin in biogeographic studies. However, no study to date has assessed the role that fossils play in center-of-origin reconstructions for the order Primates. Fossils preserve more information about the ‘where’ and the ‘when’ key extinct groups were...
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Schultz's rule (as reconstructed by Smith) states that there is a relationship between the pattern (or relative order) of eruption of molar versus secondary (replacement) teeth and the overall pace (or absolute timing) of growth and maturation. Species with 'fast' life histories (rapid dental development, rapid growth, early sexual maturation, shor...
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Latrine behavior, or the preferential, repeated use of 1 or more specific defecation sites, is well known among mammals and believed to function in olfactory communication among individuals or groups in many circumstances. Primates have reduced their capacity for olfaction in favor of more developed visual systems; however, several prosimian primat...
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There is a well-documented relationship between development and other life-history parameters among anthropoid primates. Smaller-bodied anthropoids tend to mature more rapidly than do larger-bodied species. Among anthropoids of similar body sizes, folivorous species tend to grow and mature more quickly than do frugivorous species, thus attaining ad...
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Until recently, the geographical range, abundance, habitat preferences and ecology of the Madagascar Red Owl Tyto soumagnei were very poorly known. The type specimen (MNHN 1888.640) was collected near Tamatave (Toamasina) in 1876, by M. Soumagne (Grandidier 1878). Subsequent reliable collections and/or sightings between 1895 and 1934 are known from...
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When compared with their recently extinct relatives, living lemurs represent a mere fraction of a broad radiation that occupied unique niches in the recent past. Among living lemurs, indrids exhibit the fastest rates of dental development. This dental precocity is tightly correlated with rapid pace of postnatal dental eruption, early replacement of...
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This paper explores the correlates of variation in dental development across the order Primates. We are particularly interested in how 1) dental precocity (percentage of total postcanine primary and secondary teeth that have erupted at selected absolute ages and life cycle stages) and 2) dental endowment at weaning (percentage of adult postcanine o...

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