New insights into the palaeoecology of Miocene Eurasian rhinocerotids based on tooth analysis
Spatio-temporal diversity of dietary preferences and stress sensibilities of early and middle Miocene Rhinocerotidae from Eurasia: impact of climate changes
Recommendation: posted 09 December 2022, validated 15 December 2022
Houssaye, A. (2022) New insights into the palaeoecology of Miocene Eurasian rhinocerotids based on tooth analysis. Peer Community in Paleontology, 100012. 10.24072/pci.paleo.100012
Rhinocerotoidea originated in the Lower Eocene and diversified well during the Cenozoic in Eurasia, North America and Africa. This taxon encompasses a great diversity of ecologies and body proportions and masses. Within this group, the family Rhinocerotidae, which is the only one with extant representatives, appeared in the Late Eocene (Prothero & Schoch, 1989). They were well diversified during the Early and Middle Miocene, whereas they began to decline in both diversity and geographical range after the Miocene, throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, in conjunction with the marked climatic changes (Cerdeño, 1998).
In Eurasian Early and Middle Miocene fossil localities, a variety of species are often associated. Therefore, it may be quite difficult to estimate how these large herbivores cohabited and whether competition for food resources is reflected in a diversity of ecological niches. The ecologies of these large mammals are rather poorly known and the detailed study of their teeth could bring new elements of answer. Indeed, if teeth carry a strong phylogenetic signal in mammals, they are also of great interest for ecological studies, and they have the additional advantage of being often numerous in the fossil record.
Hullot et al. (2022) analysed both dental microwear texture, as an indicator of dietary preferences, and enamel hypoplasia, to identify stress sensitivity, in a large number of rhinocerotid fossil teeth from nine Neogene (Early to Middle Miocene) localities in Europe and Pakistan. Their aim was to analyse whether fossil species diversity is associated with a diversity of ecologies, and to investigate possible ecological differences between regions and time periods in relation to climate change. Their results show clear differences in time and space between and within species, and suggest that more flexible species are less vulnerable to environmental stressors.
Very few studies focus on the palaeocology of Miocene rhinos. This study is therefore a great contribution to the understanding of the evolution of this group.
Cerdeño, E. (1998). Diversity and evolutionary trends of the Family Rhinocerotidae (Perissodactyla). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 141, 13–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-0182(98)00003-0
Hullot, M., Merceron, G., and Antoine, P.-O. (2022). Spatio-temporal diversity of dietary preferences and stress sensibilities of early and middle Miocene Rhinocerotidae from Eurasia: Impact of climate changes. BioRxiv, 490903, ver. 4 peer-reviewed by PCI Paleo. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.06.490903
Prothero, D. R., and Schoch, R. M. (1989). The evolution of perissodactyls. New York: Oxford University Press.
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
The sampling for this study was partly funded by SYNTHESYS AT-TAF-65 (2020; Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria) and a Bourse de Mobilité Doctorale from the Association Française des Femmes Diplômées des Universités.
Evaluation round #2
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.05.06.490903v2
Version of the preprint: 2
Author's Reply, 25 Nov 2022
Decision by Alexandra Houssaye, posted 10 Nov 2022, validated 10 Nov 2022
Thank you for the changes you made and the new version of your manuscript. You have indeed taken into account most of the reviewers' comments and the manuscript is almost ready for publication. However, I have made suggestions in the attached document to further take into account some of the previous comments and to justify some parts a bit more, and I have made some small suggestions/corrections. Please take a look at this document and submit a new version of your manuscript. I have no doubt that these changes will be quick and easy for you to make.
Do not hesitate if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing the new version of your manuscript.
Alexandra HoussayeDownload recommender's annotations
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.06.490903
Author's Reply, 19 Oct 2022
Decision by Alexandra Houssaye, posted 26 Jul 2022
The preprint entitled “Spatio-temporal diversity of dietary preferences and stress sensibilities of early and middle Miocene Rhinocerotidae from Eurasia: impact of climate changes” was sent to three reviewers.
If all the reviewers underline the interest and quality of the study and of the preprint, they also suggest a moderate/major revision. Their comments (copied in full below + the 3 annotated pdfs), which should enable you to greatly improve the preprint, are attached. The comments notably address the generation of testable hypotheses at the beginning of the manuscript that will clarify the objectives of the study, the approach and the value of combining the analyses of dental microwear texture and dental hypopasias in a single study. In addition, if the statistical approach is perceived as sound and robust (although one reviewer made an interesting suggestion for a particular case), more distance from the statistical results in the interpretations and generalisations is recommended, as well as more contextualisation in the conclusion.
Thank you again for submitting your interesting work to PCI Paleo. I look forward to seeing a revised version of this manuscript. Please submit a rebuttal letter with your revision, detailing any changes you have made in response to the reviewers' comments.