The evolution of species is governed by complex phenomena in which biological and environmental features may interact dynamically. Subterranean mammals dig tunnels whose diameter minimizes energetic costs during excavations and display anatomical adaptations in order to burrow structurally stable tunnels according to specific features of the soil. These animals weight from less than 50 g up to 1-2 kg, and dig tunnels with diameters from 3 to 15 cm. The use of allometric laws has enabled these data to be correlated. However, since tunnels need to be stable with respect to the geomechanical characteristics of the resident soils, a mathematical treatment linking the admissible dimensions of tunnels to the environment here suggests a mechanically grounded correlation between the body mass of subterranean mammals and the maximum dimensions of tunnels. Remarkably, such theoretical findings reflect very well the empirical allometric relationship and contribute to explain the wide differences observed in body sizes of subterranean mammals. In this respect, a far from ancillary role of environmental mechanics on the morphological evolution of subterranean mammals can be hypothesized.

Burrowing below ground: interaction between soil mechanics and evolution of subterranean mammals / Rosario Carotenuto, A.; Guarracino, F.; Sumbera, R.; Fraldi, M.. - In: JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE. - ISSN 1742-5662. - 17:162(2020), p. 20190521. [10.1098/rsif.2019.0521]

Burrowing below ground: interaction between soil mechanics and evolution of subterranean mammals

Rosario Carotenuto A.;Guarracino F.;Fraldi M.
2020

Abstract

The evolution of species is governed by complex phenomena in which biological and environmental features may interact dynamically. Subterranean mammals dig tunnels whose diameter minimizes energetic costs during excavations and display anatomical adaptations in order to burrow structurally stable tunnels according to specific features of the soil. These animals weight from less than 50 g up to 1-2 kg, and dig tunnels with diameters from 3 to 15 cm. The use of allometric laws has enabled these data to be correlated. However, since tunnels need to be stable with respect to the geomechanical characteristics of the resident soils, a mathematical treatment linking the admissible dimensions of tunnels to the environment here suggests a mechanically grounded correlation between the body mass of subterranean mammals and the maximum dimensions of tunnels. Remarkably, such theoretical findings reflect very well the empirical allometric relationship and contribute to explain the wide differences observed in body sizes of subterranean mammals. In this respect, a far from ancillary role of environmental mechanics on the morphological evolution of subterranean mammals can be hypothesized.
2020
Burrowing below ground: interaction between soil mechanics and evolution of subterranean mammals / Rosario Carotenuto, A.; Guarracino, F.; Sumbera, R.; Fraldi, M.. - In: JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE. - ISSN 1742-5662. - 17:162(2020), p. 20190521. [10.1098/rsif.2019.0521]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/790655
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