Armadillo Reviews

Why Xenarthrans Matter

Author abstract:

Xenarthrans possess a suite of characteristics that make them among the most unusual of mammals. Understanding the functional significance of these traits is one prominent reason why xenarthrans matter. In addition, Xenarthra is currently considered one of the basal clades of placental mammals, and the only one to originate in South America. Consequently, studies of xenarthrans can provide important insights into the evolution of early placentals. The fossil record contains hundreds of recognized species of xenarthrans but this rich evolutionary history is currently distilled into just 31 extant species. Preserving this heritage through various conservation initiatives is yet another reason why xenarthrans matter. This Special Feature on xenarthrans provides an overview of current work and identifies many areas requiring further study. It is our hope that this Special Feature will raise the profile of xenarthrans among mammalogists and perhaps entice some to consider addressing one or more of the many lingering questions that remain about this enigmatic group.
Why do Xenarthrans matter?: Table 1.. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280633271_Why_do_Xenarthrans_matter_Table_1 [accessed Aug 11, 2017].


Research on Armadillos: A Review and Prospectus

Author abstract

 

A detailed analysis of 1,039 scientific studies of extant armadillos (Xenarthra: Cingulata, Dasypodidae) published in the last 25 years (1989–2013) revealed substantial biases in coverage, including taxonomically, the locales where field studies were conducted, and in the topics investigated. Examination of the number of other publications that cited each paper revealed that 470 (45%) papers had been cited no more than 10 times, 249 (24%)  had never been cited, and 112 (11%) were not even found in the Google Scholar database. The most heavily cited papers were molecular phylogenetic analyses that often used tissues from one or more species of armadillo but were not about the animals per se. Thus, it appears that research on armadillos is plagued by numerous gaps in coverage and is not reaching a wide audience. These data indicate obvious opportunities for future research. In addition, recent findings suggest that even relatively well-studied phenomena may require reexamination. Here, we review recent advances in the study of armadillos and highlight promising areas for future work. One critical need is for a thorough systematic revision of Dasypodidae to be completed. This will make it possible to prioritize those species and populations most in need of study. Additionally, more long-term field studies of populations of marked individuals are required. Although there are many important and interesting questions waiting to be

answered, the small number of researchers currently conducting studies of armadillos, particularly in the wild, means that progress will be slow.


 

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