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CNHG Mammals of California

CNHG Mammals of California

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From river otters and minks to bobcats, pikas, and flying squirrels, California boasts a diverse and intriguing fauna. But many of these animals can be secretive, shy, and nocturnal and observing them in the wild can be difficult. During the past two decades, the first edition of this popular guide introduced thousands to California's mammals by describing techniques for recognizing their presence, and when possible, methods for watching them in their natural habitats. Mammals of California is now completely revised and updated throughout, making it an ideal companion in the field or classroom.

* Includes 144 line drawings, 143 range maps, and 18 illustrated color plates

* Gives valuable overviews of mammal evolution, biology and anatomy, natural history, and conservation

* Features an expanded and updated section on diseases harbored by wild mammals that can affect humans—including Lyme disease and Hanta virus
From river otters and minks to bobcats, pikas, and flying squirrels, California boasts a diverse and intriguing fauna. But many of these animals can be secretive, shy, and nocturnal and observing them in the wild can be difficult. During the past two decades, the first edition of this popular guide introduced thousands to California's mammals by describing techniques for recognizing their presence, and when possible, methods for watching them in their natural habitats. Mammals of California is now completely revised and updated throughout, making it an ideal companion in the field or classroom.

* Includes 144 line drawings, 143 range maps, and 18 illustrated color plates

* Gives valuable overviews of mammal evolution, biology and anatomy, natural history, and conservation

* Features an expanded and updated section on diseases harbored by wild mammals that can affect humans—including Lyme disease and Hanta virus

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Published by: University of California Press on Dec 03, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/01/2012

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© by the Regents of the University of California.Not to be reproduced without publisher’s written permission.
 
SPECIES ACCOUNTS
 
CARNIVORA 
Two major groups ofmeat-eating mammals have existed:theCreodonta and the Carnivora.Members ofthe Carnivora areconventionally referred to as “carnivorans”to separate themfrom the creodonts,which died out in the Miocene.Most car-nivorans are clearly modified for a diet ofmeat and the capture of living prey.They feed mostly on birds and on other mammals,but some,such as the pinnipeds,feed largely on fish and marineinvertebrates.Bears and raccoons are generalists,eating fruitswhen available.Carnivoran dentition is distinctive;the incisorsare rather small and used for grooming and pulling,whereas thecanines are conical and long,suitable for holding and tearingmeat (fig.4).The molars are variously shaped and often serve toshear or crush bones.The cheek teeth are sometimes modifiedfor cutting flesh;the inner side ofthe fourth upper premolar andthe outer side ofthe first lower molar fit tightly together and slidepast each other like the blades ofscissors.These two teeth are re-ferred to as carnassials and are characteristic ofthose carnivoransthat are primarily flesh eaters,such as cats.Like meat eaters ingeneral,carnivorans have a rather short,simple gastrointestinaltract.The first Carnivora may have arisen from the miacoids,car-nivorans that existed from the Late Cretaceous to the early Pale-ocene.Carnivorans first appeared in the Paleocene but did notbegin to diverge until the late Eocene and early Oligocene.Theearliest carnivorans existed together with the creodonts,whichsurvived to the Oligocene in North America.The carnivorans re-placed the creodonts in the Oligocene,but there is no evidence tosupport a close relationship between the two orders.The earliest relatives ofdogs (Canidae) diversified into run-ning types in North America,where they were the dominant car-nivorans for the first part ofthe Cenozoic.Bears (Ursidae) are de-rived from an ancient group,the Arctoids,and underwentevolutionary changes in Europe.The family Ursidae first ap-peared in North America in the late Miocene.Early ursids did notresemble modern bears,for they walked on their toes (digiti-grade)and were adapted for running (cursorial).The modernbears with which we are familiar date from the Oligocene and en-
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CARNIVORANS

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