top of page

Due to its functional role in masticatory dynamics, the skull of vertebrates presents aspects of its morphology defined by trophic ecology. Rodents, the most successful group of living mammals, present a cranial morphology characteristic of herbivores. However, several rodent species feed on invertebrates, developing morphological adaptations on their skull to meet the demands of feeding on live prey. Using comparative morphological descriptions (Missagia & Perini 2018), studying functional morphology (Missagia et al. 2020), and applying phylogenetic comparative methods, we can understand how ecological pressures can shape the evolution of the skull of carnivorous species.



Skull of Blarinomys breviceps from Missagia & Perini 2018. Drawings by Bárbara Rossi.



Stable isotopes have emerged as a powerful estimation tool for trophic ecology, helping to quantify feeding interactions and understand ecosystem processes. We analyzed stable isotope data from akodontine rodents distributed throughout South America (Missagia et al. 2019), representing the first macroecological study of diet with this proxy in rodents, which allowed us to discuss the diversity of trophic niches within the group. Stable isotopes can also be used to study the ecology of fossil specimens, allowing us to propose paleoenvironmental and paleoecological reconstructions (Dantas et al. 2020) 


Akodon mollis feeding on an earthworm. Photo by Jorge Brito.

Stable isotopes


Dantas, M. A. T., Missagia, R. V., Parisi Dutra, R., Raugust, T., Silva, L. A., Delicio, M. P., Renó, R., Cherkinsky, A. Isotopic paleoecology (δ13C) from mammals from IUIU/BA and paleoenvironmental reconstruction (δ13C, δ18O) for the Brazilian intertropical region through the late Pleistocene. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 242, p. 106469, 2020.

Missagia, R. V., Patterson, B. D., Perini, F. A. Stable isotope signatures and the trophic diversification of akodontine rodents. Evolutionary Ecology, v. 34, p. 1-18, 2019.



South America has a mammal fauna that has been shaped by several biogeographic and geological processes (e.g. Great American Biotic Interchange). We are interested in studying the systematics and taxonomy of some groups of South American artiodactyls (Parisi Dutra et al. 2016, 2017), as well as in proposing paleoenvironmental reconstructions (Dantas et al. 2020)


Gasparini, G. M., Parisi Dutra, R., Perini, F. A., Croft, D. A., Cozzuol, M. A., Missagia, R. V., Lucas, S. GOn the Supposed Presence of Miocene Tayassuidae and Dromomerycinae (Mammalia, Cetartiodactyla) in South America. American Museum Novitates, v. 3968, p. 1-27, 2021.

Dantas, M. A. T., Missagia, R. V., Parisi Dutra, R., Raugust, T., Silva, L. A., Delicio, M. P., Renó, R., Cherkinsky, A. Isotopic paleoecology (δ13C) from mammals from IUIU/BA and paleoenvironmental reconstruction (δ13C, δ18O) for the Brazilian intertropical region through the late Pleistocene. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 242, p. 106469, 2020.

Parisi Dutra, R., Missagia, R. V., Perini, F. A., Cozzuol, M. A., Gasparini, G. M., Guedes, P., Salles, L. Fossil peccaries of Late Pleistocene/Holocene (Cetartiodactyla, Tayassuidae) from underwater caves of Serra da Bodoquena (Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil). Historical Biology, v. 29, p. 85-92, 2017.


Parisi Dutra, R., Casali, D. M., Missagia, R. V., Gasparini, G. M., Perini, F. A., Cozzuol, M. A. Phylogenetic Systematics of Peccaries (Tayassuidae: Cetartiodactyla) and a Classification of South American Tayassuids. Journal of Mammalian Evolution. v. 24, p. 345-358, 2017.


Missagia, R. V.Parisi Dutra, R., Cozzuol, M. A. Morphometry of Catagonus stenocephalus (Lund in Reinhardt 1880) (CETARTIODACTYLA:TAYASSUIDAE) and taxonomical considerations about Catagonus Ameghino 1904. Lundiana, v. 12, p. 39-44, 2016.


Gasparini, G. M., Rodriguez, S. G., Soibelzon, L. H., Beilinson, E., Soibelson, E., Missagia, R. V. Tayassu pecari (Link, 1795) (Mammalia, Cetartiodactyla): comments on its South American fossil record, taxonomy and paleobiogeography. Historical Biology, v. 26, p. 1-16, 2013.


Phylogeny of Tayassuidae from Parisi Dutra et al. 2017.

bottom of page