On the conservation of extant species
Another very interesting aspect of this work is its application to studies for the conservation of the biodiversity of the planet.
Khler and her colleagues have included in their study more than a hundred ruminants, representing almost all the existing tribes. In all, they analysed up to 115 right femurs from species in 36 different localities in Africa and Europe, which cover almost all the different climatic regimes that exist today.
In all cases, whether in hot or cold latitudes, tropical forests or deserts, the mammals showed LAGs in their bones. Weight was not a discriminating factor either, since among the species studied some adults weighed 3-4 kg while others reached weights of 900 kg.
On the other hand, it was observed that the LAGs are normally formed during the dry season, which at high altitudes coincides with the cold season. This fact confirms the hypothesis that the availability of resources, which are largely dependent on the precipitation in an area, influences the growth and physiology of species.
Large mammals, like all organisms that are exposed to seasonal changes, have developed physiological adaptations that enable them to survive the unfavourable seasons while taking maximum benefit from the favourable season. These metabolic changes are highly visible in the endocrine systems of extant species. Thanks to the research led by Meike Khler it has been possible to demonstrate a direct correlation between the highest growth rates and the highest levels of metabolism at times with availability of food resources.
The study of LAGs is, in fact, a tool for demographic research, for analysing the health of a population. This tool is known as ske
|Contact: Maria Jesus Delgado|
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona