Biology BA/MS alumnus Russell Engleman recently published an article in the journal Paleobiology that was selected for open access. The editors choose a handful of manuscripts every year to waive the open access fee, essentially making them free open access. The manuscripts that are chosen are generally deemed scientifically significant with the potential for high impact in the scientific community.
The article is entitled “Strangers in a strange land: Ecological dissimilarity to metatherian carnivores may partly explain early colonization of South America by Cyonasua-group procyonids” and it can be accessed here. It was just allocated to an issue this week. (The early version was published in September.)
In short, the article explores why extinct relatives of raccoons were able to disperse to South America from North America some 4 million years earlier than other types of carnivorous mammals such as cats, dogs, bears, and skunks. We provide data supporting the idea that these animals moved into an unoccupied ecological niche, though other ecological factors probably played contributing roles.
Dr. Darin Croft, with whom Russell completed his MS, had this to say: “In addition to the fact that this article was selected for this honor, I think it is noteworthy that this study was not part of Russell’s BS or MS theses. Rather, it was an idea that Russell had independently that he and I worked into a manuscript.”