Abstract. The emergence and expansion of grassland habitats in the late Cenozoic has had a profound influence on mammalian evolution and community structure. The extent to which these habitat dynamics influenced mammalian evolution, or contributed to the structure of both past and contemporary mammalian communities is unknown. The present Working Group proposal aims to integrate paleontological and contemporary understandings of mammalian and grassland evolution and ecology, incorporating food web and community dynamics, foraging ecology, and the ecology and evolution of social groups - factors that operate on both ecological and evolutionary timescales. The Working Group is conceived to address questions in two stages.
Stage 1 at SFI will facilitate cross-disciplinary introductions and interactions, the sharing of unpublished data and identification of data voids, and the assignment of collaborative tasks.
Stage 2 at Dartmouth College is conceived to induce completion of analyses and as a forum for sharing and integrating the outcomes of our work. Ultimately, our goal is to bundle the papers in a journal that specializes on themed issues, such as Interface Focus, Journal of Ecology, or Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.