Message Number: SG18004 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2006-07-27 17:24:10 UTC
Subject: RE: [ferrethealth] RE: swimming and ferrets; bone density and mustelids

I found some of the wording confusing, too. My overall impression was that=
he considers ferrets to be terrestrial, but from reading the second paper =
I mentioned (which is from an earlier date) it appears that he suggests tha=
t mustelids in general have indications of having had an ancestor who spent=
more time in the water than current ones. That is interesting, if so, for=
several reasons:
1. from the abstract of one of the cladistics papers I recently mentioned =
it looks like that might also be among possible implications (though the im=
press can also be turned on its head with the two more basal ones mentioned=
reflecting ancestors who had not yet adapted to a more aquatic lifestyle. =
The American Mink looks to have more basal aspects, and European MInk a cl=
ose sister species though one discounted aspect hinted at it looking more b=
asal for Mustela if I read it right. (Again, I am rusty.) =

> Strong support was found for a close affinity of Enhydra with =

> Mustela to the exclusion of Martes and Gulo
>most-basal position of Mustela vison within Mustela
>Whereas cytochrome b strongly supported Mustela =

> lutreola as the sister species to Putorius, IRBP strongly supported =

> its basal placement to the Mustela itatsi-Mustela sibirica-Putorius =

> clade. The low level of sequence divergence in cytochrome b between =

> Mustela lutreola and Putorius is therefore a result of =

> interspecific mitochondrial introgression between these taxa, =

> rather than a recent origin of Mustela lutreola in a close =

> relationship to Putorius.

(That second paper showed me that it really has been decades that I have be=
en away from that stuff because some confused me more than it would have in=
the past, I think, and warrants some re-readings on my part)

2. To me this makes me wonder if one study that I recall which suggested t=
hat high amphibian and some other aquatic life such as fresh water fish con=
tent in the polecat diet in some regions were there due to reductions in ot=
her prey may not be right. Perhaps there is an ancestral history for them =
being a decent portion of a more natural diet when available, and the ones =
who altered diets over time instead being polecats who were driven from wat=
er sources. (One or two other studies I read in the past simply pointed ou=
t that when they can get them ferrets seem to enjoy frogs and such but it h=
as been a while -- years -- since I looked for such references so more rece=
nt info may exist now...), Anyway, if the ancestral diet for a long enough=
time was one that had more aquatic components, especially fresh water ones=
, then what is nutritionally optimal may be different than what people have=
worked to simulate in the various diets, both kibbled and natural. Then a=
gain, above certain ages (the most common reproductive ones) what was ances=
tral is not always what was best.

I was left mostly with questions.

Author wrote:
> >This pectoral paddling is rare among semi-aquatic mammals.<
> I thought the ferret was not a semi-aquatic mammal although the Mink
> definitely is. Chris.
> --



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