The Form and function of the North American badger (Taxidea taxus) in relation to its fossorial way of life

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Comparatively few studies have been conducted on members of the Mustelidae, relative to many other carnivoran families. In particular, many of the behavioral and anatomical aspects of the biology of the seven genera of mustelids known as 11 badgers 11 have not been definitively described. Concommitantly, phylogenetic and taxonomic relationships are unclear. The following thesis investigates the ethology and morphology of the North American Badger (Taudea .ta.xU/2 ) as they relate to the fossorial habit, and provides comparative data on other badger genera (Mele-o , My da U/2 , Mel.livoM, Me.log ale, SuLU..o.ta. xU/2 and nyx) with which to better establish the phylogenetic relationships among members of this fossorial mustelid complex . Study design was l.) en.1.> u Gans (1966) who suggested that in studying functional morphology, behavior and anatomy must be investigated in concert to provide a biologically real context in which to view results. Analysis of the digging behavior of Taudea was conducted using high speed cinematographic techniques. Four readily distinguishable behavioral patterns of digging were discerned, and are described. Osteological morphology of the manus, antebrachium and brachium is described, and presented in graphic terms for all badger forms. Musculature appropriate to the fossorial habit of Taudea is provided in detail and is compared to that of non-fossorial mustelids and a generalized (C~nid) carnivore. Morphological adaptations for the fossorial way of life l".6e.n.1.>u Van Valen, 19701 and the potential for power production are analyzed in terms of relative biomechanical efficiency for digging, and, where possible, comparisons are statistically analyzed.
Bibliography: p. 191-197.
Quaife, L. R. (1978). The Form and function of the North American badger (Taxidea taxus) in relation to its fossorial way of life (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/16061