The sea mink (Neovison macrodon (Prentiss, 1903): Mustelinae) was an unusual late-Cenozoic example of an organism that had rapidly evolved toward a marine niche. Except for the otters, it was probably the most aquatic member of the Musteloidea. Its status as a separate species has not been resolved. A larger relative of the American mink (N. vison), it inhabited the shores of New England and possibly the Canadian Maritime Provinces until it was hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Skeletal and skin specimens were not collected by zoologists, but the former are known from Native American archaeological sites. The hypothesis that the sea mink showed dental divergence from N. vison, an indication of systematic and ecological distinctness, was tested on 111 dentally mature mink specimens originally collected from the Turner Farm archaeological site (Penobscot Bay, Maine). These teeth, dating from about 5,000 to 250 years ago, were compared with 158 other specimens measured for this study and published data from 78 individuals, representing 4 subspecies of N. vison and 22 additional musteloid genera. Thirteen dental measurements were taken on all species and studied using regressions, principal component analysis, and significance testing. Based on comparisons with American mink, it appears likely that the archaeological specimens included primarily N. macrodon but also N. vison. Although pairs of species within the Lutrinae and genus Mustela showed divergence comparable to that of N. vison and N. macrodon, the dental proportions of male and female N. vison and of the several N. vison subspecies were nearly identical. These analyses suggest that N. macrodon was sufficiently distinct from N. vison to support its recognition as a separate species.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.