Record Details

MacFadden, B. J.
Cenozoic mammalian herbivores from the Americas: Reconstructing ancient diets and terrestrial communities
Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics
Journal Article
browsers grazers isotopes teeth morphology paleoclimate carbon isotopes extinct ruminants ungulate mammals feeding ecology fossil mammals early tertiary south-america north-america late miocene early eocene Tapir Bibliography
Herbivory first evolved in terrestrial mammals during the late Cretaceous, similar to 100 million years ago (Mya). Of the similar to 35 ordinal-level clades of extinct or extant eutherian mammals from the New World, similar to 24 have been adapted to herbivory in one form or another. Dental adaptations for specialized terrestrial browsing are first recognized during the early Cenozoic (Paleocene-Eocene). Mammalian herbivores adapted for grazing did not become widespread in the New World until the middle Cenozoic; it seems that this adaptation and the spread of grasslands occurred during the late Oligocene (30 Mya) in South America similar to 10 million years earlier than in North America (20 Mya). Carbon isotopic evidence from fossil herbivore teeth indicates that C3 plants predominated until the late Miocene (similar to8 Mya). Thereafter, C3 and C4 terrestrial communities diversified. Late Pleistocene extinctions similar to 10,000 years ago decimated the diversity of mammalian herbivores, particularly those of larger body size.
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