Evolutionary transitions among feeding styles and habitats in ungulates

Pérez-Barbería, F. Javier, Gordon, Iain J., and Nores, Carlos (2001) Evolutionary transitions among feeding styles and habitats in ungulates. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 3 (2). pp. 221-230.

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Using a phylogeny of extant species with a maximum likelihood model of trait evolution, the most likely pathway that led to the current diversification of feeding styles in the Ungulata is described and related to their habitat use. Habitat use and feeding style are intimately associated in extant species; grazing and mixed-feeder species are more likely to use open habitats than browsing species. From the ancestral state of a closed-habitat dweller/browser, the acquisition of an open-habitat/grazer state is likely to have occurred through a three-step transition. In the first step, the ancestral ungulate species evolved a mixed-feeder feeding style but retained the closed-habitat condition. Then, once the species had a mixed diet, it evolved to occupy open habitats. Finally, a grazer feeding style evolved with the open-habitat state being retained. The mixed-feeder state is a flexible evolutionary state that acts as a link between closed and open habitats. These findings are discussed from a comparative palaeoecological perspective.

Item ID: 42584
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1937-3791
Keywords: browser, diet, grazer, habitat use
Funders: Training and Mobility of Researchers Scheme of the European Communities, Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD)
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060305 Evolution of Developmental Systems @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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