Fossil Evidence of Interactions between Plants and Plant-Eating Mammals
We document changes in mammalian dietary and foraging locomotor adaptation, and appearances and developments of angiosperm fruiting strategies and vegetation types since the late Cretaceous in the Euramerican region, and to some extent in low latitude Africa. These changes suggest: (i) an expansion in the exploitation of dry fruits and seeds by mammals on the ground as well as in the trees after the terminal Cretaceous dinosaur extinction; (ii) a relation between large nuts and rodents, which appear in the late Palaeocene and radiate in the late Eocene; (iii) a relation between primates and fleshy fruits established in the early-Middle Eocene when tropical forests reached their maximum latitudinal extent; (iv) a hiatus of several million years in the vertebrate exploitation of leaves after dinosaur extinction and before the first few mammalian herbivores in the Middle Palaeocene, followed by an expansion in the late Eocene when climates cooled and more open vegetation became established.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- August 1991