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An Evolutionary History of Browsing and Grazing Ungulates

Browsing (i.e., eating woody and non-woody dicotyledonous plants) and grazing (i.e., eating grass) are distinctively different types of feeding behaviour among ungulates today. Ungulates with different diets have different morphologies (both craniodental ones and in aspects of the digestive system) and physiologies, although some of these differences are merely related to body size, as grazers are usually larger than browsers. There is also a difference in the foraging behaviour in terms of the relationship between resource abundance and intake rate,

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Landscape-level changes to large mammal space use in response to a pastoralist incursion.

Pastoralists and their livestock have long competed with wildlife over access to grazing on shared rangelands. In the dynamic 21st century however, the configuration and quality of these rangelands is changing rapidly. Climate change processes, human range expansion, and the fragmentation and degradation of rangeland habitat have increased competition between pastoralist livestock and wildlife. Interactions of this type are particularly apparent in East Africa, and perhaps most obvious in northern Kenya. In 2017, following months of intense drought, a pastoralist

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Ancestral feeding state of ruminants reconsidered: earliest grazing adaptation claims a mixed condition for Cervidae

Background: Specialised leaf-eating is almost universally regarded as the ancestral state of all ruminants, yet little evidence can be cited in support of this assumption, apart from the fact that all early ruminants had low crowned cheek teeth. Instead, recent years have seen the emergence evidence contradicting the conventional view that low tooth crowns always indicate leaf-eating and high tooth crowns grass-eating. Results: Here we report the results of two independent palaeodietary reconstructions for one of the earliest deer, Procervulus

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Grazing behaviour of the giraffe in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is usually described as an exclusive browser, feeding only on shrubs and trees, preferably between 2 and 5 m above ground (Lamprey, 1963; McNaughton & Georgiadis, 1986; Ciofolo & Le Pendu, 2002). Although browsing seems to be an easier form of feeding for giraffes in terms of accessibility and vigilance (Young & Isbell, 1991), a few studies mention that the giraffe also ‘very occasionally’ feeds on grass (Pienaar, 1963; Du Toit, 2005). To be able to

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Community-level interactions between ungulate browsers and woody plants in an African savanna dominated by palatable-spinescent Acacia trees

We studied the composition of a savanna woody plant community across a natural herbivory gradient maintained by both browsing and grazing ungulates in an arid part of the Kruger National Park, South Africa. We focused on (1) short-term browsing effects on reproductive and morphological traits of a dominant-palatable woody species, Acacia nigrescens, Miller, (2) the relationship between browsing–grazing intensity and soil parameters, (3) the effects of herbivore–soil interactions on woody species richness and composition, and (4) browser-induced effects on the

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