Are there phylogenetic differences in salivary tannin-binding proteins between browsers and grazers, and ruminants and hindgut fermenters?
While feeding, mammalian browsers (primarily eat woody plants) encounter secondary metabolites such as tannins. Browsers may bind these tannins using salivary proteins, whereas mammalian grazers (primarily eat grasses that generally lack tannins) likely would not. Ruminant browsers rechew their food (ruminate) to increase the effectiveness of digestion, which may make them more effective at binding tannins than nonruminants. Few studies have included a sufficient number of species to consider possible scaling with body mass or phylogenetic effects on salivary proteins.