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Contact: Lee Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah

Browsing Elephant

Caption: An African elephant browses on leaves of an acacia tree. Modern elephants eat mostly tree leaves and shrubs, but a new University of Utah study shows that they once ate a diet of mostly warm-season grasses, starting about 7.4 million years ago. The study used fossilized teeth to reconstruct the dietary history of east African plant-eaters from 10 million to 3 million years ago, showing that different animals switched at different times from a salad-bar diet of trees and shrubs to a diet of warm season grasses.

Credit: Kevin Uno, University of Utah

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