Document Detail

Late Miocene to Pliocene carbon isotope record of differential diet change among East African herbivores.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21464327     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Stable isotope and molecular data suggest that C(4) grasses first appeared globally in the Oligocene. In East Africa, stable isotope data from pedogenic carbonate and fossil tooth enamel suggest a first appearance between 15-10 Ma and subsequent expansion during the Plio-Pleistocene. The fossil enamel record has the potential to provide detailed information about the rates of dietary adaptation to this new resource among different herbivore lineages. We present carbon isotope data from 452 fossil teeth that record differential rates of diet change from C(3) to mixed C(3)/C(4) or C(4) diets among East African herbivore families at seven different time periods during the Late Miocene to the Pliocene (9.9-3.2 Ma). Significant amounts of C(4) grasses were present in equid diets beginning at 9.9 Ma and in rhinocerotid diets by 9.6 Ma, although there is no isotopic evidence for expansive C(4) grasslands in this part of the Late Miocene. Bovids and hippopotamids followed suit with individuals that had C(4)-dominated (>65%) diets by 7.4 Ma. Suids adopted C(4)-dominated diets between 6.5 and 4.2 Ma. Gomphotheriids and elephantids had mostly C(3)-dominated diets through 9.3 Ma, but became dedicated C(4) grazers by 6.5 Ma. Deinotheriids and giraffids maintained a predominantly C(3) diet throughout the record. The sequence of differential diet change among herbivore lineages provides ecological insight into a key period of hominid evolution and valuable information for future studies that focus on morphological changes associated with diet change.
Kevin T Uno; Thure E Cerling; John M Harris; Yutaka Kunimatsu; Meave G Leakey; Masato Nakatsukasa; Hideo Nakaya
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2011-04-04
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  108     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2011 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-04-20     Completed Date:  2011-06-17     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  6509-14     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Africa, Eastern
Biological Evolution*
Carbon Isotopes / analysis,  metabolism
Dental Enamel
Food Habits*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Carbon Isotopes

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