Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ape ancestors' teeth provide glimpse into their diets and environments: Helped apes move to Eurasia, may have led to extinction

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Newly analyzed tooth samples from the great apes of the Miocene indicate that the same dietary specialization that allowed the apes to move from Africa to Eurasia may have led to their extinction. Apes expanded into Eurasia from Africa during the Miocene (14 to 7 million years ago) and evolved to survive in new habitat. Their diet closely relates to the environment in which they live and each type of diet wears the teeth differently.

Newly analyzed tooth samples from the great apes of the Miocene indicate that the same dietary specialization that allowed the apes to move from Africa to Eurasia may have led to their extinction, according to results published May 21, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Daniel DeMiguel from the Institut Catalα de Palontologia Miquel Crusafont (Spain) and colleagues.

Apes expanded into Eurasia from Africa during the Miocene (14 to 7 million years ago) and evolved to survive in new habitat. Their diet closely relates to the environment in which they live and each type of diet wears the teeth differently. To better understand the apes' diet during their evolution and expansion into new habitat, scientists analyzed newly-discovered wearing in the teeth of 15 upper and lower molars belonging to apes from five extinct taxa found in Spain from the mid- to late-Miocene (which overall comprise a time span between 12.3–12.2 and 9.7 Ma). They combined these analyses with previously collected data for other Western Eurasian apes, categorizing the wear on the teeth into one of three ape diets: hard-object feeders (e.g., hard fruits, seeds), mixed food feeders (e.g. fruit), and leaf feeders.

Previous data collected elsewhere in Europe and Turkey suggested that the great ape's diet evolved from hard-shelled fruits and seeds to leaves, but these findings only contained samples from the early-Middle and Late Miocene, while lack data from the epoch of highest diversity of hominoids in Western Europe.

In their research, the scientists found that in contrast with the diet of hard-shelled fruits and seeds at the beginning of the movement of great apes to Eurasia, soft and mixed fruit-eating coexisted with hard-object feeding in the Late Miocene, and a diet specializing in leaves did not evolve. The authors suggest that a progressive dietary diversification may have occurred due to competition and changes in the environment, but that this specialization may have ultimately lead to their extinction when more drastic environmental changes took place.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel DeMiguel, David M. Alba, Salvador Moyΰ-Solΰ. Dietary Specialization during the Evolution of Western Eurasian Hominoids and the Extinction of European Great Apes. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (5): e97442 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097442

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Ape ancestors' teeth provide glimpse into their diets and environments: Helped apes move to Eurasia, may have led to extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180014.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, May 21). Ape ancestors' teeth provide glimpse into their diets and environments: Helped apes move to Eurasia, may have led to extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180014.htm
PLOS. "Ape ancestors' teeth provide glimpse into their diets and environments: Helped apes move to Eurasia, may have led to extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180014.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins