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The morphophysiological adaptations of browsing and grazing mammals


Clauss, Marcus; Kaiser, T; Hummel, J (2008). The morphophysiological adaptations of browsing and grazing mammals. In: Gordon, I J; et al. The ecology of browsing and grazing. Berlin: Springer, 47-88.

Abstract

There has been a continous debate whether there are fundametal morphophysiological differences in the ingestive apparatus (head, teeth) and the digestive tract between browsing and grazing herbivores. A particular characteristic of this debate appears to be that while there is a wealth of publications on such potential differences, the supposed undelying differences between browse and grass have rarely been analysed quantitatively. In this chapter, we first review the actual state of knowledge on those properties of browse and grass that appear relevant for the ingestive and digestive process, and then deduct hypotheses as to how one would assume that browsers and grazers differ due to these characteristics. We address the methodological issues involved in actually testing these hypotheses, with emphasis on the influence of body mass and phylogenetic descent. Finally, we present a literature compilation of statistical tests of differences between the feeding-types. Although in general, the published tests support many hypothesized differences, there is still both a lack of comparative data, and a lack of analyses with phylogenetic control, on different taxonomic levels. However, the published material appears to indicate that convergent evolutionary adaptations of browsing and grazing herbivores to their diet represent a rewarding area of research.

There has been a continous debate whether there are fundametal morphophysiological differences in the ingestive apparatus (head, teeth) and the digestive tract between browsing and grazing herbivores. A particular characteristic of this debate appears to be that while there is a wealth of publications on such potential differences, the supposed undelying differences between browse and grass have rarely been analysed quantitatively. In this chapter, we first review the actual state of knowledge on those properties of browse and grass that appear relevant for the ingestive and digestive process, and then deduct hypotheses as to how one would assume that browsers and grazers differ due to these characteristics. We address the methodological issues involved in actually testing these hypotheses, with emphasis on the influence of body mass and phylogenetic descent. Finally, we present a literature compilation of statistical tests of differences between the feeding-types. Although in general, the published tests support many hypothesized differences, there is still both a lack of comparative data, and a lack of analyses with phylogenetic control, on different taxonomic levels. However, the published material appears to indicate that convergent evolutionary adaptations of browsing and grazing herbivores to their diet represent a rewarding area of research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:02 Sep 2008 14:52
Last Modified:07 Sep 2016 08:41
Publisher:Springer
Series Name:Ecological studies
Number:195
ISBN:978-3-540-72421-6
Additional Information:The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=005392692
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3413

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