Thursday, 10 July 2014

Research calls for a new diet classification for mammals

The analysis of 139 land mammals' dietary preferences has led researchers to call for a new classification system, as many diets were varied beyond the current understanding of herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore.

Research by Macquarie University's Silvia Pineda-Munoz, and Associate Professor John Alroy found that the majority of mammals eat both plant and animal foods and so very few are pure "herbivores" or "carnivores".

Additionally, the widely used "omnivore" category puts animals eating meat and vegetation together with ones eating insects and seeds, which are very distinctive dietary specialisations.

The researchers instead suggest classifying species based on their main food choice, and also propose using the term "generalist" for animals without a particular dietary preference.




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