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The temporal scale of diet and dietary proxies [Ecology and Evolution]

Keywords : diet, dietary proxies, isotopes, microwear, temporal scale, time averaging

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Diets estimated from different proxies such as stable isotopes, stomach contents, and dental microwear often disagree, leading to nominally well-supported but greatly differing estimates of diet for both extinct and extant species that complicate our understanding of ecology. We show that these perceived incongruences can be caused by proxies recording diet over vastly different timescales. Field observations reveal a diet averaged over minutes or hours, whereas dental morphology may reflect the diet of a lineage over millions of years of evolution.(...)

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