News From the Field
Have Thieving Rodents Saved Tropical Trees?
July 23, 2012
Big seeds produced by many tropical trees were probably once ingested and then defecated whole by huge mammals called gomphotheres that dispersed the seeds over large distances. But gomphotheres were probably hunted to extinction more than 10,000 years ago. So why aren't large-seeded plants also extinct? A new report suggests that rodents may have taken over the seed dispersal role of gomphotheres.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
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