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News From the Field

Have Thieving Rodents Saved Tropical Trees?

July 23, 2012

an agouti with the black palm trees orange fruit 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. Full Story

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

See also: NSF News Release

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