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Giant prehistoric mammals feasted on flowers


Posted on Monday, 10 February, 2014 | Comment icon 5 comments

Mammoths and other beasts may have fed on flowers. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Flying Puffin
High-protein wildflowers may have played an integral part in the diets of large herbivorous mammals.
The idea that large mammals such as mammoths and rhinos would have once roamed a bland Arctic landscape of browns and yellows has been called in to question. Researchers had previously based this picture on fossilized pollen discovered in the permafrost, but because grasses tend to produce far more pollen than other types of plants the results indicated a greater percentage of grasses than was actually the case.

By instead analyzing a wider range of samples in conjunction with DNA retrieved from the guts and excrement of fossilized beasts, the researchers were able to paint a far more colorful picture of what the ancient landscape might have been like.

Far from being a cornucopia of dull browns and yellows, the Arctic scenery would have been awash with colorful flowering plants and other types of vegetation. It is also now believed that mammoths and other large herbivores would have likely dined on these flowers as part of their diets.

"It makes us rethink how the vegetation looked and how those animals thrived on the landscape," said study co-author Joseph Craine.

Source: Live Science | Comments (5)

Tags: Mammoth, Flowers, Ice Age

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado on 7 February, 2014, 15:11
I wonder if they ate dandelions too... and if it made them wet the bed. 'Cos that's what happens if you even touch dandelions. Am not kidding!
Comment icon #2 Posted by ancient astronaut on 10 February, 2014, 17:25
I wonder if they ate dandelions too... and if it made them wet the bed. 'Cos that's what happens if you even touch dandelions. Am not kidding! Send me some of the dandelions, I have a list of people I wanna laugh at for p***ing their pants.
Comment icon #3 Posted by toast on 10 February, 2014, 18:39
Woolly hair and eating flowers = Hippies
Comment icon #4 Posted by bulveye on 10 February, 2014, 21:57
I wonder if eating flowers made them all woolly? Also how come Woolly Mammoths get all the press, I just found out now that there were Woolly Rhinos!!
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sundew on 11 February, 2014, 1:41
I thought mammoths only died out some 10-20,000 years ago. So why don't they just go looks and see what's growing where the animals lived? And if the area was scoured by ice during an ice age, then see what's growing at the southern edge of the former glaciation. It's not like we are talking the Jurassic here, many of the animals that lived along side the mammoth are still roaming those areas today and we can see exactly what they are eating. And I believe they have examined the contents of the stomachs of some of the frozen mammoths so they know what they fed upon.


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