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June 27 2013

Scientists discover why elephants' ancestors changed their diet from leaves to grass

Scientists may have solved an evolutionary riddle of how the ancestors of elephants changed their diet from soft leaves to relatively tough grasses and in the process became one of the dominant herbivores of the African savannah.

A study of the fossils of animals with tusks and trunks, such as elephants and mammoths, has revealed that the crucial change in diet occurred about 3 million years before elephants had actually developed the big teeth needed for a grass diet.

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