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Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

Extinct Large-headed Llama (Hemiauchenia macrocephalus)

How Do We Know This?

Clues to fossil mammals' diets come from teeth, skull shape and the positions and strength of major jaw muscles, from fossilized dung and guts, from oxygen isotopes in bone and teeth, and from diets of similar modern animals.

Diet & Feeding

  • A herbivore adapted for browsing or mixed browsing/grazing (Dompierre & Churcher 1996)
  • A herbivore with high crowned teeth like Hemiauchenia often assumed to be a grazer feeding mostly on abrasive grasses (Webb 2006) (Feranec 2003)
  • Looking at carbon isotopes in Hemiacuchenia teeth, Feranec (2003) concluded:
    • This herbivore was mainly a browser feeding on more tropical plants
    • Hemiauchenia also grazed on some grasses and drought tolerant plants.
    • Hemiauchenia was an intermediate feeder that could graze and browse.

Page Citations

Dompierre & Churcher (1996)
Feranec (2003)
Webb (2006)

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