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How Do We Know This?
Because direct observation of a fossil animal's behavior isn't possible, paleontologists use comparison and contrast with living animals for guidance. Tracks can sometimes reveal further clues to behavior. At a fossil site, the mix of plant and animal species gives clues to the ecosystem of that time and place.
- Believed to be solitary and non-territorial (Janis 1984)
- Modern tapirs are recognized to have an important role in dispersing seeds and fertilizing fruiting trees (Downer 2001).
- Feeding habits of Pleistocene tapirs might have been similar.
- May have enjoyed mud wallowing like modern tapirs
- California tapir fossis have been found near Oceanside; at the same site, tracks of mammoth or mastodont were discovered in the Pleistocene lake-shore sediments. (Randal et al 2004)
SDZWA Library Links
Fact Sheet Index
Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library
Home page, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library
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