Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Extinct California Tapir (Tapirus californicus) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

California Tapir (Tapirus californicus)

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

  • Assumed to be like living tapirs: leaves, aquatic plants, fruit and seeds, including palm and avocado.
  • Developing a flexible proboscis may have aided tapirs in feeding in marginal habitats as their preferred lush habitats became more scarce over the millions of years of their evolution. (Colbert and Schoch 1998)

Page Citations

Downer (2001)
Colbert and Schoch (1998)

SDZWA Library Links