Iterative evolution of large-bodied hypercarnivory in canids benefits species but not clades

Mairin Balisi & Blaire Van Valkenburgh
Ecological specialization has costs and benefits at various scales: traits benefitting an individual may disadvantage its population, species or clade. In particular, large body size and hypercarnivory (diet over 70% meat) have evolved repeatedly in mammals; yet large hypercarnivores are thought to be trapped in a macroevolutionary “ratchet”, marching unilaterally toward decline. Here, we weigh the impact of this specialization on extinction risk using the rich fossil record of North American canids (dogs). In two...
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These counts follow the COUNTER Code of Practice, meaning that Internet robots and repeats within a certain time frame are excluded.
What does this mean?