You are What You Eat: Using Stable Isotopes... Questions
After reading the article, "You are What You Eat: Using Stable Isotopes to Trace Dietary Shifts in Ancient African Herbivores" by Anne-Marie Hodge. ©2011 Ecology Communications Group, Inc. September 2, 2011 answer these questions:
- Grasslands became widespread only since the late Pliocene. How along ago was that?
- This recent development of a landscape brings to mind what three important questions?
- Contrast the photosynthesis rate of C3 and C4 plants.
- The C3 / C4 take home message is ______ .
- Compare and contrast browsers and grazers. OK, I'll do the compare: These are herbivorous animals.
- Different ratios of stable carbon isotopes (13C / 12C) in vegetation allow distinguishing between ____ and ____ plants.
- The author emphasizes these are stable carbon isotopes. Why does she think we know about radioactive carbon isotopes?
- The 13C / 12C ratios in plant materials are preserved in the animal tissues. What animal parts did Uno et al. use for their studies?
- Rank the families (bovids, elephatids, equids, giraffids and suids) from first to switch to C4 to last to switch diets.
- The author mentions that the bovid species had mixed or primarily C3 diets. How might that relate to bovid diversity?
- Extreme animal size might relate to the inability of those animals to make dietary changes. Aside from some carnivorous mammals what other taxa might have been doomed by this?
- Why don't giraffes have long necks?
- Discuss the morphological changes amongst these taxa that are supported by this study.
- Discuss a limitation of the study the authors acknowledge.
- If your teeth enamel was examined, would you be a C3 or C4 diet animal? Don't forget you might also eat meat - how does that skew the results?