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Those Cruel 'Hyper-Carnivores' Attacked Hungry Mammoths And Kept The Environment Balanced

Update Date: Oct 29, 2015 12:47 PM EDT
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Those huge mammoths, now, were giants devouring vegetation in the Pleistocene period.

So how on earth did the planet survive, without those mammoths ravaging the earth?

Scientists explain that there were predatory animals, the hungry carnivores, who just attacked the vegetarians and kept them in check, according to HNGN.

So the brutality of the saber-toothed tigers, for instance, had a role to play. They helped to shape the ecosystem in the Pleistocene epoch from 1.8 million to 11,500 years ago, the University of California, Los Angeles, reported.

The entire food chain is a cycle, of course. The larger carnivores were fodder for smaller animals, but the destruction of the larger herbivores helped the smaller animals too to retain their fodder.

The research is interesting with far-reaching implications of the kind of animals that have evolved since then---but face totally different circumstances today.

"Recreating these [Pleistocene] communities is not possible, but their record of success compels us to maintain the diversity we have and rebuild it where feasible," the researchers wrote.

While those carnivores were huge, attacking the mammoths and mastodons with ease, they in turn were kept in check by even larger and more cruel prey.

"Based on observations of living mega-herbivores, such as elephants, rhinos, giraffes and hippos, scientists have generally thought that these species were largely immune to predation, mainly because of their large size as adults and strong maternal protection of very young offspring," said Van Valkenburgh, from the UCLA College's department of ecology and evolutionary biology. "Data on modern lion kills of elephants indicates that larger prides are more successful and we argue that Pleistocene carnivore species probably formed larger prides and packs than are typically observed today -- making it easier for them to attack and kill fairly large juveniles and young adult mega-herbivores."

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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