Functional traits of the world’s late Quaternary large-bodied avian and mammalian herbivores

Erick Lundgren, Simon D. Schowanek, John Rowan, Owen Middleton, Rasmus Østergaard Pedersen, Arian D. Wallach, Daniel Ramp, Matt Davis, Christopher James Sandom, J.-C. Svenning

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Prehistoric and recent extinctions of large-bodied terrestrial herbivores had significant and lasting impacts on Earth’s ecosystems due to the loss of their distinct trait combinations. The world’s surviving large-bodied avian and mammalian herbivores remain among the most threatened taxa. As such, a greater understanding of the ecological impacts of large herbivore losses is increasingly important. However, comprehensive and ecologically-relevant trait datasets for extinct and extant herbivores are lacking. Here, we present HerbiTraits, a comprehensive functional trait dataset for all late Quaternary terrestrial avian and mammalian herbivores ≥10 kg (545 species). HerbiTraits includes key traits that influence how herbivores interact with ecosystems, namely body mass, diet, fermentation type, habitat use, and limb morphology. Trait data were compiled from 557 sources and comprise the best available knowledge on late Quaternary large-bodied herbivores. HerbiTraits provides a tool for the analysis of herbivore functional diversity both past and present and its effects on Earth’s ecosystems.

TidsskriftScientific Data
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2021


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