Comparative dietary evaluations of an extinct giraffid (Sivatherium hendeyi) (Mammalia, Giraffidae, Sivatheriinae) from Langebaanweg, South Africa (early Pliocene)


en Geodiversitas 26 (4) - Pages 675-685

Published on 31 December 2004

The dietary preference of Sivatherium hendeyi (Harris, 1976), an extinct giraffid from the early Pliocene of South Africa, was investigated by applying three dietary reconstruction tools – hypsodonty, mesowear and microwear. The hypsodonty index for S. hendeyi is 1.51 ± 0.06, which is within the brachyodont category as in most ruminant browsers. The mesowear signature of S. hendeyi is most similar to the mixed feeders (the seasonal mixed feeders). Microwear investigations also support a mixed diet for S. hendeyi. Taken together, results indicate that the dietary preference of this extinct giraffid is most similar to that of seasonal mixed feeders and show no similarities with grazers. The slight differences in the type of mixed feeding are discussed and highlight the constraints of each method for the interpretation of diets of fossil herbivores. The importance of the results in terms of the evolution of dietary strategies amongst African Sivatheriinae are also discussed.


Mammalia, Giraffidae, Sivatheriinae, South Africa, microwear, mesowear, paleodiet

Download full article in PDF format Order a reprint