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Giant vegetarian species evolved from tiny carnivore: Study

Holly Martin | Science Recorder | April 17, 2014

Giant vegetarian species evolved from tiny carnivore: Study

First occurrence of terrestrial herbivores, according to new report.

According to a new report in the journal PLOS ONE, a tiny carnivore living about 300 million years ago was the ancestor of a group of very large herbivores. The study, carried out by paleontologist Robert Reisz, a professor of Department of Biology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, was based on a 6.5-inch long fossilized creature found in what is now Kansas.

The creature, which is called a caseid, lived on a diet of insects and other small animals. The caseid belonged to a group of four-legged terrestrial vertebrates (Synapsida) that evolved into mammals and mammal-like reptiles.

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