Question 35 - ELAR: Reading Practice Test for the TSIA2

The term megaherbivore (from the attached passage) can best be described as ____.

Loss of megaherbivores such as elephants and hippos can allow woody plants and non-grassy herbs and flowering plants to encroach on grasslands in African national parks, according to a new University of Utah study, published Sept. 12 in Scientific Reports. The study used isotopes in hippopotamus teeth to find a shift in the diet of hippos over the course of a decade in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park following widespread elephant poaching in the 1970s. Study first author and U postdoctoral scholar Kendra Chritz says that her method of using hippo enamel isotopes could help scientists reconstruct past changes in vegetation in Africa’s national parks, areas with relatively little ongoing scientific observation. The results could give ecologists an idea of what could happen to Africa’s grasslands if elephants, whose populations are steeply declining, went extinct or reached near-extinction.

Retrieved from: http://esciencenews.com/articles/2016/09/12/hippo.teeth.reveal.environmental.change

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