Cope's Rule, Hypercarnivory, and Extinction in North American Canids

  title={Cope's Rule, Hypercarnivory, and Extinction in North American Canids},
  author={B. Van Valkenburgh and X. Wang and J. Damuth},
  pages={101 - 104}
  • B. Van Valkenburgh, X. Wang, J. Damuth
  • Published 2004
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Science
  • Over the past 50 million years, successive clades of large carnivorous mammals diversified and then declined to extinction. In most instances, the cause of the decline remains a puzzle. Here we argue that energetic constraints and pervasive selection for larger size (Cope's rule) in carnivores lead to dietary specialization (hypercarnivory) and increased vulnerability to extinction. In two major clades of extinct North American canids, the evolution of large size was associated with a dietary… CONTINUE READING
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