Stegodons

The stegodons were a characteristic element of many of the Southeast Asian faunas, although a detailed analysis of its ecology has yet to be completed. In a study of the diet of modern and fossil elephants, Cerling et al. (1999) reported on tooth enamel from a stegodon, Stegodon sp., a species from Dhok Pathan, Pakistan, dated at 7.4 Ma old. The S13C values obtained for this specimen indicates that C4 grasses would likely constitute a large part of its diet. Extrapolating the likely diet of Pleistocene stegodons from this one data point is speculative at best. Alternatively, van den Bergh (1999) assumes a more browsing diet for continental (as opposed to insular) stegodons, due to the presence of their low-crowned teeth. This is an area which clearly requires more research. The most common species of stegodon, Stegodon orientalis, survived until the early Holocene in Southern China (Tong and Liu 2004).

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