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Baboons of the genus Theropithecus and hominids emerged from the African woodlands onto the more open savannas at around the same time to find an established ecological community similar to that of today. Faced by few unfilled niches and strong competition for limited food resources, the two taxa would have been forced to alter their dietary habits considerably in order to survive. While the theropithecines became efficient grazers who could turn to subterranean food sources to outcompete the grazing ungulates, hominids turned to scavenging to supplement the meagre pickings otherwise available to frugivores. It is suggested that these new dietary habits were emphases of particular components of their ancestral diets. © 1983 Academic Press Inc. (London) Limited.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Human Evolution

Publication Date





647 - 658