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herbivore <----> carnivore



In response to my comment about herbivores changing to carnivores or vice-versa,
Mickey Rowe replied:

> I don't think this should be so much of a stretch.  Animals don't strictly
> enforce their diets.

I don't want to dwell on this topic, so this will be my last comment. It seems
to me that diet is so strongly programmed in a species instinct that it would
starve rather than try some other food. For example, I have heard that this is
true of Koala bears. They will only eat Eucalyptis leaves and NOTHING else. If
the supply of Eucalyptis dwindles, Koalas will starve, even though there is
plenty of other plant life around. If they won't even try another type of leaf,
then it certainly seems like a stretch that they would turn carnivorous.

> For example, ungulates have been observed to eat young birds in nests on the
> ground (I believe that both deer and goats do this).

This is amazing, if true. Has it been well established or is it just here-say?
(It is well reputed that goats will eat almost anything, including many
inorganic substances, but...)

I do accept that some animals are omnivorous (bears, humans, etc.) and perhaps
many (or most) pre-Mesozoic animals fit the bill. But from the Jurassic period
on, I think the dinosaurs would be too specialized in their diet to change.
Perhaps as specialized as Koalas, so that eg. each genus or species of
herbivores would have evolved for each particular plant type. Of course,
carnivores are not as particular :)