Xenarthrans comprised an ecologically significant and diverse group of small to gigantic sized terrestrial insectivorous, omnivorous and herbivorous mammals during the Cenozoic in South America and during the Pleistocene inNorth America. Their peculiar toothmorphology has proven to be challenging for palaeodietary analyses of this group. Here we introduce a new approach to this problem by utilising the recently developed mesowear angle analysis for xenarthran palaeodietary nalyses. The method is based on recording the relief of worn teeth as anglesmeasured fromthe occlusal surfaces.Wecompare our resultswith other lines of evidence of extant and fossil xenarthran diets, based on direct observation, orthodentine microwear analyses and analyses of fossilised faecal material. Our results support previous findings and hypotheses on fossil xenarthran diets, but also provide new information on the diversity of dietary preferences in the diverse assemblages of large Pleistocene xenarthrans such as ground sloths and glyptodonts.
Fields of Science
- 1171 Geosciences