Hypocarnivorous diet

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A type of carnivorous diet in which the diet of a carnivorous organism consists of about 30% animal meat and organs


A carnivorous diet is a type of diet wherein the food of the organism is comprised mainly of animal meat and organs. Based on the percentage of the animal meat, a carnivorous diet may be classified as hypercarnivorous, hypocarnivorous, and mesocarnivorous. The term hypocarnivorous is derived from the Greek hypo-, which means under or below. Thus, a hypocarnivorous diet describes a carnivorous diet consisting of animal food that is relatively less than that of hypercarnivorous or mesocarnivorous diet. To be specific, a hypocarnivorous diet is one in which there is only 30% animal meat and organs in a carnivore's diet. A large percentage of it would come from non-animal food, such as fruits, vegetation, and other plant materials. Examples of animals with hypocarnivorous diet are grizzly bears, bearcats, and kincajous. These animals are called hypocarnivores. It is assumed that certain hypocarnivores might have evolved by a shift from a hypercarnivorous diet (or hypercarnivory) to a hypocarnivorous diet (or hypocarnivory) as an evolutionary strategy for survival. This was reported to have occurred among Oligocene and Miocene canids Oxetocyon, Phlaocyon, and Cynarctus.1


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1 Wang, X., R. H. Tedford, and B. E. Taylor. 1999. Phylogenetic systematics of the Borophaginae (Carnivora: Canidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 243: 1-391. (http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/handle/2246/1588)