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African herbivores are fussy eaters

A new study finds that large African herbivores have distinct favorite plants, which may help explain the high level of herbivore diversity found on the savanna, Smithsonian magazine reports. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes how the researchers collected samples of feces from animals such as elephants, plains zebras, and impalas and then used a relatively new method known as DNA metabarcoding to match gene sequences found in the samples to known plant DNA. The finding could help inform conservation efforts in the region, the researchers say. 

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