Early rooters and browsers

Most ungulates (the word means "hoofed animals") are large plant-eaters which either root and browse among vegetation or crop grass. Early rooters and browsers (below) were a diverse group of ungulates most of which ate leaves, shoots and roots, though some evolved into scavengers.

It was from these early ungulates that more specialized grazers evolved, among them hoofed runners such as horses, cattle and deer (see pp. 254—281). They rose to dominance during the Miocene period, moving out of the forest to exploit the new feeding opportunities in the developing grasslands.

Some early ungulates were for many years regarded as members of the primitive order of carnivorous mammals, the creodonts (see pp. 210-213). This confusion is an indication of the very generalized nature of the mammals at the end of the Cenozoic era.

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