U-shaped relationship between diet and body size is nearly universal among animals

But scientists say that humans are disrupting this 66-million-year-old feature of ecosystems.

Visual representation of the U-shaped relationship between diet and body size
An illustration featuring mammalian herbivores (green), omnivores (purple), invertivores (yellow) and carnivores (red). Each column includes mammal species lost in the past 2.58 million years (light shade); those expected to be lost in the near future (medium shade, probability of extinction >50%); and those likely to persist (dark shade, probability of extinction <20%). Human-related extinctions of the largest herbivores and carnivores are disrupting what appears to be a fundamental feature of past and present ecosystems, says a new study from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and institutions on four continents. Credit: Julius Csotonyi / Nature Ecology and Evolution