The evolutionary history of primate diets is a story about the plundering of the “birds’ pantry.”
Before the emergence of primates, plants and birds co-evolved with each other in the rainforest. Plants evolved highly nutritious fruits to enable them to carry seeds. Early primates were small, nocturnal insectivores, which hid from predators and avoided food competition with birds.
Thereafter, primates enlarged their bodies and developed effective arboreal locomotion. Exceeding the body size of birds, monkeys began to take over the daytime fruit tree food niche from the birds.
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