March 25, 2023

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Deer and wild boar are the most abundant land mammals

Deer and wild boar are the most abundant terrestrial mammals and consume the most natural resources: they alone make up about half of the global biomass of terrestrial mammals, an indicator that represents the abundance and ecological footprint of the organisms. The study indicates this published In the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and coordinated by the Israeli Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.

The paper’s authors, led by Lior Grinspoon and Eyal Krieger, collected data on the populations of 392 species of terrestrial mammals, which represent about 6% of all terrestrial mammal species. Then they developed a machine learning model, i.e. an algorithm which, starting from the available data, calculates abundance even for species whose numbers you don’t know.

The results indicate a total terrestrial mammal biomass of about 20 million tonnes, with the main contributors being large herbivores such as white-tailed deer, wild boar and the African elephant. In particular, ungulates with an even number of claws, such as deer and wild boar, alone account for half the biomass of wild wild mammals. Added to this are marine organisms, with an estimated global biomass of about 40 million tons: whales dominate this group, accounting for more than half of the biomass.

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