The Extinction of the Hundsheim Rhino – Being a Generalist Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
The skeleton of the Hundsheim rhinoceros, Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis. From Kahlke and Kaiser, 2010.
In any given environment, it might be expected that a generalized or unspecialized species might be less prone to extinction than one which depends upon a narrow temperature range, a peculiar kind of food, or other aspect of natural history which is key to its survival. An herbivorous mammal which can subsist on a variety of grasses, leaves, and other plant foods, for example, may be more likely to survive an ecological disruption than a species tied to foliage which might die back during a climate shift or other ecological changeover. In times of trouble, generalists often survive, but the tale of the extinct Hundsheim