For a long time many scientists suspected that koalas were so lethargic because the compounds in eucalyptus leaves kept the cute little animals in a drugged­out state. But more recent research has shown that the leaves are simply so low in nutrients that koalas have almost no energy.

Can I use had suspected or had been suspecting instead of suspected? To me, it seems possible because "For a long time", the action of the verb was maintained for a certain duration of time.

Do the two of them have same meaning in the context above?


All three are pretty much equal in meaning, but had suspected would be the preferred choice here, since it emphasises that this has now changed.

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