Dinosaurs Were Mostly Vegetarians

first_imgIs this enough to challenge popular notions of dinosaur as blood thirsty meat-eating machines? Naw, probably not, but it’s fascinating, nonetheless. A new study found that more than 90 species of theropods previously suspected to be carnivores most likely had largely plant-based diets.Says scientist Dr. Lindsay Zanno, “Most theropods are clearly adapted to a predatory lifestyle, but somewhere on the line to birds, predatory dinosaurs went soft.” For those species with less clear cut adaptations than, say, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, dietary preferences have been something of a guessing game. Adds Zanno,”These oddball dinosaurs have been the subject of much speculation but until now, we have not had a reliable way to choose between competing theories as to what they ate.”Scientists have managed to piece together clues including feces, teeth marks, and the presence of food evidence and stones used for herbivorous food breakdown in stomachs. Zanno again, “Once we linked certain adaptations with direct evidence of diet, we looked to see which other theropod species had the same traits. Then we could say who was likely a plant eater and who was not.”Their plant-based diet may have been what helped these species thrive.last_img

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