As you may have seen in movies, many dinosaurs are depicted to be ferocious carnivores that might take you as their dinner.
However, only 35% of the total dinosaur population were carnivores. Doing the math, we could conclude that 65% of dinosaurs were herbivores. This is due to the adaptations of their teeth and digestive tract.
A herbivore is an animal that only feeds on plants. They are often prey for carnivores and omnivores. To counter this they have adopted various ways of either defending themselves or escaping from the predator.
Today, we are going to learn about plant-eating dinosaurs called herbivores!
Some of the most commonly known plant eaters:
the large quadrupedal plant-eating ceratopsian dinosaur that had a frill of bone at the back of its skull and three prominent horns. Fossils of “three-horned face,” as its Latin name is usually translated, date to the final 3 million years of the Cretaceous Period (145.5 million to 65.5 million years ago), making it one of the last of the non-avian dinosaurs to have evolved. Paleontologists estimate that the body length of Triceratops approached 9 meters (30 feet).
A large, slow moving plant-eater, Stegosaurus would have defended itself from predators like Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus with its powerful spiked tail.
The bony plates along its back were embedded in the skin of the animal, not attached to its skeleton, which is why in most fossil finds the plates are separated from the body.
Ankylosaurus were sturdy, armored dinosaurs, distantly related to the Stegosaurus, with their large bony plates and tail spikes. Much of the body of Ankylosaurus was encased in bony dermal armor consisting of scutes embedded in the skin. There are two main groups of Ankylosaur, the narrow-headed nodosaurids and the broad-headed, club-tailed ankylosaurids.
Brachiosaurus was an unusual dinosaur that lived 155.7 million to 150.8 million years ago during the mid- to late Jurassic Period. Specimens have been found primarily in the fossil-rich Morrison Formation in North America, but the dinosaur did not resemble any of the others that roamed the region. Its long neck made it look like a giraffe, and its forelegs were longer than its hind legs. The name Brachiosaurus, in fact, means “arm lizard.”
Diplodocus had a very long tail that is thought to have been used like a whip to ward off predators. Although its neck likely could not have been held very high, it seems this dinosaur could actually tip back onto its back legs, using its tail as a tripod to eat from taller branches. Instead of teeth for chewing, Diplodocus had a row of rake-like teeth that it used to pull off leaves and swallow them whole. Like some modern birds, Diplodocus swallowed stones to help break down the food in its stomach.
They lived from 75 to 65 million years ago. Many species have chambered or solid crests on their skull which they may have used to blast auditory signals. Hadrosaur were fast running herbivores that dwelled on land and had evolved a unique way of chewing their food.
Iguanodon is estimated to have been about 45 feet long, 16 feet tall and may have weighed as much as 5 tons. It’s teeth would indicate that it was probably an herbivore, although some scientists state that isn’t as evident as it seems. It would appear that this dinosaur probably ate things such as plant leaves and other tough vegetation. Some scientist believe that these dinosaurs were also probably herd animals. This is believed to be the case because several fossils of these animals have been found congregating together.
Amargasaurus was a Diplodocoid which lived in the Early Cretaceous. It was small for a sauropod, reaching 10 meters (33 feet) length. It would have been a quadrupedal herbivore with a long, low skull on the end of a long neck. However, this dinosaur sported two parallel rows of tall spines down its neck and back, taller than in any other known sauropod.
Pachycephalosaurus is a bipedal ornithischian, most recognizable for the bowl-like crown that tops its ultra-thick skull. They were around 15 feet long from head to tail, and stood about 4 feet high at the shoulder. They were active in North America during the late Cretaceous Period, in what is now the upper midwest United States.
When first discovered, Protoceratops was heralded as the ancestor to the massive North American ceratopsian dinosaurs such as Triceratops. However with the advent of new and continuing studies of the group, Protoceratops is now considered to be more representative of the type of dinosaur that led to the larger North American species as opposed to being ‘the’ ancestor of them.
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