Dinosaur Diet Discovery: "Plant-Eater" Snacked On Crustaceans

Are researchers as wrong about a dinosaur diet as famed illustrator Charles Knight was about hadrosaurs? (Credit American Museum of Natural History)

Have researchers been as wrong about a dinosaur diet as famed illustrator Charles Knight was about hadrosaurs in this rather rough 1897 rendering? Duckbilled dinosaurs like this fella customarily put four on a floor, and no dino dragged a tail or had a sprawling viewpoint shown here. (Credit American Museum of Natural History)

Like that vegetarian friend of yours who sneaks a square of bacon when no one’s looking, it appears that during slightest some dinosaurs formerly suspicion to be dedicated herbivores spasmodic consumed critters. That’s during slightest according to new investigate that concerned removing adult tighten and inquisitive with those goldmines of lifestyle information: coprolites.

Researchers took a demeanour during fossilized feces from some-more than 15 apart deposits within a Kaiparowits Formation of Utah. The Kaiparowits, antiquated to roughly 75 million years ago, is a tremendously abounding source of information about dinosaurs…and, it turns out, a dinosaur diet.

The perfect volume of a coprolites suggested to a group that they were from a incomparable dinosaur. The volume of timber recorded in a antiquated poop, meanwhile, forked to an animal that was means of estimate sinewy material. The many expected candidate, contend a researchers, were duckbilled dinosaurs, such as a hadrosaur.

Like other ornithischian dinosaurs, a duckbilled accumulation have adaptations for chowing down on foliage (and, we thought, foliage only). That includes a predentary, a singular bone in a front of a reduce jaw, infrequently likened to a beak, that helped a animal do to branches and leaves what your garden shears do to a rhododendron.

Closer investigation of a coprolites, however, incited adult some-more than only wood. For starters, a researchers were means to establish that a coniferous timber had been degraded by mildew before expenditure — yep, a dinosaurs were eating decaying wood. That’s indeed a intelligent eating strategy. Rotten wood, a bit crushed adult to start with, is easier to digest. (Or so studies of cattle have shown. Don’t try this during home.)

And even some-more intriguing: a coprolites were full of pieces of crustacean shell. Although incompetent to brand a class of crustacean consumed, a animals were vast adequate that a scientists report them as “sizeable” and doubtful to have been consumed unintentionally.

The researchers note that it’s doubtful this raise of recorded poo full of decaying timber and crusty critters represents a dinosaurs’ year-round diet. They trust instead that it captures a anniversary snapshot. In fact, a opportunistic eaters might have combined a small additional protein to a menu when tending to nests (and eggs about to hatch) kept them tighten to home during certain times of a year.

You know what else adapts to anniversary apparatus availability, quite adding animals to an differently herbivorous diet? A series of complicated dinosaurs: birds.

If we wish some-more decaying timber and coprolites, and we know we do, puncture in to a paper, published in Scientific Reports.


  • Vegetarians are a RINOs of ingestion. Powerful walrus jaws siphon a beef from food sources. Cultural appropriation!

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Posted by on Sep 21 2017. Filed under Living World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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