What Do Dinosaurs Eat? Facts About Dinosaur Diet

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Source by: Britannica

Ordinarily, when you look at dinosaurs, considering their big sizes like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and bizarre looks, it’s easy to consider them ferocious meat-eaters that devoured every prey that walked past them without leaving out their dinosaur brothers.

While some of the claims about these extremes are somewhat true in their respect, they don’t entirely paint the picture. In the actual sense, the dinosaur’s diet was probably much more complex than you would imagine. So, what does a dinosaur eat? To put it simply and direct, most of the different species of dinosaurs that lived were mostly plant-eaters. Some were meat-eaters and some could eat both meat and plants. Meaning, there are three categories of dinosaurs based on their diets.

Before we talk about dinosaur diet according to these categories, let’s discuss a little about their teeth.

Dinosaur teeth are among the most plentiful fossil finds, and paleontologists have been able to learn a lot from them. In fact, in 1822, the discovery of iguanodon teeth catalyzed dinosaur study in the Western world. The size and shape of a dinosaur tooth help scientists and paleontologists determine the type of animal they are looking at, which order of dinosaur the animal belonged to, and, of course, what the animal ate.

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For instance, many herbivores, or plant-eating animals, had triangular teeth that were designed for cutting or slicing plant life.

Meat-eaters, on the contrary, like the vicious tyrannosaurus had teeth that were long, curved, and sharp; one edge of their teeth was typically serrated like a modern steak knife to help the animal tear up meat.

In terms of makeup substances, a dinosaur tooth is not very different from the teeth in modern animals. The major differences are in how the teeth fit together and continually re-grew, with some shedding old teeth and others reabsorbing old teeth as they would grind down under chewing throughout a dinosaur’s life.

It’s obvious that the type and nature of teeth pretty much tell us about dinosaur diets. And on that, here are the main three types of dinosaur diet.

Herbivores

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Source by: sci-news.com

These dinosaurs are plant eaters. They had flat teeth that were good for not only stripping trees of their leaves but also for grinding down fibrous plant matter. Some of the many plants they ate included cypresses, pines, yews, redwoods, and mosses. These herbivores probably also ate quite some other things to augment their diets, such as twigs and seeds.

Interestingly, scientists speculate that these plant-eaters probably ate stones as well. Just like modern birds. These pebbles of stone would help their stomachs grind down the plant material further so they could extract the nutrients from it. Impressive!!

Examples of plant-eating dinosaurs include Ankylosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, Dryosaurus, Euoplocephalus, Heterodontosaurus, Hypsilophodon, Iguanodon, Kentrosaurus, Lambeosaurus, Lesothosaurus, Maiasaura, Massospondylus, Montanoceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Protoceratops, Riojasaurus.

Carnivores

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Source by: sciencephoto.com

Unlike the herbivores, being a carnivorous dinosaur requires more than just a strong set of teeth. Carnivorous dinosaurs usually had long, strong legs so that they could run quickly to catch their prey. More so, sharp and good eyesight, a terrific sense of smell, and a large brain to plan hunting strategies are also very important for successful hunting. Don’t forget they hunted mostly living animals. They also needed large, powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and deadly claws so they could kill and then tear apart the prey easily.

To ensure their safety, many of the carnivores (like Deinonychus, Coelophysis, and Velociraptor) hunted in packs. Hence, social cooperation was important for a successful hunt.

Speaking of their teeth, these dinosaurs had long, serrated teeth that were designed for just one purpose; ripping flesh from the bones of other dinosaurs. This would have made these animals the apex predators of their time but some scientists believe that they were actually scavengers. In fact, most carnivores are scavengers when given the opportunity. Eating the flesh of dinosaurs that have died from natural causes, or stealing the eggs of other dinosaurs.

Some carnivorous dinosaurs include Albertosaurus, Allosaurus, Coelophysis, Compsognathus, Deinonychus, Dilophosaurus, Eoraptor, Giganotosaurus, Megalosaurus, Suchomimus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Unenlagia, Utahraptor. Velociraptor, Yangchuanosaurus .

Omnivores

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Many people do not know that some dinosaurs ate both meat and plant materials. Meaning, these dinosaurs would have had some teeth that were capable of tearing through flesh and some teeth that were capable of grinding up plant material.

Some examples of omnivores are Ornithomimus, Hagryphus, Beipiaosaurus, and Oviraptor. This group of dinosaurs ate plants, eggs, insects, etc. Also, it is believed that most herbivores are “accidental omnivores” because when they eat plants, they accidentally ingest many insects and other small animals. These omnivores also scavenged.

DINOSAUR DIET Of PLANTS FOR HUMANS

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All plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and mushrooms, etc. are beneficial and a good source of nutritional substances for a healthy lifestyle. They contain protein for muscles, calcium for bones, healthy fiber, and other vital nutrients. And, of course, plant foods never have any artery-clogging cholesterol.

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Source by: health.harvard.edu

The dinosaur diet of plants also tends to lower the incidence of various diseases and chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and others.

Hence, people who eat a dinosaur diet of plants need fewer medicines and surgeries, are less likely to have colds and flu, have improved mental health, and live longer, healthier, and happier lives. More so, the dinosaur diet of plants is also ideal for our environment, including our air, water, soil, forests, rivers, oceans, and climate, not to mention the billions of farmed and wild animals.

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