Plant-eating dinosaurs populated the Mesozoic Era and came in many different varieties. They ate a variety of plants and trees including redwoods, pines conifers, ancient species of palm trees and cypress.
They may have looked a bit like giant hippopotamuses with strong armor plates, long horns and clubbed tails. But they were dangerous if threatened.
Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs, and for good reason. This massive, armored herbivore was a lumbering giant that towered over the land with its long tail and rows of spikes. Its back plates may have served as defense against predators, but its purpose in the plant-eating department is unclear.
While many people picture a meat-eating dinosaur when they think of dinosaurs, most dinosaurs were actually herbivores. Herbivores ate plants, including leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds. They were also capable of digesting cellulose, which allows them to eat tougher plant material, like tree bark.
The name “stegosaurus” comes from the Greek words for “roofed lizard.” 19th century paleontologists believed that this creature walked on its spine, which had 17 plates arranged in two staggered rows. The plates were not solid but made of a lattice-like material with thin grooves, which probably contained blood vessels. Fossils show that the plate arrangement varied between different stegosaurian species, and some plates may have been used for thermoregulation.
Some scientists believe that stegosaurus could rear up on its hind legs, using its tail as a tripod, to reach higher plants. However, this is disputed by others who point out that the animal was too heavy for this to be practical. In addition, the tail was tipped with spikes that were probably not very effective as defense.
Another possibility is that the spikes were used to mark territory or warn other stegosaurus not to enter an area. While these theories have some merit, it is most likely that the stegosaurus was simply a grazer that fed on low-lying plants.
Some people have wondered whether carnivores were more intelligent than herbivores, but this is not necessarily the case. Carnivores and herbivores co-existed in the same food chain, so it is not unusual for them to have similar levels of intelligence. However, if an herbivore were much smarter than the plants it ate, it would have an unfair advantage and eventually cause the balance of the food chain to fall out of balance. This could lead to the extinction of both herbivores and carnivores.
The Triceratops is one of the best known herbivore dinosaurs, thanks to its dramatic three horned face. This sauropod dinosaur belonged to the Ceratopsidae family and was quadrupedal, meaning it moved on four legs. The Triceratops’ skull was adorned with a large bony frill and three horns, each around 3.3 feet long. Paleontologists used to think that the horns were for defending the animal against predators like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but now scientists believe that they may have been used as a display and communication tool.
The two most famous Triceratops species are T. horridus and T. prorsus. They are thought to have evolved from the same ancestor, but T. prorsus has a longer nasal horn and more upright top horn than T. horridus. At their maximum size, both were about as tall as a big elephant.
Triceratops ate a wide variety of low vegetation including palms, ferns, and cycads. Its flat teeth were designed to strip and grind leaves, and it had specialized stomach acids that broke down cellulose. These plant-eaters also had a long neck, which helped them reach high-up plants that were too difficult to get at on foot.
Like other herbivores, the Triceratops had horns and spikes for protection against predators. It also had body armor, which helped it stay safe from the claws and teeth of larger meat-eaters.
In addition, the Triceratops had a long beaklike mouth that was designed to grab and chew leaves. This herbivore dinosaur also had a short snout, which meant that it probably ate in small groups.
Many people think that all dinosaurs were ferocious, meat-eating predators, but actually 35% of all dinosaurs were herbivores. Herbivores were successful in surviving and competing with carnivores because they had special adaptations that made it easier for them to eat and digest plants. Scientists determine a dinosaur’s diet by examining fossilized remains of the animal, called coprolites, which contain plant materials. This allows them to analyze the diet of different dinosaurs and understand how the environment affected their survival and evolution.
Named after the giraffe, this dinosaur was one of the largest herbivores from the Jurassic period. It was part of the family of sauropods and resembled a giant giraffe. It had a long neck, which allowed it to reach high vegetation. It also had a small bony protuberance in its snout, which was useful for defending itself against predators. This dinosaur probably lived in groups with other members of its species and shared food resources.
Giraffatitan was a tall herbivore sauropod that had a long neck and tail. It was an impressive creature that reached over 37 meters in length and weighed as much as 145 tons. It is believed that Giraffatitan fed on plants in a dry climate. Its long neck allowed it to graze on tall plants that were beyond the reach of other dinosaurs. The nostrils were located on the top of the skull in a crest-like formation. The crest may have been used as a resonator to help the dinosaur to communicate with other members of its herd.
The positioning of the nostrils on the head of the dinosaur has been a source of debate. Witmer argued in 2001 that the nasal openings on the skulls of many sauropods, including Giraffatitan, were not near the eyes. However, other paleontologists disagree with this claim. They believe that the nostrils were closer to the snouts than to the eyes.
Despite the controversy over the placement of the nostrils, scientists have found no evidence that Giraffatitan had a trunk. Some have suggested that this dinosaur was semi-aquatic, spending half of its time in water and the other half on land. However, this is unlikely to have been the case as most sauropods were unable to swim.
Scientists have calculated that the tail of Giraffatitan was made up of a large number of individual muscles and bones. They have estimated its weight by comparing the bone and muscle densities of the caudal vertebrae. Taylor (2009) has calculated that the tail of Giraffatitan had a volume of about 1520 liters, and a weight of over 2500 kg (without the pelvis and sacrum). The density of the tail bones is higher than that of other bones.
A creature of immense size, this tusked herbivore was one of the longest dinosaurs ever to walk the earth. Paleontologists have a lot of evidence that this sauropod (a group of giraffe-like dinosaurs) was a plant eater. For example, it has a large lower jaw that was adapted for stripping leaves. It also had blunt teeth that would have helped it digest tough plant material. Its digestive system probably had gastroliths, which are stones in the stomach that help break down food.
This dinosaur lived during the Late Jurassic period and was a native of Asia. Fossils of Mamenchisaurus have been found in places such as Chongqing, Sichuan, and Govi-Altai. It is a member of the family Mamenchisauridae and the infraorder Sauropoda.
It is believed that Mamenchisaurus was a herd animal. It probably moved in small groups, perhaps in the same way that sheep do today. This herd behavior probably helped it conserve energy and avoid competition with other animals for the same plants. Its long neck also made it easy for Mamenchisaurus to find the highest branches of tall trees to gather leaves and other vegetation.
The fossils of Mamenchisaurus show that it had a subdued coloration with earthy gray-green over most of its body and a yellow-brown pattern on the neck region. Its head had a ridge of horns that gave it a fierce appearance. Its neck was very long, reaching to almost five feet above the ground.
Despite its intimidating appearance, Mamenchisaurus and other sauropods were not aggressive dinosaurs. Instead, these gentle giants were more likely to stay away from humans unless they felt threatened. This is because sauropods viewed human beings as too small to be worth the effort of attacking. They were much better off saving their energy for preying on creatures that could actually cause them harm, like other dinosaurs or big predatory mammals.
The main role of Mamenchisaurus was to eat plants. This dinosaur had a very long neck that allowed it to reach high branches of trees to collect leaves and other vegetation for its diet. It had to consume a lot of plant matter each day to support its massive size. This herbivore ate leaves, fruit, seeds, and ferns, but probably mainly conifers and club mosses.