What did dinosaurs eat?

The word dinosaur comes from Latin dinosaurium, which means "terrible lizard". These were the vertebrates that dominated the rest of the animal diversity millions of years ago, around which we generally feel great curiosity and fascination due to the large number of stories that have been handled regarding them. Scientific studies have managed to show, thanks to the fossil record, the rich diversity that made up this group, which is all extinct, with the exception of their descendants, the birds.

So far, about a thousand species of dinosaurs have been described, but there are still many others to be identified, however, it has been established that these impressive animals measured from a few centimeters (50 cm) to ten or more meters in height, which generated an important distinction in its characteristics, as is the case with its diet. Therefore, in this AnimalWised article we want to talk to you about what did the dinosaurs eat.

You may also be interested in: Types of carnivorous dinosaurs Index
  1. What and how did the dinosaurs eat?
  2. Diet for herbivorous dinosaurs
  3. Food of carnivorous dinosaurs
  4. Food of omnivorous dinosaurs

What and how did the dinosaurs eat?

Dinosaur fossils have been found on practically every continent on the planet, although not in every country, but paleontological findings have shown that these animals occupied different types of regions that today we know as Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Spain, Madagascar, Russia, Uruguay or Zimbabwe, among many others.

Scientific studies have shown that dinosaurs could feed on meat, plants, or both, So there were three main types of dinosaurs according to their diet: herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. There are also some species for which their diet is unknown, as research in this regard has not yet been conclusive.

Diet for herbivorous dinosaurs

Despite the fearsome image that we can have of these animals, there were not a few dinosaurs that fed exclusively on plants, which is why they were herbivores and among them more than 180 species of this type have been identified. Some examples of herbivorous dinosaurs are:

  • Achelousaurus: This genus, identified in 1995 and found in the United States, measured about 6 meters in length and approximately 3 meters long, and had as a characteristic feature the presence of various bony protrusions on the head and a kind of beak very similar to that of current parrots. Its name means "reptile of Achelou ".
  • Ammosaurus: This sauropod is about 4 meters tall which, although it seems a great height, it was not really when compared to other species of dinosaurs. It is commonly known as a sand lizard and was found in North America.
  • Archaeoceratops: its name means "ancient face with horns ", it was found in China and it is estimated that it was 1.3 meters high. It was an older dinosaur than many others, with the particularity of being able to assume the bipedal or quadruped form.
  • Gasparinisaura: of this genus only one species has been identified, which was found in Argentina. This animal did not reach a meter in height and is commonly known as Gasparini's lizard.
  • Vulcanodon: volcano tooth, as it is also known, was found in Zimbabwe and despite measuring about 6.5 meters in height it was not the largest of its group. Its head and tail were quite long and its posture was quadruped..

¿What did herbivorous dinosaurs eat?

Herbivorous dinosaurs consumed a great variety of plants or parts of these, from which they obtained their nutrients. Their large bodies were anatomically and physiologically adapted for this type of diet, which consisted of fresh leaves or shoots located in the upper parts of the trees. They also consumed fruits, needle-like leaves such as conifers, ginkgos, and meadow vegetation..

Other examples of herbivorous dinosaurs

In addition to the herbivorous dinosaurs mentioned above, they also stand out:

  • Albertaceratops.
  • Datousaurus.
  • Mamenchisaurus.
  • Valdosaurus.
  • Zuniceratops.

Food of carnivorous dinosaurs

Many dinosaurs were capable of consuming all kinds of animals, from mammals to insects, having an exclusively carnivorous diet. Some examples of carnivorous dinosaurs are:

  • Archeopteryx: its name means "ancient wing ", it was a small dinosaur of about 0.5 meters, bipedal, with the ability to fly. He had many conical teeth on his upper jaw. It was found in Germany and apparently its diet consisted of small reptiles, mammals and insects.
  • Giganotosaurus: Known as the southern giant lizard, it moved on two legs and estimates indicate that it is about 12.5 meters high. It was found in Argentina. Its teeth were adapted for slicing, as they were shaped like a blade. Consumed animals including other dinosaurs.
  • Microraptor: it was found in China, with an approximate height of 0.8 meters, small and sharp teeth with which it devoured small animals and insects. It had the ability to fly, as it had long feathers on its body. It is known as a little looter.
  • Tyrannosaurus: one of the dinosaurs that must have been the most feared by the rest of the animals of the moment, even other dinosaurs, an aspect that is related to the meaning of its name, "tyrant lizard ". It had 60 sharp and pointed teeth capable of crushing bone thanks to its powerful bite. Studies have shown bite marks on tyrannosaurs' bones caused by other individuals of the species, showing that they were fighting each other. It consumed other animals, including dinosaurs, it was about 12 meters tall and was found in the United States and Canada.
  • VelociraptorIts name means "fast" and it had sharp, pointed teeth approximately 1.8 meters high. It was located in Mongolia. More recent research estimates that these had a thin coat on the body similar to a plumage. Studies have also shown that this animal was capable of devouring other dinosaurs, since fossils have been found with remains of bones belonging to other species.

¿What did carnivorous dinosaurs eat?

The fossilized feces of the dinosaurs have made it possible to identify the type of food they consumed. Thus it has been possible to know that carnivorous dinosaurs had a varied diet based on other animals. The feeding of carnivorous dinosaurs could consist of mammals, fish, insects, and even other dinosaurs.

Some fed on carrion, others were active hunters of live prey, and certain species had a specific diet that was based on aquatic animals..

Other examples of carnivorous dinosaurs

Within the carnivorous dinosaurs, we also find these other species:

  • Abelisaurus.
  • Daspletosaurus.
  • Dubreuillosaurus.
  • Rugops.
  • Staurikosaurus.

Food of omnivorous dinosaurs

Paleontological studies have shown that a group of dinosaurs were adapted to consume both animals and plants, which is why they are considered omnivorous animals. Some examples of omnivorous dinosaurs are:

  • Caudipteryx: It moved on two legs and was an omnivore with sharp teeth. It was about 1 meter high, it was found in China and its name means "feather tail ".
  • Coloradisaurus: found in Argentina and known as the lizard of the colorados, it had an estimated height of 4 meters and consumed animals and plants.
  • Harpymimus: known as a harpy imitator, it was found in Mongolia and had about 2 meters in length and small, sharp teeth.
  • Struthiomimus: with similar appearance to the current ostrich, from which its name originates, an ostrich imitator, it was found in Canada with about 4 meters in length. It had no teeth, but the presence of a beak and moved on two legs.
  • Thecodontosaurus: its name means "set-toothed lizard " and it was found in England. It could consume plants or animals and was approximately 2.5 meters tall.

¿What did omnivorous dinosaurs eat?

Omnivorous dinosaurs did not have as specialized a digestive system as a herbivore or a carnivore, so although they could feed on both plants and animals, they were not capable of doing so extensively. Thus, omnivorous dinosaurs consumed soft parts of plants, such as fruits or seeds, so that they were structures that did not have high amounts of cellulose. As for the animals, they fed on small mammals or lizards, as well as insects.

Other examples of omnivorous dinosaurs

Other omnivorous dinosaurs were as follows:

  • Avimimus.
  • Dromiceiomimus.
  • Nanshiungosaurus.
  • Oviraptor.
  • Yunnanosaurus.

Dinosaurs have inspired many stories and famous movies that do not always show real data about these animals, however, scientists in various parts of the world make tireless efforts to continue studying them and communicating their findings so that we know more about these vertebrates that ceased to exist. millions of years ago.

Now that you know what dinosaurs ate, you may be interested in this other AnimalWised article about ¿How dinosaurs reproduced and were born?

Leave Your Comment

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here