which dinosaurs ate meat, and which ate plants

How do we know which dinosaurs ate meat, and which ate plants?


We can tell by looking at fossils of their teeth and claws. Meat eaters and plant eaters developed different special features, such as hands that could grasp and grinding or shearing teeth.


What were plant eaters’ teeth like?

Yunnanosaurus had chisel-like teeth to cut up tough vegetation. Some sauropods had spoon-shaped teeth for cutting tough plants. Diplodocids had pencil-shaped teeth. They could strip branches bare in seconds by raking leaves through their teeth.



What were meat eaters’ teeth and

claws like?

Meat eaters such as Allosaurus had long, curved, dagger-like teeth to kill and tear at prey. They had powerful jaws in their large heads and strong claws to grip their victims. Allosaurus could eat you up in two gulps!


Is it true?

Some dinosaurs ate stones.


Yes. Plant eaters swallowed stones called gastroliths, to help grind down tough plant food inside their stomachs. Gastroliths were up to ten cm across.



Carcharodontosaurus had a huge skull 1.6 metres across, with jaws full of teeth like a shark’s. And yet some dinosaurs had no teeth at all! Gallimimus fed mainly on insects and tiny creatures it could swallow whole.



Whose teeth were as long as knives?

Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the last dinosaurs, was also one of the largest and fiercest meat eaters ever to live on Earth. Its ferocious teeth were 15 cm long. It used them to strip away flesh while it held its prey down with its feet.


Is it true ?

Some dinosaurs were cannibals.


Yes. Two skeletons of Coelophysis have been found containing the bones of smaller Coelophysis. They had eaten the young animals as their last meal.



What would kick out at its prey?

Deinonychus had an enormous slashing claw on each foot. It probably hunted and killed in packs, attacking its prey with a flying leap.



Baryonyx had large, curved claws that may have been used for hooking fish out of water. Its jaw was very similar to the jaws of modern fish-eating crocodiles.


What had a ‘terrible hand’?

Deinocheirus means ‘terrible hand’. It had hands with long claws which must have been deadly, and arms three metres long. Compared to this, T. rex’s arms were tiny!



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