Monday, December 20, 2010

Not Meat-eating dinosaurs so carnivorous after all

New research by Field Museum scientists discovers widespread herbivory in bird-like theropod dinosaurs. Four of the 90-theropod species concerned in the study shown with dietary interpretations. All four species derive from the prominent feathered dinosaur beds of the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation, P. R. China, leading the scientists to wonder that dietary diversity may have contributed to the huge numbers of contemporaneous theropods in ecosystems like those of the Yixian.

Field Museum scientists used statistical analyses to establish the diet of 90 species of theropod dinosaurs. Their outcomes challenge the conventional view that almost all theropods hunted prey, particularly those closest to the ancestors of birds.

Tyrannosaurus rex may have been a flesh-eating terror however many of his closest relatives were more content with vegetarian fare, a fresh analysis by Field Museum scientists has established.

Theropods are a group of bipedal dinosaurs colloquially identified as "predatory" dinosaurs. Among theropod dinosaurs, all modern birds and numerous groups of their closest extinct relatives belong to a subgroup known as Coelurosauria. Coelurosauria also comprises the iconic hunters Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. Most coelurosaurs were feathered and the cleverest dinosaurs and those with the smallest body sizes also belong to this group.

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