Thursday, January 6, 2011

Meat-eating Dinosaurs Not So Carnivorous After All

Scientists have found that although Tyrannosaurus rex may have been a flesh-eating terror, many of his closest relatives were more content with vegetarian fare.

The scientists used statistical analyzes to determine the diet of 90 species of theropod dinosaurs. Their results challenge the conventional view that nearly all theropods hunted prey, especially those closest to the ancestors of birds.

The research shows that among the most bird-like dinosaurs--known as coelurosaurs--plant eating was a common way of life.

"Most theropods are clearly adapted to a predatory lifestyle, but somewhere on the line to birds, predatory dinosaurs went soft," says Lindsay Zanno, co-researcher of the study.

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