Diet and digestion as factors for large size in sauropods

The other groups mentioned are, like dinosaurs and pterosaurs, members of Sauropsida the reptile and bird cladewith the exception of Dimetrodon which is a synapsid. Definition Triceratops skeleton, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Under phylogenetic nomenclaturedinosaurs are usually defined as the group consisting of the most recent common ancestor MRCA of Triceratops and Neornithesand all its descendants.

Diet and digestion as factors for large size in sauropods

The dietary preference is determined by various factors including tooth morphology, jaw mechanics, and tooth wear facets. Sounds interesting, continue reading to know what did dinosaurs eat and learn about their diet and feeding behavior.

What Did Dinosaurs Eat Like pandas many herbivores and carnivores have adapted to living on a wide variety of food items which rarely seems incompatible with their skeletal characteristics. This explains why we must take all rumors about their diet with an absolute caution.

Dinosaurs are believed to have evolved in the Early Triassic period from carnivorous ornithosuchid ancestor. The oldest known ornithischian is Pisanosaurus mertii and its closely packed teeth suggest that they might have been herbivores.

Diet of Theropoda The typical dinosaurian carnivore is a bipedal theropod. They used to have strong legs designed for running as well as long forearms designed to manipulate its prey. There is a wide gap in their jaws which is composed of large number of compressed teeth.

Almost all these carnosaurs seem to be active predators for they could locate, track, and possess suitable hunting techniques but the size of its prey is still under discussion. Tyrannosaurids of the Late Cretaceous used to be of the same size as of their prey but they sometimes they could be larger.

Allosaurs on the other hand were ten times smaller than adult sauropods. They belonged to the Jurassic times. Allosaurs used to feed either on young sauropods, campotosaurs, or stegosaurs or they developed a technique to hunt down adult sauropods.

Evidence seems to suggest that few theropods hunted prey sauropods in packs. Prominent among the large carnivores were Giganotosaurus or Tyrannosaurus rex which could have been rather active predators if there were other carnivores but their large size might have intimidated these other carnivores leaving them merely scavengers.

Many theropods seemed to possess powerful mandibular adductors which made a strong bite. Erickson reported multiple bites of T. The research also indicated that T. Tooth shape in Carcharodontosaurus and tooth and jaw shape in Baryonyx and Spinosaurus indicates that these dinosaurs may have been piscivorous.

Hind limbs of nearly all theropods are same in shape and function the same way. The femur is normally shorter as compared to tibia and is designed for quick running. They possess three-toed feet except in therizinosaurids alongside terminal claws that could have helped in killing of prey.

Ceratosaurs, coelurosaurs, and maniraptorans have relatively long and powerful forelimbs that allow them to seize prey. All in all theropods take on large prey items which they grasp with both hands while ripping off with their powerful claws.

They might not have hunted in packs for if they did, then there should not be any prey item too large for them.

Troodon formosus is believed to have fed on small nocturnal mammals including lizards. The study suggests that the animals which young theropods feed on are different as compared to those which they hunt as adults.

Besides they also employ different unique hunting strategies such as hunting in packs young versus solitary hunting adult. The young are much slender than adults and probably much faster too. They were active hunters no matter what the hunting style was.

They used to feed on small vertebrates and invertebrates. Ornithomimosauria and Oviraptorosauria were two of the few theropods whose jaws were covered in a horny beak.

Ornithomimids had weak jaws which led us to believe that their diet consisted of insects and small mammals. The jaws of Oviraptorids are powerful enough to generate a strong bite.

They used to feed on small mammals, insects, eggs, and small lizards. Diet of Sauropodomorphs and Ornithischians All Sauropodomorphs and Ornithischians seemed to have an absolutely herbivorous diet. They are classified into two categories; mouth processors and gut processors.

Sauropods Facts - Some Interesting Facts

Gut processors are adapted to digest low-nutrition and high-fiber plants. Fermentation in the gut would have further divided into the fibrous plant material and produced nutrients that later were absorbed by the host.

Mouth processors were more likely to grind high-nutrition or low-fiber foods.

Diet and digestion as factors for large size in sauropods

Prosauropods and many ornithischians had had possessed cheeks that facilitated them to have mouth filled with food while processing. Dinosaurs in the Late Triassic may have relied on plants such as large arborescent, herbaceous lycopods, Brachyphyllum, and small herbaceous horsetails.

Their diet also composed of ferns, true cycads, cycadeoids, ginkgos, conifers, and the seed fern order Caytoniales. The sauropods were the dominant herbivores in the Early Cretaceous and the Jurassic.More subtle factors accounted for big body size.

A characteristic the dinosaurs shared with birds and the way sauropods reproduced made their Mesozoic growth spurt possible. The size of the sauropods and the advantages of that size would have been a major edge in a semi-arid environment.

Such sizes would have also made locomotion more efficient. Longer strides afforded by the overall large body size decreases the amount of energy per unit of distance. One could easily see the natural selection working on the much reduced size of Ear in Mammoth and large Ear of Elephant, thriving in two contrasting environments, without any ambiguity.

The research, led by Dr. Fiona Gill of the University of Leeds in the U.K., focused on sauropod diet during the Late Jurassic and made some important discoveries regarding the nutrition of these giant reptiles — one of the most long-lived groups of dinosaurs, according to the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley, California.

Dinosaurs in the Late Triassic may have relied on plants such as large arborescent, herbaceous lycopods, Brachyphyllum, and small herbaceous horsetails. Their diet also composed of ferns, true cycads, cycadeoids, ginkgos, conifers, and the seed fern order Caytoniales. The sauropods were the dominant herbivores in the Early Cretaceous and the Jurassic.

Digestive physiology has played a prominent role in explanations for terrestrial herbivore body size evolution and size-driven diversification and niche differentiation. This is based on the association of increasing body mass (BM) with diets of lower quality, and with putative mechanisms by which a higher BM could translate into a higher digestive efficiency.

Physiology of dinosaurs - Wikipedia