Sauropods, a subspecies of dinosaurs known for their massive size and long necks, have long been a source of fascination for scientists and dino-enthusiasts alike. While scientific evidence proves that these creatures are plant-eaters, some of us may wonder how we really know sauropods are herbivores. In the information below, we explain the evidence that shows dinosaurs within this subspecies ate plants.
One of the biggest clues to scientists that prove this subspecies of dinosaur were herbivores is the size of these dinosaurs. Sauropods were massive, and many had long necks. All creatures evolve according to what’s best for survival, and while a long neck wouldn’t help the dinosaur catch prey, it would help them reach leaves in high-up trees at mealtime.
Moreover, sauropods were the largest dinosaurs, and with a body that big, the dinosaurs had to eat a lot. If they ate meat like other carnivorous beasts, there’d quickly be a food shortage. Sauropods evolved with long necks because it gave them access to foods other dinosaurs couldn’t reach, which helped the subspecies thrive.
Those rather rounded teeth are another reason we know sauropods were herbivores. While these teeth were strong enough to mash up plants, they wouldn’t have been very helpful when cutting and tearing flesh. Consider the animals we see today. Carnivores such as alligators have sharp teeth because they mainly eat meat. On the other hand, plant-eating animals such as deer have flatter teeth similar to those seen in sauropods.
What About Omnivore Dinosaurs?
Beasts like the T-rex were mighty predators, while Brontosaurus were docile plant-eaters. However, this leaves many of us with a question—what about omnivores? Could sauropods be omnivorous?
It’s unlikely any sauropods were omnivorous because they didn’t have razor-sharp teeth. Likewise, most species within this subgroup of dinosaurs didn’t have the offensive tactics that hunters require to secure their prey; they didn’t have dagger-like claws that would allow them to scratch or grab. That said, sauropods had defensive tactics, as can be seen in the Diplodocus’ whip-like tail.
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