Chapter

Dinosaur Paleoecology

David E. Fastovsky and Joshua B. Smith

in The Dinosauria

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520242098
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941434 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520242098.003.0029
Dinosaur Paleoecology

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This chapter discusses the paleoecology of dinosaurs. It first examines the variety of adaptations of dinosaurs to sustain their herbivorous habits. It then describes Mesozoic paleobotany and outlines the coevolution between dinosaurs and plants. During the Late Triassic, there was the coincident rise of conifers and the appearance of prosauropods, large-bodied dinosaurs potentially capable of reaching higher than any herbivore that had preceded them. The Middle Jurassic was a key time in the evolution of dinosaur herbivory, for it was during this time that a number of groups of ornithischian herbivores must have arisen, including stegosaurs, ankylosaurs, and some ornithopods. The chapter also examines the paleoecology of dinosaur carnivory and provides examples of paleoecological reconstructions of dinosaur-bearing ecosystems.

Keywords: paleoecology; paleobotany; prosauropods; herbivory; ornithischian herbivores; stegosaurs; ankylosaurs; ornithopods; carnivory

Chapter.  11078 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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