Fri, Apr 28, 2017 | updated 09:38 PM IST

'Vegan' dinosaurs' tale of success

Updated: Jul 15, 2016 11:07 IST      
'Vegan' dinosaurs' tale of success

Washington D.C, Jul 15 (ANI): Flesh-eating Tyrannosaurus rex may be the most well-known and iconic dinosaur, but it turns out some of the most successful of these prehistoric reptiles were actually vegetarian.

A new study from the University of Bristol, led by Eddy Strickson, has presented clear evidence about how plant-eating dinosaurs evolved.

In the rich dinosaur deposits of North America, hundreds of skeletons of plant-eaters are found for every T. rex. But how did they survive and proliferate? Was it down to innovation or stimulus by plant evolution?

Eddy Strickson said: "The plant-eating ornithopods showed four evolutionary bursts; one in the middle of the Jurassic, and the other three in a cluster around 80 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous. This was down to innovation in their jaws and improved efficiency."

Plants were evolving fast during the Mesozoic, with the rise of cycads, conifers, and especially the angiosperms or flowering plants in the Cretaceous. However, the evolution of ornithopod dinosaur jaws and teeth did not show any response to these changes in availability of plants.

Co-leader Albert Prieto-Marquez said: "Some of the immensely successful duck-billed hadrosaurs of the Late Cretaceous might have been eating flowering plants, but their tooth wear patterns, and especially close study of their coprolites - that's fossil poops - shows they were conifer specialists, designed to crush and digest the oily, tough needles and cones."

Co-leader Tom Stubbs added: "Our work has been done using new methods of evolutionary analysis. Up to now, many evolutionary studies of this kind have been quite circumstantial, but we have been able to identify times of intensive evolution using objective, numerical methods."

Over 150 million years, many hundreds of dinosaurs came and went, but in the end they all died out 66 million years ago. The new work helps confirm another recently published, and controversial, claim that most dinosaurs were already in decline 40 million years before the meteorite struck and finished them off.

The research is published in Scientific Reports. (ANI)

Oceans at risk due to rising levels of carbon dioxide

Updated: Apr 28, 2017 12:27 IST     

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Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 27 (ANI): Animal rights activists have been debating about the use of animals in biomedical research since long but scientists suggest improvements to animal testing protocols could boost credibility and usefulness.

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India's outsized coal plans put Paris climate goals at risk

Updated: Apr 26, 2017 08:34 IST     

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NASA looks at newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D

Updated: Apr 26, 2017 07:21 IST     

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Researchers relate extreme weather to global warming

Updated: Apr 25, 2017 11:19 IST     

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Ahmedabad surgeon performs India's 1st robotic surgery

Updated: Apr 24, 2017 18:43 IST     

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This 3-D skin printer can heal severe burns faster

Updated: Apr 23, 2017 07:11 IST     

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Turns out, you can 'point out' a man's education

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:51 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 21 (ANI): Knowing a man's education is as simple as looking at his fingers, according to a recent study.

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Just when you thought brain games made you smarter

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:39 IST     

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Accomplished female scientists often overlooked

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:17 IST     

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Port Blair [India], April 21 (ANI): In a first of its kind study, peptides, from the venom of cone snails, have been identified that opens up possibilities of drug research for several human ailments.

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Antarctica's biodiversity 'falling between the cracks'

Updated: Apr 20, 2017 22:49 IST     

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Even with head-up display, texting while driving not safe

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 12:38 IST     

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Now, sketch your way to better learning

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 11:31 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): Sketching exercises can help students learn many subjects, but they are woefully underused in classrooms, according to a recent study.

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Randomness peaks when you're 25

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 10:18 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): 25 is the "golden age," when people's ability to make random choices or mimic a random process, such as coming up with hypothetical results for a series of coin flips, peaks, according to a recent study.

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Why having a 'nice' boss may be 'bad' for you

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 10:02 IST     

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Are you all ears? Your eyes indicate if you are

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 09:06 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): Turns out, the eyes really are a window to the soul as a recent study has found that your pupils give away whether or not you are listening.

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Our ancestors defeated virus from HIV family 11m years ago

Updated: Apr 15, 2017 12:46 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 15 (ANI): Viral fossils have revealed how our ancestors may have wiped out a primordial virus around 11 million years ago.

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