Dinosaurs ate lots of different kinds of food, depending on what kind of dinosaur they were! Some ate only plants, they are called herbivores. Some examples of these guys are the Triceratops or the Stegosaurus. The would eat local plantlife, like ferns, or leaves from trees. Some ate only meat and they’re called carnivores. Some examples of these guys are the Velociraptor, or the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. They would eat smaller mammals, fish, or even other dinosaurs! Then there are dinosaurs that could eat both plants and animals, called omnivores. An example of these is the Oviraptor.
Scientists are able to figure out what dinosaurs ate in a couple different ways. First, they look at the teeth in a dinosaur fossil. If they see mostly flat, large teeth, they infer that the dinosaur mostly ate plants. The large flat teeth were good for grinding all the plant matter down into easily digestible bits. If they see lots of sharp teeth, then they infer that the dinosaur was probably a meat eater. Those sharp teeth are good at ripping and tearing through flesh and muscle. In addition, scientists sometimes find fossilized dinosaur poop and can look at what they ate that way. Sometimes they’re even able to look at the fossilized stomach contents of dinosaurs who enjoyed a good meal right before they died.
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