here has been a long debate about why dinosaurs were so successful. Say dinosaur, and most people think of the great flesh-eaters such as Tyrannosaurus rex, but the most successful dinosaurs were of course the plant-eaters.
A new study from the University of Bristol, led by Masters of Palaeobiology student 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."