Ankylosaurus Diet

 
 
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Ankylosaurus Diet

Ankylosaurus tooth:
Ankylosaurus Tooth
Ankylosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater). We can be confident of this for a number of reasons:
  1. Ankylosaurus was a member of the Order of Dinosaurs known as Ornithischia. All Ornithischians are believed to have been herbivores.

  2. Its general body shape suggests it was a slow-moving herbivore.

  3. Its teeth are designed for eating plants (we shall return to this point in a moment).

  4. Its wide muzzle is adapted for non-selective browsing of plants close to the ground.
There has been a lot of discussion about Ankylosaurus's teeth and mouth. For example, some scientists have suggested that despite its large skull, Ankylosaurus jaw muscles may have been relatively weak, and its jaw movements would have been limited to up and down movements (no chewing) - which in turn suggests it mainly ate soft non-abrasive vegetation - whereas other scientists have looked at skulls of Ankylosaurus and related animals, and suggested that chewing was possible.

Another clue as to Ankylosaurus's exact diet is to look at the wear on its teeth. Most of the wear appears on the face of the crowns rather than the tips. Additionally, some teeth have been found which may (we are not certain) have come from baby Ankylosauruses and which are worn, suggesting that the babies at least did not swallow food whole but chewed it.

In summary, it would be fair to say that the evidence so far is not entirely conclusive. The best guess seems to be that Ankylosaurus might not have feed on woody and fibrous plants, but its diet probably did include some tough leaves as well as pulpy fruits. Additionally, there is evidence that Ankylosaurus had a muscular tongue, possibly a prehensile tongue (as found in some modern salamanders), and may have used this in feeding.

Ankylosaurus ribs:
Ankylosaurus ribs

One other notable feature of Ankylosaurus is the broadness of its rib cage. It has therefore been suggested that Ankylosaurus may have digested its food using hindgut fermentation, involving several chambers in an enlarged colon, just as is found in modern herbivorous lizards.



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