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Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Not So Carnivorous After All

Their results challenge the conventional view that nearly all theropods hunted prey, especially those closest to the ancestors of birds. Rather, Zanno and Makovicky show that among the most bird-like dinosaurs — known as coelurosaurs — plant eating was a common way of life. “Most theropods are clearly adapted to a predatory lifestyle, but somewhere on the line to birds, predatory dinosaurs went soft,” Zanno says.

Theropods are a group of bipedal dinosaurs colloquially known as “predatory” dinosaurs. Among theropod dinosaurs, all modern birds and several groups of their closest extinct relatives belong to a subgroup known as Coelurosauria. Coelurosauria also includes the iconic hunters Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. Most coelurosaurs were feathered. The most intelligent dinosaurs and those with the smallest body sizes also belong to this group.

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