Repeated Evolution of Divergent Modes of Herbivory in Non-avian Dinosaurs

  title={Repeated Evolution of Divergent Modes of Herbivory in Non-avian Dinosaurs},
  author={David J. Button and Lindsay E. Zanno},
  journal={Current Biology},

Size-mediated competition and community structure in a Late Cretaceous herbivorous dinosaur assemblage

It has been argued that, throughout the Mesozoic, the immature growth forms of megaherbivorous dinosaurs competitively excluded small herbivorous dinosaur species, leading to the left-skewed species

Niche partitioning shaped herbivore macroevolution through the early Mesozoic

This work identifies five main herbivore guilds (ingestion generalists, prehension specialists, durophagous specialists, shearing pulpers, and heavy oral processors), and finds that herbivor clades generally avoided competition by almost exclusively occupying different guilds.

The macroevolutionary landscape of short-necked plesiosaurians

This study finds ample evidence for a bimodal craniodental macroevolutionary landscape separating latirostrines from longirostrine taxa, providing the first phylogenetically-explicit quantitative assessment of trophic diversity in extinct marine reptiles.

Slow and fast evolutionary rates in the history of lepidosaurs

It is shown that evolutionary rates can vary substantially through the history of a clade and found that Squamata, comprising today over 10 000 species of lizards and snakes, showed slow rates of evolution in the first two‐thirds of their history, whereas their sister clade, Rhynchocephalia, comprising just one living species, showed high rates of Evolution in the past.

Diet of Mesozoic toothed birds (Longipterygidae) inferred from quantitative analysis of extant avian diet proxies

Background Birds are key indicator species in extant ecosystems, and thus we would expect extinct birds to provide insights into the nature of ancient ecosystems. However, many aspects of extinct

The diet of early birds based on modern and fossil evidence and a new framework for its reconstruction

  • C. MillerM. Pittman
  • Environmental Science
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2021
Birds are some of the most diverse organisms on Earth, with species inhabiting a wide variety of niches across every major biome. As such, birds are vital to our understanding of modern ecosystems.

Multiple evolutionary origins and losses of tooth complexity in squamates

This work uses morphometric and phylogenetic comparative methods across fossil and extant squamates (“lizards” and snakes) to show they also repeatedly evolved increasingly complex teeth, but with more flexibility than mammals.

Global ecomorphological restructuring of dominant marine reptiles prior to the Cretaceous–Palaeogene mass extinction

Mosasaurid squamates were the dominant amniote predators in marine ecosystems during most of the Late Cretaceous. Here, we use a suite of biomechanically rooted, functionally descriptive ratios in a

Functional and ecomorphological evolution of orbit shape in mesozoic archosaurs is driven by body size and diet

The orbit is one of several skull openings in the archosauromorph skull. Intuitively, it could be assumed that orbit shape would closely approximate the shape and size of the eyeball resulting in a



No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs

This work reconstructs body mass in the three major subclades of non-avian theropod dinosaurs whose ecomorphology is correlated with extrinsic evidence of at least facultative herbivory in the fossil record, and suggests that the hypothesis can be extrapolated to herbivorous lineages across geological time scales.

Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades

The parallel occurrence of a suite of morphologically convergent craniodental characteristics in three herbivorous, phylogenetically disparate dinosaur clades provides an ideal test case and demonstrates the value of quantitative biomechanical approaches when evaluating form/function relationships in extinct taxa.

Functional niche partitioning in Therizinosauria provides new insights into the evolution of theropod herbivory

Digital reconstruction, theoretical modelling and computer simulations of the mandibles of the therizinosaur dinosaurs provides evidence for functional niche partitioning in adaptation to herbivory, and Morphological traits indicative of an herbivorous diet were identified as having stress mitigating effects.

Herbivorous dinosaur jaw disparity and its relationship to extrinsic evolutionary drivers

It is found that morphological and biomechanical mandibular disparity are decoupled:Mandibular shape disparity follows taxonomic diversity, with a steady increase through the Mesozoic, while the reduction in biomechanicals disparity following this peak coincides with the J/K extinction, the associated loss of sauropod and stegosaur diversity, and the decline of cycadophytes.

Ecomorphological convergence in planktivorous surgeonfishes

It is demonstrated that the selective demands of pelagic feeding promote repeated – albeit very gradual – ecomorphological convergence within surgeonfishes, while allowing local divergences between closely related species, contributing to the overall diversity of the clade.

Exceptional Convergence on the Macroevolutionary Landscape in Island Lizard Radiations

For Caribbean Anolis lizards, diversification on similar Simpsonian landscapes leads to striking convergence of entire faunas on four islands, indicating that the adaptive landscape may give rise to predictable evolutionary patterns in nature, that adaptive peaks may be stable over macroevolutionary time, and that available geographic area influences the ability of lineages to discover new adaptive peaks.

Multiple convergent evolution of arboreal life in oribatid mites indicates the primacy of ecology

The results indicate that ecological factors are most important for the observed pattern of convergent evolution of arboreal life in oribatid mites, supporting an adaptationist view of evolution.

The phylogeny of the ornithischian dinosaurs

Surprisingly, Heterodontosauridae is placed as the most basal group of all well‐known ornithischians, phylogenetically distant from a stem‐defined Ornithopoda, creating a topology that is more congruent with the known Ornithischian stratigraphical record.

The systematic relationships and biogeographic history of ornithischian dinosaurs

The resulting strict consensus tree is the most well-resolved, stratigraphically consistent hypothesis of basal ornithischian relationships yet hypothesized and provides a comprehensive framework for testing further hypotheses regarding evolutionary patterns and processes within Ornithischia.