Fossils Reveal a Secret in the Diets of Plant Eating Dinosaurs

Fossilized dinosaur feces, dating back 75-million years ago, has scientists rethinking the eating habits of certain dinosaurs. Instead of consuming plants, some herbivores from the Cretaceous period also snacked on crustaceans, including lobsters, crab and shrimp.

Kent State University’s Professor Emeritus Rodney Feldmann and Jessica Tashman, a doctoral student in the Department of Geology in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, authored the study along with Karen Chin, associate professor and curator of paleontology at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Museum of Natural History.

Scientists found the fossilized feces during a dig at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. They believe the unexpected behavior of eating crustaceans is to consume protein and calcium, especially during breeding and egg-laying seasons.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Funding for the project came from both Colorado University Boulder and Kent State University.

Read more about the study from NPR’s Ideastream and CU Boulder Today.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 1, 2022 - 9:49am