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Re: fruit versus leaves
>From: Stephen Okay <email@example.com>
> I was assuming "fruit" to mean large fleshy produce from angiosperms,
> something big enough to keep a pachycephalosaur fed without requiring
> too many dents in the braincase.
Well, by the time pachycephalosaurs were around, so were most major
angiosperm groups, so they could well have had access to fruit in the
strict sense of the word. Some of the forests in which Pachy-
cephalosaurus lived were dominated by a tree that was extremely
similar to the living chestnuts in many ways - though we don't
have any actual fossil nuts. There were also "laurels", and other
As to whether they did, it is best to look at their teeth. Did
they have flat crowns, like hadrosaurs, or edged (spatulate) crowns
like hypsilophodont? If the latter, then they may well have been
fruit eaters, if the former they were almost certainly leaf eaters.
Note, however, that the edible propagules of cycads could well
have gotten quite large, and quite "juicy". The "seeds" of the
living Cycas revoluta are about the size of a peach pit, and are
covered in a soft, bright orange coating. It is not far from there
to something very "fruit-like", and cycads were more diverse in
the mid Mesozoic (before flowering plants) than now, so such a
"fruit" may well have existed.
> Which isn't to say that I agree with her supposition. My original
> thoughts were that it was a bit early for modern fruits and it appears
> that this has been borne out at least in part.
Well, for the time of the pachy's, no it wasn't. Angiosperms originated
in the Early Cretaceous, and had become diverse and important by the
Late Cretaceous (when pachys were around).
The peace of God be with you.