With some of the most advanced chewing apparatus ever developed by a reptile, ornithopod dinosaurs became a most successful group of herbivorous dinosaurs. They rapidly became a prominent feature on North America's Cretaceous landscape, until they were wiped out by the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary, or K-T, extinction event. Early ornithopods were only about a metre long and could probably run very fast on their hind legs. They evolved to become as large as some of the mighty sauropods, walking and grazing on all four legs, but still using the hind legs for running and reaching up into trees. Notable ornithopods include the duck-billed hadrosaurs and, of course, iguanodon.
Scientific name: Ornithopoda
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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
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Ornithopods /ɔrˈnɪθɵpɒd/ or members of the clade Ornithopoda /ɔrnɨˈθɒpədə/ are a group of ornithischian dinosaurs that started out as small, bipedal running grazers, and grew in size and numbers until they became one of the most successful groups of herbivores in the Cretaceous world, and dominated the North American landscape. Their major evolutionary advantage was the progressive development of a chewing apparatus that became the most sophisticated ever developed by a reptile, rivalling that of modern mammals like the domestic cow. They reached their apex in the duck-bills, before they were wiped out by the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event along with all other non-avian dinosaurs. Members are known from all seven continents, though they are generally rare in the Southern Hemisphere.
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