Hadrosaurs

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The mouth of a duckbill dinosaur contained one of the efficient cranial Cusinarts in land-vertebrate history. - Robert T. Bakker

'Hadrosaurs' or duck-billed dinosaurs, are members of the ornithischian family Hadrosauridae. The family, which includes ornithopods such as Edmontosaurus and Parasaurolophus, was a common herbivore in the Upper Cretaceous Period of what is now Asia, Europe and North America.

Quotes[edit]

  • Duckbills were supposedly croc-style swimmers, moving by strong, easy, side-to-side flexures of their tail. Therefore, the optimal design would feature vertical tail spines. But duckbill spines all slanted strongly backward, exactly as in land-living lizards, not in swimmers.
    Another problem in the duckbill's swimming equipment lies in the profile of the tail. The deepest part of the croc's tail is close to the end, because the end swings through a wider arc than does the base in moving side to side. Thus the tail is deepest where it can do the most good in pushing against the water. All powerful tail-scullers have such deep tail ends. But duckbill tails were deepest at the hips and become progressively narrower from top-to-bottom toward the tip - another caudal feature nearly totally maladapted for its primary function.
    • Robert T. Bakker The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs (1986), Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 153
  • The sum of evolutionary evidence is thoroughly damning. In nearly every modification of the evolutionary process made in the duckbills as they developed from their dryosaur ancestors, the duckbills suffered a diminution of their swimming potential. Their fore- and hind paws became shorter and more compact, not longer and more widely spread. Their tails got weaker and stiffer. Far from being the best, the duckbills must have been the clumsiest and slowest swimmers in all the Dinosauria. If pressed, they probably could paddle slowly from one riverbanck to another. The central theme of their bodily evolution was indeed specialized - orthodox theory was right on that point - but the direction of specialization was landward. These dinosaurs were specialized for a totally terrestrial existence.
    • Robert T. Bakker The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs (1986), Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 154-155
  • There may be some ground for believing that brontosaurs ate... soft foods. If the possibility of gizzard stones is ignored, the brontosaurs' dentition does seem little equipped to deal with meals of tougher plants. But there are no ground whatsoever for believing it of duckbills. The mouth of a duckbill dinosaur contained one of the efficient cranial Cusinarts in land-vertebrate history. Duckbill teeth and jaws were incomparable grinders, designed to cope with foods right inside the duckbill's oral compartment.
    • Robert T. Bakker The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs (1986), Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 160-161
  • No living reptile has cheeks. But no living reptile has grinding teeth anything remotely resembling those of a duckbill. If the duckbills could have evolved such unreptilian teeth, why couldn't they have evolved unreptilian teeth?
    • Robert T. Bakker The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs (1986), Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 165
  • In comparing the hadrosaurs with other dinosaurian herbivores, it is striking that they alone lack any obvious defensive or protective adaptations. They possessed no horns, no claws, no sharp teeth, they carried no clubbed or spiked tail, and they had no bony armor. They certainly were not constructed for rapid flight and they cannot be considered giants for their time. In short, the hadrosaurs appear to have been quite defenseless — a most improbable plight. As an alternative it seems increasingly probable that they depended upon the relative security of lakes, swamps, or rivers and thereby escaped from their enemies.
    • John H. Ostrom, The cranial crests of hadrosaurian dinosaurs, Postilla, 1962, 62:1–29

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